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 CITS alumni and guests, 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 years are encouraged to apply. You can learn more about the history of the SLP in this article from SPIA’s online magazine, We The People.

With questions, reach out to [email protected] or Dr. Maryann Gallagher ([email protected]), Director of the SLP.

SLP 20th Anniversary Celebration - Details & RSVP

All CITS alumni and friends are invited to attend the 20th anniversary celebration of the Richard B. Russell Security Leadership Program (SLP) taking place on Friday, September 20, 2024 at CITS.  

RSVP Link:

Tentative Program: 

Thursday, Sept 19

7-9pm Dinner hosted by Gary and Joan Bertsch

Friday, Sept 20

9:30- Welcome

10-11 – Round Table 1 – Strategic Trade, Nonproliferation, and Diplomacy

11:15-12:15 Round Table 2 – Emerging Security Issues

12:30 – 2:30 Lunch & Keynote

2:45 – 3:45 SLP Future Security Leaders

4pm Reception

Venue Info: 

Center for International Trade and Security  

110 E. Clayton Street, Athens, GA 30602 

Parking Information: 

Washington Street Deck: 125 W Washington Street, Athens, GA 30601 

College Avenue Parking:  289 College Ave, Athens, GA 30601 

Metered parking in downtown Athens is monitored and enforced by Downtown Athens Parking Services Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. 

Hotel Information for Visitors: 

CITS has a block of rooms available for visitors for September 19-21, 2024. Booking links for both hotels and their addresses are found below.  

Instructions: Guests will need to enter the stay dates (September 19-21, 2024) after clicking on the appropriate hotel’s booking link, and the rooms, as well as rates, will auto populate. 

Hyatt Place Athens: 412 N Thomas St, Athens, GA 30601 

Booking Link:

Holiday Inn Express Athens: 513 W. Broad Street, Athens, GA 30601 

Booking Link: 


If you have any questions about the SLP 20th Anniversary Celebration, please contact Dr. Maryann Gallagher, Director of the Security Leadership Program, at [email protected] or by phone at (706) 542-2764.  

Fall 2024 - Spring 2025 SLP Cohort Application Information

Applications for the Fall 2024 – Spring 2025 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:  a short (500 words or less) sample of your writing uploaded 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.





Current SLP Cohort: Spring 2024-Fall 2024
Mark Adams

Mark Anthony Adams is a third-year International Affairs and French double major from Peachtree City, Georgia. He is an active member of the Honors College. During his time at UGA, he was an exchange student at Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3 in Lyon, France, where he studied the French language, French and EU law, and geopolitics for two semesters, with coursework being exclusively in French. During his time abroad, he also worked as an ESL teacher for two local elementary schools as part of the locally recruited TAPIF program. As a result, he is a fluent French speaker, with a C1 diploma on the DALF. After his time in France, he also studied abroad in Oxford for one summer semester. Having returned to the United States, he wishes to pursue his research interests in International Security in a Francophone context, the internal and European politics of France and Francophone states, global radical right movements, and the future of Europe. In the Fall of 2023, he researched the electability of French radical right women under the tutelage of Dr. Maryann Gallagher. In his free time, he is employed as a Backpacking trip leader for the Outdoor Recreation Center at UGA, where he leads camping and wilderness survival trips. Otherwise, he enjoys studying foreign languages, including Old English and Spanish. After graduation, Mark plans to pursue either further education or employment in law, international security, or diplomacy.


Mercedes Bengs

Mercedes Bengs is a third-year student from Aberdeen, South Dakota majoring in International Affairs and Russian with a minor in German. She is a member of the Russian Flagship program and Air Force ROTC. Within the Flagship program, she is currently assisting with the development of a website about Russian-speaking countries and researching the impacts of remote warfare in Ukraine. She has completed an internship with the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, broadening her knowledge of Baltic states, and served as a mentor for Ukrainian High schoolers through EducationUSA. Within AFROTC, she is the current Honor Guard Commander and Vice President of Silver Wings, a community service-based organization. After graduation, she plans to commission into the Air Force and pursue a career in intelligence.


Frances Brantley

Frances Brantley is a third-year from Chattanooga, Tennessee, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs, Chinese Literature and Language, and Religion. She is an active member of University Judiciary, where she currently serves as the Director of Recruitment and Development for Advisor/Advocates. While at UGA, Frances was also involved with the UGA Study Abroad Oxford and Cortona programs. While at Oxford University and in Cortona, she took classes in nuclear politics and political psychology, Mandarin, and political theory. Prior to her time at UGA, Frances also studied as an exchange student in South Africa and visited China on a cultural immersion program. Frances has researched the impact of Chinese investment projects on women in receiving states. Further research interests include the South China Sea territorial disputes, China and Taiwan relations, and Cyber security. After graduating, Frances plans to pursue further education or employment in diplomacy or international security. In her free time, Frances is a Tour Guide at the UGA Visitors Center and a student-staff intern with Cru.


