ICRS Scholars

ICRS Scholars are a group of PhD and MA students at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and DU selected by ICRS institute and center directors for their demonstrated acumen and interest in regional and comparative studies. ICRS Scholars conduct research on ICRS themes and contribute to programs and research projects. ICRS Scholars are appointed on an ongoing basis by ICRS directors. 

2020-2021 ICRS Scholars

Doctoral Students

  • Jason Andrus

    Affiliation: Center for Middle East Studies

    Jason Andrus is a doctoral student in the Joint Degree Program at the University of Denver and the Iliff School of Theology. He previously received an MA in comparative religion from the University of Washington and a JD from NYU. Before coming to the University of Denver, Jason was a visiting professor of Middle East studies at Brigham Young University.  He has spent extensive time studying and researching in the Middle East, in particular Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine. His research is currently examining the effect that legal and political culture has on the experiences of religious identities, as well as the role that religious commitments have in giving content to legal norms in liberal democracies.  He is fluent in Arabic and Portuguese, and does research in Arabic, Hebrew, and Classical Greek.

  • Susan Cossa

    Affiliation: Africa Center

    Susan Cossa is a PhD student at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in both Economics and Government at Smith College, Massachusetts. Susan is a Mozambican national who has studied in South Africa and the United States. This multinational experience has shaped her perspectives on the global political economy. Susan’s research focuses on the economic and political implications for African countries engaging with China. She is currently working on three research projects. The first is a co-authored project which looks at Grand Strategies in China-Africa relations. The second project evaluates knowledge and technology transfers, or lack thereof, to African countries from China. The third project is a book review on China-Africa security relations. Susan works as a teaching assistant for the ‘Contemporary Issues in the Global Economy’ course and has lectured on inequality in the global economy.

  • Audrey Elliott

    Affiliation: Korbel Asylum Project

    Audrey E. Elliott is a first year PhD student in International Studies at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Her research interests include migration politics at the intersection of vulnerable populations, gendered state institutions, and human rights. She is also interested in how policies concerning LGBTQI groups impact broader security concerns. She received her Master of Public Administration with a specialization in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Georgia, where she also completed Bachelor of Arts degrees in German and International Affairs. Elliott is a teaching assistant and research assistant at the Korbel School, and works as a Program Coordinator for the Korbel Asylum Project.

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  • Jen Evans

    Affiliation: General ICRS

    Jen Evans is a PhD student at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, a Project Lead at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures, and a 2020-21 Visiting Fellow at The Arctic Institute. Her research interests include environmental, maritime, and Arctic security, particularly as they relate to Arctic geopolitics and comparative Arctic strategy. A Canadian-American scholar, Jen holds an MA in Media Studies from The New School and a BA with Distinction in Global Development Studies from Queen’s University at Kingston. Prior to her academic career, Jen worked in television and media production throughout 15 countries. She remains passionate about finding innovate ways to engage audiences through her work.

  • Rongchen Jiang

    Affiliation: General ICRS

    Rongchen Jiang is a Ph.D student in International Studies at the Josef Korbel School. He received his MA in International Affairs from the Pardee School of Global Studies in Boston University and his BA in Economics from the Shandong University in China. Prior to Korbel, he also served as a research assistant for the China Overseas Security Research Institute at the Renmin University of China. His research interests include ethnic conflicts, regional autonomy as well as authoritarian regimes. More specifically, his regional interest focuses on Middle East and Asia, especially on the mechanisms of sectarian conflicts and the development of Islamism ideologies/groups, and how these would influence the stability of authoritarian regimes.

MA Students

  • Mansour AlMuaili

    Affiliation: Center for Middle East Studies

    Mansour AlMuaili is a second year MA student in the International Studies program at the Josef Korbel School. Before attending the University of Denver, he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder where he received a BA in International Affairs and a certificate in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. Mansour is interested in the field of comparative politics. He has particularly focused his studies on exploring the factors that hinder democratization and harbor authoritarianism in the Middle East. While his comparative study of autocratic states, processes and behaviors are geographically focused, they relate to a major theme in international politics today: democratic backsliding and autocratization.

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  • Dania Arayssi

    Affiliation: Center for Middle East Studies

    Dania has a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the American University of Science and Technology in Beirut and a MA in History of International Relations from Saint Joseph University in Beirut. She is currently pursuing her Master of Public Policy (MPP) at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Dania also has a Diploma in International Criminal Law from Asser Institute at the Hague. Dania's research areas are democracy, human rights, inclusive economies, feminism, sustainable development and gender in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Recently, Dania completed the Gender Justice and Youth activism research project with Oxfam America, and she joined the World Bank team as an Analyst in preparing for the Women, Business, and the Law 2021 annual report in Washington D.C in the summer of 2020.

