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CISAC names 2019-20 pre- and postdoctoral fellows

The Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) is pleased to announce the selection of its pre-and postdoctoral fellows for the 2019-20 academic year. They will begin their appointments at Stanford in the coming Autumn quarter.

CISAC fellows spend the academic year engaged in research and writing and are expected to participate in seminars and to interact and collaborate with leading faculty and researchers.

Natural scientists have the opportunity to conduct research on the scientific and technical aspects of security topics, as well as to work in collaboration with faculty members. The CISAC fellowship provides an unparalleled opportunity for scholars and professionals to explore complex international problems and innovative solutions in a collegial and collaborative environment.

Meet our incoming scholars:


Shazeda Ahmed

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Shazeda Ahmed is a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley who researches how tech firms and the Chinese government are collaboratively constructing the country's social credit system. She will be joining CISAC and the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence in Fall 2019 as a pre-doctoral Fellow. Shazeda has worked as a researcher for the Citizen Lab, the Mercator Institute for China Studies, and the Ranking Digital Rights corporate transparency review by New America. In the 2018-19 academic year she was a Fulbright fellow at Peking University's law school.
 


Ahmer Arif

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Ahmer Arif will be a Postdoctoral Fellow at CISAC and the Stanford Internet Observatory in the Spring 2020.  He is currently completing his PhD at the University of Washington’s department of Human Centered Design & Engineering. His research falls at the intersection of computer science and social science and is situated within the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and the emerging field of Crisis Informatics. Using a combination of empirical methods, including qualitative, computational and network analysis, he examines small group and large-scale interactions in online settings within contexts of mass disruption like terrorist attacks and civil wars. A major focus of his work has been to examine how different groups use communication technologies like social media to spread, shape and confront problematically inaccurate or deceptive information in these settings. His work touches on broader questions about the intersection of technology and society—particularly around how we might use and shape our tools for cooperative civic purposes to reliably and effectively promote human flourishing. He is an international student from Pakistan with a background in Computer Science and English Literature. Outside of academia, he’s had the good fortune to work as a researcher and consultant with several large organizations like Facebook, Yahoo!, The World Bank and the UNDP.


Nandita Balakrishnan

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Nandita Balakrishnan will be a Pre-doctoral Fellow at CISAC in 2019-2020. Her research focuses on issues pertaining to international security and political violence with a substantive focus on civil-military relations. She is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at Stanford University where her dissertation is on the international and domestic factors that explain the global decline of military coups d’etat. She has been a Satre Family Fellow (under the Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship) since 2017 and is also currently a New Era Fellow with the Bridging the Gap Project. Her work has been supported by the Europe Center. Nandita holds Bachelors of Arts in both International Studies (highest honors) and Economics from Emory University where she was awarded the Elliot Levitas Award for the most outstanding student in political science. 


Lauren Borja

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Lauren Borja will be a MacArthur Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at the CISAC in 2019-2020, where her research will focus on the cyber insider threat to the U.S. nuclear arsenal. She is broadly interested in the effect of new technology on nuclear security issues, leveraging her technical skills as a scientist to inform and contribute to the issues in nuclear policy. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she constructed an ultrafast laser apparatus for studying fundamental interactions inside semiconductor materials with unprecedented resolution. Lauren completed her Ph.D. in December 2016 and is currently a Simons Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of British Columbia, where she studies nuclear disarmament and risk. She has authored articles on the Nuclear Ban Treaty, nuclear false alarms, and cybersecurity risks in the nuclear arsenal that have appeared in the Vancouver Sun, American Physical Society’s Physics and Society newsletter, and Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.


Daniel Bush

Daniel received his Ph.D. from Stanford’s Slavic Department in 2018, where he wrote a dissertation examining aesthetic strategies and truth claims in Soviet literature and film about the Second World War. He will join CISAC as a Stanford Internet Observatory Fellow, and his current research projects focus on social-media use in contemporary Russian politics and on Russian anarchist movements of the nineteenth century.

 


Melissa Carlson

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Melissa Carlson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at U.C. Berkeley, specializing in international relations, comparative politics, and methodology. She will join CISAC in 2019-2020 as a Middle East Initiative Pre-doctoral Fellow. Broadly, her research examines the dynamics of military partnerships between state governments and foreign militant groups. Melissa's dissertation develops an organizational theory of third-party provision of support: when foreign militant groups and state armed forces share similar organizational characteristics, they are more likely to form joint commands, carry out joint attacks, and provide each other with advanced weapons systems.  Melissa's other research interests focus on factors that influence informal cooperation between states, and on how refugee perceptions of host communities, host governments, and aid organizations influence refugee decision-making. Prior to beginning her PhD at U.C. Berkeley, Melissa worked as Public Information consultant for the International Organization for Migration, Iraq Mission in Jordan and Iraqi Kurdistan. Melissa has a M.A. in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley, and a B.A. in International Relations and Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Claremont McKenna College.


