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Strauss Center Announces 2021 – 2022 Brumley Next Generation Fellows

May 28, 2021 |

The Strauss Center is very pleased to announce the acceptance of twelve graduate students to its 2021 – 2022 class of the Brumley Next Generation Fellows program. Now entering its seventh year, the program’s new class comprises an impressive group of graduate students drawn from schools and departments across the UT campus. 

Involving graduate students in the Strauss Center’s research programs is an important part of the Center’s service mission, and the Next Generation Brumley Fellows program enables the Strauss Center to directly engage with students on enhancing their research and professional opportunities. The goal of the program is to provide a transformative experience for UT graduate students from an array of disciplines, accelerating their path towards career success. The Fellows program emphasizes building professional and scholarly skills and networks, as well as gaining exposure to perspectives and methods from outside the Fellows’ home departments. Towards that end, each year we select the Fellows for each of our research programs in a highly competitive process involving applicants from varying fields of study. 

Meet the 2021 – 2022 Brumley Next Generation Graduate Fellows: 

Rubi Bledsoe is a second-year Master of Global Policy student at the LBJ School. She was born and raised in Mexico, and later moved to Washington D.C. She graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College where she earned a B.A. in International and Global Studies with a focus on the Middle East. She attended the Middlebury Arabic Language School in California and studied abroad at the University of Jordan. In Jordan, she worked with an NGO providing informal education to refugees displaced by the Syrian Civil war. She was the recipient of the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs Study Abroad Research Grant to conduct research on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its effect on Jordan’s political stability. After graduating from Middlebury, Rubi accepted a teaching position at HM King Abdullah II’s King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan. At the LBJ School, Rubi specializes in diplomacy and national security. This summer, Rubi will be interning at the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies, in Amman, Jordan. As an intern at the organization, Rubi will be writing shadow reports for different UN agencies concerning human rights, as well as building stronger relationships between the Center and foreign embassies in Jordan. As part of the research portion of the internship, Rubi will look at the intersection of foreign weapons sales and human rights, both crucial parts of U.S. national security. As a Brumley Fellow, Rubi will be working with Dr. Bianca Adair. Dr. Adair is an officer in the Directorate of Operations at the Central Intelligence Agency and is currently serving as the Resident Intelligence Officer at UT Austin.

Jon Buchleiter is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his B.A. in Peace, War, and Defense and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which he graduated with the highest honors and highest distinction in 2016. Before graduate school, Jon taught high school social studies in Charlotte, NC. His research focuses on nuclear arms control and disarmament in the United States. He is particularly interested in how different institutions in the US government promote or hinder these efforts. As a Brumley Fellow, Jon will be working with Dr. Jaganath Sankaran, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs at the LBJ School.

Azeem Edwin is a Dual MGPS and J.D. candidate at the LBJ School. Azeem is a proud Texan and is originally from Humble, Texas. He went to UT as an undergraduate and is proud to say that upon graduation he will be a three-time Longhorn. Before coming to professional school, Azeem worked as a social worker and focused on the general homeless population, refugees, and asylees. Azeem currently serves as Student Body President of LBJ and is extremely excited to be a Brumley Fellow. After graduation, Azeem is interested in practicing international law. His favorite restaurant is Waffle House. As a Brumley Fellow, Azeem will be working with Strauss Center Distinguished Scholars, Stephanie Leutert and Dr. Ricardo Ainslie.

Dr. Jingjing Feng is a Master of Global Policy Studies student at the LBJ School. She received her Ph.D. in Physics from UT Austin in 2019, where she used statistical modeling to study quantum transport and solar cell material. Her research was published in American Physical Society peer-reviewed journal articles and conference talks. She worked at the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Division for Sustainable Goals, where she conducted projects related to digital governance, and technology innovation policy. Jingjing’s interdisciplinary experiences in both natural and social science allow her to go beyond the scope and enter into the intersection between policy and technology. As a Brumley Fellow, Jingjing will be working with Professor Samuel Woolley, project director for propaganda research at the Center for Media Engagement (CME) at UT.

