2018-2019 Fellows

Leyatt Betre,  Graduate Fellow

As a first-generation American born to Ethiopian parents, Leyatt had a small town Texas upbringing often punctuated by encounters with the wider world. While she cannot claim any encounters of the third kind, she picked up an early love of astronomy and the slightly less wide world of international politics. Leyatt went on to study physics and political science at MIT, where she sought to forge some semblance of academic and personal coherence out of her dual interests. After researching the early chemical evolution of the Milky Way, the spatial distribution of dark matter halos, the drivers of nuclear proliferation, and the role of arms control in shaping U.S. force posture, she concluded that the coherence of one’s CV should generally take a backseat to asking interesting questions. Leyatt is now a Ph.D. student in security studies whose research interests center on issues of nuclear strategy, arms control and diplomatic history.

Evan Bryers, Undergraduate Fellow

[Evan Bryers]

Evan Bryers is a senior from Granite Bay, California studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, with a concentration in cybersecurity. He is pursuing certificates in History & the Practice of Diplomacy, Robotics & Intelligent Systems, and the Applications of Computing. In addition to his technical foci, Evan is interested in the intersection of emerging technologies with intelligence policy, military strategy, and international relations. Outside the classroom, he enjoys traveling, learning languages, and spending time outdoors.

Nicky Don, Undergraduate Fellow

Nicky Don is a senior who hails (mostly) from Miami, Florida, and a Woodrow Wilson School concentrator who everyone thinks is a history major. She speaks Spanish and German, and studies Arabic and Turkish. At Princeton, apart from CISS, Nicole is involved with the Center for Jewish Life, plays drum set for the Princeton University Rock Ensemble (PURE), and works on campus. She wrote her junior independent papers on post-Cold War treaty compliance and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, respectively, and is (tentatively) writing her thesis on refugee integration and assimilation in Europe. She hopes to one day work for U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East, Caucasus, Central Asia, or really any similarly interesting place that might worry her parents too much.

Katherine K. Elgin, Emeritus Fellow

[Katherine Elgin]

Katherine is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in security studies interested in grand strategy, civil-military affairs, alliance dynamics, and national security decision-making processes. Regionally, she is particularly interested in Central Asia and Russia. Before commencing her graduate studies at the Woodrow Wilson School, Katherine worked at the Foreign Policy Program of the Brookings Institution. While in D.C., Katherine also worked with a defense research firm. Katherine speaks Swedish, Russian and French. She grew up on a family farm near Middleburg, Virginia, and enjoys photography, tennis and traveling.  Katherine holds an A.B. in Politics from Princeton University.


Johnathan Falcone, Graduate Fellow

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Lieutenant Johnathan Falcone is an active duty Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy and a Master in Public Affairs candidate at the Woodrow Wilson School. He has served onboard USS GONZALEZ and USS JOHN S MCCAIN deploying to the 5th, 6th, and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility. Prior to earning his commission in 2013, he worked as an Investment Banker and earned a B.A. in Economics from Yale University. He and his wife, Tara, now live in Princeton.



Noel Foster, Graduate Fellow

Noel Foster is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics at Princeton University.  His interests lie in military and strategic innovation, as well as the intersection of grand strategy and domestic politics, with a focus on hybrid conflicts.  Noel received a B.A. and an M.A. from Stanford University in Political Science and Sociology, and an M.A. in E.U. International Relations and Diplomacy from the College of Europe in Bruges. 

Travis Frederick, Graduate Fellow

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Travis Frederick is a Ph.D. student at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and a graduate researcher in Princeton’s Socio-Cognitive Processes Lab. His professional interests include societies’ collective memories of political events, the psychology of threat perception, and US-Russia security relations. Travis speaks Russian and holds a B.A. from The Ohio State University and M.S. from Georgia Tech. He has worked for the DoD, U.S. State Department, and GTRI.



