CISAC Fellows spend the academic year engaged in research and writing, participating in seminars and interacting and collaborating with leading faculty and researchers. The CISAC fellowship provides an unparalleled opportunity for scholars and professionals to explore complex international problems and innovative solutions in a collegial and collaborative environment.
Meet the Fellows
Leyatt Betre completed her Ph.D. from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Her dissertation, "The Production of Arms and Influence: Weapons, Diplomacy, and the Technopolitics of Nuclear Strategy," interrogated the political and historical origins of strategic narratives commonly associated with nuclear weapons systems by examining the technical communities responsible for designing and developing them.
Leyatt's research interests cluster around two main areas: 1) the historical relationships connecting ideologies of Cold War rationality, militarism, and techno-optimism in the United States; and 2) transnational histories of anti-colonial struggle and disarmament advocacy in the Global South. In both of these areas, she is concerned primarily with the question of how sites of political struggle serve to concretize, unravel, and disseminate specific understandings of previously contested projects of sociotechnical intervention.
Callie Chapell completed their PhD in Biology at Stanford University. Callie's research focused on studying the ecology and evolution of plant-associated microbes. In addition to their lab and field research, they also co-developed community-engaged arts programming for low-income youth in the Greater Bay Area. Their work centered on social and environmental justice in bioengineering education.
Despite increasing focus on the US bioeconomy, specific discussions about how to structure a bio future that centers diversity, equity, and inclusion has been largely overlooked. In their research, Callie will imagine a broader bio future by studying the benefits and challenges of a bioeconomy "for the people" and provide policy recommendations to ensure equity and justice.
Previously, Max researched how machine learning approaches can be used for physical sciences and looked for new particle physics interactions in neutron decay. To collect data for the analysis, he prepared and managed an experiment at the Institut Laue-Langevin, France. Also, he worked on technical AI safety research to study backdoored language models and their inner mechanisms.
The goal of his research is to work towards a safe and responsible use of AI to reduce risks and benefit society. His research focuses on studying large language models and their emergent capabilities with interpretability methods. During his fellowship, he'll work with Prof. Clark Barrett from the Stanford Computer Science Department and the Stanford Center for AI Safety.
Before coming to CISAC, Johanna was a Global Innovation Program Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House. She received her PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics in June 2022. During her doctoral studies, she was an editor of Millennium: Journal of International Studies. She also holds an MA in Political Science and a BA in International Development from the University of Vienna, Austria.
In her research, she is interested in questions around how problems of international politics become to be seen as such in the first place. Johanna pursues these questions with a specific focus on ideas of war and its prevention. Her current work investigates the role of (emerging) technologies in conflict prevention and anticipation, and in particular how they shape ideas of what conflict is, how to recognize it, and how to govern it.
Prior to Stanford, Caleb was a Postdoctoral Fellow in US Foreign Policy and International Security at Dartmouth's Dickey Center. During the final year of the PhD, he was also a US-Asia Grand Strategy Predoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California.
Caleb research's the psychology of international security with a particular focus on the psychological effects of state power. Power is a relative material attribute, but so too power is a feeling and experience that changes individuals, a point largely lost on IR to date. His book project shows that the feeling of power inflates threat perception. Leaders of stronger states paradoxically feel less secure and, perhaps more perniciously, feel an irrational capacity to solve those imagined fears through aggression.
Prior to Stanford, Lindsay was a Stanton predoctoral fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In her time at UMD, she was also the instructor of record for an undergraduate nuclear policy course and the Catherine Kelleher research fellow at the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM). She also has experience working as an adjunct research associate at the RAND Corporation, a research associate at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawerence Livermore National Lab, a NSF fellow on the DHS Science and Technology Directorate quantum technology task force, and a research intern at the Naval Research Laboratory.
Her research draws on my interdisciplinary background in physics and policy to explore how social, political, and technological changes have contributed to the cyclical reconception of "vulnerability" in nuclear strategy and policymaking. In her dissertation, she analyzed the implications for nuclear deterrence due to quantum sensing, and leveraged technical analyses and historical case studies of previous emerging technologies to develop an integrated socio-technical analytic framework.
Before CISAC, Barbara is finishing her physics Ph.D. at Columbia University working on astronomical instrumentation under a NASA FINESST fellowship. Born and raised in Brazil, she got her BS in physics at Yale, after which she worked at MIT's Nobel-Prize winning LIGO lab and got her master's at Columbia. She was one of the inaugural fellows of the Next-Generation Fellowship from the Physicists Coalition for Nuclear Threat Reduction, and received the 2021 American Physical Society 5 Sigma Physicist Award for congressional advocacy in nuclear disarmament.
Dr. Vásquez's research informs the development of health management actions for vector-borne disease that are robust to climate change uncertainty.
Sherry Zaks is an assistant professor of Comparative Politics and Methodology at the University of Southern California. Her substantive work examines the conditions under which rebel groups are able to transform into political parties in the aftermath of civil wars. She draws on organizational sociology to develop a comprehensive model of militant groups and trace how wartime structures either facilitate or inhibit rebel-to-party transformations. On the methods side, Sherry's work focuses on conceptualization, measurement, and process tracing. When she's not in the archives, you can find Sherry in the kitchen.