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2022 Fellows


Fahad Abdulrazzaq

Fahad Abdulrazzaq was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq and is an International Affairs Major and Sophomore at the United States Military Academy. At West Point, Fahad is a competitive Army Boxer and a member of Elevation Leadership and the Black and Gold Leadership Forum. Abdulrazzaq's immigrant background has motivated him to pursue further research on Middle Eastern refugee and immigration policy. Fahad is a recipient of the STAMPS scholarship and hopes to use the money to research Middle Eastern and South Asian refugee patterns.


Yasmeen Abed

Yasmeen Abed is a junior at Yale pursuing a double major in Political Science and Modern Middle East Studies with an Arabic language certificate. She is the Program Development Coordinator at Elena’s Light, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering refugee women and children through ESL and health education. She has interned at the Jordanian Embassy, serves on the Benjamin Franklin College Council, and is the Programming Director for Sycamore Institute, an undergraduate-led think tank.


Michaela Bauman

Michaela Bauman is a sophomore majoring in Global Affairs with certificates in Spanish and Portuguese. She works on affordable housing and criminal justice reform through Yale Dems and is on the board of Bridges ESL, a club that offers free English classes to immigrants in New Haven. While her interest is primarily in Latin America, she is excited to dive into the complex challenges of another region, the Middle East, where the U.S. has also been heavily involved.


Seth Benson

Seth Benson is a double major in American Politics and Applied Statistics and Data Science at the United States Military Academy. His research interests lie in using quantitative techniques to analyze political participation, and he is especially interested in political nationalization and partisanship. At West Point, CDT Benson has participated in the Company D2 and H4 Sandhurst teams, is the communications director for the Mounger Writing Center, and plays trumpet in the Catholic Choir. He is also currently working on a team to predictively model gunnery results.


Natalie Block

Natalie Block is an Applied Psychology with Honors major from Charlotte, North Carolina. Leading into her junior year of high school, Natalie worked with numerous refugee relief organizations on the island of Lesvos. At West Point, she serves as the First Sergeant for Company A-4 and manages the Army Women’s Swim and Dive Team. She enjoys working out with the CrossFit Black and Gold Affiliate Team and is a co-author on two publications focused on therapeutic strategies to reduce protein aggregation in Alzheimer’s patients.


Mathis Bitton

Mathis Bitton is a junior in Ezra Stiles College studying Political Science and Philosophy. At Yale, his academic work focuses on Confucian thought and its impact on Chinese statesmanship. Mathis is interested in liberalism and its critics, intellectuals as agents of change, and theories of elite production. He is the president of the Yale Political Union, edits the Yale Historical Review, and is a writer at Palladium Magazine. He has done research at multiple think tanks in DC, worked on French political campaigns, and interned at the French National Assembly.


Alma Cooper

Alma Cooper is a Junior at the United States Military Academy and from Okemos, MI. She is a Mathematical Science major with conference presentations and a pending publication, and since 2014, has served as the Clothing Drive Ambassador for the non-profit Fashion Hope. The summer of her Junior year, Alma used natural language processing algorithms at the Center for Army Analysis to assist an airborne unit’s text analysis during operations. In her free time, Alma enjoys running and hot yoga.


Demirkan Coker

Demirkan Coker is a senior from Turkey double majoring in Economics and Global Affairs. Last summer, he interned as a political risk analyst for an investment firm, focusing on the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. Outside of class, he works as a research assistant at the MacMillan Center for Professor Milan Svolik, aiding his work on hybrid regimes and autocratization.


Krista Flinkstrom

Krista Flinkstrom is an Economics major with pre-medical concentration. Her academic interests lie at the nexus of global health, economics, and gender.  She has focused on challenging herself academically and developing military proficiency on West Point’s Sandhurst Black and Gold team.  She has enjoyed the opportunity to attend Airborne school and be the Golf Company executive officer at Cadet Basic Training.  This past summer, Flinkstrom worked as an intern with the Development Finance Corporation in Washington D.C.


Tyler Jager

Tyler Jager is a senior at Yale from Manchester, Vermont pursuing a B.A./M.A. degree in Political Science. Part of the human rights program at Yale Law School, he is interested in refugee and immigrant rights, political violence, and international development. Tyler was editor-in-chief of the Yale Review of International Studies, project head at the Hunger and Homelessness Project, and gives tours at the Art Gallery. He has interned for Foreign Affairs, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the U.S. Mission to the UN as a Kirby Simon Fellow.


Cameron Janssens

Cameron Janssens is a sophomore at Yale from New York City, majoring in History, and pursuing an advanced language certificate in Mandarin. He is passionate about American foreign policy and national security, and has experience working in the United States Senate, House of Representatives, and think tanks in the field. In addition to the politics, law, and government pathway within the history major, Cameron's regional focus is on the Middle East. Outside of the classroom, Cameron is on Yale Club Tennis and has his own radio show.


