The Center for International Trade & Security’s (CITS) Richard B. Russell Security Leadership Program (SLP) is a selective, year-long program for undergraduate students interested in careers in national and international security. It has a rich history of training the next generation of national security leaders, particularly on issues related to diplomacy, intelligence, WMD nonproliferation, human security, and strategic trade management.

Students in the SLP develop the skills necessary to understand, analyze, and create policy related to national security and the management of international conflict. Two courses – INTL 4415 & INTL 4425R –  form the foundation of the program. Students also participate in a professionalization series to prepare their application materials for internships, jobs, and post-graduation opportunities, attend events with alumni and guests to CITS, and attend the CITS Spring Break in DC trip.

The SLP is NOT limited to students from any particular academic background, however INTL3200 or INTL3300 is a prerequisite. Students of all majors and year levels are encouraged to apply. More information about the program can be found below. With questions, reach out to [email protected] or Dr. Maryann Gallagher ([email protected]), Director of the SLP.

Spring 2024 - Fall 2024 SLP Cohort Application Information

Applications for the Spring 2024 – Fall 2024 cohort are now CLOSED.

To submit your application, please have ready the following:

1. Resume

2. Personal Statement: Why do you want to join the SLP? In 300 words or less explain why you are applying to this program. Your answer should address your interests in security, qualifications (e.g. skills, internships/ work experiences, relevant courses), and how the program fits your academic and career goals.

3. An unofficial copy of your transcript (this should show all grades received in completed courses)

4.Writing Sample: If you have a short (500 words or less) sample of writing related to a security issue that you’ve already written you may upload that as a PDF. If not, select one of the issues you listed above and explain (in less than 500 words) the security threats related to that issue. Please upload your new writing sample as a PDF.

5. A lived experiences statement (optional) – about your lived experiences and what they would bring to the SLP

6. Two professors to serve as references (no letter needed)

 Please direct all questions to Dr. Maryann Gallagher ([email protected]), Director of the SLP.


What do students do in the SLP?

In the first semester of the SLP, students enroll in INTL 4415: Practicum–Methods and Issues in Security Studies. In this seminar-style course, students practice the policy memo writing, analysis, and oral briefing skills necessary for careers in security, and put them to the test in a 2-week simulation of the US National Security Council. They are also introduced to grant writing and write a grant proposal to further the mission of CITS.

In the second semester, students enroll in INTL 4425R: Advanced Research in International Security Policy, where they complete a faculty-supervised independent research project on an issue relevant to national, international, or human security. All students present their research at an academic conference and many submit their research for publication in undergraduate journals. See the “Independent Research Projects” link below for titles of recent projects.

SLP fellows have the opportunity to attend the annual CITS in DC Spring Break trip alongside students from the Master of International Policy program. While the itinerary for the trip varies from year to year, past trips have included visits to meet with practitioners from security-relevant government agencies (Department of State, Department of Energy/NNSA, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, FBI, and intelligence agencies), think-tanks (Center for Strategic &  International Studies, Brookings Institute, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, CNAS), and government contractors.

In addition to the skills focus of the SLP, students participate in a professionalization series intended to prepare their application materials for internships, jobs, and post-graduation opportunities. Students also meet with alumni and visitors throughout the year, and participate in events hosted by the Center for International Trade and Security.

Current SLP Cohort: Fall 2023-Spring 2024
Clemencia El Antouri

Clemencia El Antouri, a fourth-year student from Covington, Georgia, is pursuing studies in International Affairs and Romance Languages. At UGA, she is an ambassador for the School of Public and International Affairs and a Junior Advisor for the Office of Global Engagement. During her time at UGA, she has also studied abroad in Japan, Spain, and Jordan. While in Jordan, she also worked at Partners Jordan, a non-governmental organization focusing on humanitarian development. Clemencia speaks Arabic, French, and Spanish in addition to English. She is deeply interested in Middle East and East Asia relations and plans to pursue a career in international development in the future.


