Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar Dissertation Scholarships and Minerva-USIP peace and Security Dissertation Scholarships are awarded to outstanding doctoral students in U.S. universities. The fellowships support ten months of dissertation research and writing on topics addressing the sources, nature, prevention, and management of international conflict.

This year’s Peace Scholar cohort is composed of 14 Peace Scholars who are conducting their dissertation research across the globe. To learn more, read their biographies below.

Current Peace Scholars

Caroline Abadeer

Caroline Abadeer (Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholar)
“Local Governance and the Authoritarian State: The Politics of Urban Planning in the Middle East”
Stanford University, Department of Political Science
Ph.D. Candidate

Caroline Abadeer is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of political science at Stanford University, where her research focuses on urban governance in the Middle East and North Africa. Her dissertation examines state management of urbanization processes from independence to the present, and, how governments in the region respond to the spread of urban poverty and slum proliferation. She employs a multimethod approach in her research, and has conducted fieldwork in Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt. Caroline’s research has been supported by the Project on Middle East Political Science, the American Institute of Maghrib Studies, the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University, the Stanford Center for Global Development, the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and Stanford’s Abbasi Program for Islamic Studies, among others. Prior to attending Stanford, Caroline was a Fulbright research fellow in Morocco. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Political Science and Global Studies.

Maria Atuesta

Maria Atuesta (Minerva-USIP Fieldwork Fellowship)
“From Displacement to Reintegration: How housing resettlement programs mediate pathways of integration for demobilized and displaced populations in Colombia”
Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Ph.D. Candidate

Maria is a Ph.D. candidate in urban planning at Harvard University. Her research examines resettlement experiences of internally displaced and demobilized persons of the armed conflict in Colombia, who are today beneficiaries of two national programs providing a housing solution to each group. She explores the mechanisms through which policy planning, interinstitutional arrangements and project-based design intersect with everyday lives of displaced and demobilized beneficiaries of national resettlement efforts, possibly shaping their very own processes of moving on after conflict and the formation of new types of communities. Based on case studies, two housing projects for displaced populations in the municipality of Granada and a resettlement camp for demobilized FARC in the municipality of Mesetas, she is currently conducting archival research, participant observation, interviews and cartographic exercises with displaced and demobilized persons. Resettlement experiences are examined through relations between beneficiaries of housing programs and surrounding neighbors and public entities, through their strategies of social organizing and problem solving, and through their narratives of future life plans. In short, her research methodology seeks to identify the factors and mechanisms through which institutional efforts to provide housing solutions to victims of the armed conflict mediate everyday life, possibly shaping processes of moving on through the formation of new types of communities.

Maria has worked on policy research projects for the World Bank, Colombia’s National Planning Office and the Center for Community Innovation at UC Berkeley. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Economics from her hometown university in Colombia, Universidad de los Andes, and was awarded with a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. She has advanced her doctoral dissertation work with support from the Lawrence H. and Maria G. Curtis Fellowship, the Harvard School of Design Real Estate Research Grant and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Research Travel Grant.

Christopher Faulkner

Christopher Faulkner (Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholar)
“The Causes, Dynamics, and Implications of Child Soldiering”
University of Central Florida, Department of Political Science
Ph.D. Candidate

Christopher Faulkner is a Ph.D. candidate in security studies at the University of Central Florida. His research investigates the determinants of rebel recruitment of child soldiers, variance in rebel groups’ composition, and the consequences actors face for using child soldiers. Specifically, his dissertation examines how the characteristics of foreign state sponsors impact rebels’ recruitment of child soldiers, why rebel groups employ child combatants but exclude women from similar roles, and how the employment of child soldiers by sovereign states effects US foreign policy decision-making. To answer these questions, he employs a multi-method approach including a cross-national statistical analysis of over 200 rebel organizations, in-depth case studies of the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK) in Turkey and Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat (PYD) in Syria, and interviews with US government officials, human rights advocates, researchers, and military personnel.

