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Josef Korbel School of International StudiesSié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy

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Sié Center

Student Research Assistants

PhD Research Fellows

Dogus Aktan, Research Fellow
Dogus is from Istanbul, Turkey. He graduated from the Galatasaray University in Istanbul in 2013 with a degree in Political Science. He spent one year of my undergraduate in Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium with the Erasmus Exchange program. He recently graduated with a Master's degree in International Studies from the Josef Korbel School, where he continues to support the MEC project. In his first year at Korbel, he was a research assistant for Professor Joseph Szyliowicz. His research interests focus primarily on global governance and the role of non-state actors in the security realm. 


Esra Dilek, Research Fellow 
Esra is a Visiting PhD Fellow at the Josef Korbel School Conflict Resolution Institute and a PhD Candidate at the Department of Political Science at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. She is working towards her PhD dissertation on the diffusion on international peace norms and practices in local contexts. She holds an MA in International Relations with focus on conflict resolution from Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey. At the Korbel School, Esra is a research assistant to the External Assistance to Nonviolent Movements project by Erica Chenoweth.


 Scott Galloway, Research Fellow 


Jillian "JJ" Janflone, Research Fellow 
Jillian is originally from Washington, Pennsylvania. She holds a BA from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, where she majored in English and triple minored in Chinese Language and Culture, History, and International Relations. Following the completion of her undergraduate degree, JJ spent several years working for the Hebei Institute of Tsinghua University, China, providing ESL teaching and curriculum writing, as well as overseeing international students' academic progress. JJ then completed an MA in International Studies at the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies. There she served as the graduate director of the Human Trafficking Center and focused on East-Asian response to human trafficking, blood-borne illnesses, and the stigma surrounding erotic service providers. Now a Phd candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, JJ continues to research and write on East Asia, exploitative labor and human trafficking, and the formation and performance of identity within stigma-affected populations.


 Laura Siltanen Hosman, Research Fellow
Laura Siltanen Hosman is a PhD student at the Korbel School in the fields of International Relations and Comparative Politics. She currently serves as a Production Editor for the Journal of Global Security Studies. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2008 with a BA in Political Science. Her undergraduate honors thesis looked at the impact of gender in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. She earned her JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2013, where she served as Production Editor for the Journal of Islamic Law & Culture and Research Assistant to Professor Uche Ewelukwa, S.J.D. (looking at the intersection between intellectual property law, human rights, and indigenous communities in Sub-Saharan Africa). Laura's current research interests focus on the intersection between global governance, business, and human rights, and the impact of human rights prosecutions and transitional justice on democratization. Prior to entering the PhD program, Laura worked for Legal Aid of Arkansas where she represented indigent clients in domestic violence cases. Laura currently lives in Denver with her dog Catherine, and works as a volunteer debate coach with the Denver East High School speech and debate team. She enjoys running marathons and hiking.


Sooyeon KangSooyeon Kang, Research Fellow
Sooyeon is a PhD candidate in International Studies at the Josef Korbel School and a research fellow working on the Major Episodes of Contention data project at the Sié Center. She earned her MA in International Affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and double majored in Government and Psychology at Dartmouth College. Her recent professional experiences include developing content for a HarvardX/ Harvard Humanitarian Initiative course on "Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster," contingency planning for change in North Korea at the Joseon Institute, and assessing grant acquisition and management strategies for World Vision International. Her current research interests include unconventional warfare, state-building, and understanding the calculus behind violent and nonviolent resistance. Her extracurricular experiences include running the Boston Marathon (2012), scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, golfing and playing basketball with her husband and their friends.


Paul KempPaul Kemp, Research Fellow
Paul is a new PhD student and research fellow at the Sié Center, working for Dr. Erica Chenoweth on a project concerning external assistance to nonviolent movements. He is primarily interested in the relationship between money and violence, or more specifically, the coercive mechanisms by which state-issued currencies are disseminated and sustained. An avid aficionado of both music and nomadism, Paul spent the past few years as a professional touring drummer and intermittent hermit of the mountains. He holds degrees in Political Science from the University of Northern Colorado and Colorado State University.


