Current Student Fellows

Ayah Abdul-Samad is a second-year graduate student in the International Security program at the Schar School of Policy and Government. She has a BA in International Affairs from Marquette University, with a concentration in Third World Studies and a minor in Arabic Studies. She has previously worked with the Syrian American Council in Chicago, and is currently a Global Intelligence Analyst with the World Bank. Ayah’s main research interests focus on Middle East security issues and CBRN proliferation in similar areas.

 

Francisco Badiola (“Cisco”) currently serves as the Deputy Director of Operations for Marine Corps Installations Command. He was previously a Program Manager with Headquarters Marine Corps working on the Marine Corps’ Pacific realignment. He served as a Marine on active duty for 8 years before transitioning to the civil service. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Social Sciences from Chapman University and holds a MBA and MS in Finance from Webster University, MS in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University, and is a Certified Defense Financial Manager with Acquisition specialty. Cisco is currently a graduate student in the International Security program at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government.  

 

Ryan Berry is a senior policy analyst and subject matter expert for Homeland Defense and Global Security in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Policy.  Previously held positions as a Management Consultant supporting clients at the Department of State and the United States Navy.  Ryan is a decorated US Navy veteran, serving 11 years as a Naval Flight Officer in EA-6B Prowler Electronic Attack Aircraft with combat deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Arabian Gulf onboard the USS CARL VINSON.  He was awarded a Master of Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a BA in History from Virginia Tech.  At Virginia Tech he was a member of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets and the Earle D. Gregory Guard Silent Drill Team.  Ryan is currently a graduate student in the International Security and National Security/Public Policy programs at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government.  He absolutely loves aviation, travel, and hockey and is a private pilot.

 

Tim Bynion is a PhD student in Political Science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, majoring in American Government and International Relations.  He holds a B.S. in Political Science from Towson University.  His research interests include the domestic sources of American foreign policy, specifically issues of public opinion and national identity. 

 

Jim Cahill is a Public Policy PhD student at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government.  He is a U.S. Army strategist with diverse experience, including as a strategist at HQ, Department of the Army, U.S. European Command and U.S. Forces Korea; Senior Military Advisor at the Department of State; and Research Fellow at the RAND Arroyo Center.  He earned a Masters of International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).  Jim’s research interests include military innovation, strategic planning, and organization theory. 

 

Jordan Cohen is a Ph.D. student in political science at George Mason University. He studies alliances, arms sales, and security assistance. He has also published articles for the Cato Institute as well as in outlets such as NBC News, Defense One, and the National Interest.

 

Rebecca Cooper is a second-year graduate student in the International Security program with a concentration in intelligence. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Mississippi with a degree in Political Science and intensive Arabic language study. She currently works at the Terrorism, Transnational Crime, and Corruption Center as a research analyst and administrative assistant. Her primary interests include intelligence, counterterrorism, and Middle Eastern geopolitical issues.

 

Kristofer Garriott is pursuing his Master’s in Public Policy with an emphasis in national security at the Schar School of Policy and Government. Areas of interests include terrorism and the rise of great powers in the 21st century. A native of Virginia, Kris has lived in Panama and loves to travel to new places. He currently works as a contractor in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division.

 

Angela Gill is a PhD candidate in Public Policy at the Schar School of Policy and Government. She holds a BA in Political Science and a BS in Animal Science from North Carolina State University and a Master of Arts in International Relations from Webster University. She previously taught Arabic to servicemembers in support of OIF and conducted research for defense contracts for DARPA and the Office of Force Transformation. Her research interests include statebuilding, counterinsurgency, and the Middle East, and her dissertation focuses on the dynamics of U.S. empowerment of foreign leaders and political instability.

 

Faith Hawkins is a first year graduate student in International Security at the Schar School. She received a Bachelor’s in Government and International Politics from George Mason. Her research interests lie at the intersection between international security, human rights, and multilateral institutions.

 

Jonathan Hoffman is a political science PhD student at George Mason University’s SCHAR School of Policy and Government. He holds an M.A. in Middle East and Islamic Studies and a B.A. in Global Affairs. His work has been featured in Middle East Policy, the Cornell International Affairs Review, The Cipher Brief, and other platforms. His research focuses on Middle East geopolitics and political Islam. 

 

George Hutchinson is a PhD student in Public Policy at the Schar School of Policy and Government and a senior consultant with SecuriFense, Inc., specializing in wargaming, regional planning and energy policy. He has a bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in Logistics Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He is Managing Editor of the International Journal of Korean Studies and a member of the Board of Directors for the International Council on Korean Studies.  Previously, George served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, specializing as a Northeast Asia Foreign Area Officer, Logistics Readiness Officer, and Korean linguist. He has published articles in the International Journal of Korean Studies, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, and the Air Force Journal of Logistics, as well as reports by the Korea Economic Institute of America and Marine Corps University Press. George’s research interests include U.S. defense and foreign policy as they relate to Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula.