His dissertation research has been supported by UCF’s Department of Political Science, Kurdish Political Studies Program, and College of Sciences. In addition to his dissertation, he has conducted research on private military and security companies in civil war and on civil-military relations and threats to democratization. His work has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as African Security, Civil Wars, Democratization, and Small Wars & Insurgencies. While at UCF, he has instructed courses on Human Rights Policy and Designing Political Science Research and has worked as a teaching and research assistant. Prior to his doctoral studies, he earned his BA in Political Science, MPA, and MA in Conflict Management and Resolution with a focus on International Security from the University of North Carolina Wilmington where he also instructed courses on International Relations, Comparative Politics, and American Security Policy.

Carl Forsberg

Carl Forsberg (Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholar)
“The Transformation of the US-Middle East Alliance System in the 1970s”
University of Texas, Austin, Department of History
Ph.D. Candidate

Carl Forsberg is an international historian and a Ph.D. candidate in the history at The University of Texas at Austin.  His dissertation charts the agency of Arab, Iranian, and US elites in transforming the structure of Middle Eastern regional politics during the 1970s and in constructing a counter-revolutionary coalition that persists through the present.  The project shows how the regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Imperial Iran briefly overcame their rivalries through a shared project to overturn the legacy of Arab socialism, marginalize Soviet influence, and advance the stability of authoritarian rule.  This “diplomatic counter-revolution” instrumentally employed a series of regional peace processes, including Arab-Israeli negotiations, US-Soviet détente,  and conciliation between Iran and its Arab neighbors to advance a new regional order built around the primacy of state interests and the security of authoritarian rule.  The project draws on US, Iranian, Israeli, and British government documents and memoirs and periodicals in Farsi and Arabic, found in archives in Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, the UK, and the US.

Carl’s research has been supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Gerald Ford Presidential Foundation, the Hoover Institution, and the Clements Center for National Security, among others.  Prior to graduate school, Carl worked in Kabul, Afghanistan, as an adviser to the commander of the counter-corruption coordinating task force for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).  He holds a BA in History from Yale University.

Danielle Gilbert

Danielle Gilbert (Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholar)
“The Strategic Logic of Political Kidnapping”
George Washington University, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
Ph.D. Candidate

Danielle Gilbert is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the George Washington University and a Ph.D. candidate-in-residence at the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies. She studies comparative politics and international relations with a multi-method approach to examining the causes and consequences of violence. Her dissertation, “The Strategic Logic of Political Kidnapping,” examines the hostage-taking strategies of non-state groups, leveraging evidence from interviews with ex-combatants from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, as well as an original dataset of nearly 1,900 violent, political organizations.

Danielle’s work has been supported by the Cosmos Club, the Bridging the Gap Project, the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, the Les Aspin ’60 Summer Fellowship, and the Georg W. Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy at Yale. She has published in the journal Terrorism & Political Violence and has written for War on the Rocks and The Monkey Cage. For the past three years, Danielle has served as a fellow with the Bridging the Gap Project, where she manages the annual New Era Workshop. Prior to her graduate studies, she served four years on Capitol Hill, including as a Senior Legislative Assistant and Appropriations Associate, and has worked as a policy advisor on presidential and congressional campaigns.

Meg Guliford

Meg Guliford (Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholar)
“Presence and Provision: Explaining the Effects of Intervention on Violence Against Civilians”
Tufts University, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy 
Ph.D. Candidate

Meg Guliford is a Ph.D. candidate at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, a Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project, and a Ph.D. Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic Studies. Her research areas of interest include political violence, intrastate conflict, and state-building. In her dissertation project, Meg uses a mixed-method research strategy of cross-national statistical analysis and elite interviews and process tracing to explore how external intervention affects decisions about violence against civilians undertaken by states and rebels. 