Kara KingmaKara Kingma NeuResearch Fellow 
Kara Kingma Neu is a PhD candidate in International Studies at the Josef Korbel School and research fellow with the Private Security Monitor project. She graduated summa cum laude from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2010 with a BA in Government/International Affairs. She earned her MA in International Studies from Korbel in 2012. Kara's research interests include civil-military relations and democratization, and her dissertation focuses on military behaviors in response to anti-authoritarian protest movements and their relationship to democratic change.


Maria Lotito, Research Fellow


Jonathan PinckneyJonathan PinckneyResearch Fellow
Jonathan is a PhD candidate at the Korbel School in the fields of International Relations and Comparative Politics and a research fellow on the NAVCO data project. His research centers on extra-institutional political contention in non-democracies. His dissertation examines the role of nonviolent civil resistance in democratization processes. Jonathan's work has been published in the Journal of Peace Research, Foreign Policy's Democracy Lab, the edited volume Wielding Nonviolence in the Midst of Violence, and the monograph series of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. Jonathan received his BA in International Affairs from Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, graduating summa cum laude with special honors, and was a 2012 recipient of the Korbel School's Sié Fellowship and a 2016 recipient of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict's PhD fellowship. Prior to entering graduate school Jonathan worked for study abroad programs in Egypt and India and helped found BIRDS International, an NGO addressing issues related to rural poverty in South India. Jonathan lives in Denver with his partner and enjoys road biking and camping.


Christopher ShayChristopher Shay,  Research Fellow
Christopher Shay is a PhD student in International Studies at Korbel and a research fellow on the  NAVCO data project. His research interests focus on transitional justice and security sector reform, with special emphasis on human rights prosecutions and their effects on regime stability and state-on-citizen violence. Christopher also provides analysis on the Naxalite Conflict in east India for the International Institute of Strategic Studies' Armed Conflict Database. Christopher received a master's degree (with distinction) in peace and conflict studies from Uppsala University (Sweden), where he subsequently researched armed conflicts in South Asia for the Uppsala Conflict Data Program. Prior to graduate school, Christopher worked with the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a fire ecology research assistant and wildland firefighter, and withe the National Parks Service as a trail crew leader.

Graduate and Undergraduate Research Assistants

Anam Ahmed, Research Assistant
Anam is an MA candidate in International Development. She is enrolled in the Peace Corps Master's International program at Korbel and is a research assistant for the Major Episodes of Contention project at the Sié Center. She grew up in Bahrain, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Buffalo with honors degrees in Environmental Studies, French and English. Prior to attending University of Denver, she was a naturalist intern and environmental educator at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in Depew, NY, and afterwards served as the Assistant Executive Director of a nonprofit that focused on providing more balanced media coverage of political and social events in the Middle East for the residents of Western New York. In addition, she has also worked as an English language tutor in Switzerland and Brazil. She has assisted with a variety of research projects throughout her academic career; the topics range from analyzing depictions of smoking in French literature, media and cinema to exploring the link between weak social capital and sectarian violence in Pakistan.


Sarah Chasin Sarah Chasin, Research Assistant 
Sarah is an MA candidate in International Development. Prior to pursuing graduate studies at the Josef Korbel School, Sarah worked with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in New York. There she provided strategic program guidance to cultivate and grow key partnerships supporting UNICEF's global mandate to protect and advance children's rights. Before joining the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Sarah managed field office operations for the Kyrgyz Republic Transition Initiative, a USAID-funded project supporting democratic transition and mitigating conflict in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Sarah served as an AmeriCorps volunteer on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina and graduated magna cum laude from The George Washington University in 2009 with a BS in public health.