Max Krupnik

Max Krupnick is a senior in Berkeley College studying History. He is interested in the study of and fight against antisemitism. He is a freelance journalist, often writing about college campuses, Israel, and antisemitism. He has worked for the ADL and the Israel Economic Trade Mission. On campus, Max is involved with Hillel Hebrew School, First-Year Outdoor Orientation, and Berkeley College activities.


Skakel McCooey

Skakel McCooey is a senior history major in Silliman College. He is pursuing a joint B.A./M.A. degree with a particular focus on environmental and intellectual history. During a recent gap year, he worked for a climate-focused early-stage venture capital fund and conducted research at Yale's Carbon Containment Lab. Skakel also served as an editor and writer at the Yale Daily News. In his free time, Skakel enjoys hiking, biking, and playing tennis.


Anthony Marco

Anthony Marco is a junior and military history major at the United States Military Academy from Long Island, NY. Marco is a proud member of company D-3 at West Point, and serves as Vice President of the West Point History Club, Editor for Report: West Point Undergraduate Historical Review, and a writing fellow in West Point’s writing program. This past summer, he completed Air Assault School and served as a Platoon Sergeant for Delta Company during Cadet Basic Training. CDT Marco has also served as a congressional and NY State Assembly intern.


Thalsa-Thiziri Mekaouche

Thalsa-Thiziri Mekaouche is a first year in Branford College and a prospective Global Affairs major. Daughter of Algerian parents, she has always lived in Marseille, France. She is fond of cooking and is always up for anything outdoors! Her favorite author is Albert Camus, a French writer born in Algeria, and like him, her life has been inextricably linked to the Mediterranean. She loves its history, its landscapes, and the sun, which has nurtured both its fertile soil and countless communities over thousands of years.


Candice Mulinda

Candice Mulinda is a junior in Trumbull College majoring in Religious Studies with a certificate in Spanish. Raised in Roanoke County, VA, she grew up accustomed to discussing her political views in the context of Protestantism, sparking her interest in the intersection of religion and politics in the southeast. On campus, she is involved in Yale Progressive Christians, Steppin’ Out, and Yale Tour Guides. She has interned for Senator Mark Warner and worked on campaigns in the Bible Belt and Connecticut. In her free time, she enjoys running, cooking, and road trips.


Anisë Murseli

Anisë Murseli is an international sophomore at Yale majoring in EP&E. She has been involved with the Yale Political Union, Yale Undergraduate Diversified Investments, and The European Studies Council. Last summer, she was a fellow at the most prominent NGO in Kosovo, “FOL,” working on multiple projects for good governance. At the moment, she is researching the traditional ancient customary laws of Albanians known as "Kanuni i Leke Dukagjinit" in the context of ethics and feminism. She was also involved with the Yale Equestrian Team.


Brielisa Norman

Brielisa “Bria” Norman is an Arabic and Spanish major with Honors and a Grand Strategy minor at West Point. She is interested in researching cultural and linguistic anthropology and conflict in the Middle East. Bria spent the past semester in Jordan studying Arabic and American liberal hegemony, and has interned in the Middle East division of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She has participated in the Cadet Glee Club, served as the director of Women’s Activities and the Worship Team for the Officers’ Christian Fellowship Club, and mentors highschoolers weekly.


Francesca Nyakora

Francesca Nyakora is a junior from Nairobi double-majoring in Global Affairs and African Studies with a certificate in French. As a human rights scholar at Yale Law School and a student in the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, she plans to conduct research on post-conflict reconstruction in transitional societies. Francesca was a State Department intern in the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Yale International Relations Association and as the President of the Yale Model African Union.


Sheri Ofwona

Sheri Ofwona is a junior in Grace Hopper College from Nairobi. In addition to double majoring in Economics and Anthropology, she is also a human rights scholar. She serves as a co-president of the International Students Organization and on the boards of the Yale Model African Union and the YCC Financial Aid task force. She also works as a research assistant in economics through the Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE), and has researched the role of non-state actors in addressing socioeconomic inequality in post-genocide Rwanda.


Vishwa Padigepati

Vishwa Padigepati is a junior at Yale studying cognitive science and political science. She is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of both the Yale Review of International Studies and the Yale Human Rights Journal. Vishwa also serves on the Campaign Cabinet for Plan International, a nonprofit dedicated to girls' rights, and has researched with NATO Science and Tech on energy security in the era of hybrid warfare. She was also the Policy Coordinator for STAND USA, an organization dedicated to genocide prevention. Vishwa is an avid fan of chocolate and the Buffalo Bills!


