Current Students

Current First Years- Class of 2025

Isabella Absi

Education: B.A. in Politics with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies from Pomona College

Hometown: Sacramento, California

Intended Academic Focus: Democratic backsliding, hybrid regimes, “good” governance with a focus in the Middle East and North Africa.

Tala Alahmar

Education: B.A. in International Studies from the University of Michigan

Hometown: Damascus, Syria

Intended Academic Focus: Human rights and diplomatic relations.

Abdulaziz Alenezi

Education: Political Science with concentration in IR and minor in Middle Eastern & North African Studies

Hometown: Kuwait

Intended Academic Focus: Democratization, Democratic transition, Governance, and Authoritarianism.

Clayton Asai

Education: B.A. in International Social Sciences from Gakushuin University

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Intended Academic Focus: East Asian Politics, International Relations, and Comparative Politics

Lily Ashbrook

Education: B.A. in Political Science & Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Intended Academic Focus: Refugee Policy concerning Europe & the Middle East, Human Rights, Democratization.

Roudah Chaker

Education: B.A. in Government with a minor in History from Georgetown University

Hometown: Northern Virginia

Intended Academic Focus: The mechanisms and strategies of democratization, specifically exploring the role of social and informal institutions in facilitating or hindering the transition from autocratic regimes to democratic governance.

Kal Desta

Education: B.A. in International Studies with a minor in Public Administration and a cluster in Peace & Conflict Transformation from Brigham Young University

Hometown: Ethiopia

Intended Academic Focus: Foreign relations, Conflict resolution, Democratization.

Zora Hermans

Education: BA in Political Science and Writing & Rhetoric from St. Edward’s University

Hometown: Silver Spring, MD

Intended Academic Focus: American politics, democratic backsliding, European politics, democratic institutions.

Gauri Kaushik

Education: B.A. in Politics and English from Mount Holyoke College

Hometown: Cupertino, California

Intended Academic Focus: Relationship between Religion, Ethnic Conflict, and Democracy in South Asia.

Hamza Khan

Education: B.A. in Political Science & Judaic Studies with a Certificate in Asian Studies from University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Hometown: Potomac, MD

Intended Academic Focus: Judicial reform, campaign finance reform and the role of the free press in furthering transparency & democratic reform.

Donya Lechqer

Education: B.A. in Political Science

Hometown: Virginia Beach

Intended Academic Focus: Middle Eastern and North African politics.

Yufu Liang

Education: Bachelor of Laws at China University of Political Science and Law

Hometown: China

Intended Academic Focus: Gender and international security, state-society relations

Brianna Ma

Education: Joint BA/MA student in Government, Georgetown University

Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan

Intended Academic Focus: Government

Jonathan Mendoza:

Education: B.A. in Arts for Social Advocacy, with a minor in Political Science, Poetry from Berklee College of Music

Hometown: Framingham, Massachusetts

Intended Academic Focus: Gathering and applying the lessons of foreign democratization efforts to multiracial pro-democracy political and social movement organizing in the US.

Andriy Nix

Education: B.A. in Political Science from Christopher Newport University

Hometown: Arlington, Virginia

Intended Academic Focus: Eurasia/Former Soviet Union area

Michael Parisi

Education: B.A. in International Relations and Modern History from the University of St Andrews

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Intended Academic Focus: Global authoritarianism and its connections to democratic backsliding as well as the growth of far right conceptions of nationalism in North America and Europe.

Saroy Rakotoson

Education: BA History and International Relation at King’s College London

Hometown: Antananarivo, Madagascar

Intended Academic Focus: Gender in IR or overall the place in gender in the institutions of Democracy

Fahad Saad

Education: Bachelor’s in Government and International Politics

Hometown: Kuwait

Intended Academic Focus: Democracy Promotion, Political Behavior, and Research Methodology.

Alex Szlabowicz

Education: B.A. from the University of Florida

Hometown: Ft Myers, FL

Intended Academic Focus: Democracy promotion in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Justin Wanki

Education: Law

Hometown: Cameroon/Bamenda

Intended Academic Focus: Research about African and Latin American democracies.