 

Voké Kalegha is a second-year graduate student, studying International Security at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, with an emphasis on Intelligence. She is a recent graduate of Old Dominion University, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree – double majoring in Criminal Justice and Communications, with a certificate in Cybersecurity. Her interest focus on cyber security and intelligence technologies.

 

Courtney Kayser is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy, a Certificate in Russian and East European Studies, and a minor in Russian language from Seton Hall University. She is proficient in Russian and French, and has an elementary proficiency in Ukrainian. Her research focuses on nationalism, civil wars, and post-Soviet state-building. Her dissertation analyzes rebel group strategies at the onset of civil wars.

 

Chris Keller is a first year Master’s student, studying International Security at the Schar School of Policy and Government as well as completing course work at Georgetown University. His research interests largely revolve around diplomacy and rebel group interplay. In his current research, he is exploring ethical choice models in diplomacy. He hopes to join the diplomatic corps after graduation.  

 

Michael Krug is a secondyear graduate student in the Biodefense Master’s program at the Schar School of Policy and Government. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech and worked for several years in the pharmaceutical industry, accruing experience in the fields of molecular biology, drug development, and biotechnologies. His research interests incorporate national security and emerging dual-use technologies, specifically synthetic biology and genome-editing. 

 

Yihyun Andrea Kwon is a junior studying B.A. Global Affairs with concentrations in Human Security and Global Governance at George Mason University for the . She is also minoring in Conflict Analysis and Resolution.  Her current research interests lies in the interconnection of international security policies and human security in the East Asian region, South Korean soft power and diplomacy, and refugee/displaced persons policymaking. 

 

Connor Monie is a second-year graduate student in the international security program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in government and international politics with a concentration in international relations from George Mason University. His research interests include alliance formation and management dynamics as well as the US-Japan alliance more specifically. After graduation, he hopes to enroll in a PhD program studying political science.

 

Gerry Moss is a master’s student in the Middle East and Islamic Studies program at George Mason University. He concentrates regionally on North Africa and the Levant, while concentrating thematically on political economy and it’s overlap with international security.

 

Joe Petrucelli is a PhD candidate in political science at the Schar School of Policy and Government and a senior program analyst with the Systems Planning and Analysis, Inc. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from the United States Naval Academy and has two master’s degrees, one in national security affairs from American Military University and one in military history from the George Washington University. He previously served as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy and is currently a naval reserve officer specializing in Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare. Joe’s research interests include U.S. foreign policy, strategic stability, and force posture. His current research focuses on deterrence in the second nuclear age.

 

Tyler Stone is a graduate student studying International Commerce and Policy at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. He received a Bachelor’s degree in History at Le Moyne College. His primary area of study is economics and how it relates to foreign policy.

 

James Suber is a second-year graduate student in the International Security program at the Schar School of Policy and Government. He received his bachelor’s degree in History with a concentration on the Middle East. He currently is a research intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

 

James Vizzard is a PhD student in political science at the Schar School specializing in American politics and civil-military relations. He served 26 years on active duty in the United States Army, including deployments to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He earned a BA in history from the College of William and Mary, an MA in English from Colorado State University, and an MMAS in strategy from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

 

Caroline Wesson is a second year PhD student studying Political Science at George Mason University where she is a President’s Scholar and a graduate research assistant. She also holds a bachelor’s and master’s in International Affairs from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Caroline is currently working on research related to the intersection of culture, technology, and economic development. In the security realm Caroline produces research on military innovation, national innovation systems and strategic trade, and emerging technology. Caroline was a research intern with Center of Strategic and International Studies in 2019 and worked on their ChinaPower Project where she contributed to pieces on Chinese innovation, web connectedness, and the WTO. Caroline also serves as the Managing Editor for the Arts and International Affairs journal. In her free time Caroline enjoys practicing her French and Korean language skills and learning about pop culture around the world.

 

Saffanah Zaini is an M.A. student in International Security at George Mason University. Saffanah received her Bachelor’s degree from George Mason University in Government and International Relations with a minor in Middle East Studies. Saffanah worked as a freelance journalist for Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper for a year in Washington D.C, where she covered and translated American news to Arabic. Saffanah’s most recent job experience was at the National Democratic Institute, where she assisted with drafting assessments for programs in West Bank and Gaza.