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

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Student Research Assistants

Mariana Alcoforado, Student Research Assistant
Mariana was born and raised in Curitiba, Brazil. She graduated summa cum laude from Tulane University (New Orleans) in 2011, with a BA in International Relations, History and French. Mariana spent a semester abroad in Paris, France, where she had the opportunity to study International Relations and History at the Sorbonne. During her undergraduate program, she spent some time at The Hague, researching the International Court of Justice and in New York at the United Nations. Upon her return, she wrote an Honors Thesis on the effectiveness of the United Nations in humanitarian intervention. She also worked as an RA and collaborated on research on the subject of authoritarian regimes in Chile, Brazil and Argentina, on the consolidation of democracy in Latin America, and participatory budgets and government reform in Brazil. As a Sié fellow at Korbel, Mariana will be pursuing an MA in human rights and will also be working as a research assistant for the Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research.


Katie Aldrich, Student Research Assistant
Katie Aldrich is a first-year master's candidate in International Development at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Katie graduated from DePauw University in 2012 with a Bachelor's in Environmental Geoscience, and became interested in sustainable development and foreign affairs this past year as a Graduate Fellow at the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics. In her free time, Katie enjoys running, writing, and practicing yoga, and she is very excited to explore a range of outdoor activities throughout Colorado.


Morgan Brokob, Student Research Assistant
Originally from Longmont, Colorado, Morgan graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma with a dual degree in International Studies and Arabic and a minor in Spanish. While at OU, her research on the relationship between literature and activism was published by The Honors Undergraduate Research Journal, and she worked as both an editor and a contributor for the Arabic-language student publication al-Oklahomi. She also spent time in Brazil, where she studied urban anthropology in a Latin American context and completed an ethnography of consumerism across social classes in Rio de Janeiro. At Korbel, Morgan will pursue her MA in International Studies while exploring her research interests in human rights, conflict resolution, and gender studies.


Kate CastensonKate CastensonStudent Research Assistant
Kate is a MA candidate in International International Human Rights with concentrations in international law and humanitarian assistance. She works as a research assistant for Professor Oliver Kaplan. Kate has spent the last three years in Washington, DC working at Human Rights Watch as the Coordinator of the Arms Division. She has traveled to Geneva and Oslo to support the division's advocacy work at international treaty meetings, and most recently she assisted with the launch of a civil society campaign to ban fully autonomous weapons. Prior to this, Kate graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College (CMC) with a degree in international relations and a focus on Latin America. During her undergraduate studies, she participated in CMC's Washington Semester and interned with the Washington Office on Latin America in their security studies program. She also spent a semester in Buenos Aires, where she studied human rights and interned with the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo – Línea Fundadora. After graduating from Korbel, Kate would like to conduct research and advocacy for a human rights nongovernmental organization or international organization.


Catherine ClarkeStudent Research Assistant
A native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Catherine graduated with highest distinction from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill with a BA in International Studies, concentrating in politics, nation-states, and social movements. After graduation, she spent two years serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines where she worked as an English teacher in a rural high school. During her service, Catherine collaborated on several projects designed to promote English education in rural schools and organized activities to engage local youth in environmental service. With her service completed, Catherine will pursue her MA in International Development at Korbel and explore her interests in human rights, education and global health.


Fletcher CoxFletcher D. CoxResearch Fellow
Fletcher is a PhD student at the Korbel School of International Studies with concentrations in Comparative Politics and International Political Economy. His current research interests include politics of development policy, domestic-international interactions in post-conflict reconstruction, and religion and social cohesion in deeply-divided societies. Fletcher has six years of professional experience managing relief, recovery, and economic development programs in Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda, and Haiti. This work has included designing, implementing, and evaluating multi-sectoral programs, with representation and liaison experience with government bodies, U.N. agencies, international donors, military personnel, and NGOs in disaster and post-conflict settings. He has studied international affairs, politics, economics, and religion at William Jewell College (BA), Georgetown University, and Harvard University (MTS).


Daniel Davis, Student Research Assistant
Daniel Bruno Davis grew up in Washington DC, and earned a BS in English from the University of Wisconsin Madison. He is a MA candidate in international studies. For the last five years, Daniel has been teaching English in different parts of China. He has taught hundreds of university students, classes ranging from oral English to European history. He spent one year living in a small town in Xinjiang, in the far West of China. There he taught English to Uyghur and Kazak students. Daniel is planning to further his knowledge of China and international relations while at Korbel. After graduating, he is hoping to continue his education and enter a career in academia.


