Cian Stryker received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Political Science and Russian, Eastern European Studies. His undergraduate thesis addressed the integration of Russian-speaking minorities in Estonia and Kyrgyzstan. Cian studied Russian in Estonia, Kyrygzstan, and Russia before studying Farsi in Tajikistan on the Boren Scholarship. His research is now focused on China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Central Asia, but his thesis addresses the growth of digital surveillance including facial recognition technology in Central Asia through the BRI's Digital Silk Road.