Joseph Flores is a graduate student at the LBJ School pursuing a Master’s in Global Policy Studies. He is currently interning with the International Program at the Migration Policy Institute. His area of focus at the LBJ School is migration policy and global governance, and his research interests include responses to migration flows, development, coordination between States. Joseph graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in International Relations and Global Studies, specializing in International Security and Latin American studies. After graduating, Joseph served as a Franklin H. Williams Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington DC, interning with their International Institutions and Global Governance program. At the LBJ School, Joseph serves as an Editor with the Baines Report, the Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and a board member for the Policy Alliance for Communities of Color. After graduation, Joseph hopes to continue his work in migration policy, focusing on Latin American migration, with the hopes of generating policy insights applicable across the globe. As a Brumley Fellow, Joseph will be working with Dr. Kenneth Greene, Associate Professor of Government

Taylor Ham is a first-year M.A. student at the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. She received her Master of Global Policy Studies degree from the LBJ School, where she studied national security, counterterrorism, and intelligence. Before attending the University of Texas, she led the underwriting department at a bank in Waco, Texas where she worked as an Assistant Vice President and Credit Officer. She hopes to build upon the professional leadership and analytical skills gained in that role and apply them to a career in foreign policy and intelligence. Taylor is specifically interested in studying Russian foreign policy in the Middle East, particularly in relation to Iran and Russia’s intelligence operations and asymmetric warfare used in ongoing conflicts. As a Brumley Fellow, Taylor will be working with Professor Stephen Slick, Director of the Intelligence Studies Project.

Nils Holst is a second-year Master of Global Policy Studies student at the LBJ School, where he studies national security and intelligence issues. As a Paul L. Leventhal fellow for international and nuclear security, he is particularly interested in nuclear nonproliferation policy and hopes to work in that field after graduation. He has a degree in journalism from Southern Oregon University and served in Morocco with the Peace Corps. As a Brumley Fellow, Nils will work with J. Paul Pope, a Senior Fellow with the Intelligence Studies Project.

Siyun Jiang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Government and an M.A. in Statistics student in the Department of Statistics and Data Science at the University of Texas at Austin. She broadly studies political economy and judicial politics with causal inference methods and text analysis. Her dissertation is on the impact of political centralization and local bureaucratic resistance in China’s judicial system. Before joining UT, she lived and studied in Mainland China, Taiwan, Thailand and Hong Kong. As a Brumley Fellow, Siyun will be working with Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens, associate professor at the LBJ School.

Destiny Moreno is a second-year graduate student at the LBJ School. She is passionate about mitigating harmful technology with interests in criminal and economic justice. Destiny earned her Bachelor of Arts in 2020 in Public Policy with a minor in Science, Technology & Society from the University of California at San Diego. She is currently a researcher for the Good Systems UT Grand Challenge on a project leveraging AI to improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness, and she will investigate the use of algorithms in government agencies as a Brumley Fellow under the Strauss Center’s Artificial Intelligence Studies program. Upon graduation, Destiny plans to pursue a career in technology policy that centers the public interest. As a Brumley Fellow, Destiny will be working with Professor Bryan Jones, Adjunct Professor at UT’s School of Law.

Eloy Oliveira is a Ph.D. candidate at the LBJ School. Eloy holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Columbia University and also a Bachelors of Law degree from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil). Before joining the LBJ School, Eloy led Republica.org, a Brazilian Think-and-Do-Tank focused on using data to improve the motivation, responsiveness and effectiveness of people working in government in Brazil. Since its inception in 2016, Republica.org has led and co-funded over 130 different projects, sparking real change in Brazilian public policy. Prior to Republica.org, Eloy served as a public servant at the Minas Gerais State Government in Brazil, where he led projects related to Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). He regularly writes to newspapers in Brazil about best practices in Public Management and Public Policies. As a Brumley Fellow, Eloy will be working with Professor Ashley Moran, Strauss Center State Fragility Director.

Elizabeth A. Rose (Alex Rose) is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a Master of Public Affairs degree at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. A sixth-generation Texan, Rose has lived and worked in places like Austin, New York City and Los Angeles as a project manager and communications strategist for companies like Disney, Netflix and GSD&M. She is also an independent musician who writes, releases and performs music under the name Canyon Counterpoint. Rose’s current research at the LBJ School focuses on national security studies as it dovetails with cyber security and the media. Through her work with the Strauss Center, she is particularly interested in understanding the effects of information confrontation like hacking and disinformation on the current landscape of media and public discourse in America. As a Brumley Fellow, Alex will be working with Professor Eric Greenwald, Professor at UT’s School of Law.

Weston Weber is a second-year graduate student pursuing a degree in Global Policy Studies at the LBJ School. Prior to joining the LBJ community, he received his B.A. in International Relations and Global Studies, specializing in Russia and Eastern Europe and security. Weston’s interests include climate security, sustainability, and their potential intersection on space management and sustainability. He is also interested in advocacy work for contemporary space issues. As a Brumley Fellow, Weston will be working with Dr. Moriba Jah, Program Lead of the Space Security and Safety Program at the Strauss Center.

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