Skip navigation

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

Crosswalk

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.


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.


Kyleanne Hunter, Research Fellow
Kyleanne Hunter is a PhD Candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She currently serves as a student assistant for the Journal on Global Security Studies (JOGSS). Her research focuses on the variations in the way in which women are integrated into the military or violent rebel groups. She focuses specifically on the interaction of women's social movements and recruitment of women into combatant roles. In addition to her own research, she has been a research assistant in Program on Terrorism and Insurgency Research (PTIR), the Program on Nonviolent and Violent Campaigns and Outcomes (NAVCO), and the program on Nonviolent Action in Violent Conflicts (NAVC). She as been a teaching assistant and co-instructor for both undergraduate and graduate classes at the Korbel School. In addition to her studies at the Korbel School, Kyleanne was appointed by Secretary of Defense Mattis to serve on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS). Prior to graduate school, she spent over a decade as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. She flew the AH-1W "Super Cobra" attack helicopter, with multiple tours in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Her non-flying tours included 3 years in the House of Representatives, serving as both a Congressional Fellow and a Congressional Liaison Officer.


Sooyeon KangSooyeon Kang, Research Fellow
Sooyeon is a PhD student 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


Loosineh Markarian, Research Fellow
Loosineh Markarian is a PhD candidate at Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Originally from Iran, she obtained her BA in Media Studies from the University of Tehran in 2007 and her MA in International & Intercultural Communication from the University of Denver in 2009. Her research focuses on the intersection of political economy and civil-military relations, and it examines the impact of economic liberalization and privatization policies on social, political, and functional controls of economically-active militaries in autocratic regimes. Loosineh has worked as a research assistant at the Global Studies Center of the University of Tehran, the Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media at the University of Denver on projects related to religion and media representation. She is currently working as a research assistant at Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy at the University of Denver.


Pauline Moore, Research Fellow 
Pauline Moore is a PhD candidate at the Korbel School in the fields of International Relations and Comparative Politics, as well as research fellow on the MEC data project and a Production Editor for the Journal of Global Security Studies. Her research seeks to understand patterns of interaction between armed groups and civilians during civil war, and her dissertation examines the role of social embeddedness on conflict dynamics. Together with Erica Chenoweth, Pauline recently completed the book The Politics of Terror (Oxford University Press, 2018). She received her BA in International Studies from Middlebury College, and a MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Before beginning her PhD program, Pauline consulted on the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency programs in Africa and Latin America, and worked at Conservation International's Carbon Fund.


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.


Jesse Coates, Research Assistant
After earning his BA in International Studies in 2017, Jesse is now a MA candidate for the International Security program and is pursuing a certificate in Homeland Security. During his undergraduate program, he spent a semester abroad in the Near East traveling to Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, and other countries. Upon returning to his university he interned at the International Rescue Committee as a caseworker intern helping place refugees in the US. After graduating, he spent the subsequent summer in the Middlebury Immersive program for Arabic housed in Mills College. He obtained his BA from Abilene Christian University in Texas, where he was on the Cross Country and Track teams, and he also holds minors in Political Science and History. During his studies at Korbel, he hopes to pursue his interests of studying organized crime and its emerging ties to terror organizations. He enjoys taking care of his tropical fish as well as hiking, skiing, and expanding his cooking skills.


Kaelyn DeVries , Research Assistant
Kaelyn DeVries is a Master of Arts candidate in International Security and a Research Assistant working on the NAVCO Data Project at the Sié Center. Her academic interests involve US-Latin America security policy, particularly as it relates to the 'war on drugs,' transnational organized crime and mass incarceration of black and brown youth in the Americas. She has worked with gang-involved Latino youth in San Diego, California and has lived and worked extensively in Latin America, most recently as the Regional Technical Advisor for an International Development NGO in Guatemala City.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Jamison Nelson, Research Assistant
Jamison is a Colorado native. He is pursuing a MA in Global Finance, Trade, and Economic Integration as well as a graduate certificate in Homeland Security from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He has an undergraduate degree in International Affairs with a concentration in Latin America from the University of Colorado, Boulder. At CU Boulder, he also completed a minor in Portuguese Language and Culture, and an Applied Business Certificate from the Leeds School of Business. Prior to graduate school, Jamison worked in telecoms as a Data Analyst for 9-1- 1 data management with Intrado in Longmont, Colorado. From 2007 to 2013, he served as a United States Marine. In 2009 he was deployed to Iraq, where he was awarded a certificate of commendation for his work as Company Clerk and Training Manager for an Infantry Battalion's Headquarters and Service Company. He spent the next three years working with the Department of State as a Marine Security Guard at the U.S. Consulate Rio De Janeiro, the Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and the U.S. Embassy in Prague, Czech Republic. Ever since his time with the State Department as a Marine, he has worked tirelessly to return to the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer.