Joel DayJoel DayResearch Fellow
Pursuing a Ph.D. in International Studies, Joel is interested in religious violence and resistance movements, specifically how understandings of afterlife identity influence narratives of conflict and in-group/out-group dynamics. The dissertation project asks questions about how transcendental reality narratives influence the duration, intensity and termination rate of conflict. Joel has several of publications on these topics, including in the Journal of Strategic Security and the Ottowa Journal of International and Public Policy. He is also a three-time national college debate champion and a recipient of the National Security Act Scholarship. Outside of academia, Joel has worked with an international nonprofit, two California Assemblymembers, the County of San Diego, served as a foreign policy advisor to US Congressional campaigns, and was Iowa Operations Director for a US Presidential Campaign. Joel holds a Masters degree in International Relations from the University of San Diego, and a B.A. in Political Science from Point Loma Nazarene University. Joel is married to Lauren Ries and lives in Englewood with cats, Pigeon and Derrida, and dog, Scout.


Aleksandra EgorovaStudent Research Assistant
Aleksandra is from St. Petersburg, Russia. She graduated with honors from the Smolny-Bard College double diploma program, earning a BA in International Relations, Political Science, and Human Rights. During her studies at Smolny, she volunteered as a Russian language teacher to migrant children and worked as a faculty assistant helping with publications on African conflict minerals. She also studied abroad with the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program in New York City, where she interned with Seeds of Peace, a peacebuilding NGO. During her senior year, she wrote her thesis on conflict resolution and disaster diplomacy and co-authored a publication on the “New Silk Road” as part of the Stanford U.S.-Russia forum. At the Josef Korbel School, Aleksandra will be pursuing a master’s degree in International Studies with a concentration in conflict resolution and will work as a research assistant for the Project on Environment, Food, and Conflict at the Sié Center.


Benjamin EvansStudent Research Assistant
A native of Dallas, Texas, Ben is a MA candidate in International Studies. Ben graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Rhodes College in 2014, earning his BA in History and International Studies. During his time at Rhodes, Ben published independent archival research on the 1878 epidemic of yellow fever in Memphis. Additionally, he has worked as an intern in the Brussels office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, where he researched transatlantic maritime cooperation and security. At Korbel, Ben will explore his research interests in the Middle East and North Africa, political Islam, and social movements. As a Sié Fellow, Ben is a research assistant for the Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research with Dr. Erica Chenoweth.


John Folstrom, Student Research Assistant
John is a MA candidate in Global Finance, Trade, and Economic Integration. He studied in beautiful northern California at Humboldt State University where he obtained a B.A. in Political Science and received the David Kalb Award for outstanding participation in school governance. John also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine where he worked as an English teacher. In addition to his teaching duties, he also ran a number of clubs and coordinated English summer camps for his Ukrainian students. Beyond his professional pursuits, John enjoys playing guitar, running marathons and laying in a hammock with a good book.


Brittany Franck, Student Research Assistant
Brittany graduated magna cum laude in 2006 with a dual degree in English and American Studies from California State University, Fullerton. Upon graduation she received the American Studies Department Academic Achievement Award. She subsequently moved to Germany as a Fulbright Scholar to teach English and pursue her research interest in environmental literature. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia, where she trained primary school English teachers and worked to improve health care access and awareness for people with disabilities. At Korbel, Brittany will be pursuing an MA in International Development and a certificate in Global Health Affairs. She will also be working as a research assistant for the Project on Environment, Food and Conflict at the Sié Center.


Sarah FriendStudent Research Assistant
Sarah is from Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated magna cum laude from Ohio State University, earning her BA in International Relations and Diplomacy, with minors in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic. Following graduation, Sarah served as a Youth Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. During her service, she ran after school programs for youth, organized several day and overnight camps, and taught aerobics classes at a local women's associations. She will now be pursuing her Master's degree in International Development.


Ashley GreveAshley Greve, Student Research Assistant
A St. Louisan at heart, Ashley graduated with highest honors from Washington University in St. Louis in 2010 with her BA in Spanish Literature. She went on to serve two years in Peace Corps Ukraine, where she collaborated on a number of projects related to issues ranging from English-language education to civic engagement to gender and development. Her service abroad strengthened her interest in working internationally, and upon returning home Ashley moved to Denver to pursue a degree in international human rights. As a Korbel student, Ashley plans to focus her studies on contemporary slavery and human trafficking. She currently volunteers for the Denver area rape crisis hotline and works as a research assistant for the Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research.


