Research Principles and Bio


Credit: Drażen Filopović,


I became a social scientist in order to discover which strategies are most effective at preventing discrimination, persecution, and violence. Because citizens, social movements, and armed groups are embedded in networks of rivalries and alliances, friendships and patronage, I chose to specialize in network analysis. My work ranges from complex statistical modeling to interviewing marginalized people in remote places. As such, I strive to follow six core principles: 

  1. Pursue a research agenda aimed at improving justice, freedom, and peace through both  basic research and evaluating interventions

  2. Mentor, train, and promote the careers of my research assistants

  3. Respect the dignity and safety of my interviewees and local partners

  4. Elevate the voices of scholars from the places and groups I study

  5. Publish credible, rigorous research to serve as a sound basis for policy

  6. Actively seek out opportunities to advise policymakers, NGOs, and the media/public, while clearly communicating the degree of uncertainty, scope conditions, and casual or correlational nature of my findings 

A native of Washington, DC, I earned my B.A. in math with a concentration in international studies at Williams College where I ran cross country, served on the college council, and wrote for the student newspaper. I got my first taste of research in college while studying abroad in Mongolia, where I conducted a survey and interviews with nomadic herders about their participation in local politics. Prior to graduate school, I taught high school math and social studies for seven years, interned at the conflict transformation organization Search of Common Ground, and worked as a counselor at Seeds of Peace, a camp bringing together teenagers from conflict regions (e.g., Arabs and Jewish Israelis). These days, I volunteer as a coach at my alma mater Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC, and train for marathons (usually Philadelphia in the fall and Boston in the spring). The photos at left are from the 1st Unusual Marathon in Sarajevo, which I won during my fieldwork in 2019. I also enjoy train trips, stargazing, wildlife expeditions, and homemade ice cream shops.

Credit: Admir Kuborivić, Radio Sarajevo