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Our People

Our work is powered by our people — from principal investigators and students to staff and affiliated researchers. Learn more about our team below.

GRI Leadership & Research Lab Directors


Michael J. Tierney, Director

About: Mike Tierney teaches and does research on international organizations, international political economy, Chinese foreign aid, and the theory-practice divide in international relations. For years he has been doing research on a book about the culture and political economy of beer, but it seems that project always requires additional field work. Visit website. [[w|mjtier,Email Mike.]]

Social Media: @MikeTierneyIR; LinkedInFacebook

Favorite Restaurant: Casa Pearl

Ariel BenYishay, AidData Chief Economist and Research & Evaluation Unit Director

About: Ariel is AidData’s Chief Economist and Associate Professor of Economics at William & Mary. Ariel has served as the principal investigator on a variety of large-scale experiments in developing countries, including Malawi, the Philippines, and the Solomon Islands. Visit website. [[aiddata|abenyishay,Email Ariel.]]

Social Media: @ariel_benyishay

Hobbies: I'm an avid distance runner, often pushing my daughter in a jogging stroller with my son pacing me on his bike.

Samantha Custer, Director of Policy Analysis, AidData

About: Samantha Custer leads an interdisciplinary research team at AidData, a research lab based at William & Mary, which produces insightful international affairs analysis that is academically rigorous and policy relevant. A driving motivation for her work is to find new ways to quantify concepts, activities, and trends that are historically opaque or difficult-to-measure. Her research focuses on topics such as: measuring perceptions of development partners and assessing external influence in domestic policy. Visit website. [[aiddata|sjcuster,Email Samantha.]]

Social Media: @samanthajcuster; LinkedIn

Carrie Dolan, Assistant Professor in Kinesiology; Director of Ignite

About: Ignite is a multidisciplinary research lab using data and science to maximize the health of people in resource-limited settings. Ignite's research is grounded in a well-established framework for evidenced-based global health.  The Ignite lab focuses on the effective, efficient, and equitable distribution of global health resources, especially among women and children. Visit website. [[w|cbdolan,Email Carrie.]]

Social Media: @CarrieBDolan

Hobbies: running, hiking, yoga, SCUBA diving...anything outside

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Hayley Janak, Director of Finance and Administration

About: Hayley is responsible for the management and oversight of fiscal and administrative operations. She works closely with GRI staff, project directors, and counterparts throughout the University to manage day-to-day functions at GRI. She aims to advance GRI's goals and vision by establishing administrative and operational efficiencies in the areas of procurement, fiscal management, human resources, and beyond.

Favorite Restaurant: Grain in Norfolk

Jeff Kaplow, Assistant Professor of Government

About: Jeff Kaplow's teaching and research focuses on the causes and consequences of nuclear proliferation, the drivers of international and civil conflict, and the effect of institutions on international security. As Director of NukeLab at GRI, Jeff works with undergraduates to apply social science theory and methods to policy relevant issues in nuclear security. Visit website. [[w|jkaplow,Email Jeff.]]

Favorite Place on Campus: The parking enforcement office. They love me there!

Ammar A. Malik, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, AidData

Dr. Ammar A. Malik is Senior Research Scientist at AidData, where he leads the Tracking Underreported Financial Flows program that uses pioneering methods to track and analyze underreported financial flows from non-traditional donors to developing countries. Visit website. [[aiddata|amalik,Email Ammar.]]

Social Media: @MalikAmmar; LinkedIn

Hobbies: I am an ardent fan of cricket, and regularly play for local clubs during the summer season.

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Ryan A. Musto, Director of Forums and Research Initiatives

Ryan provides intellectual leadership to a variety of GRI research initiatives and leads the conceptual development and coordination of forums that integrate academic and policy audiences. By training, Ryan is a U.S. and Latin American diplomatic historian with concentrations in nuclear and Cold War international history. He is currently writing a book on the international history of nuclear weapon free zones. [[w|ramusto,Email Ryan.]]

Social Media: @RyanAMusto

Fun Fact: I was an NCAA athlete in men's indoor volleyball.