Maureen Handrahan, Student Research Assistant
Maureen  is a M.A. candidate in International Security at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. She obtained her B.A. from McGill University with a double major in Political Science and International Development and a minor in African Studies, and served as the Vice-President of Communications and President of the International Development Studies Student Association. Maureen has previously worked on project evaluation reports for UNDP, interned at Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, and traveled to Kenya to conduct humanitarian work. In summer 2013, Maureen interned at the Atlantic Council as the Women in Security Program Editor and remains a regular article contributor to the organization. Her research interests include African regional security, peace-building, and women's security.


Ky Hunter Kyleanne HunterStudent Research Assistant
Kyleanne is an MA candidate in International Security. She earned her BA from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. Since graduation, she has worked for a tech start-up, a defense contractor, and spent over a decade as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, serving as an AH-1W Super Cobra attack pilot on multiple deployments in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. She spent the last 2.5 years as the Marine Corp's Liaison Officer to the House of Representatives. In addition to her liaison duties, she served as the military escort for several international Congressional Delegations for the chairman of the Armed Services, Rules and Veterans' Affairs Committees. At the Korbel School, she is a Research Assistant for the Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research. In addition to her studies, Kyleanne races road and cyclocross bikes for a domestic elite team based out of Golden, Colorado.


Kara KingmaKara Kingma , Research Fellow 
Kara Kingma is a PhD candidate in International Studies at Korbel. She graduated summa cum laude from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2010 with a B.A. in Government/International Affairs. She earned her M.A. in International Studies from Korbel in 2012, where her research focused on democratic transitions in states divided along racial, ethnic, and religious lines. Her studies also focused more generally on the Middle East, and she served as a member and cochair of the Middle East Discussion Group from 2010-2012. Kara remains interested in the consolidation of new democracies and levels of government effectiveness and citizen satisfaction in these new systems. She recently coauthored a journal article with Professor Devin Joshi in African and Asian Studies on levels of representation of women in Asian parliaments. Kara also serves as the PhD Representative on the Sie Center Governing Board at Korbel. Kara lives in Denver with her fiancé, Todd, and enjoys watching sports and spending time in the great outdoors.


Nicholas Lightfoot, Student Research Assistant
Nicholas is a MA candidate in International Administration. He grew up in rural Northumberland, England and earned his BA in International Relations at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, graduating with First Class Honours. A semester of this was spent studying in French at the Science Po. de Strasbourg, France. Over the past five years, Nicholas has interned for the East of England Brussels Office, Norwich Green Party, and L'Association Pour La Démocratie Européenne. He has worked in environmentally sensitive areas on the remote West Coast of New Zealand, in the French Alps, and voluntarily for the UK National Trust. It is his love of the Great Outdoors that fires Nicholas' passion for environmental challenges which affect international politics. Alongside studying for his MA, Nicholas will be a research assistant for the Project on Environment, Food and Conflict. Post-Korbel, he hopes to work towards strengthening the political and legal frameworks which govern our relationship with the environment.


Diane Metzger, Student Research Assistant
Diane is an MA candidate in International Studies. In 2013 she graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a double major in International Studies and French, along with a minor in Asian Studies. While attending UNCA, Diane spent a semester in Angers, France studying the French language at l'Université catholique de l'Ouest. Her senior research in undergrad centered on French politics and language variations in former French colonies. Her areas of interest include linguistics, international politics and human rights. In her free time, Diane enjoys hiking, dancing, seeing live music and sampling local brews.


Daniel Moore, Student Research Assistant
Daniel is a M.A. candidate in International Security. He graduated with a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010. Since graduating, Daniel studied Arabic in the Middle East and North Africa, worked in the benefits department of an HR firm, and published several opinion pieces for a geopolitical publication and a English-speaking news periodical in North Africa. He is also a Researcher at Wikistrat, a geopolitical consulting firm.


Pauline MoorePauline Moore, Research Fellow
Pauline Moore is a Ph.D. candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She completed her M.A. in International Relations at Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), as well as a Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis at the University of Maryland's National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). She holds a B.A. in International Studies and Russian from Middlebury College. Pauline's research interests include political violence and terrorism, in particular the reasons behind the use of violent and nonviolent forms of political contestation in civil wars. Pauline joined Consultancy Africa Intelligence's Africa Conflict Monthly Monitor publication in 2012, where she has published several articles on conflict in North and West Africa. Prior to this, she spent seven years working in the field of international development in Africa and Latin America. As a carbon markets specialist at Conservation International, Pauline managed sustainable land-use and conservation initiatives in countries such as Peru, Colombia, Madagascar, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She also spent four years as a consultant in a clean energy development firm based in the U.S., focusing primarily on the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Mali and Morocco. In addition to English and her native French, Pauline also speaks Russian, Spanish and Italian. She is married to Isaac Moore, and they live in Denver with their daughter Sophia.