Debak Das

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Debak Das will be a MacArthur Nuclear Security Pre-doctoral Fellow at CISAC in 2019-2020. He is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the Department of Government, Cornell University. His doctoral dissertation examines how regional powers build their nuclear force structures. This research is based on extensive fieldwork in India, the United Kingdom, and France. Debak is also interested in historical archives, public opinion and foreign policy, and South Asian politics. His research has been supported by the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, the Wilson Center, Cornell University’s Graduate School, the Cornell Institute for European Studies, and the Chateaubriand Fellowship in Humanities and Social Sciences. Debak received his M.Phil in Diplomacy and Disarmament, and his M.A. in Politics and International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He also holds a B.A. (Honors) in History from Presidency College, Kolkata. Debak has formerly held research positions at Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies and the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation, New Delhi. His prior work includes organizing extensive Track II Dialogues between India and Pakistan specifically on nuclear and other related security issues. 


Janina Dill

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Janina Dill will be joining CISAC as a Stanton Junior Faculty Fellow. Janina is currently the John G. Winant Associate Professor of U.S. Foreign Policy at the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR) at the University of Oxford. Her research concerns international law and morality in international relations, specifically in war. Janina investigates how legal and moral imperatives interact with strategic thinking to explain conduct in war and the development of armed conflict. Her first book, Legitimate Targets? International Law, Social Construction and U.S. Bombing, appeared with Cambridge University Press as part of the series Cambridge Studies in International Relations in 2015. The book was Runner-Up for the Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship of the Society of Legal Scholars and received an Honourable Mention by the Theory Section of the International Studies Association. Her second (c-authored) book, The Law Applicable to Armed Conflict, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press as part of the series Max Planck Trialogues on the Law of Peace and War.


Colin Garvey

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Colin Garvey will be joining CISAC and the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence in Fall 2019 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. He studies the history and political economy of artificial intelligence (AI), among other things, with a comparative focus on Japan. He is currently a PhD Candidate and Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Fellow in the Science and Technology Studies Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). His dissertation “Averting AI Catastrophe, Together: On the Democratic Governance of Epochal Technologies,” challenges utopian/dystopian thinking about AI by explaining how more democratic governance of the technology is not only necessary to avert catastrophe, but also to steer AI R&D more safely, fairly, and wisely. He won Best Early Career Paper at the 2017 meeting of the Society for the History of Technology for “Broken Promises & Empty Threats: The Evolution of AI in America, 1956-1996.” His research article on the history and political economy of Japanese AI, “An Alternative to Neoliberal Modernity: The ‘Threat’ of the Japanese Fifth Generation Computer Systems Project,” will be published in a forthcoming special issue of Pacific Historical Review. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). In addition to an MS in STS from RPI, Colin double-majored in Japanese and Media Studies at Vassar College. Before starting graduate school, Colin spent several years teaching in Japan, where he became a Zen Buddhist monk. Colin is fluent in Japanese and freelances as a translator of Japanese books and scientific articles.


Melissa Griffith

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Melissa K. Griffith will join CISAC as a Cybersecurity Pre-doctoral Fellow. Melissa is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley and an affiliated researcher at the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC). Her researches lie at the intersection of security and technology, with a focus on national defense. Griffith's dissertation examines how pre-existing models for kinetic national defense (air, land, and sea) effects the subsequent organization and efficacy of national cyber-defense efforts. By focusing specifically on how a subset of relatively small yet successful states, the Mice that Roar, have pursued national cyber-defense, her research challenges two prevailing assumptions in security studies and cyber conflict scholarship: (1) that larger states with more resources will be better positioned to provide national defense for their populations and (2) that national cyber-defense, as a central task of states, represents a significant departure from the core requirements of national defense in the domains of air, land, and sea (i.e. that it represents a new type of defense problem for states to address). Her research is based on extensive fieldwork in Estonia, Finland, Israel, Singapore, and the U.S. She was a Visiting Scholar at George Washington University's Institute for International Science & Technology Policy (IISTP) in October 2018; a Visiting Research Fellow at the Research Institute on the Finnish Economy (ETLA) in Helsinki, Finland from 2017-2018; and a Visiting Researcher at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Brussels, Belgium in Fall 2017. Griffith’s published work has appeared in the 'American Institute for Contemporary German Studies', 'Business and Politics', the ‘Centre for European Policy Studies', the 'Council on Foreign Relations'(1)(2),the 'Cyber Conflict Studies Association', and the 'Journal of Cyber Policy'. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from Agnes Scott College (2011) and a M.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley (2014).


