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Executive Board

PDLI's Executive Board is responsible for mentoring PDLI Student Leaders and Fellows as well as developing the program's overall strategic direction and ensuring its financial success.

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Uriel Epshtein

Co-Founder & Executive Director

Uriel (Yale '14) co-founded PDLI as an undergraduate at Yale. Currently, he serves as the Executive Director of the Renew Democracy Initiative (RDI), a non-profit organization that advocates for constitutional democracy worldwide. At RDI, Uriel works to promote values of free speech, election integrity, due process, and the like in the United States and abroad. Prior to RDI, he worked in the private sector as a consultant at Boston Consulting Group, then in strategy at mobility start-ups including DoorDash and Uber. In both his tech and nonprofit careers, he is passionate about creating spaces where people feel comfortable challenging their own assumptions and working together to find pragmatic solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

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Noah Feit

Co-Founder & Vice Chair

Noah is a resident in Ear, Nose & Throat surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina. He co-founded PDLI in 2014 to help promote a more helpful conversation surrounding the Middle East and notably the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He continues to serve on the organization’s executive board as an advisor. In his free time, Noah enjoys playing tennis, indulging in Charleston’s food scene, spending time on the water, and hanging out with his girlfriend Danielle and their two dogs, Ellie and Charlotte. 

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Lt. Col. Charles Faint


Lieutenant Colonel Charles (Charlie) Faint (US Army, Retired) is a co-founder of PDLI and oversees the program’s leadership development and civil-military relations components. He attended graduate school at Yale University and taught at the United States Military Academy at West Point for eight years.  Charlie previously served in numerous Special Operations units and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq seven times.  In retirement he serves as the Chair for the Study of Special Operations in the Modern War Institute at West Point.

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Dr. Ruth Beitler


Ruth Beitler is a Professor of Comparative Politics at West Point and has served as the academic advisor for PDLI since its inception. She is the author of four books and numerous chapters and articles on Middle Eastern politics, gender and international affairs. A graduate of Cornell University, Dr. Beitler holds an MA in Law and Diplomacy and a PhD in Middle East Politics/International Relations from Tufts Fletcher School. She has lived and traveled extensively in the Middle East.


Major Sarah Gerstein

Board Member

Sarah Gerstein is currently a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania studying political science. She previously served as an Assistant Professor of International Affairs at West Point. She commissioned as an intelligence officer in 2007 and completed combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. She has served as a Signals Intelligence platoon leader, battalion intelligence officer, battalion executive officer, brigade operations officer, and as company commander. She holds a BS from West Point and an MA in Global Affairs from Yale.

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Mollie Johnson

Board Member

Mollie is originally from Texas and grew up all over the southern United States. She majored in History at Yale University and graduated in 2018. She wrote her senior thesis on the history of the marital rape exemption in the United States. While at Yale, she co-founded the Survivor Support Network, a student-led support group for survivors of sexual misconduct. She is currently a legal analyst at McAllister Olivarius. 

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Calista Washburn

Board Member

Calista Washburn is a recent graduate of Yale University, where she studied Ethics, Politics, and Economics, with a concentration in Environmental Ethics. Originally from New York City, she has worked for Amy McGrath’s 2020 Senate campaign, the New Haven Mayor’s Office, and the Pesticide Action Network, doing research on farmworker protections and links between pesticide use and greenhouse gas emissions. She served as co-director of PDLI.

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Alexander Posner

Board Member

Alexander Posner is the president of the Climate Solutions Action Fund, a nonprofit that works to build greater bipartisan support for solutions to climate change. He previously served as the executive director of PDLI. He completed his undergraduate degree at Yale, where he graduated summa cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. 

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