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

Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center Names Directors for Cyber Projects

The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School has named Lauren ZabierekMaria Barsallo Lynch, and Julia Voo to head three of the Center’s growing cyber-related projects. They will run the Center’s Cyber Project, Defending Digital Democracy Project, and China Cyber Policy Initiative, respectively.

“Cyber is an inescapable element of public policy,” said Center Co-Director Eric Rosenbach, a former “cyber czar” for the U.S. Department of Defense. “From hacking and disinformation attacks on our elections and power grids to the intensifying global competition over cyber technology, this is an essential area for research,” he said. “The Belfer Center is pleased to welcome these three exceptionally talented individuals, whose expertise will guide the Center’s work on one of the most challenging areas confronting policymakers in Washington and around the world.”

Lauren Zabierek is Executive Director of the Center’s Cyber Project. A military veteran, former civilian intelligence analyst, and former commercial cyber security manager, she joins the Center following her graduation in 2019 from Harvard Kennedy School’s mid-career Master in Public Administration (MPA) program. 

Before her graduate work at the Kennedy School, Zabierek served as an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force and completed three war-zone deployments as a civilian intelligence analyst with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) assigned to the Office of Counterterrorism. Throughout her six years in this office, she became a subject matter expert on Activity Based Intelligence (ABI) and served as an adjunct professor in ABI at the NGA college. She later joined a cybersecurity startup, Recorded Future, where she fused intelligence methodologies with cybersecurity technologies to help customers improve their cyber posture.

“I am honored to join the Belfer Center in this prestigious role,” Zabierek said. “Cybersecurity is national security, and I am excited to work with policymakers, technologists, practitioners, and academics to help shape national and international policy in this critical space. I am also proud to be among the women assuming director roles in the cyber arena at the Center.”

Maria Barsallo Lynch has been named Executive Director of the Center’s Defending Digital Democracy Project (D3P). D3P brings together a unique combination of bipartisan experts in the political, cyber, technology, and national security fields to identify and recommend strategies and tools to protect democratic processes and systems from cyber and information attacks. Barsallo Lynch brings to D3P a background in the cross-section of politics, cybersecurity, and technology that will help grow the project’s work and impact in providing solutions and tools to keep democratic processes safe.  

Her background includes serving as Deputy Finance Director for Colorado’s U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and as Director of Development for the Knowledge is Power Program of Colorado Schools. She was a Legislative Fellow with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, and while a Master in Public Administration student at Harvard Kennedy School, conducted research on legislative efforts in data privacy and regulation of technology companies. Barsallo Lynch is also the founder of a social enterprise called DESDE.  

“I am grateful to join such a talented and passionate team at the Belfer Center,” said Barsallo Lynch. “I’m humbled to be part of the D3P team in addressing pressing and evolving challenges to securing and protecting our electoral system, which is the bedrock of our most cherished democratic values. I look forward to leading D3P's continuing efforts to develop meaningful strategies and tools to safeguard democratic processes in the U.S. and around the world."  

Julia Voo is Research Director for the Center’s new China Cyber Policy Initiative. She will lead efforts related to the U.S.-China: Controlling Confrontation in Cyberspace project, a Track 2 dialogue with the China Institute for International Strategic Studies to facilitate discussion between the U.S. and China on the risks of cyber conflict.

A 2019 graduate of Harvard Kennedy School’s mid-career Master in Public Administration program, Voo previously worked at the British Embassy in Beijing, where she focused on China’s cyber and artificial intelligence policy from a trade policy perspective. While in Beijing, she worked with the EU Delegation to China, Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy, and she was selected by the UK’s Cabinet Office to help deliver the G8 Summit. 

“I am absolutely delighted to have this opportunity to join the Belfer Center to shape the global debate on China Cyber Policy,” Voo said. “We are in the middle of a great challenge to the current global power balance, a substantial part of which will play out in cyberspace. CCPI at Belfer will help build the evidence base so that policymakers and business can find new areas for collaboration and to manage risk. It’s going to be a very busy and exciting time!”

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center Names Directors for Cyber Projects.” Press Release, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, September 17, 2019.