- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Belfer Center Fellows Forge the Future

Fall 2022

This fall, the Belfer Center welcomed more than 100 talented pre- and post doctoral fellows with expertise in issues ranging from national and international security and diplomacy to cyber, technology, climate change and energy policy. Along with selected Belfer Young Leader Student Fellows, these talented individuals who bring with them a wide range of backgrounds and experience, contribute valuable fresh ideas to the Center community. They work with Center faculty members and other fellows while researching and brainstorming issues of interest. 

Below are just a few of this year's fellows: 

Adaobi Ezeokoli

Adaobi Ezeokoli (Communications Fellow) is a communications specialist with 10 years of experience in leading high-performing teams on complex development communications projects. She is a public health advocate with expertise in global health policy and maternal and child health advocacy. She was the Editor-In-Chief at Nigeria Health Watch, a health communications non-profit working in the areas of advocacy, research and health policy, and the Director of Communications at EpiAfric, a public health consultancy. She has a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a Master’s in Historical Geography from Jerusalem University College, and a Bachelor’s in Communications from Anderson University. She is an Obama Africa Leader and an Edward S. Mason Fellow and was Editor-In-Chief of the Africa Policy Journal during her time at Harvard Kennedy School.

Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Aaron C. Teller

Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Aaron C. Teller (National Security Fellow) is an active-duty U.S. Army Officer of 20 years currently serving as a National Security Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He most recently served as the Commander of the U.S. Army’s 79th Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) at Fort Riley, Kansas. He recently moved to the Cambridge area with his wife, Mary, who has two daughters, Kenley, age 12, and Scarlett, age 10. The Teller Family has fit right in to the Harvard community. They are hosting two International students at Harvard Law School and are active in the community. Aaron was born in Hillsville, Virginia, and is a graduate of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He holds a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. LTC Teller has had multiple combat deployments overseas and operational assignments across the United States.

Ozgur Ozkan

Ozgur Ozkan (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Middle East Initiative) holds a Ph.D. in International Studies from the University of Washington, Seattle. Before pursuing his doctoral studies, Ozgur served as an army officer in the Turkish Armed Forces and NATO. He holds a master’s degree in Regional Security Studies (Russia-Eurasia) from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, and B.S. degrees in Systems and Electrical Engineering from the Turkish Military Academy. His research lies at the intersection of international security and comparative politics. He primarily studies issues related to the military’s role in domestic and international politics, focusing on the military’s organizational characteristics, particularly its social and ethnic representativeness and their implications for political violence and military effectiveness with a regional specialization in Turkey and the Middle East.

Lieutenant Colonel Hyo (Jeana) Cho

Lieutenant Colonel Hyo (Jeana) Cho (National Security Fellow) was born in Seoul, Korea, and immigrated to the United States when she was 11 years old. LTC Cho enlisted in the District of Columbia Army National Guard in 1998 and was commissioned as a Transportation Officer in 2004. Before arriving at Harvard Kennedy School as a National Security Fellow, LTC Cho served as the Commander of the 1225th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, where she led a multicomponent battalion in the United States European Command Area of Responsibility in support of Atlantic Resolve. LTC Cho holds a bachelor's degree in Spanish Language & Literature, Master's degrees in Security Management and Military Studies, and a Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership. She was also an Adjunct Professor at Southern New Hampshire University until she took Command in February 2020.

Justine Bailliart

Justine Bailliart (Belfer Young Leader) is a second year Master's candidate at Harvard Kennedy School. Before Harvard, she served with the United Nations Development Programme in Dili, Timor-Leste where she managed and coordinated project activities on ending violence against women and girls as well as on Parliamentary strengthening. As a Belfer Young Leader fellow, Justine has conducted research at the nexus of conflict and gender, such as on policies to reintegrate ex-Boko Haram soldiers in Northeast Nigeria or on the use of sexual violence in armed conflict. Justine graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a B.Sc. in International Relations and History. Her research and career interests include gender and conflict, peacebuilding, and post-conflict reconstruction. Justine is fluent in French, English and Portuguese.

Jacqueline White Menchaca

Jacqueline White Menchaca (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Korea Project and Cyber Project) is a Mexican American Arizona native who was born in Tucson and raised around 30 minutes from the U.S. Mexico border. She is a first-generation student working on her master’s in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School focused on international and global affairs. Her particular focus is on North Korea’s circumvention of sanctions through the use of cryptocurrency and tech diplomacy. Over the summer, she worked at the U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania as a Political and Economic Intern working on G5 Sahel security issues. Ms. White Menchaca aspires to continue a lifelong career in the service working on human rights, security, and conflict stabilization. She speaks Spanish and Swahili and earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Policy from Arizona State University and her Associate of Art from Mesa Community College. She has lived in Ecuador, Tanzania, and Mexico.

Jennifer Warren

Lieutenant Colonel Jen Warren (National Security Fellow) is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force, with experience in both acquisitions and international military diplomacy. Jen’s specialty is software and networks, to include advocating for IT budgets while at the Pentagon and working at Kessel Run, the Air Force’s premier agile software development organization. While at US Embassy Nouakchott, she led the Security Cooperation Office, working directly with Mauritanian military officials on education, training, and equipment initiatives. Jen is a graduate of Louisiana State University, Boston University, and the Naval Postgraduate School. She co-owns an award-winning salsa company with her husband and brother-in-law (www.blackmarketsalsa.com) and she and her husband have one child who keeps them on their toes.

