Born in Venezuela of Colombian parents, Silvana grew up mostly in the American Midwest. She escaped to sunny California, where she received a bachelor’s degree in international relations at Stanford University. After briefly conducting research on Iran’s weapons capabilities at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, she joined the private sector for several years as an associate at AALC (formerly Armitage Associates) in Washington D.C., where she assisted defense and energy clients with projects in the East Asia, Afghanistan, and the former Soviet Union in evaluating and mitigating political risk and assessing market entry feasibility. Itching to go overseas, Silvana joined the State Department as a U.S. diplomat in 2006. Her first several assignments included the U.S. Embassies in Madagascar and Argentina, followed by a tour covering Russia’s foreign policy and political-military affairs on the Russia Desk in Washington D.C. Prior to Princeton, she spent three years at the U.S. Embassy in Colombia working on peace process issues and political-military affairs. Silvana and her husband Lee Payne, a fellow U.S. diplomat and Naval reservist, enjoy the outdoors, Lee’s homemade beer, playing guitar, dancing, and hanging out with their one-year-old son. After Princeton, Silvana plans to return to the State Department in Washington D.C., where she hopes to focus on public-private partnerships.