2018 Student Fellows

Rebecca Ames is a second-year graduate student in the International Security program at the Schar School of Policy and Government. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in international relations and American public policy from Boise State University. Rebecca is an IT program manager for JPI at the Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN), a platform for homeland security mission operations including Federal, State, Local, Territorial, Tribal, International and Private Sector security partners. Her areas of professional interest include grand strategy, leading-edge practices, conflict prevention and de-escalation, and decision making in the international security arena. Rebecca also pursues her interests in music, art and international travel.

Katie Burdick is a graduate student studying International Security at Geoge Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government with a focus on cyber security and intelligence technologies. Originally from Utah, Katie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Media with a minor in Business. She is currently working on security-related media project geared toward intelligence analysts with a former George Mason University professor.

Wendy Chen is a second-year PhD student in Public Policy at George Mason University. Her primary research interests lie in international relations and soft power. Currently, she is working on a project examining countries’ soft power in Central Asia. In her leisure time, you will find her hiking, fishing, and cooking.

Jean Cocco if a first-year graduate student at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations, as well as a French minor from the University of South Florida. His primary interests are energy, nuclear strategy, food/water security, terrorism, foreign policy, grand strategy, and geopolitics in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Cocco also served as a member of the University of South Florida Board of Trustees and as student body president representing over 40,000 students. He worked closely with the Center for Diplomatic and Security Studies Director Dr. Mohsen Milani to create a global conversation speaker series focused on inviting leaders in foreign policy, politics, media, etc. He is a fan of Jazz music, is a trumpet player, enjoys hiking and is an avid golfer.

Jordan Cohen is a political science PhD student at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. Additionally, he holds an M.A. in Middle East and Islamic Studies. His work has been featured in the National Interest and Jadaliyya. His research focuses on the Arab Gulf, international alliances, and oil politics.

Matthew Fay is a PhD student in political science at the Schar School of Policy and Government and a defense policy analyst with the Niskanen Center. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Saint Xavier University and has two master’s degrees, one in international relations from American Military University and one in diplomatic history from Temple University. He has published research on nuclear weapons, co-authoring an article for the American Historical Review on nuclear forecasting during the Cold War and a proposal for changes in U.S. nuclear force posture for the Cato Institute. Matt’s research interests include U.S. foreign policy, grand strategy, and defense politics. His current research focuses on the politics of military innovation.

Daniel Fielden is a graduate student in the International Security Master’s program at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. He is also completing a graduate certificate in National Security and Public Policy. He started in the security field by focusing on homeland security issues, specifically terrorism and CBRNE, as they relate to first responders (fire, EMS, and law enforcement). His focus is nuclear strategy, intelligence policy, and covert and paramilitary operations. He works as a government contractor and is a volunteer firefighter in Loudoun County.

Faith Hawkins is a junior completing her B.A. in International Politics at the Schar School. She is also completing an honors thesis while minoring in intelligence and Spanish. Her research interests lie at the intersection between international security and multilateral institutions.

Courtney Kayser is a Ph.D. student in Political Science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. Along with CSPS, she works as a section editor for the Journal of Mason Graduate Research and as the graduate representative on OSCAR’s Student Scholarly Activities committee at GMU. Additionally, 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 Russian foreign policy, post-Soviet space, and alliances.

Katleen Lackey is a graduate student in the International Security Master’s program at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. She is a recent graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a concentration in International Political Economy. She has studied abroad in China and Jordan. She is currently working as a research assistant for Societal Systems Research Inc. and her primary interests include intelligence, counter-terrorism, and conflict resolution.

Joshua Lee is a second year Science and Technology Policy PhD student at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government.  His research primarily focuses on the intersection of emerging technologies and US foreign policy.  Prior to entering GMU, he worked at Accenture Federal Services developing biometric security systems for the Department of Homeland Security.  He obtained his MA in US Foreign Policy from American University, and a Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity Technology from University of Maryland, University College.

Zachary Marks is a first year Master’s Degree student in the International Security Program at the Schar School of Policy and Government. He is originally from Florida. His research interests include the rise of China, ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, and the changing landscape in the Asia-Pacific region. He hopes to end up in an embassy abroad helping to solve problematic issues with other countries.

David D. Mendes is a part-time Master’s Degree student in the International Security Program at the Schar School of Policy and Government. He holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from Soka University of America. David is a partner at Tappan, Rastegar, Mendes LLP, a full-service litigation firm serving clients in the District of Columbia and the state of Virginia. His research interests include the intersection of national security and private industry as it relates to emerging threats and technology.

Joe Petrucelli is a PhD student 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.

Mary Frances Woods is a part-time graduate student in the International Security Master’s degree program at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. She holds a Juris Doctor from the Duquesne University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science from North Carolina State University. She currently works as an attorney with the federal government, but began her federal career as a security specialist. She is serving as a Student Fellow in a personal capacity and her personal research interests include various legal issues pertaining to international security and intelligence matters.