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. As part of her Ph.D. studies in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, she focuses on quantifying economic impacts of climate change in terms of migrations and conflict risks, using integrated assessment models. She is also interested in international environmental agreements design, as well as using behavioral science to improve communication between scientists and policy makers on climate change. Before graduating with a MSc in science and executive engineering and a minor in geostatistics and applied probabilities from Mines ParisTech, 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. Right before joining the Woodrow Wilson School, 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 C.V. should generally take a backseat to asking interesting questions. Leyatt is 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 is a second-year Ph.D. student in the science, technology, and environmental policy (STEP) program, where he is working to illuminate the various trade-offs of biodiversity conservation and inform the policies that are designed to encourage conservation on private lands. He is interested in what changing agricultural land use trends mean for conservation, and harnessing these new opportunities to restore marginal lands to maximize their value for biodiversity, ecosystem services, and people, especially along rivers and streams. He is also interested in the role of restoration and conservation on private lands in building resilience into the mosaic of habitat patches to help species adapt to a changing climate. Before landing in Princeton, Chris worked at Sustainable Conservation, where he collaborated with the horticultural industry to stop the sale of invasive plants and worked with farmers, government agencies, utilities, and environmental organizations to facilitate riparian restoration projects in California’s Central Valley. Chris graduated from the University of Michigan in 2012, and likes riding his bicycle, taking pictures of clouds, and listening to Swedish music.
Katherine Elgin
Princeton University, 2013
Politics, A.B.
The Plains, Virginia
Katherine is a third-year Ph.D. student in security studies interested in grand strategy, civil-military affairs, alliance dynamics and national security decision-making processes. She is also the director of the Center for International Security Studies’ Strategic Education Initiative. Before commencing her graduate studies at the Woodrow Wilson School, Katherine worked at the Foreign Policy Program of the Brookings Institution. There, she focused on U.S. grand strategy and global political trends, contributing to several books and projects. While in D.C., Katherine also worked with a defense research firm. Katherine speaks Swedish, Russian and French, and her most recent research project brought her to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. She grew up on a family farm near Middleburg, Virginia, and enjoys photography, tennis and traveling.
Travis Frederick
The Ohio State University, 2014; Georgia Institute of Technology, 2017
International Studies, B.A.; International Affairs, M.S.
Fairfield, Ohio
Travis is a first-generation college student from Fairfield, Ohio. Prior to attending the Woodrow Wilson School, he worked for the Behavioral Modeling and Computational Social Science lab at the Georgia Tech Research Institute on issues ranging from measuring deception and cohesion in online video games to modeling Soviet theories of information warfare. His experiences in public service include working in the Policy Management Office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and in the Executive Office of the Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Travis has conducted field research in Cambodia, Argentina, South Africa and Russia. However, despite his informative fieldwork and research experience, he still considers receiving top marks at the seventh-grade state science fair to be his most prominent achievement in research to date. Travis’ current research interests include international security policy, civil-military relationships, and linking micro-cognitive processes to macro-social phenomena.
Jeongseok Lee
Seoul National University, 2007; Seoul National University, 2009
Political Science, B.A.; International Relations, M.A.
Seoul, South Korea
Jeongseok (Jay) is a Ph.D. candidate in the security studies program, who studies international security with a regional focus on East Asia. He is currently writing a dissertation on the origins and evolution of the U.S. alliance network in Asia. Challenging a predominant view that American hegemony is the main cause of the prevailing bilateralism, his dissertation explores how Asia-Pacific countries’ preferences and strategies shaped and solidified the hub-and-spokes structure of the alliance system. This research is supported by the fellowships and grants from the Bradley Foundation and the Center for International Security Studies, and he is also working on papers on North Korea’s nuclear doctrine and China’s economic coercion as additional research projects. Before joining the security studies program, Jay had served in the Republic of Korea Air Force as an officer and taught international relations and strategic studies courses at the ROK Air Force Academy as an instructor.