Meg previously served as a Lecturer for the Tufts University Department of Political Science teaching a course self-designed course on military intervention. Prior to that experience, she was a teaching assistant for Introduction to International Relations for undergraduates and for graduate courses on civil-military relations, civil wars, and international security policy. 

Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Meg worked as a Research Staff Member in the Institute for Defense Analyses and for the Office of the Secretary of Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. In 2009-2010, she completed a civilian deployment to Iraq to work issues related to improvised explosive devices. Her federal government career began as a Presidential Management Fellow for Headquarters, United States Marine Corps.

She is a proud Kansan and is the fourth generation of hre family to be born and raised in Central Kansas. Meg holds B.A.s in Political Science and Communications from the University of Pennsylvania and an MPP from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Nirvikar Jassal

Nirvikar Jassal (Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholar)
“Representation in Force: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Modern Indian Police”
University of California, Berkeley, Department of Political Science
Ph.D. Candidate

Nirvikar Jassal's dissertation examines whether representation for disparate groups in law enforcement improves trust in the police as well as reduces intergroup and intersex violence.  In the United States, research suggests that women’s representation in law enforcement is associated with improved levels of police legitimacy.  Studies on greater representation of minorities (e.g. hiring more black and Latino police officers) have found mixed results in terms of better policing or improved perceptions of law enforcement. Jassal extends this line of inquiry to the global south by leveraging unusual policy initiatives in India, i.e.  a quota for women and low-caste groups in law enforcement as well as the erection of specialized police stations that are run by and cater to select communities.

Using experimental methods, a nationally representative survey, crime data, and shoe-leather research, his research probes whether the presence of disadvantaged groups in law enforcement alters attitudes and behavior on the part of both officers as well as citizens in the developing world. His research has been supported by the Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT, the Center for Experimental Studies at Oxford Nuffield-FLAME, the Department of Economics at UC Berkeley, and the Institute for International Studies.

Prior to joining UC Berkeley, Jassal worked at the Council on Foreign Relations where he assisted in the development of the organization's Model Diplomacy Initiative. He also served as a media analyst in the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He earned a BA from Columbia in 2010, and an MSc from Oxford in 2012.

Angela Lederach

Angela Lederach (USIP-Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar)
“’Feel the Grass Grow’: Practices and Politics of Slow Peace in Colombia”
Notre Dame University, Department of Anthropology 
Ph.D. Candidate

Angela develops a grounded theory of ‘slow peace,’ to identify the practices that grassroots peacebuilders use to respond to the overlapping violence(s) of social fragmentation, environmental degradation, and armed conflict. Time shapes – and is shaped by – social and ecological relations, orients action, and has profound implications for how state projects fortify or harm grassroots peacebuilding efforts. Angela’s project provides an ethnographic account of slowness that moves beyond measured time. Instead, she argues for greater attention to how everyday practices of building peace found in Montes de María deepen time’s quality. Angela’s dissertation contributes to an anthropology of peacebuilding that conceptualizes peace not as an empty category signifying the end of war, but rather as a social practice that shapes subjectivities and acts upon the world. Her dissertation research has been supported by Fulbright, USAID, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.

Angela has six years of experience working with community-based peacebuilding and restorative justice processes in the Philippines, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Bolivia, the United States, and Guatemala. She is the co-author of When Blood and Bones Cry Out: Journeys Through the Soundscape of Healing and Reconciliation.

Shelley Liu

Shelley Liu (USIP-Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar)
“Resistance and Control: State-building through Rebel-Civilian Relations”
Harvard University, Department of Government
Ph.D. Candidate

Shelley Liu is a Ph.D. Candidate in the department of government at Harvard University. Her research focuses on political violence, state building, and political development with a regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. Her dissertation examines the ways in which rebel-civilian alliances and rebel governance are shaped by the dynamics of military and political contestation between rebel groups and government forces. This wartime political geography subsequently shapes post-war resource allocation decisions and state stability after rebel victory, informing incumbent strategies with regards to security and welfare spending in order to consolidate control and prevent the resumption of civil war. The project draws on interview-based and archival work conducted primarily in Liberia and Zimbabwe, as well as from a series of original datasets collected during fieldwork for quantitative analysis. Beyond her dissertation project, her other works focus on citizen perceptions of government efficacy through public goods provision, and the ways in which such perceptions affect citizen engagement and disengagement with politics. Shelley holds a B.A. in political science from Columbia University and an M.A. in Government from Harvard University.