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  • Anushka Bose

    Affiliation: Center for Middle East Studies

    Anushka is a second year MA candidate in International Security at the Josef Korbel School. Growing up in an expatriate fortress in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia from a young age, Anushka was exposed to the interlaced reality of governance, markets, and security. At Korbel she is working on a Middle East concentration and works as Professor Rachel Epstein’s research assistant at the Sie Center, where she's assisted with projects on NATO enlargement, democratic backsliding and economic nationalism in post-communist Central Eastern Europe. She hopes to advance to a PhD program following completion of her MA at Korbel.

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  • Brian Guzman

    Affiliation: Latin America Center

    Brian Edgardo Guzman is a second-year graduate student at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies in the International Security program. He was born and raised in Washington, DC and is of Salvadoran descent. Brian graduated with honors from the University of the District of Columbia with his Bachelor of Arts in Administration of Justice. During his undergraduate journey, he was involved with nonprofit organizations in Washington, DC such as the Latin American Center (LAYC), New Futures and Mary’s Center, all of which predominantly serve migrant communities. He is currently a graduate research assistant at the ICRS Latin American Center. He holds leadership roles with the Social Justice Solidarity Series (SJSS), DU Immigrant and Refugee Rights Colectivo, and the International Career Advancement Program (ICAP). Outside of work and graduate school, Brian enjoys cooking, hiking, and enjoying life to the fullest.

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  • Tala Odat

    Affiliation: Center for Middle East Studies

    Tala is a first-year MA candidate in International Security at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Her research interest lies in the Israel-Palestine conflict and what new developments in policy and diplomacy may mean for the future of the State of Palestine and the Middle East as a whole. Tala earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Houston. During her time there, she held internship positions involving trade & diplomacy, as well as public affairs & policy.

  • Rose Quispe

    Affiliation: Latin America Center

    Rose Quispe is a second-year graduate student at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies in the Global Finance, Trade, and Economic Integration Program. She was born in Peru and raised in Washington, DC. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and French & Francophone Studies from Bucknell University in May 2018. At Korbel, she is a graduate assistant for the Latin America Center. Rose is passionate about the Latin American region and has done extensive research on matters in Colombia, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Rose is also a senior graduate assistant for the International Career Advancement Program, along with holding leadership positions in the DU Immigrant and Refugee Rights Colectivo and the Social Justice Solidarity Series student groups. When she is not in class, she loves to dance and listen to bachata, merengue, and salsa.

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  • Caitlin Sheridan

    Affiliation: Africa Center

    Caitlin Sheridan is a second-year master’s student earning her degree in Conflict Resolution and a master’s certificate in Homeland Security at the Josef Korbel School. She is also a trained mediator. Caitlin's MA thesis focuses on Kenya’s reconciliation processes since the post-election violence of 2007/08. In addition to her academic work, she is actively involved as President of Students for Africa. Outside of Korbel, Caitlin has interned with Denver’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Project Education South Sudan and the USAID Office of Local Sustainability. Before attending Korbel, Caitlin graduated from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY with a BA in African Studies and a minor in Economics. Caitlin’s undergraduate research culminated in a thesis on Rwanda’s post-conflict public history narrative. Caitlin hopes to pursue a career in international peacebuilding and conflict analysis.

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  • Sarah Tucker

    Affiliation: General ICRS

    Originally from Portland, Oregon, Sarah Tucker is an MA candidate in the International Security program. She graduated from the University of Denver in 2019 with a degree in International Studies and a minor in Political Science. As an undergraduate student, she produced an honors thesis analyzing democratic electoral progresses in Sierra Leone following the country’s brutal civil war. Sarah’s research interests include human security, electoral violence and peace-building. In the future, she hopes to pursue a PhD and career in Academia as a researcher and professor. In her spare time Sarah enjoys skiing, cooking, playing ultimate frisbee and cheering on the Portland Trailblazers. 

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  • Elsa Yehdego

    Affiliation: General ICRS, Africa Center

    Elsa Yehdego was born and raised in Axum, Ethiopia and is currently a first-generation MA student in the International Development program at the Korbel School. She received her undergraduate degree in International Affairs with an emphasis in the Middle East and Africa with a double-minor in Africana Studies and Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality (RTH) from the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). Her ultimate career goal is to create a non-profit organization that assists families in securing housing, food and educational opportunities. Before that, she aspires to work for the U.S. Embassy as a foreign service officer in Ethiopia, where she can utilize knowledge of four languages. 

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