Eyck Freymann

Eyck Freymann (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Arctic Initiative) holds joint postdoctoral fellowships at the Belfer Center’s Arctic Initiative and the Columbia-Harvard China & the World Program, where he works on the geopolitics of climate change. He is also a Non-Resident Research Fellow with the U.S. Naval War College's China Maritime Studies Institute.  Eyck’s first book, One Belt One Road: Chinese Power Meets the World (Harvard 2021), is taught at Harvard, Cambridge, Columbia, and Peking University. His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, The Economist, Foreign Policy, and The Atlantic. He is also the author of “The Warming War,” a series of investigative reports for The Wire China about the nexus between climate change and U.S.–China competition. Eyck earned his doctorate in China Studies from Balliol College, Oxford; two masters degrees in China Studies from Harvard and St Edmunds College, Cambridge; and a bachelors cum laude in East Asian History from Harvard College. 

Renata Koch Alvarenga

Renata Koch Alvarenga (Belfer Young Leader), from Brazil, is a second-year Master in Public Policy candidate at Harvard Kennedy School. At Belfer, she has worked with the Arctic Initiative and on the Environment and Natural Resources Program. Renata is a leading voice on gender and climate justice in the global youth movement. She founded the youth-led and Brazil-based organization EmpoderaClima, at 22 years old, to raise awareness of the need for women's empowerment in climate decision-making spaces and to advocate for girls' education as a prerequisite for climate action. Renata has worked with Brazilian politics at the British Mission in Brazil, and with sustainable development at the United Nations Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth. Recently, Renata was nominated for the class of Environmental Educators (EE) 30 Under 30. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations from Unisinos (Brazil).

Nadezhda Filimonova

Nadezhda Filimonova (Postdoctoral Fellow, Arctic Initiative) is an affiliated scholar at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies. Filimonova successfully defended her dissertation titled “The Practice of Climate Adaptation Governance in Arctic Cities: Understanding Local Policymaking Interactions in Norway and Russia” at the University of Massachusetts Boston in November 2022. She was awarded a Fulbright fellowship, a German Academic Exchange Service fellowship, and numerous research grants. Filimonova is the author of several peer-reviewed publications on geopolitics and governance in the Arctic. She has taught courses on international relations, Arctic studies, and daily life in Soviet Russia. Her current research explores urban governance for resilient cities in the Arctic. 

Grant Golub

Grant Golub (Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy) is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His dissertation examines Henry Stimson, the War Department, and the politics of American grand strategy during World War II. A graduate of Princeton University and LSE, Grant is also a Hans J. Morgenthau Fellow at the Notre Dame International Security Center, a Junior Fellow with the International Policy Scholars Consortium and Network, and a Fellow at Defense Priorities, a Washington foreign policy think tank. His academic work has been published in the Journal of Strategic Studies and The International History Review. His commentary can be found in The Washington PostThe Chicago TribuneThe National Interest, and other outlets.

Lieutenant Colonel Steven M. K. Cooper

Lieutenant Colonel Steven M. K. Cooper (National Security Fellow) was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He entered the Air Force in June 2004 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Lieutenant Colonel Cooper has led Special Tactics and Joint Forces in Operations ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, ODESSEY DAWN, INHERENT RESOLVE, UNIFIED PROTECTOR, and other contingency operations. He received his Bachelor of Science in Military History from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2004, his Master of Science in Leadership Studies at Capella University in 2013, and his Master of Science in Defense Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2018.

Sophie Faaborg-Andersen

Sophie Faaborg-Andersen (Belfer Young Leader) is a Master in Public Policy candidate at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Before graduate school, Sophie spent five years at The MITRE Corporation’s National Security Engineering Center (NSEC) as a technical intelligence analyst focusing on topics related to strategic competition and applied artificial intelligence. Her research interests include open-source intelligence, military applications of emerging technologies, and national security policy. Faaborg-Andersen received a B.S. in Science, Technology, and International Affairs from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service in 2018. She speaks Danish, French, and Spanish.

Bethan Saunders

Bethan Saunders (Belfer Young Leader) is a Master in Public Policy candidate at Harvard Kennedy School. Her research interests include cybersecurity policy and the intersection of national security, innovation, and emerging technologies. Bethan is the Co-Chair of the HKS student organization, Women in Defense, Development, and Diplomacy, and the co-host of the Belfer podcast, Cyber.RAR. She also manages the Cambridge Project, which pairs graduate students with the Defense Innovation Unit on projects to accelerate commercial technology for national security. Before HKS, Bethan was an associate at Morgan Stanley, where she focused on business growth strategy, impact investing, and technology. She received her BSFS in International Politics and Security from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service.

Meghan Garrity

Meghan Garrity (Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program) received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is a former Peace Fellow with the U.S. Institute of Peace. Her research agenda is situated at the nexus of ethnicity, nationalism, and migration studies. She is focused on understanding conflict processes by examining the causes of, and constraints on, government policies of group-based ethnic violence and exclusion. Garrity’s book project, “Disorderly and Inhumane: Explaining Government-Sponsored Mass Expulsion,” explains why and how governments expel ethnic groups en masse. Her novel Government-Sponsored Mass Expulsion dataset, published in the Journal of Peace Research, documents 139 mass expulsion events from 1900-2020, affecting over 30 million citizens and non-citizens across the world. Garrity has over ten years of experience as a humanitarian and development practitioner throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Belfer Center Fellows Forge the Future.” (Fall 2022).