Austin Carson, Ohio State University
Austin Carson is a doctoral candidate focusing on international relations in the Political Science department at Ohio State University. His research generally focuses on the intersection between political accountability and national security. His dissertation examines the uses, consequences, and significance of secrecy practices in international security, specifically the strategic logic of covert military interventions. Other research projects evaluate the relationship between secrecy-generated opacity and norm-related state behavior; the rationale for building information restrictions into international organizations; and the impact of blame dynamics on leader decisions regarding war. He holds an MA in political science from Ohio State University (with distinction) and graduated from Michigan State University’s James Madison College with a BA in international relations (with honors). He previously worked for the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. as a research analyst in weapons of mass destruction non-proliferation from 2002-2005.
Andrew Bell, Duke University
Andrew Bell is a Ph.D. candidate in Security, Peace and Conflict Studies at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. His dissertation research focuses on civilian targeting in war, international humanitarian law, military culture, ethics in conflict, and counterinsurgency. He has served as an active duty officer in the U.S. Air Force, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan, and Germany, and he is currently a major in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Andrew holds a J.D. and M.A. (specializing in international law) from the University of Virginia, a Master of Theological Studies from Duke Divinity School, and an A.B. in Public Policy Studies and History from Duke University.
Sameer Lalwani, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sameer Lalwani is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he is an affiliate of the Security Studies Program and studies U.S. grand strategy, military intervention, civil-conflict, civil-military relations, and national security decision making. His dissertation seeks to explain why states choose particular strategies within civil conflict to combat rebellion, primarily in South Asia. Sameer has conducted field research in Pakistan and India and archival research in the UK, for which he has received support from the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the Tobin Project and the MIT Entrepreneurship Center. Previously, he spent three years as a policy analyst at the New America Foundation and he holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of California, Berkeley.
J. Thomas Moriarty, III, University of Viriginia
J. Thomas Moriarty is a doctoral candidate in the Politics Department at the University of Virginia. He is also a former intelligence officer for the US military. Tom has been deployed to numerous locations, including countries in the Middle East and Asia, where he worked as a strategic affairs analyst and senior adviser on geopolitical affairs. Over the years, he has served as a consultant to the Department of Defense on counterterrorism and defense modernization strategies. Additionally, he has been a guest lecturer on counterinsurgency at the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWCS) and a defense fellow at the Korean Military Academy. He is also a frequent commentator on US defense politics for several newspapers and defense-related websites. His teaching and research focuses broadly on the field of strategic studies, including nuclear weapons proliferation, Middle East politics, asymmetrical warfare, and military strategy. His dissertation, “Losing is Half the Battle: Cost-Tolerant States and the Ending of Major Wars,” focuses on how the international security environment impacts a state’s decision to end or prolong costly wars. His works can be found in such journals as Small Wars and Insurgencies, Strategic Studies Quarterly, and World Affairs Journal.
Lindsey O'Rourke, University of Chicago
Lindsey O’Rourke is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. She also holds a Master of Arts from the Committee on International Relations at the University of Chicago and two Bachelors of Arts from The Ohio State University with majors in Political Science, International Relations, Philosophy and German Literature & Culture. During her graduate years at Chicago, she also received the Provost and Harper Fellowships and worked as the graduate student coordinator for the Program on International Security Policy (PISP). Her research interests include regime change, International Relations theory, U.S. foreign policy, military strategy and the Cold War. Her dissertation is titled: “Why do States Conduct Covert Regime Change?” It is the first study of its kind to systematically assemble an original dataset of all American regime change operations during the Cold War.
Joshua Itzkowitz Shifrinson, MIT
Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson is a doctoral candidate in the MIT Political Science Department and affiliate of the MIT Security Studies Program. His dissertation, entitled “Life on the Downward Slope: Explaining State Decisions to Support or Exploit Declining Great Powers,” examines the rising state behavior towards declining great powers. This work has been supported by the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Scowcroft Institute, and the Tobin Project, among others. Additional research interests include conventional military operations, energy security, grand strategy, and the political uses and abuses of history. A native of New Jersey, Josh is a 2006 graduate of Brandeis University and previously consulted with the RAND Corporation. Outside the field of political science, he enjoys esoteric books of alternate history, the New England Patriots, and writing brief biographical paragraphs.