Amy Oakes, Associate Professor of Government and Co-Director, Project on International Peace and Security

About: Through the Project on International Peace and Security, an undergraduate security-focused think tank, Amy and her co-director guide students through the process of crafting fresh approaches to addressing emerging foreign policy challenges. Amy is constantly astonished by the creativity of PIPS students--who would have thought about the geopolitics of sand? Or anticipated so well the security threat from deep fakes and disinformation on social media. Visit website. [[w|acoake,Email Amy.]]

Social Media: Facebook

Hobbies: I'm learning how to a fly a plane!

Brad Parks, Executive Director, AidData

About: My work lies at the intersection of international development research and policy. At AidData, I lead a team of 35 program evaluators, policy analysts, and media and communication professionals who work with governments and international organizations to improve the ways in which overseas investments are targeted, monitored, and evaluated. Visit website. [[aiddata|bparks,Email Brad.]]

Social Media: @AidData

Favorite GRI Memory: Wiffle ball and ice pops in the Sunken Gardens with the AidData crew circa 2013

Parks CV

Sue Peterson, Government Department Chair and Co-Director of the Teaching, Research, and International Policy Project (TRIP)

About: Sue Peterson received her B.A. from St. Lawrence University and her PhD from Columbia University.  She teaches courses on international security and US foreign policy.  In 2020 she co-authored Bridging the Theory-Practice Divide in International Relations with fellow government faculty. Sue's research interests include International Relations; International Security; Comparative Foreign Policy; and Global Health. Visit website. [[w|smpete,Email Sue.]]

Paula M. Pickering, Richard S. Perles Professor of Government and ABC Project Director

About: Paula’s research focuses on the impact of aid for peacebuilding, local governance, and civic engagement in South Eastern Europe, as well as the link between information and local accountability in Uganda. Through her mentorship of students in The American-Bosnian Collaboration (ABC) Project, she conducts collaborative research assessing informal educational activities that promote inter-cultural communication skills. Visit website. [[w|pmpick,Email Paula.]]

Favorite GRI Memory: Reconnecting with ABC Project alumni at GRI homecoming BBQs

Philip Roessler, Margaret Hamilton Associate Professor of Government and Director, Africa Research Center and Director, Digital Inclusion and Governance Lab

About: Philip Roessler is the Margaret Hamilton Associate Professor of Government and Director of the Africa Research Center at William & Mary. His research focuses on conflict, long-run development, mobile technology, and African politics. He is the author of Ethnic Politics and State Power in Africa and co-author of Why Comrades Go to War. Visit website. [[w|proessler,Email Phil.]]

Social Media: @philip_roessler

Favorite Place to Travel: Swiss alps--we even named our dog, Eiger, after one of the peaks

Dennis Alcides Velazco Smith, Lecturer of Government and Co-Director, Project on International Peace and Security

About: Dennis A. Velazco Smith is co-director of William & Mary’s Project on International Peace and Security (PIPS), an undergraduate think tank that produces rigorous and original international security analysis for the U.S. national security community. Dennis's research interests include: strategic studies, emerging technologies and national security, coercion, and regime stability. Visit website[[w|dasmi2,Email Dennis.]]

Favorite Restaurants: Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! in Chicago (Awesome Spanish Tapas), Agora in Washington, DC. (Awesome Turkish Meze), and The Helmand in Baltimore (To die for Afghan Food)

David Trichler, GRI Associate Director

About: David works with research labs and internal and external partners to bring the best of the academia to current global policy challenges. Responsible for strategic planning, external engagement, and cross-cutting initiatives. Former Joint Staff / USAID, current CFR Term Member. Father to three young girls who love dogs, ice cream, and their parents, in that order. [[w|dmtrichler,Email David.]]

Social Media: LinkedIn

Favorite Place on Campus: The running trails behind Lake Matoaka.

Alex Wooley, Partnerships and Communications Director, AidData

About: Alex leads AidData's strategic partnership-building and fundraising, as well as overseeing all external communications. None of this would be possible without his wonderful five-person Partnerships and Communications team. Visit website. [[aiddata|awooley,Email Alex.]]