Kiana Bussa

Kiana Bussa is a third-year student majoring in International Affairs with a minor in International Human Rights and Security. She will be beginning the Double Dawg pathway for the Master of International Policy program in the fall. Last year she conducted and presented research through the GLOBIS Human Rights Research Lab investigating the relationship between Human Rights Council membership and domestic physical integrity rights outcomes. By working for GLOBIS, she continues to assist with human rights research. Outside of class, Kiana debates with the Phi Kappa Literary Society and works at the Disability Resource Center. After graduating, she is interested in a career in diplomacy and human development.


Scott Butterfield

Scott Butterfield is a third-year Honors student from Decatur, Georgia studying economics, international affairs and Spanish. On campus, he has served as a Peer Leader in the Student Government Association, worked at the Main Library’s Research and Instruction Department, and been an active member of the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. Outside of the classroom, Scott has interned with the Department of State and Sandia National Laboratories, one of the Department of Energy’s three NNSA labs. In his time at the DoS and DoE, he has supported key initiatives in renewable energy, artificial intelligence, workforce development, advanced manufacturing, and GIS technology. After graduation, Scott plans to pursue a career in public sector or ESG consulting.


Emily Ezratty

Emily Ezratty is a third-year student from Monroe, New York studying Economics, International Affairs with a minor in French. This past summer, Emily worked at her local government in Monroe, NY, to source, analyze, and archive government records, making them more readily available for policy-makers. On campus, Emily serves as the President of the Phi Kappa Literary Society, and supports research in Political Science. Her current policy interests include sustainable development, diplomacy, and human security issues in the Middle East.


Austin Fabritius

Austin Fabritius is a senior at UGA from Atlanta, Georgia. She is majoring in International Affairs and Political Science with a minor in Disaster Management and a certificate in Global Studies. She has been involved on campus through the Student Alumni Council (SAC), Tate Honors Society, Honors College, and Extra Special People since freshman year. Junior year, she served as Vice-President of Alumni Engagement in SAC, and conducted research on the weaponization of migration in the Syrian and Ukrainian refugee crises through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO). Last summer, she interned with Brookings Institution as a research intern for the international anti-corruption team under Senior Fellow Norman Eisen. This semester, she will aid Dr. Carmichael as a Peer-Learning Assistant for her international affairs course on “Geostrategic Competition in the Arctic”. After graduation, Austin intends to pursue a Master’s degree in Security Studies and research inter-disciplinary security issues involving refugees and the political consequences associated with such crises.


Julian Fortuna

Julian Fortuna is a third year Foundation Fellow studying International Affairs and Sociology at UGA. He is also a political organizer, working on a range of pro-democracy causes including mitigating political violence across the country; advocating for a robust public education system; fighting for fair, representative electoral maps; and training hundreds of students across Georgia to become organizers. He has worked alongside organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Carter Center, Race Forward, the ACLU, and others to lead various pro-democracy efforts across the state.

While at UGA, Julian has explored his interest in democracy through a focus on comparative politics, law, and research. He has  worked as a research assistant with the Horizons Project to develop and pilot a project mapping pillars of support for authoritarianism in Georgia and conducted multiple semesters of research with Dr. Cas Mudde studying how the global authoritarian right attacks public education. In addition to his International Affairs and Sociology majors, Julian also has a minor in Law, Jurisprudence, and the State.


Avery Jainniney

Avery Jainniney is a third-year student from Augusta, GA, studying International Affairs and Political Science. On campus, Avery has interned with the PROPEL Rural Scholars Program through the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, is working on the ABM Signature Verification Study through the UGA SPIA Research Center, and is an active member of the Morehead Honors College. In addition, throughout college Avery has virtually tutored middle and high school students from her hometown in a wide variety of subjects, including math, chemistry, and the social sciences. She is also excited to earn her Public Affairs Professional Certificate through the Applied Politics program this year and to work with the UGA Pre-Professional Office of Advising for a second year, where she will serve as both the Lead Pre-Law Ambassador and Lead Campus Engagement Ambassador. Last year, Avery presented her research investigating the portrayal of immigrant women by American politicians as a threat to both national security and the national identity at the SPIA Undergraduate Research Colloquium. She also had the privilege of participating as a Youth Leader at the Annie E. Casey Youth Mental Health Summit, advocating for youth mental health concerns to pertinent stakeholders like elected officials and policymakers. This summer, Avery had the incredible opportunity to study human rights, repression and dissent, and The Troubles during her GLOBIS study abroad in Ireland. After graduation in May 2024, she aspires to attend law school, and she is particularly interested in practicing immigration law. She is excited about the journey ahead, leveraging her diverse experiences to contribute meaningfully to the field and to her community.