Payam Ghalehdar, European University Institute
Payam Ghalehdar is a Ph.D. candidate focusing on international relations in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. His dissertation project inquires into the role and significance of forcible regime change in U.S. foreign policy by looking at a number of military interventions that span more than a hundred years of American foreign policy. His wider research interests are US foreign policy, US-Iran relations, international assassination and international relations theory more broadly. Payam holds a B.A. and M.A. in political science from the University of Mannheim (Germany) and has been a visiting student at Uppsala University (Sweden) and Johns Hopkins University. He has previously worked as a research associate at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research and as an intern at the German Bundestag and European Parliament.
Kathryn McNabb-Cochran, Duke University
Kathryn McNabb Cochran (B.A. Duke University 2004, M.A. Duke University 2008, Ph.D. Duke University 2011) is a post-doctoral scholar who focuses her research on the reputational consequences of interstate war, the causes and consequences of civilian victimization, and the domestic politics of American foreign policy. She has presented her research at numerous national conferences and has co-authored a paper on the military effectiveness of strategies that intentionally target civilians that was published in 2010. She has received a number of academic awards including the 2008 MPSA Best Paper in International Relations and the 2012 Kenneth N. Waltz Dissertation Award for the best dissertation in the field of International Security and Arms Control. She has taught courses on international relations, international security, and American Foreign Policy. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a legislative assistant for Congressman Buyer (IN-04) where she handled committee work on telecommunications and energy policy.
Jane Vaynman, Harvard University
Jane Vaynman is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Government at Harvard University. Jane’s research focuses on security cooperation between adversarial states, the design of arms control agreements, and the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Previously, Jane worked at the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance at the US Department of State, the Nonproliferation Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and conducted research in the Russian Federation on a Fulbright. She was a co-editor and contributor for the March 2011 issue of The Nonproliferation Review whichassessed international responses to the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review. Jane received her BA in International Relations from Stanford University with honors in security studies from the Center for International Security and Cooperation.
Julia MacDonald, The George Washington University
Julia MacDonald is a fourth year doctoral student in Political Science at the George Washington University and a research and teaching fellow at the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies. Julia’s current research focuses on signaling and threat credibility during international crises. Her dissertation will examine the means by which states communicate during crises and how different signaling mechanisms impact threat effectiveness. Additional research interests include gender and peacekeeping, civil-military relations, and the role of experts in foreign policy decision making. She is a recent alumna of Columbia University’s Summer Workshop on the Analysis of Military Operations and Strategy (SWAMOS) and the Bridging the Gap Project’s New Era Conference on Foreign Policy. Julia completed her undergraduate training in History and Philosophy in New Zealand and holds an MA (Honors) in International Relations from the University of Chicago. She worked for the New Zealand Ministry of Defense as a Policy Analyst and International Defense Relations Adviser for several years prior to joining the doctoral program at GWU.
Chana Solomon-Schwartz, The George Washington University
Chana Solomon-Schwartz received her Ph.D. in political science from the George Washington University in January 2018. Her dissertation, “The Strong Power of Weak Commitment: Treaty Ratification and Reservation Removal in the Service of Human Rights” looks at why states increase their levels of commitment to human rights treaties protecting women and racial minorities. Other research interests are the pedagogy of undergraduate introduction to international politics courses and the impact that gender has on foreign policy decision-making. She holds a B.A. from Harvard University, and has studied Arabic in Jordan and Morocco.
Tristan Volpe, The George Washington University
Tristan Volpe is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, with an emphasis in International Relations theory, security studies, and quantitative methodology. His dissertation elucidates the security implications of the nuclear fuel cycle choices states make short of nuclear weapons acquisition. Why do states use enrichment and reprocessing technology to practice deterrence and compellence? How do different nuclear fuel cycle choices impact regional and international security outcomes? The dissertation constructs a theory to explain the causes and consequences of nuclear fuel cycle postures. Tristan received support for his ongoing research from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).