Research Assistants

The Sié Center is home to numerous research projects designed to enhance the Korbel School's core educational goals by actively involving students as research assistants. The research projects—focused on emerging issues in security and foreign policy—seek to improve knowledge within the academic, public, and policy spheres. This is accomplished with the help of dozens of MA and PhD student research assistants guided by the Sié Center's faculty. Together, the faculty and students produce policy-relevant research using cutting-edge tools and technologies. Students are encouraged to play crucial roles in developing and analyzing new data, thus enhancing program efficiency while encouraging skill development of graduate research assistants. 

Current Student Research Assistants

Ph.D. Research Fellows

  • Chuck Aoki

    Chuck is a PhD student in International Studies at the Korbel School in Denver. He is currently working as a research fellow for Dr. Rachel Epstein on various ongoing projects. His research interests include civil-military relations and the way in which changes in military technology will affect these relationships, particularly with regards to drones and autonomous weapons. Alongside this, he is also interested in how advances in technology will change intrastate conflicts, particularly between militant groups and state actors. He is also interested in how development projects can be more inclusive of persons with disabilities. Prior to Korbel, Chuck received his master's degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota, with a graduate minor in program evaluation. He earned his bachelor's degree from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN in secondary education, where he was named the most outstanding graduate of his class. Chuck has also been a member of Team USA Wheelchair Rugby at the last three Paralympic Games, earning a bronze medal at the 2012 London Paralympics, and a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.  

  • Audrey Elliott

    Audrey is a 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 institutions, and human rights. 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 both a teaching assistant and research assistant at the Korbel School. 

  • Jen Evans

    Jen Evans is a PhD student at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, a Research Associate at The Arctic Institute, and a Project Lead at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures. Her research interests include Arctic security, environmental conflict, and GIS modeling, with a particular focus on Indigenous resource rights and extractive industries in the circumpolar north. Prior to pursuing her academic career, Jen worked in television production throughout 15 countries. She is an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter, and also enjoys photography and hiking with her dog. 

  • Sinduja Raja

    Sinduja Raja is a Doctoral Student in International Studies from India at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She is also Project Manager of Women’s Rights After War, a project jointly funded by the UKRI’s Global Challenges Research Fund and the National Science Foundation. She was one of ten awardees of the Sié Fellowship and scholarship from the Sié Center. Prior to this, she obtained a Master of Arts in Development Studies from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Her current research interests are in understanding the gendered relationship between state, society and violence. 


Graduate Research Assistants

  • Michelle Carrère Seizer

    Originally from Montevideo, Uruguay, Michelle is pursuing an M.A. degree in International Studies with a specialization in human mobility and intercultural relations. After finishing her bachelor's degree in Social Communications, Michelle found her dream career working with immigrants and refugees with the Uruguayan government's Syrian Refugee Resettlement program and, later on, coordinating the area of migration and intercultural education in the Uruguayan Ministry of Education and Culture. Michelle has always had a passion for experiencing the world's diversity and building bridges among different viewpoints, a passion that she strived to channel through her various personal, volunteer, and professional activities. Michelle enjoys music, books, walks in nature, beer and conversations with friends, writing, and a dark sense of humor. 

  • Janet Hernandez

    Janet, born and raised in Denver, Colorado, is pursuing an M.A. in International Development and a Public Diplomacy certificate. Janet earned her bachelor's degree in English and Spanish with a translator's certificate from Metropolitan State University (MSU) of Denver. She was the first student in MSU Denver history to receive a Fulbright Scholarship. Janet used her Fulbright Scholarship to teach in South Korea for three years at an elementary school, university, and international educational institute. Janet aspires to improve migration policy. 

  • Gulalai Ismail

    Gulalai is pursuing an M.A. in International Human Rights. Gulalai is an award-winning, exiled human rights activist from Pakistan. She is the Co-Founder and Chairperson of Aware Girls, a young women-led organisation working towards gender equality and peace. Gulalai’s work focuses on young women’s political and economic empowerment, human rights education and leadership, addressing gender-based violence, legal advocacy, setting up women support helplines across the region, and countering violent extremism. She has advocated at the U.N. in support of peace and security resolutions, and has set up women support networks across Pakistan and Afghanistan to counter violent extremism among young people and to bridge women peace activists. For her extraordinary work in building peace, gender equality, and development, Gulalai is the recipient of multiple international honors, including Humanist of the Year Award (2014), Commonwealth Youth Award (2015), Chirac Prize for Conflict Prevention (2016), Anna Politkovskaya Award (2017), and Women’s Rights Award (2021) by the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. In 2013, Gulalai was named among the “100 Leading Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy, and among the “30 Under 30” youth activists by National Endowment for Democracy. 