Matthew Lombardo

Matthew Lombardo, a third-year Honors College student from Atlanta, Georgia, is majoring in Political Science and International Affairs. He also minors in Business and Law, Jurisprudence, and the State. Matthew is the current Shelter Coordinator of Rescue Paws UGA. He is also in his second year of competing in the top-25-ranked UGA Model UN team, having placed at all conferences attended this past year. Over the Summer of 2023, Matthew studied abroad at Stellenbosch University, learning about repression, dissent, and democratic backsliding in South Africa, while learning from a diverse range of professionals in the region. Matthew recently presented research on the relationship between democratic backsliding in Rwanda and problematic foreign aid use from the West. He also served on a panel concerning American political development and campaign finance history at UGA’s SPIA Undergraduate Research Colloquium in April 2023. After graduating from the University of Georgia, Matthew plans to pursue a career in intelligence and international security.


Allie Maloney

Allie Maloney is a fourth year student studying political science and international affairs. She is also pursuing a certificate in Sustainability and will be doing her capstone project this semester, researching policy solutions to food insecurity and waste in Athens. She has served as the Community Outreach Director for UGA’s Model UN team, competing at conferences across the United States. Over the course of her college career, she has interned with the SPIA Survey Research Center, Historic Athens, and the International Rescue Committee. She presented her independent research projects on Women’s Healthcare Disparities in the Southern United States and the Intersectional Identities of Women Legislators at the 2023 SPIA Undergraduate Research Colloquium. She was also a research assistant to Dr. Leah Carmichael on the topic of starvation as a tool of war. In 2022, she studied abroad in Italy, learning about food politics and visiting the U.S. Embassy to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. This past summer, she returned to Italy to teach English to young Italian students while living with a host family. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in sustainable agricultural development at an international organization.


Sean Manning

Sean Manning is a third-year student at the University of Georgia majoring in Economics and International Affairs and minoring in Arabic. A Crane Leadership Scholar, Sean enjoys assorted involvement around UGA’s campus including as the Executive Director of External Affairs for the Student Government Association, Treasurer of Rural Students Igniting Success in Education (RISE), and a member of Model United Nations. This past summer, Sean worked as a Undergraduate Fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California. There, he focused regionally on Africa and the Middle East, specifically Chinese influence, WMD proliferation risks, and the use of nuclear energy for development. Sean has also completed research on the use of education as a means of improving state energy security. His current policy interests include great power competition, sustainable development, and Africa.


Madison Park

Madison Park is a fourth year student majoring in International Affairs and minoring in Chinese Language and Literature from Dacula, GA. During her time at UGA, she has participated in the GLOBIS Human Rights Research Lab and interned with a senatorial campaign. Outside of school, Madison volunteers at Extra Special People’s after school program. Spring semester of 2023, Madison participated in the Washington Semester Program where she interned for the American Enterprise Institute as the Asian Studies intern underneath Dr. Oriana Skylar Mastro. From her experience in Washington D.C., she learned about the Alexander Hamilton Society and will be chartering the club at UGA for the Fall of 2023. After graduation, Madison hopes to pursue a career in military intelligence and defense policy.


Devi Patel

Devi Patel, a third-year student from Suwanee, GA, is majoring in Political Science and pursuing a minor in International Affairs. Devi transferred from Georgia State University in spring 2023 and held the position of Student Government President of the Atlanta campus and the EVP of the overall student government, as well as the EVP for the Young Democrats of GSU. During her time there, she organized on-campus conferences with Raphael Warnock and Stacey Abrams to educate students on the importance of voting and policy-making. She was also selected to deliver a nationally televised speech for Raphael Warnock at Morehouse College. Her research interests include gender disparities and their effect on political participation and the cultural impact on politics in South Asia. After graduating from the University of Georgia, she plans to pursue a career in diplomacy and international security.