Emma Dunn, Research Assistant
Emma graduated magna cum laude from the University of San Diego with an honors degree in International Relations and minors in Mathematics and Spanish in 2012. As an undergrad, she discovered a passion for forced displacement issues and published an honors thesis that looked at social movements fighting for autonomy in oppressed populations. Since graduating, her freelance position as Policy and Research Coordinator at ADRS, an economic modeling consultant, has allowed her to travel the world and work for organizations such as Equal Education, a non-profit education advocacy group in South Africa, and the Unit of Attention and Reparation to Victims, in Medellín, Colombia. At Korbel, Emma is pursuing a concentration in International Human Rights and to focus her studies on refugees’ rights and forced displacement.


Nicholas Gilroy, Research Assistant
Nicholas is from the coastal town of Marblehead, MA. He graduated summa cum laude and as a Commonwealth honors scholar from Salem State University in 2014 with a BS in Environmental Sustainability. While at SSU his research focused on the mobility of bicyclists through the City of Salem using GPS harvested data from a company called STRAVA. The geo-visualization and analysis of movement was critical in determining where best to allocate future financial resources to build bicycle infrastructure. Nicholas is currently pursuing a MS in Geographic Information Science by developing a mobile application that records GPS movements of bicyclists. In addition, Nicholas is working with Dr. Sarah Glaser and Dr. Cullen Hendrix as a GIS researcher/analyst for Lake Victoria.


Andrew Johnson Andrew Johnson, Research Assistant 
Andrew is an MA candidate in International Studies and a research assistant on the NAVCO data project. He was raised in Wisconsin and earned a BA in Criminal Justice and Political Science with a minor in Arabic from the University of Milwaukee - Wisconsin. His concentration and specialization at Josef Korbel has been Conflict Resolution and Homeland Security. He has spent six months in the Middle East mainly in Jordan for Arabic language studies, and recently returned from a trip to Kosovo for an International Diplomacy clinic. His past time is spent engaging in and volunteering for political campaigns when in season and skiing during the rest of the year.


Cody Knight, Research Assistant
Cody is a dual degree student pursuing a JD/MA with the Sturm College of Law and the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. He is a first generation college student from Blacksburg, South Carolina and an alumnus of Winthrop University where he received an honors BA in Political Science with a minor in international studies. During his time as an undergraduate, he traveled to Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland researching each state's history with democratization before journeying to Russia for extended study at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Additionally, Cody presented his undergraduate thesis on the contrast in development between the strength of civil liberties and the rule of law in Russia and other former Soviet states at the Southern Regional Honors Council conference in Orlando before his relocation to the University of Denver. At present, he serves as a research assistant with the Major Episodes of Contention Project.


Dukthen Kyi, Research Assistant
Originally from Tibet, Dukthen was raised in India in the Tibetan refugee community. She graduated from South India from the University of Madras, Ethiraj College with honors in English and Communication Skills, and a Master's in Human Rights. Dukthen worked in few Tibetan non-profit organizations based in India before coming to the US. She worked as the General Secretary of Lha Charitable Trust, for social work, for more than two years until she received a scholarship to pursue further studies in 2015. A recipient of the US State Department's scholarship, the Tibetan Scholarship Program, Dukthen is currently pursuing a Master's in International Human Rights at Korbel. She continues to work with Lha as an advisory board member.


Kaleb LeGore, Research Assistant
Kaleb is an MA candidate in International Security and research assistant on the  Major Episodes of Contention project  at the  Sié  Center. He earned his BA in Political Science from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, Kaleb received a commission as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army and served in Afghanistan. Kaleb’s research interests include terrorism, insurgencies, and the dynamics of state interaction with contentious political organizations. 


 Nancy Li, Research Assistant
Nancy is an RA with the Private Security Monitor Project at the Sie Center and is an MA candidate in the International Studies program at Korbel with a focus on Security and a regional concentration in Asia. Originally from North Carolina, Nancy spent most of her life living in Connecticut and lived for a short time in Singapore. She graduated from Boston University in 2016 with a degree in International Relations. Prior to attending Korbel, Nancy spent two summers working at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China and one semester studying abroad and working in Geneva, Switzerland with a nonprofit environmental organization.