Niara Pelton

Niara Pelton is a double major in International Affairs and Portuguese at the United States Military Academy. Originally from Houston, she grew up serving as a translator on missions to Brazil, which sparked her interest in foreign affairs and Latin America. She serves as the Cadet in Charge of the Portuguese Language Forum and the Assistant Cadet in Charge of the International Affairs Forum. She is a member of the Mock Trial Team, is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, and her research interests pertain to democratization and media in Latin America.


Tanziuzzaman Sakib

Tanziuzzaman Sakib, an international student from rural Bangladesh, is double majoring in Mathematics and History at Yale, focusing on US political history from the early national period. Since his sophomore summer, Tanzi has been researching the history of economic development in South Asia. His primary academic focus, however, lies in mathematics, and he dreams of becoming a math professor. Tanzi is involved with Yale Outdoors and Yale Undergraduate Math Society, and he enjoys reading history books, hiking, or watching old Dallas Cowboys clips!


Ben Spiro

Ben Spiro is an Arabic major with geopolitics research experience at the United States Military Academy. Interested in U.S. foreign relations in the Middle East, he spent the past semester interning with the American Enterprise Institute exploring Sino-Saudi and Sino-Gulf relationships. He also spent a semester in Amman, Jordan studying Arabic and Levantine politics.


Razel Suansing

Razel Suansing is a Political Science and Modern Middle East Studies double major and a Human Rights Scholar under Yale Law School. Her studies focus on peace-building efforts in post-terrorist and insurgent-occupied states. Her previous work experience includes research transitional justice in post-ISIL Iraq and human rights compliance in Philippine counterterrorism; work with NGOs in Bahrain and Sudan; and internships in the Nobel Laureate Rappler, the Congressional Committee for Human Rights, and the Philippine Department of Justice.


Cormac Thorpe

Cormac Thorpe is a first year at Yale from New York City. He writes for The Yale Review of International Studies, teaches international relations to high schoolers, and is a volunteer legal Spanish translator and interpreter for Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services. During two gap years, he worked full-time as a Field Organizer on the Biden for President campaign for 13 months, traveled solo in Colombia for three months, and observed Ramadan with a family in Jordan while volunteering with a community-based refugee organization.


Vani Verma

Vani Verma is a junior from Skillman, New Jersey majoring in Life Science at the United States Military Academy. Her academic interests lie in the medical field, public health, and international diplomacy. She spent the first semester of her junior year studying abroad in Germany at Helmut Schmidt University with the Bundeswehr. At West Point, she is a member of the Model United Nations team. She has attended Air Assault school and served as the Alpha Company First Sergeant this past summer, during Cadet Basic Training.


Grace Vojta

Grace Vojta is a junior in Pierson College majoring in Statistics and Data Science. She is the president of Yale's society for women in math/stats called Dimensions and an editor for the mental health magazine called the Layer. Grace is also a patient care worker at Connecticut Hospice and is interested in using stats/CS to improve the delivery of mental healthcare.


Skye Williams

Skye Williams is a junior at West Point. She is her Company’s Peer Support Counselor, the Captain of the Army West Point Boxing team, Choir Director for the Cadet Gospel Choir, Public Affairs Officer for the Cultural Affairs Seminar, and a West Point Ambassador under the Leadership Ethics & Diversity in STEM (LEADS) Program. Throughout her time at West Point, CDT Williams was blessed with opportunities to intern and conduct research in Washington, D.C at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Pentagon.


Kevin Xiao

Kevin Xiao is a junior at Yale University studying Political Science, with an interest in public administration in an age of rapidly improving technology. He is interested in national security and hopes to learn how American policies and partnerships in the Middle East can foster technological and political innovation. At Yale, Kevin is the President of the Buckley Program and a former chapter president and intern at the Alexander Hamilton Society.


Daniel Posner

Daniel Posner is a junior from New York City majoring in History. Daniel is particularly interested in Middle Eastern politics and spent two summers at Seeds of Peace International Camp, where he engaged in dialogue with students from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Egypt. He worked on a Congressional campaign in Dallas during the 2018 and 2020 elections, and interned at the Partnership for Public Service. At Yale, he leads TAMID, an investment and consulting club; and teaches financial literacy skills to students in New Haven.


Calista Washburn

Calista Washburn is a junior at Yale studying Ethics, Politics, and Economics. She has worked as an organizer for Amy McGrath's 2020 Senate campaign and for the New Haven Mayor's Office. When she isn't leading Yale's first-year outdoor orientation trips in the New England wilderness, she debates in the Yale Political Union, does climate advocacy, and spends her free time woodcarving.

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