David Logan
Grinnell College, 2009; Princeton University, 2017
Political Science, B.A.; International Relations, MPA
New Orleans, Louisiana
David was born and raised in New Orleans. After graduating from Grinnell College, he returned home to teach U.S. history and coach debate at a New Orleans public school. Three years later, he moved to the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang to work as a Princeton-in-Asia fellow, teaching English, being humiliated by his students on the basketball court, and learning to eat silk worm pupae. Before coming to the Woodrow Wilson School, he studied Chinese at Tsinghua University in Beijing and served as a Global Policy intern at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center, and completed the summer Middlebury Chinese Language School. He has conducted research for the Brookings Institution, the Arms Control Association, and the National Defense University’s Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. David completed the MPA degree in 2017 and enjoyed his time at the Woo so much that he decided to stick around and pursue a PhD. In the 2017-18 academic year, he will serve as a fellow in Princeton’s Center for International Security Studies and deputy director of the Center’s Strategic Education Initiative. David’s professional interests lie in arms control, nonproliferation and strategic stability, particularly in the context of the U.S.-China relationship. He spends much of his free time thinking about the state of post-Katrina New Orleans, recruiting people to Woo intramural teams, and exploring hip hop from across the world.
Liqun Peng
Beijing Forestry University, 2013; Tsinghua University, 2016
Forestry, BAg; Environmental Science and Engineering, M.S.
Beijing, China
Liqun is a first-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, she earned a master’s degree in environmental science and engineering at Tsinghua University with a focus on Chinese air pollution. Her research involves residential fuel use and emission estimates, the impacts of electric vehicles on air quality, public health and economic impacts from China’s international trade and local air pollution prevention and control action plans. Liqun is interested in assessing potential co-benefits of pollutant mitigation policies to air quality, climate change and associated human health impacts.
D.J. 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. studies coastal storms and their economic damage and how climate stabilization targets, like the Paris Agreement, could impact projections of local sea-level rise. He builds statistical and numerical models to address these questions. D.J.’s career goal is to continue to produce tools based on the latest science to help stakeholders make decisions under evolving coastal flood risk. His hope is that these efforts will lead to planning and public policy that saves money and protects human lives. A portfolio of his work can be viewed at: http://www.djrasmussen.co.
Ayumi Teraoka
Keio University, 2013; Georgetown University, 2014
Political Science, LLB; Asian Studies, M.A.
Tokyo, Japan
Ayumi is a first-year Ph.D. student with particular interests in U.S. foreign policy towards Asia, alliance dynamics, and national defense decision-making processes. Prior to coming to Princeton, she worked at the Council on Foreign Relations’ Japan studies program and the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ office of the Japan chair. She holds a master’s degree in Asian studies from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Keio University. Ayumi was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and is mother of Haru, a five-year-old shibainu. Haru moved to the United States from Japan in 2016 and spends most of her spare time napping.
Henrietta Toivanen
Claremont McKenna College, 2017
Biophysics/International Relations, B.A.
Kuopio, Finland
Henrietta is a first-year Ph.D. student at the Woodrow Wilson School with interdisciplinary research interests at the intersection of science, technology, and international security. Her research focuses particularly on nuclear arms control, non- and counterproliferation, and other nuclear policy issues. She grew up in Kuopio, Finland, in a Finnish-Polish home, before moving to California to receive her bachelor’s degree in biophysics and international relations at Claremont McKenna College. Her past professional experiences have been in Washington, D.C., Switzerland and India, and most recently she worked at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Mark Walker
University of Tennessee, 2012
Nuclear Engineering, BSc
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Mark is a Ph.D. candidate in science, technology and environmental policy (STEP) in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His dissertation research focuses on the development and implementation of international safeguards approaches for verifying the peaceful use of gas centrifuge enrichment technology. During his Ph.D. studies, he participated in internships at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Department of Safeguards, Division of Concepts and Planning, as well as at the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Prior to arriving at Princeton, he gained experience as an undergraduate student at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, working on technical measures for arms control verification. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Audrye Wong
Princeton University, 2013
Public and International Affairs, AB
Singapore, Singapore
Audrye Wong is a Ph.D. candidate in security studies at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, and a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow. Her research has also been funded by the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Tobin Project, and the Bradley Foundation. Audrye’s dissertation examines China’s strategies of economic statecraft and patterns of effectiveness across different target countries. Her other projects look at the role of subnational actors in China’s foreign policy and asymmetrical alliance relationships, with a focus on East and Southeast Asia, where she has done extensive field research. Previously, Audrye was a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, researching U.S.-China security interactions and crisis management. She earned her A.B. in public and international affairs at Princeton University, with a minor in translation and intercultural communication.