Alec MullerStudent Research Assistant
Alec is an M.A. candidate in International Security at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies where he is focusing on terrorism. He graduated from the College of Wooster in 2013 with a B.A. in Philosophy. While at the College of Wooster, Alec studied at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and American University in Washington, D.C., focusing on the United States Justice System and completing an internship in the Office of Congressman Steven C. LaTourette. Alec is also a member of Phi Sigma Tau, the International Philosophy Honor Society. 


Christine Myers Student Research Assistant
Christine graduated summa cum laude from Pepperdine University with degrees in International Politics and Spanish. During her undergraduate career, she spent a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina studying Spanish and Latin American culture and politics and implemented programs in her role as student body president. She also published and presented research reports on Intervention in Libya and Sex-selective Abortion in India in her undergraduate academic journal. Christine has performed research on counter-terrorism at a policy institute in Israel and has contributed to Latin America regional programs as an intern at Vital Voices and as a project assistant at the National Democratic Institute. While pursuing her MA in International Security at the Korbel School, Christine plans to focus on conflict issues with particular emphasis on Latin America and the Middle East. As a Sié Fellow, Christine works as a research assistant for the Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research with Dr. Erica Chenoweth.


Catherine Orsborn, Program Associate, Religion and Social-Cohesion in Conflict-Affected Countries Project
Catherine is a PhD student in Religion and Social Change in the Joint Doctoral Program between the University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology. Her research interests lie in the intersections between religious identities, conflict and peace-building, with a particular focus on Middle Eastern and Islamic contexts. Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, Catherine has spent time studying and working in Cairo, Egypt, and Kampala, Uganda. Catherine works with first-year students in the Social Justice LIving and Learning Community here at DU, teaching courses on social justice issues and engaging undergraduate students with justice work in the Denver area. She earned a BA in Philosophy from Asbury College in 2006, and an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Denver in 2009.


Jonathan PickneyJonathan PinckneyStudent Research Assistant
Jonathan Pinckney is an MA candidate in International Studies. Jonathan received his BA in International Affairs from Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, graduating summa cum laude with special honors. Jonathan has lived and worked in Egypt and India, where he helped establish the Bestsemester India Studies Program. He also serves on a volunteer basis as the Director of Operations of BIRDS International, an NGO working to address issues of rural poverty in South India. His primary research interests are civil resistance, contentious politics, and political transitions, with regional focuses on the Middle East and South Asia. Upon completion of his MA degree, Jonathan plans to earn his doctorate.


Alex Porter , Student Research Assistant
Alex is pursuing an M.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Global Finance, Trade, and Economic Integration with concentrations in international financial architecture and international political economy. He recently interned in the International Monetary Policy Office at the U.S. Department of the Treasury where he worked on IMF program assessment, exchange rate and reserve adequacy evaluations, and G-20 summit preparations. He currently is a program/research assistant at the Center for the Study of Europe and the World at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Alex graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY.


Sabrina Ragaller, Student Research Assistant
Sabrina graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in international affairs and economics. She spent her undergraduate years completing internships with the Carl Vinson Institute of Local Government, the Center for International Trade and Security, and with the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. After graduation, she moved to Colorado Springs to participate in El Pomar Foundation's two-year leadership development program. Her work at the private grant-making foundation has included hosting international delegations in Colorado and organizing debates between local political candidates. At the Korbel School, Sabrina is pursuing a master's degree in international studies and exploring her research interests in civil-military relations and international trade.


Molly RobbinsStudent Research Assistant
Molly is a MA candidate in International Development. She holds a BA with High Honors in political science, sociology, and anthropology from Swarthmore College. Molly has worked with a number of development nonprofits, including Limitless Horizons Ixil, a Guatemalan organization where she now serves on the Board of Directors. She has also worked as coordinator for a human rights advocacy project in Salt Lake City, UT, as well as with nonprofits in Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina. Molly's research interests include community development and environmental issues, with an emphasis on project design and evaluation. A Maine native and lover of the Mountain West, Molly enjoys hiking, skiing, and ultimate frisbee. As a Sie Fellow, Molly is a research assistant for Korbel's NAVCO Data Project.