Christine Loftus, Research Assistant
Christine is an MA candidate in International Development and research assistant on the Nonviolent Action in Violent Contexts project at the Sié Center. She graduated cum laude from Tufts University in 2011 with dual degrees in International Relations and Spanish. Following her graduation, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador, working on projects ranging from English teacher training to sports therapy for the disabled. She completed her service in 2013 and moved to Honduras where she began working as a Program Associate for Global Brigades. In this role, she worked with the Public Health, Water, Architecture and Microfinance Programs. She soon developed a passion for microfinance and business development as a means of promoting gender equality and reducing poverty. She plans to deepen her knowledge of the nexus between inclusion and economic development while at the Korbel School before pursuing a career in this field.


Elise Mann, Research Assistant
Born, raised, and recently relocated back to Denver, Elise plans to study human rights, country governance, and health equity at the Josef Korbel School. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a degree in Political Science and minors in Women's Studies and African Studies. For four years, Elise worked in Washington D.C. with the Aspen Institute's Global Health and Development policy program on a high-level initiative aimed at elevating reproductive health through public events, private meetings, and media placements. Previously, she served as Field Manager for a community project in Uganda developing a family planning curriculum in partnership with community members and health clinic staff, and she studied in Arusha, Tanzania, where she conducted research on the sustainability of women's nonprofits. She loves coffee, dancing to live music, and being outdoors; in 2015 she completed a 2,189-mile thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.


Natalia Colvero MaraschinNatália Maraschin, Research Assistant 
A native of Passo Fundo, a small town in the south of Brazil, Natália graduated with honors from Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in 2015, earning a BA in International Relations. During her undergraduate studies, Natália received a federal grant that allowed her to spend a year studying Iran's history and foreign policy, and later conducted additional research on the Middle East and Ukraine. As an undergraduate, Natália also volunteered as a member of the Editorial Board of Perspectiva Magazine, staff at UFRGS Model United Nations, and Secretary of Academic Affairs at UFRGSMUNDI, a Model UN for under-privileged high school students. At the Josef Korbel School, Natália will pursue her MA in International Studies and explore her interests in conflict resolution, strategic studies, human rights, and history.


Aaron Moritz, Research Assistant
Aaron is an MA candidate in International Development and a research assistant on the NAVCO data project. He was raised in Wisconsin and earned a BA in English: Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, where he graduated with highest honors. He cites a summer of building hiking trails with the Student Conservation Association in Utah’s Manti-La Sal National Forest as the catalyst for his desire to experience the world, a desire which ultimately led to him studying abroad in Paris, working on a goat farm in Southern France, and serving in Peace Corps. In Peace Corps, Aaron was placed in Guinea’s Fouta Djallon region, where he was partnered with a small gardening cooperative. There he discovered an interest in food security, a subject he hopes to explore at Korbel.


Vahaken MouradianVahaken Mouradian, Research Assistant 
Vahaken is from Nicosia, Cyprus. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Lawrence University with a BA in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. During his time at Lawrence, he conducted field research in Jamaica, interned at the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Washington, D.C., and completed an honors project on the recent rise of radical right parties in Europe, combining empirical research with philosophical argument. Prior to his undergraduate studies, he served in the National Guard of Cyprus and was discharged as a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. At the Josef Korbel School, he will be pursuing an MA in International Security to explore his primary interests in foreign policy, conflict resolution, terrorism and insurgency, and interstate war.