Jacqueline Wu

Education: B.A. in Economics from National Chengchi University and M.A. in National Development from National Taiwan University (in progress)

Hometown: Taiwan

Intended Academic Focus: Democratization, Foreign policy, Global financial security, Technology governance.

Michelle Ye

Education: B.A. in English from University College London

Hometown: Toronto, Canada and Hong Kong, China

Intended Academic Focus: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Relations.

Nicholas Zochowski

Education: Vanderbilt University

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Intended Academic Focus: Legislatures, authoritarianism, democratization.

Current Second Years- Class of 2024

Milan Bailey

Education: B.S. in Political Science & Sociology from Campbellsville University

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky

Intended Academic Focus: The relationship between human rights, democracy, religion, and law. Regional interests: MENA.

Adnan Basheer

Education: B.S. in Politics & International Relations from University College London (UCL)

Hometown: Dubai, U.A.E./Chennai, India

Intended Academic Focus: Good Governance reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Charlene Batlle

Education: B.A. in Humanities with a concentration in Politics and Ethics from Bard College Berlin

Hometown: Pinar del Río, Cuba

Intended Academic Focus: Diplomacy, Democratic backsliding, Democracy Promotion.

Louis Bonnefous

Education: B.A. in Political Science & International Affairs from Northeastern University

Hometown: Paris, France

Intended Academic Focus: Immigration and refugees issues, relationship between nationalism and democracy in Europe, democracy promotion in Central and West Africa.

Leesa Danzek

Education: B.A. in Political Science from University of Southern California

Hometown: Simi Valley, California

Intended Academic Focus: Role of civil society in democratization and democratic backsliding; intersection of policy, media, and grassroots organizing in support of democracy, civil rights, and human rights; how social media is leveraged in international diplomacy.

Rafael de Osma Bedoya

Education: B.A. in International Business from Rollins College

Hometown: Lima, Peru

Intended Academic Focus: My present focus lies on investigating Latin America’s role in the energy transition as well as monitoring the imminent rise of polarization, democratic backsliding, and economic populism in the region.

Sohila Hassan

Education: B.A. in International Government and Politics with a minor in Security and Intelligence Studies from George Mason University

Hometown: Cairo, Egypt and Newport News, Virginia

Intended Academic Focus: Cultural and Societal Impacts of Democratization and Gender and Conflict.

Tyler Heffern

Education: B.A. in Politics from Fairfield University

Hometown: Stratford, Connecticut

Intended Academic Focus: Election Administration and Democratic Erosion.

Max Henning

Education: B.A. in Neuroscience from University of Southern California

Hometown: Pittsboro, North Carolina

Intended Academic Focus: The adaptation of international democracy assistance practices for application in the United States.

Collin Hulling

Education: Western Oregon University

Hometown: Sheridan, Oregon

Intended Academic Focus: Impact of Authoritarian regimes, especially China/Russia in young, and established democracies around the world.

Opal Malai

Education: B.A. in Politics and International Relations from University of Kent (UK)

Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand

Intended Academic Focus: Political theory related to democracy, Democratic Backsliding in South East Asia (ASEAN), Diplomacy and Democracy, polarization and its influences around the world.

Ruwaidah Maudarbux

Education: B.A. in Media and Communication from De Montfort University, M.A. in International Studies and Diplomacy from School of Oriental and African Studies SOAS

Hometown: Northamptonshire – England

Intended Academic Focus: Democratic Backsliding, Institution Building.

Nathan Posner

Education: B.A. in Government from Georgetown University

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Intended Academic Focus: Democratic Backsliding and Extremist groups in existing democracies.

Katja Volz

Education: B.A. in Sociology from University of British Columbia

Hometown: Boulder, Colorado

Intended Academic Focus: Democratization, international development, corruption, with a regional interest in Eastern Europe/Europe.

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