Kristen Mclean

Kristen Mclean (Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholar)
“Engendering Change: Fatherhood, Masculinity and Resilience in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone”
Yale University, Department of Anthropology, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Ph.D. Candidate

Kristen McLean is a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University in the department of anthropology. She works on issues related to gender, violence, social inequalities, and resilience in post-conflict settings. Her dissertation is an ethnography of masculinity and fatherhood in Sierra Leone. Specifically, Kristen questions the extent to which shifting notions of fatherhood and manhood influence transitions to more peaceful societies, via the promotion of healthy children and families. Her research is based upon 15 months of fieldwork in the Kono District of Sierra Leone, an area that was heavily impacted by the country’s civil war from 1991-2002. She collected data via participant observation, life history narratives, and semi-structured interviews with 106 young fathers and their families. Few studies have examined fatherhood and masculinity in post-conflict settings, where men face significant adversity as a result of war and the ‘violence of everyday life.’ This research adds to anthropological debates on gender, care, resilience, and the nature of post-conflict transformation. It also has implications for policy and intervention development, as growing evidence shows that how children are raised affects trajectories of conflict and peace within society.

Previously, Kristen was a Research Assistant for the Carter Center Mental Health Program, where she worked on mental health policy-making in post-conflict Liberia. She has a BA and Master of Public Health from Emory University and is originally from Atlanta, Georgia.

Marcia Mundt

Marcia Mundt (USIP-Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar)
“Participate for Peace: The Impacts of Participatory Deliberative Democracy on Post-Conflict Peacebuilding in Central America”
University of Massachusetts, Boston, Department of Public Policy, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies
Ph.D. Candidate

Marcia is a Ph.D. candidate in public policy with a concentration on conflict resolution at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. Her dissertation explores how three post-conflict nations in Central America—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua—have implemented participatory deliberative democracy mechanisms following civil war and their impacts on the peace process. These mechanisms such as open town hall meetings, registered community associations, participatory budgeting, and participatory planning—when applied in post-conflict contexts—align with the ‘local turn' in peacebuilding practice. However, the potential of participatory deliberative democracy to contribute to sustainable peace has not yet been empirically tested.

Marcia’s research builds on her former experiences as an external evaluator for the City of Cambridge Participatory Budgeting Program, her work as a trainer with post-conflict reconciliation center Corrymeela in Northern Ireland, and service with Peace Corps Paraguay, among others. Marcia holds an M.S. in Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts Boston, an M.A. in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford as a US-UK Fulbright Scholar, and a B.A. in Communication Studies, Government, and Spanish from New Mexico State University.

Mollie Pepper

Mollie Pepper (USIP-Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar)
“We ethnic women are the solution for the conflict”: Gender, Ethnicity, and Power in Burma’s Peace Process”
Northeastern University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Ph.D. Candidate

Mollie Pepper’s dissertation research examines women’s participation, both formal and informal, in the ongoing peace process in Burma. Via intersectional analysis with particular attention to the power dynamics that surround ethnicity and gender in this context, this work seeks to more fully understand the ways that women participate in peace-building. She explores this topic through a combination of discourse analysis, multi-sited ethnographic engagement, and interviews with ethnic women’s organizations and representatives of the state and Burmese and international human rights and women’s rights organizations.