Mariya Grinberg

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Mariya Grinberg is a PhD Candidate in the field of international relations at the University of Chicago and a research fellow with the Belfer Center’s International Security Program. Her primary research examines why states trade with their enemies, investigating the product level and temporal variation in commercial war policies of states vis-a-vis enemy belligerents. Her broader research interests include international relations theory focusing on order formation and questions of state sovereignty. In 2017-2018, she was the Smith Richardson pre-doctoral fellow at Yale University. She holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago's Committee on International Relations and a B.A. from the University of Southern California.


Lindsay Krall

Lindsay Krall will be a MacArthur Postdoctoral Fellow at CISAC. She couples Earth science with energy policy to study the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle, focusing on geologic repository development by integrating environmental radiochemistry with adaptive management and fissile materials tracking.

She began this research in 2009, coincident with the termination of the United States’ project to develop a repository for high-level nuclear waste. After completing her bachelors’ in Industrial and Operations Engineering and Geological Science at the University of Michigan in 2011, she moved to Stockholm to work as an intern at the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company. From there, she became an “industridoktorand” and was able to learn, through experience as an employee, about the operations of an effective spent fuel management organization while pursuing a Ph.D. in Geochemistry. Her thesis research explored the mobility of natural uranium and radium isotopes in deep groundwater through field studies at the Forsmark site, proposed to host the Swedish repository. She coordinated this work with labs in Spain and the U.K., as well as the Swedish Museum of Natural History and Stockholm University, the latter of which awarded her a doctorate in 2017. Between 2017 and 2019, Lindsay was a MacArthur post-doctoral fellow at George Washington University. During this time, she characterized the chemical and physical diversity of the radioactive waste streams that might be generated in advanced fuel cycles and discussed their implications for storage, disposal, and the proliferation of separated fissile material with the nuclear security community in Washington, D.C.


Xinru Ma

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Xinru is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Political Science and International Relations (POIR) program at University of Southern California, and will join CISAC as a Postdoctoral Fellow for 2019-2020. Originally from China, Xinru is interested in combining formal modeling and computational social science with research on nationalist protests and maritime disputes, with a regional focus on East and Southeast Asia. Her research is informed by extensive field research in Vietnam, Philippines and China, during which she interviewed protestors, think tanks, diplomats, government officials, and foreign business owners that were impacted by nationalist protests. In addition to informing her of the complicated strategic interaction between mass mobilization, government repression and foreign policy-making, the field research further motivated her to focus on the methodological challenges for causal inference that stem from strategic conflict behavior. More broadly, Xinru is interested in public opinion and new methods of measuring it, foreign policy formation, alliance politics, East Asian security dynamics, and the historical relations of East Asia. 


Iris Malone

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Iris Malone is completing her Ph.D. in the Political Science Department at Stanford University and will join CISAC as a Postdoctoral Fellow.  In 2020, she will be joining the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs as an Assistant Professor. Iris’s research agenda develops and tests new theories about emerging security threats. It includes two research projects, examining the causes of civil war and interstate conflict. The first project includes the dissertation and a series of related empirical papers. It develops a new theory about why states sometimes make mistakes in response to emerging insurgent threats, leading to civil war.  It tests this theory with fieldwork interviews, machine learning, and case studies.  This project also introduces a new large-scale dataset on the organizational characteristics of 1,570 armed groups to ground future empirical work on insurgency and terrorism. The second project explores how uncertainty shapes patterns of interstate conflict and cooperation. Some of this work is forthcoming in International Studies Quarterly. Malone’s work is supported by the Tobin Research Initiative, Hoover Institution, and Stanford Institute for Research in the Social Sciences.  Prior to Stanford, she graduated from Cornell University with degrees in Chemistry and Government, summa cum laude.


Asfandyar Mir

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Asfandyar Mir will be continuing at CISAC as a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow 2019-2020. Asfandyar Mir is FSI Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation. He received a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 2018. His research focuses on counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, drone warfare, al-Qaida, and South Asian security affairs. His research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as International Security, International Studies Quarterly, and Security Studies. His commentary has featured in the Washington Post Monkey Cage and Lawfare.