Social Media: LinkedIn

Favorite GRI Memory: In 2019, biking the full length of the C&O Canal trail with GRI boss Mike Tierney.

Dr. Kelebogile Zvobgo, Assistant Professor of Government and Director of the International Justice Lab

About: Dr. Zvobgo's research broadly engages questions in human rights, transitional justice, and international law. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Human Rights, PS: Political Science & Politics, Journal of Political Science Education, and in Foreign Policy Magazine and The Washington Post. Her work has been recognized in the U.S. and abroad, winning multiple awards. Visit website. [[w|kzvobgo,Email Kelebogile.]]

Social Media: @kelly_zvobgo

Hobbies: I am an avid traveler and gourmand.

GRI Scholars & Staff
Austin Baehr, AidData Senior Program Manager

About: Austin is a Program Manager on AidData’s Transparent Development Footprints program within the Policy Analysis Unit. He manages the program's efforts to create actionable policy insights on the development finance portfolios of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. He has also worked on a solar home system market research project for USAID's Scaling Off-grid Energy team and led a project in southern Kenya analyzing stakeholder attitudes regarding water usage on behalf of MAO Kenya.

Luis Baldomero-Quintana, Assistant Professor of Economics and GRI Affiliate

About: Luis does research on International Trade and Development Economics. He uses geospatial and administrative data for the calibration of economics models to answer policy relevant economic research questions. He is also interested in urban and macroeconomic issues in developing countries. Visit website.

Favorite Book: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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Shreya Bhattacharya, Senior Research Analyst, Digital Inclusion & Governance Lab

About: Shreya graduated with a doctoral degree in Economics from the University of Houston in May 2020. Shreya's research interests are in the fields of Development Economics, Urban Economics, Political Economy and Behavioral Economics Visit website.

Social Media: @ShreyaBEcon, LinkedIn

Favorite restaurant: Jinya Ramen Bar in Houston and DC

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Eric Brown, Senior Research Scientist

About: Eric Brown is a Senior Research Scientist at William & Mary’s Global Research Institute, where he studies world politics, history, and security policy.  Since joining GRI in 2022, he has been writing on Asia and developing new research and educational initiatives. He’s also faculty guide to the W&M-Yale Geopolitics of Technology Initiative.  From 2004-2022, Brown was a senior fellow at Hudson Institute. There, he directed research and other programs on China, India, the Middle East and Central Asia, the Himalayas, and the Indo-Pacific, and on U.S. diplomacy and strategy.  Brown serves on the governing board of the American University of Iraq at Sulaimani.  

Bryan Burgess, AidData Program Manager

About: Bryan works at the intersection of financing and policy toward the Sustainable Development Agenda, tracking the alignment of donors' stated priorities and their follow-through. He has also worked on tracking opaque resource flows to civil society actors and on improving the data available to advocates and donors working with refugee, displaced, and trafficked populations.

Social Media: LinkedIn

Favorite Place to Travel: Anywhere by Amtrak. There's no better way to take in the parts of America that lie hidden from the major highway arteries.

Vera Choo, AidData Data Analyst

About: Vera Choo is a Junior Data Analyst with the Policy Analysis Unit. She provides research and data support on a variety of AidData projects. Prior to joining AidData, Vera was a data scientist at the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) Project, where she developed a data dashboard and helped with data analysis and visualization.

Social Media: LinkedIn

Favorite Place on Campus: It's a secret! My second favorite is Lake Matoaka at night.

Tingting (Rachel) Chung, Clinical Associate Professor of Business Analytics

About: Dr. Tingting (Rachel) Chung, Clinical Associate Professor of Business Analytics, studies technology and fraud with support from ACFE Research Institute (ARI), Blockchain Lab of William & Mary, and National Security Agency. Her awards include IBM Faculty Award, and Faculty Excellence Award from the MSBA program at William & Mary. Visit website.

