Samuel Plapinger is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. His research focuses on civil wars, armed group behavior, and military strategy and operations, with a regional emphasis on the Middle East. Samuel’s dissertation, entitled Selecting Success: Recruitment and Insurgent Effectiveness in Civil Wars, integrates interviews with ex-combatants, extensive archival research, and secondary sources to analyze insurgent group effectiveness during the conflicts in Jordan, Oman, Eritrea, and Syria. His research has been supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation, Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College, the Zeit Foundation’s Trajectories of Change program, and the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS). Samuel received his B.A. with honors in Government and Economics from Wesleyan University in 2012.