Mollie is currently developing this project as a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Northeastern University. She has spent nearly a decade working as a humanitarian aid working in the Burmese refugee camps in Thailand and as a researcher and consultant on the Thai/Burma border and in Burma, as well as implementing micro-finance programs in Bolivia. Her interests center on gender, violence, and power, specifically the ways that power is redistributed in processes of political transition and conflict transformation. Mollie holds an MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she focused on gender analysis, violence, and human security, and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied armed conflict and international law.

Brandon Sims

Brandon Sims (Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholar)
“Explaining Variation in Violent and Nonviolent Tactics: Repression, Learning, and Brokerage”
American University, School of International Service
Ph.D. Candidate

Brandon Sims is a Ph.D. candidate in international relations at American University, with a focus in Peace and Conflict Studies. His research explores questions related to violent, non-violent, and self-violent forms of conflict. For example, why do some groups contesting the state wage unarmed resistance while other groups use armed tactics? What explains why some groups, contrary to expectation, maintain nonviolent action even after violent government repression? Brandon’s dissertation research seeks to explain variation in group tactic selection between violent and nonviolent action. He explores how group learning - from past conflict history, watching other groups, and training in violent or nonviolent methods - interacts with brokerage across social sites to produce violent and nonviolent variation in the context of weak or strong government repression. The dissertation relies on a sub-national research design in India mixing quantitative analysis with qualitative interviews and archival work.

Brandon’s research has been supported by a Critical Language Scholarship from the US Department of State and a Peace and Violence Research Lab Fellowship through the School of Public Affairs at American University. Additional fieldwork funding and methods training support has been provided by the School of International Service and American University. Prior to starting his Ph.D., Brandon served for five years in Indonesia with Mennonite Central Committee, an international peace and development agency. He graduated as valedictorian from Marietta College, Ohio with a B.A. in Political Science and holds an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Antioch University Midwest.

Alexandra Stark

Alexandra Stark (Minerva-USIP Fieldwork Fellowship)
“Gun at a Knife Fight: Regional power intervention in civil wars in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), 1957-2017”
Georgetown University, International Relations
Ph.D. Candidate

Alexandra Stark is a Ph.D. candidate in international relations at Georgetown University. She is currently a pre-doctoral research fellow at the Middle East Initiative of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Her dissertation, “Gun at a Knife Fight: Regional power intervention in civil wars in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), 1957-2017,” analyzes the conditions under which states in the Middle East and North Africa region are more (or less) likely to intervene in civil wars. This research highlights the dynamics of competition amongst regional powers as well as the relationship between the United States and its regional allies, and how both affect intervention decisions. She has conducted interviews in Washington, D.C. and Doha, Qatar, as well as archival research at the Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy Presidential Libraries for her dissertation research. Her research has also received support from the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) and the Cosmos Scholars Foundation.

Alexandra holds an MSc in International Relations (Research) with Distinction from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She received a BA magna cum laude from Wellesley College, where she was a fellow of the Albright Institute for Global Affairs and a member of the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Swimming and Diving team.

Erik Clinton VanSonnenberg

Erik Clinton VanSonnenberg “Clint” (Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholar)
“Accounting for the Peaces: Conflict Justice and Civil War Violence”
University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Political Science
Ph.D. Candidate

Clint VanSonnenberg is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at UCLA. He researches how legal interventions impact civil war violence. Among nearly 100 countries to experience civil wars over the past quarter-century, most have criminally prosecuted some commanders, while offering amnesty to much larger swaths of leaders and fighters. Clint’s dissertation investigates how these trials and amnesties affect the capacities of military and insurgent groups to organize civil war violence. The project combines ethnography of victims and government in Peru and Colombia with network-analytic estimations of conflict violence. By characterizing the location, timing, perpetrators, and victims of different forms of conflict violence, the project evaluates how targeted trial and amnesty procedures disorganize strategies of civil war violence.

After studying Government and Philosophy at the University of Virginia, Clint earned a master’s in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His work has been aided by countless victims and officials caught up in political violence, and has been generously supported by UCLA, the UCLA Blum Center for Poverty and Health in Latin America, and the Institute of Health, Sexuality, and Human Development at Peru’s Cayetano Heredia University.