Hobbies: cooking

Zach Conrad, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, GRI Faculty Affiliate

About: Zach's team combines methods from epidemiology and data science to understand how food choices influence the four domains of sustainability: health, environment, economy, and society. The team's goal is to evaluate the trade-offs and synergies between these domains so consumers, clinicians, and policymakers have the tools they need to support our biological and social systems. Visit website.

Social Media: LinkedIn

Favorite Place to Travel: North Dakota

Jawaly Coriano, Financial and Business Analytics Manager

About: Jawaly serves as Financial & Business Analytical Manager, and provides accounting support. She is accountable for preparation and submission of all Labor Allocations related to AidData projects. In addition she provides assistance regarding budgets, travel and allowable purchases. Jawaly has more than 25 years of experience in the GRANT sectors.

Favorite GRI Memory: I enjoy every GRI event; however, the Shark Tank is one of my heart treasure. 

John Custer, AidData Deputy Director, Communications and Data Analytics

About: John Custer is AidData's Senior Communications Manager and member of AidData's Partnerships and Communications team. This team supports, its blog, data visualizations, interactive dashboards, and flagship reports through writing, editing, graphic design, data wrangling, and front end development. Visit website.

Emily Determan, AidData Senior Program Manager

About: As a Program Manager at AidData, Emily manages research, analysis, and policy outreach involving donors such as Russia and China. She specializes in foreign policy research issues including civil society, media, and security.

Social Media: LinkedIn

Favorite Place to Travel: Switzerland

Irene Entringer Garcia Blanes, TRIP Project Manager

About: Irene is the project manager on the TRIP team, where she helps manage the day-to-day research activities of TRIP in its efforts to "bridge the gap" between the study and practice of international relations.

Social Media: Twitter: @EntringerIrene

Hobbies: If its warm outside you can find me walking or hiking around. 

Brooke Escobar, AidData Associate Director, Tracking Underreported Financial Flows

About: Brooke works with the Tracking Underreported Financial Flows (TUFF) team to systematically collect and classify information on Official Finance activities by opaque donors. The team's largest project is currently producing a dataset from 2000-2019 that sheds light on China's lending and granting activities globally. Visit website.

Favorite Place to Travel: Anywhere! I love to travel to see new things and enjoy time spent with family.

Shahrokh Fardoust, Research Professor

About: Dr. Fardoust has more than 30 years’ experience in crafting economic development policy and analyzing the global economy and prospects. From 2008 to 2011, he was director of strategy and operations for development economics at the World Bank, where he contributed to the research and policy priorities of the chief economist and ensured the operational relevance of the Bank's research.

Twitter: @sfardoust

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Rory Fedorochko, AidData Junior Program Manager

About: As a member of the Chinese Development Finance team at AidData, Rory Fedorochko works to advance the world's knowledge of China's financial flows with the rest of world. Rory is particularly interested in China's financial relations with high-income countries and how subnational and corporate actors affect Chinese development finance.

Favorite book or movie: Jurassic Park

Kathryn H. Floyd, Director, GRI e-internship Program and Director, Whole of Government Center of Excellence

About: Our virtual or e-internship program links students from Williamsburg or their homes with national security and foreign affairs organizations all over the world. During the regular academic year, students can devote 10 hours a week to this internship and more during the summer. Whether research, communications, or some other activity, our students are here to be stars! Visit website.

Social Media: @khfloyd and LinkedIn

Hobbies: Adoring my French bulldog, gardening for bees and butterflies, and reading fiction

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Anne-Lise Gere, HR Consultant

About: Anne-Lise is an HR professional with an international background (Europe / US). Worked as an independent consultant for 11 years before joining GRI in February 2023. HR Generalist with particular interests in employee relations, compensation and talent acquisition. Visit website.

Social Media: LinkedIn

Favorite Book or Movie: Reader of The New Yorker magazine for over 20 years

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Shauna N. Gillooly, Post-Doctoral Fellow, TRIP Project

About: Shauna's research focuses on the relationships between the international, national, and local levels during processes of peacebuilding and transitional justice amidst continued political violence. Her past work has focused on social movement transitions to political parties in Latin America, as well as the impact of political violence legacies on voter behavior. Visit website.