Reid Pauly

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Reid Pauly will be a Stanton Postdoctoral Fellow at CISAC 2019-2020. His scholarship focuses on coercion and nuclear weapons proliferation, especially the causes of credible coercive assurance—why and how targets of coercion believe that they will not be punished after they comply with demands. His broader research interests include wargaming and crisis simulations, nuclear strategy, and tacit cooperation between adversaries. Reid is a PhD candidate in Political Science at MIT and a member of the Security Studies Program. He was also a predoctoral fellow at the International Security Program and the Project on Managing the Atom at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Prior to graduate school, Reid was a research assistant at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and earned a B.A. in History and Government from Cornell University.


Maxime Polleri

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Maxime Polleri is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at York University and currently a CISAC MacArthur Pre-doctoral Fellow. His current research focuses on the 2011 Fukushima Dai’ichi nuclear disaster and on the crisis of expertise that ensued, in which many citizens have become wary of state institutional experts, especially in their capacities to manage the problems engendered by residual radioactivity. In such a context, his dissertation is concerned with how the Fukushima crisis has participated in the formations of new forms of expertise and consequently, new means of governing toxicity. It asks: How is radioactive hazard being governed in the wake of a crisis of legitimacy against state institutional expert? Based on 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork throughout Japan, the dissertation argues that averting the crisis of expertise and managing the reconstruction of what “normality” involves in a post-Fukushima Japan include a fundamental reorganization of state governance, where the dissemination of radiation hazards cannot simply rest on dry, clinical manner in which government-packaged expertise about radiation was initially promulgated to a former lay public. In particular, these shift in the governance of radioactive risk are increasingly being enacted by promoting a state-sponsored affective embodiment toward nuclear matter, as well as by encouraging the endeavor of citizen science, where former lay citizens now track and monitor residual radioactivity in their environment. His fieldwork was funded by the Japan Foundation and the Canada Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. His work has been published in Anthropology Now, Anthropology Today, and Medical Anthropology Quarterly Second Spear.


Michal Smetana

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Michal Smetana will join CISAC as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar. His main research interests lie at the intersection of social psychology and security studies, with a specific focus on issues related to nuclear weapons in world politics, arms control and disarmament, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, deterrence theory, and norms and deviance in international affairs. His current research project deals with the relationship between moral foundations of individuals and public attitudes towards various international security issues, from the (non-)use of nuclear and chemical weapons to the development of autonomous weapon systems. He was previously a Visiting Research Fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) and has been a Research Associate and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, as well as a Coordinator of the Peace Research Center Prague (PRCP). His most recent articles have been published in International Affairs, The Washington Quarterly, Journal of International Relations and Development, International Relations, Asia Europe Journal, Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsCambridge Review of International Affairs, The Nonproliferation Review, and other academic and policy journals. He is the co-author of Global Nuclear Disarmament: Strategic, Political, and Regional Perspectives (Routledge) and Indirect Coercion: Triangular Strategies and International Conflict (Charles University Press).


Julien de Troullioud de Lanversin

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Julien de Troullioud de Lanversin will be joining CISAC as a Stanton Postdoctoral Fellow. Julien is finishing his Ph.D. at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security. He is interested in how to verify and reconstruct past fissile material production programs with scientific tools. To that end, he developed innovative methods that use isotopic analysis from nuclear reactors to gain information on their past operation (nuclear archeology) and designed an open source software that can compute the istopic composition of fissile materials from nuclear reactors. His current research looks at the various modalities of the production of plutonium and tritium in production reactors and how transparency on tritium could be used to improve estimates on plutonium stockpiles. Julien also studies security questions related to civil and military nuclear programs in Northeast Asia through the lens of fissile material, with a focus on China and North Korea. Julien visited the Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technologies at Tsinghua University for one semester in 2018 to collaborate with Chinese experts on work related to nuclear engineering and arms control. Julien’s work on nuclear archaeology has been published in the Journal of Science and Global Security. He received his Diplôme d’Ingénieur (M.Sc. And B.Sc.Eng.) from Ecole Centrale de Marseille in 2014. The same year he also obtained a M.Sc. in Nuclear Science and Engineering from the University of Tsinghua where he was a recipient of the Chinese Government Scholarship. Julien speaks and uses Chinese in his research and is a native French speaker.

 

 

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