Biographical Profiles of Current Ph.D. Graduate Students

Hélène Benveniste
Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines de Paris, 2012
Science and Executive Engineering, Master
Rennes, Brittany, France
Born and raised in Brittany, France, Hélène has developed a passion for interdisciplinary approaches to solve the climate change challenge. Before graduating with a MSc in science and executive engineering and a minor in geostatistics and applied probabilities from Mines ParisTech (Paris, France), she was a research fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado where she developed a statistical tool for scoring extreme climate events forecasts. She then started her career as deputy attaché for energy at the French Embassy in Germany, and as such followed the development and implementation of the German energy transition. Most recently, Hélène worked as a research engineer and project manager on an expertise mission for the French government; the mission, linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), aimed at assessing the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) presented by countries ahead of COP21, and used as a new tool for climate negotiations.
Leyatt Betre
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016
Physics/Political Science, B.S.
Frisco, Texas
As a first-generation American born to Ethiopian parents, Leyatt had a small town Texas upbringing often punctuated by encounters with the wider world. While she cannot claim any encounters of the third kind, she picked up an early love of astronomy and the slightly less wide world of international politics. Leyatt went on to study physics and political science at MIT, where she sought to forge some semblance of academic and personal coherence out of her dual interests. After researching the early chemical evolution of the Milky Way, the spatial distribution of dark matter halos, the drivers of nuclear proliferation, and the role of arms control in shaping U.S. force posture, she concluded that the coherence of one’s CV should generally take a backseat to asking really interesting questions. Leyatt is now a Ph.D. student in security studies whose research interests center on issues of nuclear strategy, arms control and diplomatic history.
Christopher Crawford
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, 2012
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, B.S.
East Lansing, Michigan
Chris comes to Princeton after three and a half delightful years working at Sustainable Conservation, an environmental nonprofit in San Francisco. He worked on Sustainable Conservation’s PlantRight initiative, collaborating with plant scientists, environmental groups and the horticultural industry to stop the sale of invasive plants in California. Along with PlantRight, he worked to provide incentives for riparian restoration in California’s Central Valley, leading a cost-benefit analysis to help inform restoration along the Mokelumne River. A Michigan native, Chris attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, graduating in 2012 after studying ecology & evolutionary biology and physics. Among other things, he enjoys riding his bicycle, taking pictures of clouds, cooking vegetarian stir fries and listening to Swedish music. An avid traveler, he spent much of the summer finding environmental inspiration while road-tripping coast to coast. After graduating, Chris hopes to collaboratively improve the implementation of biodiversity conservation in developing countries.
Doyle Hodges
United States Naval Academy, 1992; University of Maryland-College Park, 1993; Naval War College, 2008
Political Science, B.S.; Government & Politics, M.A.; National Security & Strategic Studies, M.A.
Rockville, Maryland
Doyle came to the WWS Ph.D. program in Security Studies after a 21-year career as a Naval officer. A 1992 Naval Academy graduate with master’s degrees from the University of Maryland and the Naval War College, his Navy career included command of two ships and living overseas in the UK, Italy and Japan. His research interests include civil-military relations, intelligence, ethics in national security policy and grand strategy. Doyle’s wife, Emily, is a consultant who works in environmental health and safety. They have two dogs.
Mayank Misra
West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, 2007; Princeton University, 2014
Law, B.A./LLB (Hons); Public and International Affairs, MPA
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Mayank is a recovering lawyer and policy consultant. He has advised the U.S. State Department on track II diplomacy in the Middle East and the Open Society Foundations on strategic litigation. In India, Mayank was a civil liberties and public interest lawyer in the Indian Supreme Court where he worked on transparency and accountability within the government. In an ill-advised stroke of inspiration, Mayank is now pursuing his Ph.D. studying human rights within a broader ecological framework.
David Rasmussen
University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009; University of California-Davis, 2013
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, B.S.; Civil and Environmental Engineering, M.S.
Cedarburg, Wisconsin
D.J.’s interests lie at the intersection of the Earth’s atmosphere, policy, and the economy. He uses computational models and large data sets to study weather, climate and air quality. After graduating from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.S. in atmospheric science, he was a research fellow at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) at Princeton University. He later contributed to the physical climate projection work for the technical analysis underlying the Risky Business Project — an initiative to quantify and publicize the economic risks from the impacts of a changing climate — and was more recently a senior associate engineer at Ramboll Environ, located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Travis Sharp
University of San Francisco, 2006; Princeton University, 2014
History/Politics, B.A.; International Relations, MPA
Palmdale, CA
Travis grew up in the Mojave Desert before heading north to the University of San Francisco where he lettered in varsity soccer and spent one summer playing on a minor league professional team. After college, he spent six years working on United States national security policy at think tanks in Washington, including as a Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a Scoville Fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. In 2012, he started at WWS, where he met his (then future) fiancée, Becca. During his time at WWS, he served in the Pentagon as a Harold W. Rosenthal Fellow, attended the Manfred Wörner Seminar in Germany and the U.S. Future Leaders Program in Japan, and received the John Parker Compton Memorial Fellowship in International Relations. In addition to his Ph.D. studies, he is a fellow at Princeton’s Center for International Security Studies and serves as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Travis enjoys playing soccer, eating Chinese food and listening to rap music. After graduating from WWS, he plans to work in the military-industrial-academic think tank complex.
Andrew Shaver
Westminster College, 2007; Princeton University, 2012; Princeton University, 2014
Economics, International Business, B.S.; Public & International Affairs, MPA; Public Affairs, M.A.
Helper, UT
Andrew is a Ph.D. candidate in security studies where he focuses on sub-state conflict and its psychological, climatic, and territorial underpinnings. He is also a pre-doctoral fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. His research focuses on sub-state conflict and its psychological, climatic, and territorial underpinnings and is based primarily on quantitative analyses of micro-level conflict and attitudinal/behavioral data. Andrew is a recipient of Princeton's Charlotte Elizabeth Procter Honorific Fellowship for the 2016-17 academic year and was recently awarded the Empirical Studies of Conflict annual Data Prize. His research and commentary appear in the Annual Review of Sociology, Conflict Management and Peace Science, PLOS ONE, Foreign Affairs, National Interest, and Washington Post. His professional experiences include serving as a foreign affairs fellow at the U.S. Senate, foreign policy adviser to Governor Jon Huntsman’s Presidential campaign, policy analyst for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and economic development officer in Iraq with the Pentagon’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations. Andrew has spent approximately four years in the Middle East and speaks Arabic, Spanish and basic Italian.
Mark Walker
University of Tennessee, 2012
Nuclear Engineering, BSc
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Mark is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Prior to arriving at Princeton, he was involved with research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory on verification technology for nuclear arms control treaties, with a focus on active neutron interrogation techniques. He is a 2011 recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, and earned his bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2012. His research involves technical and political analysis of verification issues relevant to nuclear arms control and safeguards.