Grey Cohen

Grey Cohen is a second-year student from Atlanta, GA majoring in International Affairs and minoring in Human Rights and Security. She is also studying Arabic and French to one day work abroad in MENA foreign affairs. Grey is currently a research assistant for SPIA’s Dr. Gbemende Johnson, who is investigating the diversity of judiciaries around the world. Grey serves on the executive board of two UGA clubs centered around politics and current events, Common Ground and The Alexander Hamilton Society. She also is a staff writer for UGA’s foreign policy journal, The Loch Johnson Society. This past summer, Grey participated in the SPIA a Firenze study abroad program. She took courses from UGA and Italian professors on Food Security and European Union Law. This spring, Grey is co-starting a women and politics book club at UGA. After graduating from the University of Georgia, she plans to work internationally on human security and development.

Justin Cohen

Justin Cohen is a second-year student from Marietta, Georgia majoring in Political Science and International Affairs with a minor in Hebrew Language and Literature. With a focus on the legislative process and administrative politics, Justin has worked with various groups, including internships with the White House Office of Management and Budget and EMILYs List, as well as a legislative fellowship with the Office of State Representative Spencer Frye (GA-122). Outside of his professional work, Justin is actively involved with the University of Georgia’s academic community, where he currently serves as a student ambassador for the School of Public and International Affairs, has presented independent political polarization-focused research at various school-sponsored research conferences, and is a member of the UGA Applied Politics Certificate Program. After graduation, Justin plans to pursue a career on Capitol Hill.


Nicole Cortes

Nicole Cortes is a sophomore at the University of Georgia studying International Affairs, Portuguese, and Sustainability. She is interested in studying disinformation management in relation to U.S. national security. Her academic pursuits include being a member of the Portuguese Flagship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and being an undergraduate researcher with the Crisis Insights & Analytics (CIA) Lab. Outside the classroom, she works with International Student Life (ISL) as a volunteer for international student orientation and other ISL events. She won the “Volunteer of the Year Award,” in 2023 for her work with ISL. Additionally, she is a fellow with the Spencer Frye Fellowship, the Public Relations head for the Demosthenian Literary Society, the Diversity Equity & Inclusivity Chair for Model United Nations, and the Resource/Digital Librarian for the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center.


Madelyn Fackler

Madelyn Fackler is a third-year International Affairs student from Macon, Georgia, with minors in English and German. She has also been involved on campus as a member and in various officer positions in the Phi Kappa Literary Society. Additionally, she worked as a research assistant for the ATLAS project in the UGA Linguistics department. Madelyn attended the UGA at Oxford study abroad program in Spring 2023, further developing her interest in international security and foreign policy. In Summer 2022, during her participation in the GLOBIS study abroad in Ireland, she studied human rights, repression, and dissent within the context of the Troubles. Madelyn intends to pursue research in energy and nuclear security and, after graduation, a career in diplomacy and arms control.


Kristalee Gonzalez-Perez

Kristalee Gonzalez-Perez is a second-year student from Augusta, Georgia majoring in Political Science and International Affairs with minors in Law, Jurisprudence, the State, and Human Rights and Security. She part of the executive board for Latinos Invested in the Students of Tomorrow, a mentorship organization for Latinx students. Kristalee is also part of Activa Tu Speaking, a class-turned-club that connects students from UGA with students from Guadalajara, Mexico. Through Activa Tu Speaking, Kristalee has gained knowledge in sustainability and engineering, while putting into practice her Spanish skills. In the fall of 2023, Kristalee obtained UGA’s Sustainability Grant, and with it, she hopes to expand the students’ accessibility to reliable solar-powered tables and knowledge of how these tables function. In the spring of 2024, she will serve as a peer-learning assistant in INTL 1100: Global Issues.


Chris Haswell

Chris Haswell is a second-year student from Woodstock, Georgia majoring in Political Science, International Affairs, and Russian. He is a member of the Russian Flagship Program and participated in Startalk, an intensive and immersive Russian-speaking program, last summer. During summer 2024, he plans to study abroad in Riga, Latvia with members of his flagship cohort. Chris is an active member of the Athens community and previously served as a first-year senator, where he promoted environmentally friendly legislation. Chris is an avid researcher with an interest in cyber policy and regulation. He presented his work on digital transparency at two school research colloquiums and a national conference. Upon graduating, Chris hopes to work in cybersecurity policy or diplomacy.


