22 June 2016

The Strauss Center is very pleased to announce the acceptance of nine graduate students to its 2016-2017 class of Brumley Next Generation Graduate Fellows program. Now entering its second year, the program’s new class consists of a remarkable group of graduate students drawn from schools and departments across campus.

Involving graduate students in the Strauss Center’s research programs is an important part of the Center’s service mission, and the Brumley Fellows program enables the Center to directly engage with UT graduate students across the 40 acres. 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 with an emphasis on building professional and scholarly skills and networks and gaining exposure to perspectives and methods from outside their home departments. Towards that end, each year we select one fellow for each of our research programs, in a highly-competitive process involving applicants from across the campus

The graduate fellowship program consists of two core components. First, each Fellow will work with their faculty mentor to identify a policymaker or scholar of particular significance for their career plans, whom the Strauss Center will then bring to campus for a dinner with that Fellow, a private colloquium with the full group of Fellows, and a public address.  Second, each Fellow participates in a mentor-guided research project, including the option of Strauss Center financial support for associated research expenses.

Meet the 2016-2017 Brumley Next Generation Graduate Fellows:

Benjamin Betner is entering the third year of his program at the UT School of Law. Prior to law school, he spent seven years in the United States Army working for U.S. Army Special Operations Command. These experiences have led to Ben’s interest in pursuing a career in national security and foreign affairs. He will work with UT Law School Professor Steve Vladeck under the Strauss Center’s National Security Law program.

Michael Gibbs is beginning the second year of his doctoral studies in the Department of Government. His research focuses on security services’ behavior during democratic consolidation, authoritarian reversion, and state failure. In his Brumley Fellowship, Michael will work under the Center’s Intelligence Studies Project (ISP)—jointly started by the Strauss and Clements Centers—and will work with ISP Director and LBJ School Professor Steve Slick to conduct research on intelligence initiatives. Upon completion of his PhD, Michael plans to pursue a career in academia.

Mohamed Al-Hendy is entering the third year of his studies at the School of Law. His studies focus on international and national security law, with a particular interest in terrorism and counterterrorism. In his Brumley Fellowship, Mohamed will work with UT Law School Professor Derek Jinks under the Strauss Center’s National Security Law program. Mohamed plans to pursue a career in the federal government after graduation.

Emma Kent is entering the second year of her Master’s degree in Global Policy Studies at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Her research focuses on analyzing the relationship between insecurity and vulnerability to disasters and she hopes to learn how to craft more effective humanitarian response strategies in her future career. She will work with UT Government Professor Paula Newberg under the Strauss Center’s Complex Emergencies and Political Stability in Asia program.

Nisha Krishnan is entering her fourth year of her doctoral studies at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Her research interests lie at the intersection of environment, development, and security, and Nisha is currently a Graduate Research Assistant with the Strauss Center’s Complex Emergencies and Political Stability in Asia program. She will work with Government Associate Professor Patrick McDonald under the Center’s State Fragility program. Upon completion of her PhD, Nisha plans to pursue a career in international development.

Stephen Leland is entering his second year of his Master’s degree in Global Policy Studies at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. His research involves analyzing the strategic utilization of special operations forces and the military in modern “grey zone” conflicts. He will work with under the Strauss Center’s Terrorism and Counterterrorism program and will be mentored by LBJ School Professor Jeremi Suri. Stephen plans to attend law school after completing his graduate studies.

Annika Rettstadt is entering her second year in a dual degree program at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Department of Middle Eastern Studies. Her research focuses on recruitment tactics and the use of encrypted sites by the Islamic State. Annika will work with LBJ School Professor Paul Miller under the Strauss Center’s Terrorism and Counterterrorism program. Annika plans to pursue a career in a policy position bridging the gap between America and the Middle East with a particular interest in counterterrorism tactics.

Cathy Wu is entering the fifth year of her doctoral studies in the Department of Government. Her research involves analyzing the strategic behaviors of leaders in security crises with a particular focus on the growing nationalism in China and regional tension in East Asia. She will work under the Strauss Center’s China Program and will be mentored by LBJ School Assistant Professor Josh Eisenman. Cathy plans to pursue a career in academic research, connecting theories with policy implications.

Patricia Zavala is entering her third year in a dual degree program at the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and the LBJ School’s Global Policy Studies program. Her research focuses on global climate change and its impact on low-income regions. Patricia will be mentored by LBJ School Associate Professor Kate Weaver under the Strauss Center’s Complex Emergencies and Political Stability in Asia program. Patricia plans to pursue a career in environmental and economic policy.

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