Sarah Gordon, Undergraduate Fellow

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Sarah Gordon is a junior in the Near Eastern Studies department and is pursuing a certificate in Arabic. She is interested in studying counterterrorism strategies and the dynamics of radicalization among extremist groups, including the theological underpinnings of jihadist ideologies. During Summer 2018, Sarah worked at Azraq Syrian Refugee camp in Jordan as an intern for CARE International, researching the stories of refugees who fled their homes, gender dynamics, and the security situation as it relates to the refugee crisis. The previous summer, she worked as a Foreign Policy intern in the United States Senate. 



Mindy Haas, Graduate Fellow

[Mindy Haas]

Mindy Haas is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. Her research centers on the influence of international law on covert action. Mindy holds a B.A. from Bucknell University, where she studied political science and mathematics, and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She also served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, as well as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Mary A. McLaughlin of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.



Cory Isaacs, Graduate Fellow

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A former San Antonio, Texas police officer, criminal prosecutor, and enlisted US Army infantryman who has degrees from Wake Forest, St. Mary's (of Texas), American, Georgetown, and Yale, Cory is a Security Studies PhD student interested in military effectiveness in general and US military force composition and capability in particular. He and his wife Kristin live in Princeton and have two boys, Connor and Dayton.



Leo Li, Undergraduate Fellow

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Leo Li is a junior concentrating in the History Department and is interested in U.S. foreign policy, security studies, and grand strategy. He is pursuing certificates in both Values & Public Life and History & Practice of Diplomacy. Leo is President of Princeton Mock Trial, an editor for the Princeton Historical Review, and a contracted cadet with the Tiger Battalion Army ROTC program. Upon graduation, Leo plans on commissioning as a 2LT in the U.S. Army. During his free time, he enjoys a good book or a game of Squash.


Ella Lipin, Graduate Fellow

Ella is a Master's student at the Woodrow Wilson School. She previously served as the Egypt Country Director and in the speechwriting office of the Secretary of Defense. She also served as a Harold W. Rosenthal Fellow and National Security Graduate Fellow in the Office of Senator Elizabeth Warren. Previously, Ella worked at the Council on Foreign Relations and taught at the English Language Resource Center at Al Azhar University in Egypt.

Max Molot, Undergraduate Fellow

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Max Molot is a senior concentrating in the Woodrow Wilson School focusing on Conflict and Cooperation with a particular interest in Eastern Europe and U.S.-Russian relations. He is pursuing a certificate in the History and Practice of Diplomacy. Max is a senior cadet in the Army ROTC program at Princeton and is the current Cadet Battalion Commander of Tiger Battalion. Following graduation, he plans to commission as a Military Intelligence Officer. He is an editor for the student-run magazine, American Foreign Policy. Outside of school, CISS, and ROTC, Max loves to travel, play soccer, and snowboard.



Ben Press, Undergraduate Fellow


Ben Press is a junior concentrating in the Department of History. He is pursuing certificates in History and the Practice of Diplomacy, French, and Medieval Studies, and will be focusing his junior-year academic research on the formation and administration of empires. Ben has completed internships on a successful statewide campaign in his home state of Virginia and at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Stockholm. Outside of his academic work, he competes on Princeton's Model United Nations Team, serves as the U-Council Chair in the Undergraduate Student Government, and as a tour guide with Orange Key. 


Sam Rasmussen, Undergraduate Fellow

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A proud Utahn, Sam Rasmussen is a senior in the Wilson School. Due in large part to his experiences as a Mormon missionary in Taiwan, Sam is intrigued by Confucian cultures and how a rising China will reshape the international order.  Driven by this interest, Sam has studied abroad at Tsinghua and Peking Universities in China and spent the summer after his sophomore year on the State Department's Burma Desk as a SINSI fellow and the summer after his junior year interning at the Political Section of US Embassy Rangoon.  On campus, Sam is an Outdoor Action leader, a Petey Greene tutor, a TapCats dancer, a student-intern at the Center on Contemporary China, and president of the Latter-day Students Association.