Mayukh Keelar

Mayukh Keelar is a third-year Political Science and International Affairs double major from Johns Creek, Georgia. So far, Mayukh has enjoyed following his passion for policy and law in several extracurriculars and internships. He has been a member of the UGA Mock Trial Team since his freshman year, serving as a captain and as the program’s treasurer. Over the summer, he had the rewarding opportunity of helping out with UGA’s inaugural Mock Trial Summer Academy, working as a camp counselor and teaching high schoolers from across the country. Mayukh has also written for the Georgia Political Review, exploring Saudi arms trade and the campaign practices of Athens politicians. Through the Roosevelt Institute, he has also co-authored policy proposals that are aimed at mitigating the impacts of homelessness in the Athens-Clarke County area. He also enjoyed his time interning at an immigration law firm where he was afforded the opportunity to work with clients in preparing their and their families’ applications for immigration. Moving forward, Mayukh will look to combine his interests in policy and law after graduating from law school.


Ashley Orlet

Ashley Orlet is a third-year honors student from Augusta, Georgia, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Ecology and minors in International Affairs, Spanish, and Environmental Law, as well as a certificate in Sustainability. This past summer, she worked as a Science Communication Intern with the Odum School of Ecology, and as a Peer Learning Assistant for General Ecology in the Fall. Outside of class, Ashley is an active member of the Phi Kappa Literary Society. After graduating from the University of Georgia, she hopes to pursue a career in federal policy, with a focus on mitigating climate change and expanding clean energy.


Sophie Radke

Sophie Radke is a junior from Glen Ellyn, IL. She is an International Affairs and Political Science double major, with a minor in Human Rights and Security, and pursuing a certificate in Data Analytics in International Affairs. During her time at UGA, she was involved in UGA Study Abroad, spending the spring at Oxford University studying nuclear politics and political psychology, and May in Cortona, Italy. Beyond that, she researched sports washing in the Chinese Olympics through UGA’s own GLOBIS lab. Further research interests include cyber security and open-source intelligence in civilian casualties. Ms. Radke has coded human rights violations for the Subnational Repression project, and death penalties for HRMI, along with NGO stakeholder reports. She is heavily involved in her sorority, Delta Zeta, and enjoys volunteering with Rescue Paws. After graduating from UGA she hopes to attend law school.


Daniela Sanchez

Daniela Sanchez is a second-year student from Dunwoody, Georgia. She is majoring in International Affairs with minors in French and Korean. At UGA, she works as a resident assistant helping to build an inclusive and welcoming community on campus. She also founded and serves as the Vice President of the Korean Conversation Club and is the Meeting Coordinator of the Rotaract Club, a volunteering and professionalization club. Outside of UGA, she was an Advocacy Intern at the Latin American Association where she researched and analyzed current bills and proposals affecting the Latino population in Georgia in addition to monitoring legislation signed by Georgia congressmen and representatives. She is also the Secretary of the ROTEX Association of Rotary District 6900 and volunteers with the Rotary Youth Exchange program, a scholarship program for high school students through which she studied abroad in South Korea for one year. Her current interests include U.S.-Korea relations, arms control, and open-source intelligence. In Summer 2024 she plans to study abroad in Montpellier, France to improve her language skills.


Jessica Sobieski

Jessica Sobieski is a third-year student from Roswell, Georgia majoring in International Affairs and Russian. She is an active member and former ambassador of the Russian Flagship Program, through which she has traveled to Hawai’i, D.C., Estonia, Czech Republic, Latvia, and Sweden to study the sociopolitical landscape of formerly Soviet spaces and Russia. Through various UGA-based research institutions, she has researched a variety of topics from Central Asia to language acquisition. On campus, she competes on the University of Georgia Model United Nations team. In Model UN, she honed her speech and argumentation skills which she was later able to use in December 2023 when she was selected as the North American Youth Representative to UNCAC COSP10. Joined by youth representatives from each continent, she spoke out against corruption in international aid payments. Outside of the classroom, she has worked at the Carter Center under the Conflict Resolution Internship Program, focusing on Russian politics in Syria. Currently, she is working under the Council on Foreign Relations’s Russia Studies Internship Program.


Adam Starks

Adam Starks is a third-year student from Dunwoody, GA studying International Affairs and Music, with minors in Political Science as well as International Human Rights and Security. During his time at UGA, Adam has pursued research in education, human rights, and criminal justice, including a year-long Honors thesis analyzing Georgia’s private probation system. On campus, he is active in NMDP (formerly Be the Match), Georgia Political Review, and multiple music ensembles, including the UGA Symphony Orchestra and Chinese Music Ensemble, as well as serving as an ambassador for the School of Music. Most recently, Adam interned for the Department of State in D.C., working on a number of internal DEIA issues and how they are reflected in external equity work abroad. His current policy interests include cultural diplomacy and global women’s issues.