  • Saba Ismail

    Saba is pursuing an M.A. in International Human Rights. Born and raised in Pakistan, she is an award winning, exiled human rights activist who has been working for the empowerment of young women for over two decades. She is the Co-Founder of Aware Girls, a young women-led organisation working towards gender equality and peace. Most recently, Saba started “The Dignity Project,” a digital storytelling course for young women of South Asian origin to equip them with the tools to tell their stories. Over the years, her work has focused on addressing gender-based violence; strengthening leadership skills, political participation, and economic empowerment for young women; sexual and reproductive rights and health; legal advocacy; and countering violent extremism and promoting peace. Saba has been involved in setting up numerous regional and international networks and support helplines for youth and women to promote peace and counter violent extremism. She has served as a speaker and an advisory group member at organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank. Saba is the recipient of prestigious fellowships such as the Hurford Youth Fellowship (Washington, D.C) and the Vital Voices Fellowship and the Do School Fellowship (Germany). She is the recipient of the Chirac Prize for Conflict Prevention (2016) the Red Bangle Award (2017). In 2013, Saba was recognized as one of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy, and among the “30 Under 30” youth activists by the National Endowment for Democracy. Her work has been mentioned in numerous international publications. 

  • Anne Lauder

    Anne Lauder graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a B.A. in Political Science in May of 2020. After graduation, she interned at the DC Policy Center, focusing on research for a criminal justice initiative, and then worked on contract for Hunger Free Colorado, focusing on advocacy work and policy-building to increase food security across the state of Colorado. She now works for state Senator Robert Rodriguez. Her research interests include non-state actors, humanitarian aid, and human rights compliance and enforcement. 

  • Kallie Mitchell

    Kallie Mitchell is an MA candidate in International Studies, with a research focus on gender and conflict. Her academic interests include transitional justice, international humanitarian law, and women’s political participation. Kallie works as a research assistant for Marie Berry and has enjoyed the opportunity to learn from her and other Sié faculty during her time at Korbel.  

  • Natasha Musalem

    Natasha Musalem is an M.A. student in International Development with a focus on gender and the Middle East. Other academic interests include development, conflict, and policy. Natasha currently works at Water For People and is a Capitol Fellow with the Colorado Latino Leadership and Research Organization (CLLARO) at the Colorado Energy Office. 

  • Xuan Nguyen

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  • Melissa Roggero

    Originally from Florida, Melissa is pursuing an M.A. in International Development at Korbel and will explore her interests in education and humanitarian assistance. Melissa received her bachelor's degree in Foreign Affairs and French from the University of Virginia. As a dual citizen of Brazil and the United States, Melissa has a love of languages and international relations. Before coming to Korbel, Melissa spent a Semester at Sea, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Georgia, worked on the leadership team for GLOW (Girls Leading our World), and was a Participant Recruiter for the FLEX program with American Councils for International Education. Melissa is excited to bolster her previous experience through her studies at Korbel to ultimately find ways to overcome obstacles within the intersection of education and sustainable development. 

  • Alex Romero

    Alexandra (Alex) Romero is a master's student in International Development with a certificate in Humanitarian Assistance. Her academic focuses include land rights, human protection, and environmental sustainability. Alex completed her bachelor's degrees in Art History and French Language, Literature, and Culture at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro writing her bachelor's thesis on Postcolonial Francophone art and testimony. She is passionate about building inclusive environments, knitting, and finding creative outlets. 

  • Monishankar Sarkar

    Monishankar Sarkar is second-year MA in International Development student. Before coming to Korbel, he held a faculty position in the Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies, University of Dhaka. He was also a research fellow to the REACH: Improving Water Security for the Poor, a DFID funded project of the University of Oxford, where he explores how water insecurity creates an additional poverty burden for poor people. The study also explores that the extreme poor households have little or no opportunity to lift out of poverty than other impoverished families. His research combines empirical evidence and economic theory to support the design of efficient public policies. Sarkar’s work ranges from poverty, hunger, inequality to sensible government policies which can have more comprehensive and real-world impacts. He received his Bachelor and Master of Social Science degrees from the University of Dhaka.  

How to Become a Research Assistant

Students conduct meaningful research, have opportunities for publication, and participate in Sié Center events as valued members of our community. Read more about our current cohort of research assistants below.  

To be notified of future research assistant openings, please contact us. All research assistant opportunities are also listed on Pioneer Careers PCO.  

In general, applicants must be proficient in MS Word and MS Excel, have exceptional internet research skills, and be comfortable learning and using new technology. Applicants should be able to work independently, but also enjoy working in an office environment with others. 

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