In addition to his work at the University of Denver, Jamison works at Matsuhisa Denver, a Nobu owned sushi restaurant that aims to bring world-class cuisine to the Denver area. He is also currently the intern at the Denver Council on Foreign Relations. Jamison is an avid snow and water skier.


Tasia Poinsatte, Research Assistant
Tasia graduated summa cum laude from American University in 2013 with a dual degree in International Studies and Environmental Studies, along with minors in French and Economics. As an undergraduate, Tasia studied abroad in Dakar, Senegal, where she taught English at a public primary school. Following graduation, she worked in Ghana as the site manager of an education-focused nonprofit before moving to New York City, where she received a Conservation Corps Fellowship to work for the NYC Parks Department Office of Green Thumb as a school gardens coordinator. For the past year, she has worked as a financial editor in Valparaiso, Chile. When she was 19, Tasia founded a scholarship program serving students from rural communities in Nicaragua, which she continues to direct today. A Boulder native, she is excited to return to her roots in Colorado to pursue a MA in International Development. She loves painting, hiking, riding her bicycle, learning languages and organizing co-ed soccer matches wherever she might be in the world.


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.


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
Ellen is an MA candidate in International Security with a certificate in homeland security. She works on the Private Security Monitor project at the Sié Center. Originally from Oklahoma, she completed her undergraduate education at Vanderbilt University and graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Communication Studies. Prior to pursuing graduate studies at the Josef Korbel School, Ellen worked at as an analyst at a private equity firm in Washington, D.C. Before joining the private equity firm, Ellen worked in local and state government and as a research assistant for a D.C lobbying firm specializing in international development and connecting foreign companies with industry gaps in the U.S.


Noa Shapira, Research Assistant
Noa was born and raised in Israel. She served in the Israeli Defense Force for three years as a foreign affairs correspondent for the military radio and later worked for two more years as a journalist covering Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other conflicts around the world. She graduated summa cum laude from Tel Aviv University with a dual degree in Political Science and the Interdisciplinary Program in Humanities - Social Justice, Gender Studies and Judaism. Noa has a vast experience in human rights and conflict-related work, including with an Israeli-Palestinian initiative to resolve conflict, and as an intern with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Israel. Her experience led to an interest in the privatization of conflicts and the way it affects women rights in those conflicts, a subject she hopes to explore at the Korbel School, where she is pursuing a degree in international human rights. She loves baking, travelling, and open-water diving.


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.


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.


Abbey Vogel, Research Assistant 
Abbey is an MA candidate in International Human Rights and is pursuing a certification in Global Health Affairs. Before entering the Josef Korbel School, she worked for nine months at The Center of Arts for Peace in Suchitoto, El Salvador, serving as a volunteer teacher and assistant for diverse arts programming in the department of Custcatlán, where she explored post-war peace-building through creative expression. Academically, she seeks to explore sustainable, rights-based approaches to intractable conflict resolution, which emphasize horizontal, local leadership and the mobilization of trans-national advocacy networks. She attended John Carroll University from 2012-2015, and graduated with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Peace, Justice, and Human Rights.


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.


Tom Zolot, Research Assistant
Tom is a MA candidate in Conflict Resolution. Tom was born in rural California and attended University of California, Davis. He received his BA there in Linguistics graduating with honors. Following graduation, Tom served two terms with Americorps VISTA in New Orleans. His first term was with the English language night school, Oportunidades NOLA, and the second was with the Center for Restorative Approaches (CRA). He then worked for several years with CRA providing training and facilitation of restorative justice circles. While in New Orleans, Tom also pursued and volunteered with a variety of initiatives including community-police mediation, various gardening programs and working closely with the Brazilian Cultural Arts Center, Arte Reviver NOLA.