Social Media: @ShaunaGillooly, LinkedIn

Favorite movie: Kung Fu Panda

Seth Goodman, AidData Research Scientist

About: As a member of AidData's Research & Evaluation Unit, Seth utilizes convolutional neural networks and other machine learning techniques to produce estimates of development indicators based on satellite imagery and other geospatial data. Seth also developed GeoQuery, AidData’s free spatial data platform, which enables individuals and organizations without significant computing power or data science expertise to freely find and aggregate satellite, economic, health, conflict, and other geospatial data into a single, simple-to-use spreadsheet file. Visit website.

Favorite Place on Campus: The trails around Lake Matoaka are a great place to go for a run or walk; and lets you feel like you are deep in the forest despite being just minutes from central campus.

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Kim Gray, Associate Director of Advancement

About: A member of the Regional Advancement Team, Kim focuses on sustainability for GRI so that it may advance world-class applied research and train future global leaders for generations to come. Her role involves helping individuals, corporations and foundations ensure that their charitable giving empowers William & Mary students and faculty to make a difference in the world.

Favorite Place to Travel: Tokyo. I would visit every year if I could, and it still wouldn't be enough time to explore all the things I'd like to see.

Sharan Grewal, Assistant Professor of Government and GRI Faculty Affiliate

About: Sharan is a political scientist with expertise on the Middle East and North Africa. His research interests include revolutions, democratization, security studies, and political Islam. He has published in academic journals like the American Political Science Review and policy outlets like Brookings, Carnegie, Foreign Policy, and the Washington Post. Visit website.

Social Media: @sh_grewal

Favorite Restaurant: Il Canale pizza in Washington DC

Stephen E. Hanson, GRI Faculty Affiliate

About: Stephen E. Hanson is a specialist in Russian, Soviet, and post-communist politics. He has written, edited, or collaborated on numerous scholarly articles and six books, including Time and Revolution: Marxism and the Design of Soviet Institutions. Visit website.

Favorite Place on Campus: The Wren Vista overlooking the Sunken Garden

Sariah Harmer, AidData Junior Program Manager

About: Sariah is a Junior Program Manager at AidData's Policy Analysis Unit. She is interested in civil society, peace-building, and narratives around violence and community. Her previous work focused on domestic restrictions and foreign influence on civic space in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, and she has also researched Chinese development funding in the East Asia and Pacific region.

Social Media: LinkedIn

Favorite Place on CampusIn between stacks at Swem Library

Marcus Holmes, Associate Professor of Government, GRI Faculty Affiliate

About: Professor Holmes is interested in diplomacy, particularly strategies relating to conflict reduction and trust-building. He uses an interdisciplinary approach, combining political science with psychology, sociology, and neuroscience, to better understand the conditions under which leaders build productive relationships with one another. Visit website.

Social Media: @prof_mholmes

Favorite GRI Memory: My book workshop!

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Ana Horigoshi, AidData Senior Research Analyst

About: Ana conducts policy-oriented quantitative analysis on a number of topics in development economics. Her primary research interests are governance, political economy, and development financing.

Favorite Place to Travel: Anywhere new!

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Kelly Houck, Senior Program Manager of Student Initiatives

About: Kelly engages students across campus to get them involved with GRI by connecting them with research experiences, internships, and career prep opportunities. Kelly oversees the Summer Fellows Program and works closely on other student-focused projects like the Global Scholars Program.

Hobbies: Reading nonfiction books about nature, watching Star Trek, and going on hikes with my husband.

Social Media: LinkedIn

Eric R. Jensen, Visiting Scholar Affiliate

About: Eric is an economist who has worked assessing the impact of HIV-AIDS interventions in Indonesia and has done extensive work with teams in Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines using country-specific DHS data.  HIs interests lie in assessing the economic determinants and impacts of behavior.