 Andrew Ortendahl, Research Assistant
Originally from Boston, Andrew earned his BA from Oberlin College, graduating in 2011 with departmental high honors in Politics, a minor in French, and a concentration in International Studies. Prior to attending the Korbel School, he worked at CRDF Global, a non-profit in Arlington, Virginia that focuses on nonproliferation and international science issues, and is an implementer for the U.S. Department of State’s Global Threat Reduction programs. He also previously interned at the Institute for Science and International Security, a nonproliferation and arms control think tank in Washington, D.C. Andrew’s fields of interest include international relations theory, international security, and nuclear nonproliferation and arms control. He is a candidate for the MA in International Security at Korbel.


Robert Osborne Robert Osborne, Research Assistant
Robert Osborne is currently an RA with the Major Episodes of Contention project with the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy. Originally from Indianapolis, IN, Robert graduated from Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Religious Studies. Currently, Robert is a MA candidate in International Security with a focus in Religion and International Affairs. At Korbel, Robert is studying asymmetrical conflict, violent nonstate actors, terrorism, and religiously motivated political participation. His regional focus is the Middle East, and he is currently studying Arabic and related dialects.


Patrick Pierson Patrick Pierson, Research Assistant
A native of Rome, GA, Patrick graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in International Affairs and a minor in Spanish. While a student, Patrick completed internships in rural regions of Guatemala, Kenya, and Uganda. After graduating he spent a year with Athens PBJs, a nonprofit that brings together people - no matter age, skin color, bank account size - to experience and be transformed by friendship. Shortly thereafter, Patrick joined the Atlanta Mission where he has led partner integration into a new best practices service model, leveraging external expertise towards clearly defined client outcomes. At the Korbel School, Patrick will pursue a master's degree in international studies while exploring development in post-conflict societies. In his free time, Patrick enjoys spending time with his wife Anna and dog Tucker. He also enjoys a good coffee shop, Braves baseball, and running.


Digo Bleifuss Prados Diego Bleifuss Prados, Research Assistant 
Originally from Chicago, Diego attended Wesleyan University, where he majored in Neuroscience and Behavior. During and after college he conducted research on epilepsy at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. Diego also spent a year teaching English in La Coruña, Spain, and he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso. While there, Diego taught Biology and English and worked to improve education and health in his community through workshops, a water pump project, and academic camps. After Peace Corps, Diego spent a year as a grant writer for SGA Youth & Family Services, a Chicago non-profit, before serving as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in Sierra Leone, where he taught Biology and Physics and worked to improve his school's library. Diego is an MA Candidate in International Development with interests in education, health, and sub-Saharan Africa. He enjoys reading fiction, playing soccer, and watching birds and the Chicago Cubs.


Trishna Rana,  Research Assistant
Trishna was born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal. She graduated with honors from Mount Holyoke College (Massachusetts) in 2010 where she majored in Political Science with a minor in Gender Studies. After graduation, she worked for a year as a volunteer English teacher at the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh. She then returned to Kathmandu, where she joined an English language weekly called Nepali Times as a reporter and editor. She wrote editorials and op-ed pieces on the country’s elections, post-war reconciliation process, and women in politics. Trishna has also worked as a media fellow for PANOS South Asia and traveled across Nepal studying the accomplishments and limitations of the country’s transitional justice mechanism. The project culminated in a book chapter which examines the gendered narratives of Nepal’s decade long conflict by looking at biographies and diaries of women. At Korbel, Trishna is pursuing a Master’s in International Studies and exploring her research interests in post-conflict societies and the gendered implications of violence. She also works as a RA on the Innovations in Peacebuilding project with Professor Timothy Sisk.


Adam RatzlaffAdam Ratzlaff,  Research Assistant
Originally from Las Vegas, NM, Adam holds a BA from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, where he triple majored in International Relations, Economics and Latin American studies. Before attending Tulane, Adam spent a year living in Minas Gerais Brazil as a Rotary Foreign Exchange Student. Prior to pursuing an MA in International Studies at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies as a Sié Fellow, he conducted political and economic analysis of Latin America for several groups including the Inter American Development Bank, the World Bank, Southern Pulse Correspondents and the Commitment to Equity Project. His work has been featured on VoxEU.org and in Hemispheres: The Tufts University Journal of International Affairs. Adam's interests include US-Latin American foreign policy, Pan-American cooperation and economic and social development in Latin America.