Brooke Sanders

Brooke Sanders is a fourth year from Union Point, Georgia. She is an International Affairs major that is currently in the Double Dawg program to earn a Masters in International Policy. During her time at UGA, Brooke has worked as a research assistant. From this assistantship, she developed and completed a personal CURO research paper titled “The Global Importance of Women in Energy.” Her research focused on human security in relation to energy security by analyzing women’s roles in the energy sector with nuclear non-proliferation. In the Spring of 2023, Brooke studied abroad with Terry College of Business to participate in the Business in Mexico Study Away program. She studied how international security is at the forefront of many corporations’ minds in addition to the specific threats that affected certain businesses. In the future, Brooke hopes to pursue a career in intelligence and international security.

Feben Teshome

Feben Teshome, a fourth-year student from Norcross, Georgia, is pursuing studies in International Affairs and African Studies with a Data Analytics certificate. At UGA, she is a ELS peer leader while being actively engaged in Model African Union and the Ethiopian Eritrean Student Association. Over the summer, she interned with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, and is currently interning with the Atlanta Mayor’s International and Immigrant Affairs office, furthering her interest in city-public diplomacy and human security. She also studied abroad at the University of Oxford with the UGA at Oxford program which broadened her global political ideology, particularly in international politics and national security. Her drive for Sub-Saharan Africa’s security challenges and digital transformation fuels her aspirations for a career in US-Africa foreign policy that combines the security-development nexus with diplomacy.


Ansley Whitlock

Ansley Whitlock is a 4th year honors student from Statesboro, Georgia, majoring in Political Science and International Affairs. She recently shared her research into Propaganda and the Italian Risorgimento at the SPIA Undergraduate Research Symposium in Spring 2023. She currently works as a Peer Learning Assistant through UGA PLaTO. She is involved with the Tap Dawgs on campus and looks forward to performing with them again this spring. She is interested in issues of human security and wishes to further explore these interests in graduate school after graduation this spring.


Thomas Wilkerson

Thomas Wilkerson is a fourth-year student from Warrenton, Georgia. He double majors in political science and international affairs with minors in Russian language, human rights and security, and management in public policy. Thomas is a part of the 2023-2024 Applied politics cohort, UGA Russian Flagship Program, and is pursuing a certificate in data analytics in public policy. Thomas is deeply passionate about public service and hopes to enter a career where he can help others through the government.





Independent Research Projects
Spring 2022

Olivia Bauer, “Insurgencies or Gangs: An Analysis of Service Provision by Criminal Organizations”

Dan Doss, “How Should Energy Security Influence Investments in Alternative Energy?”

Catherine Fender, “Terrorist Outbidding: The Effects of Leadership Decapitation on Terrorist Group Recruitment”

Haley Gamis, “A Chain Reaction: Evaluation of the Security Threat to Global Supply Chain Chokepoints posed by the Belt and Road Initiative”

Jeanelle Garcia, “Sexual Violence and the Welfare of Women in ICE Detention Facilities”

Hayley Hunter, “How NATO Has Used Environmental Security as a Strategy of Engagement”

Elizabeth Howell, “Kidnapping in Terrorist Groups: Money, Power, and Recruitment”

Patrick Jackson, “Comparative Analysis of UN and NATO Authorizations for Use of Force”

Sonia Kalia, “The Radical Right & Violence Against Women in Politics”

Julie Kettle, “The Yassification of the Radical Right: The Use of Homonationalism for Gender Diversification in Radical Right Support Bases.”

Simi Kolodka, “Lock her Up: A Gender Analysis of Violence Against Women in Politics & Extreme Right Recruitment Tactics”

Sophia Macartney, “Naming and Shaming: How Does Regime Type Affect Terrorist Organization Designation?”

Ashni Patel, “The Sexy Side of Development: Sex Industries and Global Development Projects”

Hannah Skinner, “Not Just a Man’s World: The Rise of Women’s Incarceration in Latin America”

Joshua Walker,The Bit about BITs: Bilateral Investment Treaties and the Black Market”

Spring 2021

Ayah Abdelwahab, “Friends or Foes: An Analysis of Individuals Sanctioned Under the Global Magnitsky Act”

Mennah Abdelwahab, “Dangerous Women: Analyzing the Securitization of Female Protesters during the Egyptian Revolution”

Albert Chen, “Reforming United States Financial Regulation to Secure Economic Influence in Asia”