Elsa Voytas

Elsa Voytas (USIP-Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar)
“Constructing and Reconstructing Memory: The Micro-Level Impacts of Transitional Justice Policies”
Princeton University, Department of Politics and Woodrow Wilson School
Ph.D. Candidate

Elsa Voytas is a Ph.D. candidate in the fields of comparative politics, empirical methods, and international relations at Princeton University and is enrolled in the Joint Degree Program in Social Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School. Her dissertation studies the extent to which state transitional justice policies shape an individual's political behavior. Specifically, she analyzes the impact of transitional justice museums, domestic prosecutions, and material reparations implemented to address the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. Her empirical approach utilizes field and natural experiments, interviews, and survey data. At Princeton, Elsa has an affiliation with the Empirical Studies of Conflict (ESOC), is a technical research assistant with Princeton Research in Experimental Social Sciences (PRESS) and serves as coordinator of Princeton Women in Political Science (PWIPS).

Before Princeton, Elsa worked a management consultant in Washington D.C. at Booz Allen Hamilton. She holds a BA in International Relations and Economics from the College of William and Mary.

Louis Wasser

Louis Wasser (Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholar)
"Anti-Regime and Separatist Opposition Strategies: Institutional and Extra-Institutional, Violent and Nonviolent"
Yale University, Department of Political Science
Ph.D. Candidate

Louis M. Wasser is a PhD candidate in political science at Yale University. His three-paper dissertation – “Anti-Regime and Separatist Opposition Strategies: Institutional and Extra-Institutional, Violent and Nonviolent” – presents original datasets on both anti-regime and separatist opposition strategies, capturing variation in institutional and extra-institutional mobilization. In doing so, the dissertation sheds significant light on the interactions between institutional and extra-institutional politics, as well as variation in the latter. The first paper presents original data for anti-regime campaigns: The Strategies of Institutional and Extra-Institutional Contention (SIEIC) Dataset. The second outlines hypotheses regarding the relationships between variation in anti-regime strategies and explanatory factors including democratization and state capacity, then tests a number of these using SIEIC. The third paper presents original data on separatist methods, analyzing how variation in adopted strategies relates to relative success rates. This paper – “Does Violent Secessionism Work?” – was co-authored with Ryan Griffiths and published by the Journal of Conflict Resolution in 2018.

Louis’s research interests include the Middle East and North Africa, violent and nonviolent resistance, natural resources, and the American Civil War. His work has been supported by the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale. Prior to graduate school, Louis worked as a Cairo-based economic journalist. His writing has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Financial Times, among other places. Louis graduated from Cornell University in 2007 with a BA in Government and a minor in International Relations.

Kelly Yotebieng

Kelly A. Yotebieng (USIP-Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar)
“Hope and the Gendered Capacity to Aspire among Rwandan Urban Refugees in Yaoundé, Cameroon”
Ohio State University, Department of Anthropology
Ph.D. Candidate

Kelly Yotebieng is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at the Ohio State University. Her research focuses on the intersections of hope, risk, and resilience. The Fulbright IIE program, National Science Foundation, and the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at the Ohio State University have supported her research. Her dissertation uses ethnographic methods to shed light on how a growing population of Rwandan urban refugees in Yaoundé, Cameroon recursively rebuilds their lives and communities after conflict and displacement. She is fluent in French and has worked in Cameroon and Rwanda since 2004.

Her background prior to joining the Ohio State Anthropology Department includes a B.A. in Applied Medical Anthropology from the University of South Florida and a Masters of Public Health at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine as part of the Masters Internationalist Fellows program in collaboration with the United States Peace Corps in Cameroon. After completing her degree and Peace Corps, she remained in the field and oversaw the development and implementation of large humanitarian programs in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.

She has also led research with resettled refugees in the United States in the areas of refugee mental health and underlying social determinants to risk-taking behavior.