Favorite Restaurant: The Fat Canary

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Cassie Keene, Events Specialist

About: Cassie works with the Programs & Outreach team to support GRI events. She aims to engage students, faculty, staff and alumni through the implementation of strategic programming.

Hobbies: Reading fantasy novels, going to the beach, and watching Marvel movies

Social Media: LinkedIn

Rodney Knight, AidData Deputy Director of Research

About: Dr. Rodney Knight is Deputy Director of Research of AidData's Policy and Analysis Unit. He leads a team of analysts who collect data and conduct research on public policy, development aid effectiveness, public diplomacy, energy security, and media freedom and resilience.

Donald F. Larson

About: Donald F. Larson is an independent researcher and founder of the International Institute for Development and Environmental Studies. He has worked with governments on policy issues in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America and the South Pacific. Don was also part of a World Bank team that launched the first climate-finance fund, the Prototype Carbon Fund, in 1999. Visit website.

Brook Lautenslager, AidData Deputy Director, Data Analytics

About: Brook works with teams within AidData to streamline their data collection process using software development solutions. She also works with teams to build various external dashboards, websites and decision support tools for various customers.

Social Media: LinkedIn
Favorite Place to Travel: Anywhere warm, preferably on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean.

Kelsey Marshall, AidData Program Manager

About: Kelsey works on identifying gaps between the development goals of leaders in low- and middle-income countries and international donors backing those projects. Her primary responsibilities include assisting in data collection efforts, managing research assistants, and finding ways to improve the LTL sampling frame.

Social Media: LinkedIn

Favorite Movie: Pleasantville (1998), featuring a young Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon.

Divya Grace Mathew, AidData Senior Policy Specialist

About: Divya works with the Policy Analysis Unit at AidData. She researches and analyses data on threats to the civic space, both domestic and foreign, in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. She also studies the US and China's public diplomacy efforts in South and Central Asia.

Favorite Place on Campus: Any of the window reading nooks on the 4th floor of Tyler Hall

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Carly Muir, AidData Geospatial Analyst

About: Carly has a PhD in Geography, with specializations in climatology and sustainable agriculture. Carly's research is interdisciplinary and uses spatial analysis to examine dynamics of human-environment interaction, specifically related to climate change. The overarching goal of this work is to employ geospatial techniques for improving synergies between agricultural production and ecological sustainability. Visit website.

Hobbies: Traveling, gardening, and baking

Julius Nyerere Odhiambo, Post-Doctoral Fellow

About: Julius Nyerere Odhiambo is a GRI postdoctoral researcher working with Ignite. His research focus has been in the spatial epidemiology domain, which focuses on quantifying the joint burden of disease, health outcomes, and their associated determinants at policy-relevant thresholds, particularly in resource-constrained settings. Visit website.

Social Media: @JuliusNJulius

Katherine Nolan, AidData Research Scientist

About: Katherine Nolan is a Senior Research Analyst at AidData where she implements impact evaluations on a variety of topics including health, gender, and governance. She designs, manages, and oversees in-country evaluations across Africa and Asia. Visit website.

Hobbies: Horse back riding, paddle boarding, and soccer

Giuseppe Paparella, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Security and Foreign Policy

About: Giuseppe's research agenda focuses on American diplomacy and statecraft in the Asia-Pacific, the relationship between nationalism and foreign policy, and applied history. His work has been published in the International History Review, National Identities, Diplomacy and Statecraft, and the Strategy Bridge. Visit website.

Social Media: @giuspaparella

Favorite Restaurant: Gees in Oxford

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Saurav Pathak, GRI Research Affiliate

About: Saurav studies culturally-contextualized emotional intelligence and entrepreneurial behaviors, technology entrepreneuship and commercialization, sustainability and entrepreneurial ecosystem, blockchain, AI, ML and ethics, well-being and flourishment, and cross-cultural comparative studies.

Social Media: LinkedIn, GoogleScholar

Favorite Place to Travel: The Swamp, Gainesville, Florida.