Tajin Rogers, Undergraduate Fellow

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Tajin is a third-year student in the Woodrow Wilson School. A Northern Virginia native, his interests include political economy, international infrastructure, and nationality, especially in Iran and post-Soviet Eurasia. He’s just spent the summer studying Russian both stateside and in Kyrgyzstan. At Princeton, he sings in the Glee Club, Chapel Choir, and Chamber Choir, as well being a cadet in the Army ROTC program. In what free time he has, he loves playing (and watching) soccer.



Chris Russo, Undergraduate Fellow

[Christopher Russo]

Christopher Russo is a junior and prospective Physics major from New York. He is also pursuing certificates in Quantitative and Computational Biology and Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian studies. He speaks French and Russian, and spent a summer and a gap year in Eastern Europe as part of the NSLI-Y program before Princeton. Outside of CISS, Chris is involved in research on campus and (occasionally) writes for the Princeton Progressive.



Sondre Solstad, Graduate Fellow

[Sondre Solstad]

Sondre is a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. His research centers on the politics shape patterns of technology innovation, adoption, and investment allocation, and on how the characteristics of economic opportunities influence political systems. Sondre holds a B.A. from New York University, where he studied international relations with a regional specialization on East Asia. He has also studied at universities in Shanghai and Beijing. In 2009-2010, Sondre served as a surgery assisting medic in the North Brigade of the Norwegian Army.



Ana Sorrentino, Graduate Fellow

Ana Sorrentino is a second-year MPA student at the Woodrow Wilson School. Prior to coming to Princeton, Ana spent two years as a foreign policy and international trade adviser to Congressman Sam Farr, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. Before working on Capitol Hill, she worked for several years at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a human rights research and advocacy organization. This summer, Ana worked as a Research Assistant in the Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division of the Congressional Research Service. She holds a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Aaron Tayler, Graduate Fellow

[Aaron Tayler]

Tayler is a Ph.D. candidate in the Politics Department at Princeton University.  His research focuses on maritime strategy and security issues.  His dissertation examines how states have developed maritime strategies to contest and consolidate global order throughout history.  He received a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in 2015, majoring in International Political Economy.



Ayumi Teraoka, Graduate Fellow

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Ayumi is a Ph.D. student in the Woodrow Wilson School and has particular interests in international security, U.S. alliance policy, and East Asia’s regional security. Prior to enrolling at Princeton, she worked as a research associate for Japan Studies program at the Council on Foreign Relations and for the Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She holds a master’s degree in Asian Studies from Georgetown University and a BA in Law from Keio University. 



Seyitcan Ucin, Undergraduate Fellow


Seyitcan is a junior from Central Florida in the Department of Comparative Literature. His academic work looks at conceptions of alienation and identity in Turkish literature with a particular interest in the experiences of ethnic minorities in the modern Turkish Republic. He is pursuing a certificate in Russian, Eurasian, and Eastern European Studies, as his full interests span the history, politics, and culture of the broader Near East and post-Soviet space. Seyitcan is a cadet in Princeton’s Army ROTC program, where he currently serves as a platoon leader. He plans to commission as an active duty Army Officer following graduation. On campus he writes for and manages The Princeton Progressive, participates in intramural sports, and has been a member of the command team for the Outdoor Action orientation program.


Alexandre Veyne, Undergraduate Fellow

Alexandra Veyne is a sophomore concentrating in the Woodrow Wilson School with a prospective certificate in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Her areas of interest include conflict resolution, human rights, international security, and diplomacy; she hopes to pursue a career where she can facilitate dialogue between misunderstood and subsequently hostile parties. Alexandra was born and raised in France.

Anne Marie Wright, Undergraduate Fellow

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Anne Marie Wright is a junior concentrating in the Woodrow Wilson School with a plan to pursue a certificate in History and the Practice of Diplomacy.  Anne Marie is a cadet in the Princeton Army ROTC’s Tiger Battalion and is interested in civilian-military relations. She spent part of last summer working in DC gaining knowledge about the civilian side of Defense policy. Outside of CISS, Anne Marie is involved in the Bogle Fellows program at the Pace Center.