Ellie Trumpfheller

Ellie Trumpfheller is a second-year student from Arlington, Virginia studying Political Science, and International Affairs. For the 2023-24 academic year, Ellie is interning at the Clarke County Board of Elections working to implement election security protocols and practices to ensure the integrity of the voting process. In this position, she was additionally trained as a Poll Worker and Poll Site Manager in Clarke County. On campus, Ellie serves as an ambassador for the School of Public and International Affairs and is an active member of the Order of Omega. Her research interests include election security and political propaganda, gendered impacts of security issues, and human security. Ellie will intern at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Accountability in Summer 2024, and after graduating from the University of Georgia, she plans to pursue a career in policy, focusing on international security.

Independent Research Projects
Spring 2024

Kiana Bussa, “Do States with Greater LGBTQ Inequality Engage in More Conflict? ’Gendered Conflict’ Revisited”

Scott Butterfield, “Alternative Framing as a Strategy for Successful Clean Energy Policy”

Clemencia El Antouri, “Tourism and Gender: Western Women’s Role in Middle Eastern Tourism”

Emily Ezratty, “Balancing Acts: The Unintended Consequences of Export Controls on Human Development”

Austin Fabritius, “Do Terrorist Organizations Employ Different Strategies When They Kidnap Different Victims?”

Julian Fortuna, “Do Bipartisan Statements Reduce Political Violence? A Real World Analysis”

Avery Jainniney, “‘Daddy Issues’: An Evaluation of Institutional Fatherhood Policies”

Matthew Lombardo, “A Comparative Analysis of the Political Resource Curse in Oil and Mineral Exporting States: Industrial Effects on State and Human Security”

Allie Maloney, “Women and Warheads: Human-Centered Approaches to Nuclear Security”

Sean Manning, “A Press-ing Presence: Evaluating Great Power News Media Investment Strategies”

Madison Park, “Navigating Dynamics of Cooperation and Contestation: China’s Revisionist Agenda”

Devi Patel, “Are Far-Right News Outlets Less Likely to Report on Women’s Physical Violence and Abuse?”

Brooke Sanders, “The Impact of Far Right Women in Party Leadership on Women’s Rights”

Feben Teshome, “AI and Elections: Assessing the Impact on Public Trust in Africa”

Ansley Whitlock, “Behind Closed Doors: Investigating the Shadow of Public Misogynistic Violence in Private Spaces”

Thomas Wilkerson, “Partisan Influences on Social Media Governance: Examining Hate Speech Regulation”

Spring 2023

Luke Caggiano, “The Russo-Ukrainian War and Support for European Defense Integration among EU Public Officials”

Sudhan Chitgopkar, “Trusting Zero-Trust: How Public Trust in State Financial Institutions Affects Cryptocurrency Adoption Rates”

Alex Drahos, “The Space Race: Examining Terrorist Attacks in Urban Public and Private Spaces”

Jacqueline Ganun,”Do Women Editors Lead News Teams to Report More on Sexual Violence During Conflict?
A Study of War Reporting in Ukraine and Tigrey, Ethiopia”

Sahar Joshi, “Sticks and Stones: Words as Modern

Daniel Klein, “Who Gets to Be Innocent? The Role of Gender in Civilian Casualties and Public Support for Military Action”

Riley Mied, “Does Ideology Influence the Perpetration of Domestic Abuse by Extremists”

Thompson Miles, “Inside the Mind of Whistleblowers”

Sofia Mohamed, “Forced Migration And Infectious Disease:
How Does Conflict Increase The Spread Of Infectious Disease?”

Alexis Nash, “Energy Catalysts: Are Women Driving the Energy Transition”

Shekina Shindano, “Invisibility is Not Superpower:
Intersectional Invisibility and Black Women in National Security”

Connor Stockenberg, “Democracy’s Rising Fever:
Democratic Erosion and the COVID-19 Pandemic”

Abby Then, “Education with Conditions: Analyzing the
U.S. Strategic Use of Foreign Aid”

Kevin Vega, “Dangerous Economies: The Environmental
Costs of Organized Crime”

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.

This trip is made possible by the generous support of the Richard B. Russell Foundation, Mrs. Robin Benson, the UGA Parents Leadership Council, and alumni who donate to the CITS Student Fund.

Past SLP Cohorts

Fall 2022

Luke Caggiano

Sudhan Chitgopkar

Alex Drahos

Jacqueline Ganun

Sahar Joshi

Daniel Klein

Riley Mied

Thompson Miles

Sofia Mohamed

Alexis Nash

Shekina Shindano

Connor Stockenberg

Abby Then

Kevin Vega


Fall 2021

Olivia Bauer

Dan Doss

Catherine Fender

Haley Gamis

Jeanelle Garcia

Hayley Hunter

Elizabeth Howell

Patrick Jackson

Sonia Kalia

Julie Kettle

Simi Kolodka

Sophia Macartney

Ashni Patel

Hannah Skinner

Joshua Walker


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.”