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Mark Patterson, Fiscal and Administrative Coordinator

About: Mark provides operational and fiscal support for staff, faculty, students, and affiliates of GRI. He works with AP, Procurement, IT, Travel, HR, and the OSP on campus to provide a wide range of direct support to GRI.

Favorite Restaurant: Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs

Sarina Patterson, AidData Communications Specialist

About: Sarina is AidData's Communications Associate, working to increase the lab's reach and visibility by publicizing and promoting its unique activities. Sarina writes for and edits AidData's blog, The First Tranche, creates content for its social media and web presence, edits flagship reports, and produces data visualizations, maps, and interactive dashboards.

Social Media: Twitter; LinkedIn; Facebook

Hobbies: Reading, cross stitching and embroidery, hiking, and scuba diving

Ryan Powers, Co-Director of the Teaching, Research, and International Policy Project and Visiting Scholar Affiliate

About: Ryan studies the domestic politics of International cooperation and compliance, reputation and status, and public opinion on foreign policy. In addition, he is a co-Principal Investigator on the Teaching, Research, and International Policy Project. Visit website.

Social Media: @rmpowers

Martha Reilly, Senior Communications Specialist

About: Martha communicates key findings from GRI's research to a range of audiences and stakeholders through newsletters, reports, social media campaigns, news articles, and more. She also supports grant writing and media pitching efforts, manages the website, and promotes GRI opportunities to relevant departments on campus.

Hobbies: Watching Dancing With the Stars

Mitchell B. Reiss, Ambassador (ret.), Visiting Fellow Affiliate

About: Traditionally, Mitchell's work has focused on arms control and nuclear proliferation. Recently, he has been researching and writing on the future of US-China relations.

Hobbies: Golf and tennis. 

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Asad Sami, AidData Program Manager

About: Asad co-leads analytical research on foreign aid, debt, and other investment flows from emerging country donors, such as GCC countries and China, to the world. He also drives AidData's engagements with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Visit website.

Favorite Place on Campus: Tennis courts

Rachel Sayers, AidData Senior Research Scientist

About: Rachel combines econometric and GIS analysis methods to design and conduct rigorous evaluations with an emphasis on causal identification. Her primary research interests are labor markets, human capital, household bargaining, and gender.

Hobbies: Hiking with my dogs

Admasu Shiferaw, Associate Professor of Economics

About: Prof. Shiferaw is a development economist with research interests in the behavior and performance of firms in Sub-Saharan Africa. His recent research also examines the dynamics of job and worker reallocation across firms, and the implications of labor market regulations and social protection programs on these processes. Visit website.

Favorite Restaurant: Baker's Crust

Kunwar K. Singh, AidData Senior Geospatial Scientist

About: Dr. Kunwar K. Singh is a Senior Geospatial Scientist at AidData and an Affiliate Faculty at the Center for Geospatial Analysis at William & Mary. His research is at the nexus of land change and geospatial sciences where he investigates how the terrestrial system can support future land conversions and resource consumption under a changing climate. He uses geospatial data and technologies supplemented with data from ground observations and weather stations to develop workflows for large spatiotemporal data processing, assess broad-scale land change and its implications to natural resources, and measure outcomes of new adaptations to diminishing natural resources. He also serves as a science advisor to the NASA DEVELOP program at the Center for Geospatial Research at the University of Georgia. 

Social Media: LinkedIn, GoogleScholar

Hobbies: Photography, yoga, bonsai

Jonathan A. Solis, AidData Senior Research Analyst

About: Jonathan studies media systems in developing and democratizing countries. His work specifically focuses on media freedom, media resilience, and the physical integrity of journalists and media personnel.

Social Media: LinkedIn

Hobbies: I've played Capoeira for 10 years (Grupo Arte Reviver). My back flip is halfway there. O capoeirista não cai, mas se um dia ele cai, cai bem...

Kyra Solomon, AidData Program Manager

About: Kyra Solomon supports the Tracking Underreported Financial Flows team at AidData by conducting data quality assurance, managing research assistants, and contributing to data analysis. Kyra was selected as a 2019 Boren Scholar to China and graduated from William & Mary with a BA in International Relations and Economics. Her research interests include U.S.-China relations, international security, global development, and media.

