Hank Robinson will be a first-year Masters’s candidate in the Asian Studies program at the Elliott School of International Affairs this spring. Prior to attending the Elliott School, he received a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Georgia in 2012, where he was a lightweight rower. He also received a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2016 and practiced securities law at a law firm in New York City. His interests are Sino-American relations, Taiwan, and how the former impacts the latter. Hank enjoys film, video games, trivia, and was once a Jeopardy! Teen Tournament semi-finalist.
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Alex Bednarek joined the Nuclear Threat Initiative in September 2016 and currently serves as a program officer with the International Fuel Cycle Strategies team, having previously served as an intern and research assistant with NTI’s Material Risk Management team. In his current position, he works primarily on verifiable dismantlement of nuclear warheads, developing strategies for long-term management of spent fuel from nuclear reactors, and international nuclear safeguards. His prior experience includes internships with the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Subcommittee for Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade under the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. In addition, he has served in positions related to political consulting, territorial conflict and resolution, and international aid. Alex holds a master’s degree in Security Policy Studies from George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
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Sheridan Bahar is of Persian Jewish descent and was born in Tehran. He grew up in a secular home with a strong connection to Israel and the miracle of Zionism. While he considers Los Angeles home, he has spent time living in different cities such as New Orleans and Vancouver. He spent two years of his early 20s doing community-service with low-income homeowners and residents in New Orleans and New York City. Sheridan has a degree in Government and Liberal Studies from the Georgetown University and is currently working toward his graduate degree in Security Policy Studies, concentrating in International Security at the Elliott School. Sheridan is also the Programs Manager at A Wider Bridge where he advocates for LGBTQ equality in Israel and for Israel. He presently considers Washington D.C. home and is an alum of AmeriCorps, Avodah, and Taglit Fellows.
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Arturo C. Sotomayor is an Associate Professor of International Affairs and Director of the Security Policy Studies Program at the Elliott School of International Affairs at GWU. He is a political scientist by training, an international studies scholar, and author of multiple academic articles and three books. His research is qualitative, comparative, regional, and includes analysis of public policy issues, international security matters, and military strategy. The unifying thread that runs through his research and writing is the intersection between studies on civil-military relations and international security, and research on the conditions and requirements for domestic order and stability in Latin America. He received his M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from Columbia University in New York and his BA degree in international relations from the Technological Autonomous Institute of Mexico (ITAM) in Mexico City.
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Ariel Scharf is a Project Associate at Chemonics International. After completing her B.A. in Political Science and Middle East Studies at the University of Mary Washington, she pursued an M.A. in International Development Studies with a focus on equal education access and monitoring & evaluation principles, from the Elliott School of International Affairs. She has also studied abroad in Honduras and Morocco. During her undergraduate and graduate studies, she completed internships with the State Department, Palladium, and Women for Women International, as well as consulted on projects for the World Bank and Social Impact. Prior to joining Chemonics, she spent a year and a half as the Business Development Associate at Training Resources Group (TRG). Her professional interests include gender, education in developing countries, post-conflict development, and monitoring & evaluation.
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Alyssa Bayne is a second-year Masters candidate in the Security Policy Studies program at the Elliott School, concentrating in U.S. national security. She received her bachelor’s degree in international studies at American University in 2018 where she studied abroad in Brussels, Belgium. Particularly, she is interested in military deterrence, transatlantic security cooperation, and US/NATO relations. She just completed the summer internship program with the Department of State in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. During the school year, she works on campus as an Assistant Manager at the GW Lerner Health and Wellness Center.
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Ms. Michelle McGonagle has more than 14 years of international development and humanitarian experience in fragile environments in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Currently, she works as a Senior Development Manager with IREX, a global non-profit, to expand the organization’s education portfolio around the world. A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ms. McGonagle has worked with various development actors during her career including the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations, international non-profits, large international development contractors, and the private sector. Adept at engaging a wide range of local and international stakeholders in various activities through participatory technical assistance in key sectors such as economic development, food security, disaster preparedness, and climate change adaptation; Ms. McGonagle’s efforts have ameliorated vulnerable communities’ capacity to withstand and build back better from recurrent complex crises.
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