Andrew Scott, Student Research Assistant
Andrew is a M.A. candidate in international development with a geographic concentration in China and South East Asia. Originally from Maryland, Andrew earned his B.A. in 2011 from the College of William and Mary, where he studied international relations and economics. During his time at William and Mary, Andrew studied abroad in Beijing, China and volunteered with a Chinese organization advocating for people with disabilities. After graduation, he worked as a consultant for AidData in the Lao PDR and Uganda supporting the government-led implementation of development aid management tools to strengthen national aid effectiveness. In addition to studying for his M.A. he hopes to pursue research interests in non-traditional aid and microfinance. At Korbel, Andrew is a research assistant with the Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research. In his spare time he enjoys photography, playing volleyball, and watching Chelsea FC.


Christopher Shay,  Research Fellow
Christopher Shay is a PhD student in International Studies at Korbel.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Hanover College (Indiana) in 2009, where he studied International Studies and Geology.  Between 2009-2010 Shay worked on fire ecology and other conservation issues with the Student Conservation Association and in partnership with the National Parks Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  Shay re-focused on peace and conflict studies in 2010 when he began attendance as a Master’s student at Uppsala University’s Department of Peace and Conflict Research (Sweden).  Over the course of four years as a student and professional at Uppsala University, Shay studied armed conflict in South Asia, as well as post-conflict and transitional justice mechanisms around the world.  Currently, he is researching the relationship between civilians and security forces in transitional states, and the role human rights trials play in reforming or corroding this relationship.  His future doctoral studies at the University of Denver will focus on interactions between security forces, rebels, and civilians during and after conflicts and political turmoil.


Mark Tallman, Research Fellow
Mark Tallman is a PhD Candidate in International Studies specializing in international politics and political theory, with a concentration on international security and homeland security studies. Mark's research focuses on the impacts of technology and strategic innovation on the dynamics of terrorism, transnational organized crime, and other strategically deviant violent non-state actors (VNSAs). Mark has earned a B.A. in Political Science from Northern Illinois University, an M.A. with distinction in Global Politics from Illinois State University, where he also supported the development of an international non-profit microfinance organization that refurbished public schools in rural Peru, and also worked in IT administration. Mark also earned an M.A. in International Studies with a security concentration at the Josef Korbel School before commencing PhD study. Mark teaches homeland security and political science through Colorado State University's Center for the Study of Homeland Security, is a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers, and is certified and experienced in public sector emergency management as well as private sector security and business continuity consulting, which he undertakes through the Center for International Security Policy Research, a Denver-based security and emergency management consulting firm. Mark lives with his wife Kate and a small menagerie of animals in the mountains outside of Denver, and enjoys music, martial arts, and the outdoors.


Jihyeon WonJihyeon Won, Research Fellow
Jihyeon is a PhD student in the International Studies at the University of Denver. Her main research interests lie at the intersection of political economy and global governance. She examines how the various institutions and actors in government-business relations comprise and shape the current global order on one hand, and how they are affected by the global system on the other. Her studies thus far have focused on the economic development model of China, China's role in shaping new geopolitics through their increase of FDI in North Korea, and the effect of private security on the role of the state. Jihyeon received her BA and MA in Political Science from Ewha Womans University, South Korea, where she was awarded the Korea Research Foundation Fellowship. Prior to joining the University of Denver, she spent two years in the East Asian Studies Master's Program at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her professional experience includes a research assistantship at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in South Korea as well as a research position at Northeast Asian History Foundation.


Michael Youmans, Student Research Assistant
Michael is a MA candidate in International Security at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, where he is also pursuing a certificate in Homeland Security. He graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor's in Political Science and International Affairs, and Georgia College & State University with a Master's in Criminal Justice. Michael's current research is focused on intelligence and terrorism. Before starting his studies at the University of Denver, Michael spent time working as a Private Investigator in Atlanta, GA.


Jennifer ZavalaStudent Research Assistant
Jennifer is pursuing a MA in International Development. She graduated from Whitworth University in 2012 with a BA in Spanish and a BA in Theology. She also participated in two study abroad programs in Central America (studying political and sociological history and development) while completing her undergraduate degrees. After graduation, she moved to Colombia to work in a home for abandoned girls. Upon returning to the U.S., she worked for a translation company and helped design an ELL program at a school in Ogden, Utah. When she is not working or studying, she is mountain biking, skiing, or climbing.