Social Media: LinkedIn

Favorite Place to Travel: I love to travel anywhere I can take interesting photos and that is warm.

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Nara Sritharan, Post-Doctoral Fellow

About: My research has been on the geospatial aid allocation and the effects it has on peace consolidation in post-conflict environments. My future research will be on non-traditional donors' impact in the Global South. Visit website.

Social Media: @Nara_Sritharan

Hobbies: Learning Spanish and traveling.

Jessica Trisko Darden, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University

About: Dr. Trisko Darden researches political violence and efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism. Her book "Aiding and Abetting: US Foreign Assistance and State Violence," explores the consequences of US foreign aid policy for human rights in aid recipient countries. Two other books, "Insurgent Women: Female Combatants in Civil Wars" and "Women as War Criminals: Gender, Agency, and Justice" examine women as agents of political violence. Trisko Darden is director of GRI's Security and Foreign Policy Initiative. Visit website.

Social Media: @triskodarden

Hobbies: I hope to run an Alpaca farm, someday.

Katherine Walsh, AidData Senior Program Manager

About: Katherine Walsh is a Program Manager for the Transparent Development Footprints team at AidData, an international development research lab at William & Mary’s Global Research Institute. She supports the team in tracking underreported financial flows from non-traditional donor countries through project and client management, supervising staff and student team members, conducting quality assurance, and contributing to data analysis.

Social Media: LinkedIn

Favorite Book: One Hundred Years of Solitude

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Fei Wang, AidData Junior Program Manager

About: Fei Wang is a Junior Program Manager on AidData's Chinese Development Finance Program. She supports the team in tracking underreported financial flows by conducting data quality assurance, managing research assistants, and contributing to data analysis.

HobbiesI like reading, writing, messing with film cameras, and want to learn weaving really bad.

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Samuel Weldeegzie, Post-Doctoral Fellow

About: Samuel Weldeegzie is a post-doctoral fellow at GRI where he teaches Econometrics and does research on urbanization and labour market outcomes in Africa. Samuel holds a B.A. Economics from Jimma University, Ethiopia and an M.A. Economics of Development from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Prior to William and Mary, Samuel received his Ph.D. in Economics from the Australian National University. He has examined the long run effect of conflict on human capital in Ethiopia and is broadly interested in areas of development and labour economics. Visit website.

Hobbies: I like hiking, playing squash and badminton.

Jessica Wells, AidData Senior Program Manager

About: Jessica manages research collaborations with USAID, the Hewlett Foundation, and other agencies. In particular, she has worked on projects exploring women's empowerment and violence against children, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Hobbies: Outside of work, Jessica coaches a youth water polo team and enjoys exploring the outdoors with her family.

Troy Wiipongwii, GRI Research Affiliate

About: Troy is an affiliated faculty of the Global Research Institute (GRI) at W&M, and he is a Ph.D. candidate in Data Science. His research interests include decentralized technologies, Web3.0, machine learning, Indigenous food systems, sustainable food systems, sustainable hospitality, and tourism. 

Social Media: @twiipongwii

Yu Amy Xia, Associate Professor of Business Analytics

About: Dr. Yu Amy Xia is an Associate Professor of Business Analytics in Mason School of Business of William and Mary. Her recent research projects focus on the integration of emerging technologies such as blockchain and AI into supply chain management to increase operation efficiency and mitigate supply chain risk. Visit website.

Social Media: LinkedIn 

Favorite Movie: Forrest Gump

Sheng Zhang, AidData Research Analyst

About: Sheng is a Junior Program Manager in the Transparent Development Footprints program at AidData. He supports the team in tracking underreported financial flows by conducting research and data quality assurance, recruiting and managing research assistants, and contributing to data analysis. He holds an MA in Public Management from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Economics from Zhongnan University of Economics and Law.

Favorite Place on Campus: Martha Wren Briggs Amphitheatre at Lake Matoaka