Allyson RustAllyson Rust, Research Assistant
Allyson is an MA candidate in International Security at Korbel and a research assistant for the Sie Center's Major Episodes of Contention. Her interests are in development, human security, and illicit markets in Latin America. She received a BA in International Affairs from Lewis & Clark College in 2012. Prior to attending the Korbel School, she spent two years in Spain teaching English with the Spanish Ministry of Education and studying Spanish. She is originally from Sun Valley, Idaho.


 Ellen Rutherford, Research Assistant


Alex Smith, Research Assistant 
Alex is pursuing an MA in International Development with a focus in Global Health. She holds a BA with High Honors in Philosophy with a concentration in Gender Studies from Haverford College. While at Haverford, Alex was awarded research fellowships exploring development issues in Guatemala and India and also assisted in researching the role that government transparency plays in protecting human rights. Since graduation, Alex has focused her work on the intersection of health and human rights at a variety of organizations domestically and internationally. She is also an Advisory Council Member of the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti. Alex's research interests include building health infrastructure and capacity in fragile states. A New England native who has lived in Colorado on and off for over six years, Alex loves exploring new trails, night skies, and peaks with her husband and their dog, Miles Davis. She also teaches yoga and cycling around town.


Natalie SouthwickNatalie Southwick, Research Assistant
Natalie is a MA candidate in International Human Rights. Born and raised just outside of Boston, she has all the defining characteristics of a Massachusetts native, including extreme emotional attachments to professional sports teams and serious candlepin bowling skills. She graduated cum laude from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and worked at The Boston Globe before beginning an AmeriCorps year of service with a program for middle-school students in Boston. After finishing AmeriCorps, she moved to Bogotá, Colombia, to spend a year as a volunteer English teacher with WorldTeach. She ended up staying for 2.5 more years, working with a USAID-funded development project, a human rights NGO focused on US policy in Latin America, as a freelance journalist and, most recently, as the editor of a website covering news in Latin America. She is interested in exploring the relationship between advocacy, communications and human rights in Latin America, and is perpetually counting down the days until she can go back to Colombia.


David Strivings, Research Assistant
A native of Tempe, Arizona, David attended Arizona State University, graduating magna cum laude in 2008 with a B.S. in Geography. After graduating, David interned in the Aceh province of Indonesia for 6 months with a NGO. There he assisted agriculture extension workers and education teams in analyzing and improving programs. From 2009-2014, he worked for a software startup as the Customer Relations Manager. Currently, David is pursuing a Masters degree in International Development focusing on Environmental Policy and Sustainable Development. He is a research assistant in the ENFOCO lab with Dr. Cullen Hendrix. In his free time, David and his wife enjoy running, camping, hiking and cycling.


Will Trout, Research Assistant
Originally from Massachusetts, Will was accepted to the Dual BA/MA program at Korbel in 2014 and received a bachelors degree in International Studies from the University of Denver in June 2015. In the fall of 2013, he studied abroad in Russia at St. Petersburg State University. During the summer of 2015, Will conducted monitoring, evaluation, and project design on income generation projects as an intern for Buddhism for Social Development Action in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. Will is a MA candidate in International  Security and a research assistant on the Major Episodes of Contention Project. 


Jon Vreede, Research Assistant 
A lifelong resident of Michigan, Jon earned a BA with distinction in Public Policy from the University of Michigan with a focus on the economics of foreign policy. As part of his studies, Jon spent a semester working at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, where he was able to further pursue his interest in countries of the former Soviet Union. Following graduation he worked for the National Democratic Institute in Washington D.C., supporting the promotion of credible and transparent elections around the world. At the Korbel School, Jon is pursuing an MA in International Security.