CISAC awards 14 honors certificates in international security studies

CISAC awarded honors certificates in international security studies to 14 undergraduates who completed theses on policy issues ranging from speeding up the detection of a bioterror attack to improving the World Bank's effectiveness at post-conflict resolution.

Among the 2006-2007 participants in CISAC's Interschool Honors Program in International Security Studies were award winners Brian Burton, who received a Firestone Medal for his thesis, "Counterinsurgency Principles and U.S. Military Effectiveness in Iraq," and Sherri Hansen, who received the William J. Perry Award for her thesis, "Explaining the Use of Child Soldiers." The Firestone Medal recognizes the top 10 percent of undergraduate theses at Stanford each year, and the Perry recognizes excellence in policy-relevant research in international security studies.

CISAC honors students "can make the world a more peaceful place in several ways," FSI senior fellow Stephen Stedman told students and guests at the honors ceremony. "They can graduate and find jobs of power and influence [and] they can identify real world problems and solve them."

This year's class, which included several double-majors, represented nine major fields of study: biology, history, human biology, international relations, mathematics, management science and engineering, physics, political science, Russia-Eurasian studies. Some students headed to business or policy positions, while others looked forward to advanced studies in law, medicine, biophysics, security studies, or other fields.

"I hope that this is the beginning, not the end, of your contributions to policy-relevant research," CISAC senior research scholar Paul Stockton, who co-directed the program with Stedman, told the students. He added, "In every potential career you have expressed a desire to pursue, from medicine to the financial sector and beyond, we need your perspectives and research contributions, to deal with emerging threats to global security."

Many students expressed interest in realizing that hope. Burton said his aspiration is to attain "a high-level cabinet or National Security Council position to cap a long career of public service in foreign policy."

Katherine Schlosser, a biology major who is headed to Case Western Reserve University for joint MD-master's in public health program, said she hopes to "keep conducting innovative research and to eventually rejoin the international security studies community in some capacity."

The 2007 honors recipients, their majors, thesis titles, advisers, and destinations, if known, are as follows:

Brian Burton, political science
"Counterinsurgency Principles and U.S. Military Effectiveness in Iraq"
Firestone Medal Winner

Adviser: David Holloway
Destination: Georgetown University, to pursue a master's degree in security studies

Martine Cicconi, political science
"Weighing the Costs of Aggression and Restraint: Explaining Variations in India's Response to Terrorism"
Adviser: Scott Sagan
Destination: Stanford University Law School

Will Frankenstein, mathematics
"Chinese Energy Security and International Security: A Case Study Analysis"
Adviser: Michael May
Destination: The Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, Va., for a summer internship

Kunal Gullapalli, management science & engineering
"Understanding Water Rationality: A Game-Theoretic Analysis of Cooperation and Conflict Over Scarce Water"
Adviser: Peter Kitanidis
Destination: Investment Banking Division at Morgan Stanley in Los Angeles

Sherri Hansen, political science
"Explaining the Use of Child Soldiers"
William J. Perry Award Winner

Adviser: Jeremy Weinstein
Destination: Oxford University in England, to pursue master's degree in development studies

Andy Leifer, physics and political science
"International Scientific Engagement for Mitigating Emerging Nuclear Security Threats"
Adviser: Michael May
Destination: Harvard University, to pursue a PhD in biophysics

James Madsen, political science
"Filling the Gap: The Rise of Military Contractors in the Modern Military"
Adviser: Coit Blacker
Destination: World travel; then San Francisco to open a bar

Nico Martinez, political science
"Protracted Civil War and Failed Peace Negotiations in Colombia"
Adviser: Stephen Stedman
Destination: Washington, DC, to serve as a staff member for Senator Harry Reid

Seepan V. Parseghian, political science and Russian/Eurasian studies
"The Survival of Unrecognized States in the Hobbesian Jungle"
Advisor: James Fearon

Dave Ryan, international relations
"Security Guarantees in Non-Proliferation Negotiations"
Adviser: Scott Sagan
Destination: Stanford University, to serve as executive director of FACE AIDS

Katherine Schlosser, biology
"Gene Expression Profiling: A New Warning System for Bioterrorism"
Adviser: Dean Wilkening
Destination: Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, to pursue a joint medical degree and master's in public health

Nigar Shaikh, human biology and political science
"No Longer Just the 'Spoils of War': Rape as an Instrument of Military Policy"
Adviser: Mariano-Florentino Cuellar

Christine Su, history and political science
"British Counterterrorism Legislation Since 2000: Parlimentary and Government Evaluations of Enhanced Security"
Adviser: Allen Weiner
Destination: Stanford University, to finish her undergraduate degree; Su completed the honors program as a junior.

Lauren Young, international relations
"Peacebuilding without Politics: The World Bank and Post Conflict Reconstruction"
Adviser: Stephen Stedman
Destination: Stanford University, to finish her undergraduate degree; Young completed the honors program as a junior.