Annabelle Cochran, “Cannabis and the War on Terror: A Qualitative Report on the Impacts of Legalizing Marijuana on Counter-Terrorism Strategies”

Kendall Embry, “Slavery & Security: Preventing Sexual Enslavement in Terrorist Organizations”

Xzavior Goeman, “Insurgent Groups’ Bureaucracy and Intelligence”

Jonathan Lauria, “National Security Risk Management: Applying the Framework of Enterprise Security Risk Management to the National Security Context”

Audrey Park, “Reforming U.S. Countering Violent Extremism Programs through a Mental Health Framework”

Sahana Parker, “The Mind and the Military: Defense Applications for Emerging Functional Neuroimaging Technology”

Lindsey Rhyne, “From the Frying Pan into the Fire: Solutions for the US Asylum Seeker Immigration Process in the COVID-19 Pandemic”

Christopher Rosselot, “Health of the Nation or Health of the Nation? Analyzing State Intentions Behind Discriminatory COVID-19 Vaccination Plans”

Nate Shear, “How Should the US Approach High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium Fuel?”

Addie Sparks, “Rebel Leader Goals and Indiscriminate Killing”

Kat Symons, “The U.S. Army’s Attempt at Creating Lethal Combat Machines: An Analysis of the ACFT”

Andrew Zach, “‘Send Lawyers, Guns, and a Dispersal Notice’: An Analysis of the Insurrection Act of 1807 and Its Application to the January 6th Capitol Riots”

Fall 2020

Zainub Ali, “Tracking the Presence of Protest in Oil Wealthy Rentier States from 2014-2015 with the Existence of ‘Weather the Shock’ Economic Policies”

Ian Allen, “American Export Controls as Counter-China Trade Weapons”

Miranda Bourdeau, “A New Space Race: Space Weaponry of the United States, Russia, and China”

Adrina Bradley, “Sexual Violence & Disasters”

Mariah Cady, “The 2015 European Refugee and Migrant Crisis: Press Coverage Across Germany and the United Kingdom”

Nia Evereteze, “Female Recruiters for Terrorist Organizations”

Alex Fabre de la Grange “How Gender Impacts Equity in Terrorism Cases”

Alexa Hernandez, “Online Recruitment by Far-Right Groups”

Sam Lombardo, “How Regime Type Affects the Management Type and Zone Identification of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Latin America and the Caribbean”

David Mustard, “Exploring China’s COVID-19 Health Assistance Patterns in Latin America”

Natalie Navarette, “Russian Holistic Investment in Latin America: A Counter to the Security Interests of the United States”

Isaac Parham, “Running Down the Clock: How IGOs Are Addressing the Impending Climate Catastrophe”

Rehna Sheth, “A Comparative Analysis of Intra-state and Inter-state Violent Conflict on Education Enrollment and Completion Rates”

Emma Traynor, “Combating Illicit Firearms Trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico”

Micha Wallesen, “Nuclear Material Transportation Security”

Washington, D.C. Spring Break Trip

SLP DC Trip Spring 2020

Participants on the 2020 (top) and 2022 (bottom) CITS DC Spring Break Trip

Each year, students of the SLP and the MIP travel to Washington, D.C. during spring break to visit various security-related organizations, including government agencies and think tanks, and to network with UGA and SLP alumni.

The 2023 CITS Spring Break to Washington, DC will include visits to the Department of State, Department of Commerce, Senate, Brookings Institution, CNAS, and other government service providers.

Past SLP Cohorts

Fall 2020

Ayah Abdelwahab

Mennah Abdelwahab

Albert Chen

Annabelle Cochran

Kendall Embrey

Xzavior Goeman

Jonathan Lauria

Audrey Park

Sahana Parker

Lindsey Rhyne

Christopher Rosselot

Nate Shear

Addie Sparks

Kat Symons

Andrew Zach


Spring 2020

Zainub Ali

Ian Allen

Miranda Bourdeau

Adrina Bradley

Mariah Cady

Nia Everteze

Alex Fabre De La Grange

Alexa Hernandez

Sam Lombardo

David Mustard

Natalie Navarrete

Isaac Parham

Rehna Sheth

Emma Traynor

Micha Wallesen


Fall 2019

Matthew Aldridge

Robyn Anzulis

Marshall Berton

Rosa Brown

Christina Chu

Adriana Dale

Sam Daly

Chase Duncan

Avery Eddy

Emily Goggin

Eleanor Goldin

Griffin Hamstead

Jena Jibreen

Faeez Juneja

Rachel Markhoff

Anna Patterson

Ivan Ruiz-Hernandez

Emily Threlkeld


Spring 2019

Rebecca Buechler

Stephanie Cannon

Elizabeth Carter

Charley Claudio

Mary Beth Dicks

Arden Farr

Robert Gluzman

Nick Hughes

Dane Hulsey

Patrick Jenkins

Mary McCarthy

Thomas Russell

Matilda Segal

Meredith Van de Velde

Tricia White


Fall 2018

Allison Reid

Alyssa Hoover

Amanda Tysor

Celeste Norton

Joseph Atkins

Kadi Bortle

Kal Hicks

Karan Pol

Mary Craig Lindgren

Nicki Brown

Noble Jacob

Ryan Slusher

Samantha Barnes

SK Lasseigne

Zoe Bayer


Spring 2018

Austin Emery

Candice Lee

Caroline Gustavson

Erica Bressner

Folakemi Akinola

Grant Mercer

Jack Maerz

Joe Mahoney

Julia Ricciarduli

Megan Gillahan

Nia Harris

Seamus Murrock


Fall 2017

Austin Gignilliat

Bryanna Shook

Caleb Kirby

Cheikh Faye

Chloe Deitrich

Daria Kolpakova

George McCall

Haidi Al-Shabrawey

Kara Joyce

Louis Conde

Mauli Desai

Sierra Runnels

Swapnil Agrawal

Featured SLP Alumni

Learn more about Sara Beth Marchert from the Fall 2016 SLP Cohort.


Learn more about Valerie Tucker from the Fall 2015 SLP Cohort.


Learn more about Austin Gignilliat from the Fall 2017 SLP Cohort.


Learn more about Kathleen Nisbet from the Spring 2015 SLP Cohort.


Jack Slagle SLP Alumnus Feature

Learn more about Jack Slagle from the Fall 2011 SLP Cohort.


Learn more about Emily Threlkeld from the Fall 2019 SLP Cohort.


US National Security Council Simulation

This past November, students in the Center for International Trade and Security’s (CITS) Richard B. Russell Security Leadership Program (SLP) spent two weeks in a simulation of the US National Security Council (NSC). This capstone of the first-semester practicum course of the SLP had each student assigned to play a member of the NSC, including the President of the United States, the National Security Advisor, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and regional advisors. The members of the NSC, were required to make decisions on several “ripped-from-the-headlines” foreign policy issues including a crisis stemming from Chinese aggression towards US Navy surveillance ships in the South China Sea, to a crisis in the Mediterranean potentially undermining NATO, to democratic protests in the Gulf region. In addition to these known situations, the members of the NSC had to respond to several unexpected crises, including a looming environmental disaster off the coast of Yemen. The crises were selected to challenge the members to consider the tensions between US strategic interests and values, to weigh long-term and short-term goals, and to experience the pressure of “drinking from the fire hose” as policy makers are expected to juggle numerous ongoing crises at once.

In addition to developing a rich understanding of each situation, members of the NSC became adept at writing policy briefs and memos with short turnaround time and briefing colleagues on developing issues.  Simi Kolodka, who served as President, said, everyone was challenged to push themselves to not only understand and have the capacity to explain to others complex and nuanced topics, but to be confident enough to come up with solutions and defend [them] whilst cooperating with others to make said solutions better.” The individual research, rigorous debate, and teamwork led by President Kolodka and National Security Advisor Sophie Macartney, culminated in 4 presidential memoranda responding to the crises. Finally, the NSC also wrote a National Security Strategy for the Kolodka administration. This ensured the members would be conscious of long-term goals for the administration while responding to acute crises. When asked about the skills she developed, Ashni Patel, Advisor on Asia, said, The NSC simulation taught me problem-solving, briefing, and communication skills. With numerous problems being thrown at us day-to-day, I, along with my peers, had to think creatively and quickly about solving issues.”