Meet Our Second Year Cohort

2019-2021 Dean's Scholars

Headshot of Leah Berkman


Leah Berkman

Leah is a senior in the Elliott School of International Affairs concentrating in International Development and minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Leah’s research focuses on the role of civil society in addressing gender-based violence and femicide in South Africa. Particularly, she is focusing on the role of women-led civil society in contemporary South Africa and civil society's relation to the South African government.

Leah spent several months living in Cape Town, South Africa and studying at the University of Cape Town. In her time abroad, she further cultivated her interest in women’s role in civil society. Currently, she is an intern at Freedom House where she has had the opportunity to expand her education on international development and global civil society.


Headshot of Steven Bernstein


Steven Bernstein

Steven is majoring in International Affairs and Chinese. In addition to Dean's Scholars, he was in the Politics and Values Program and is currently in the Global Bachelor's Program. He has spent extended time studying abroad in mainland China and Taiwan. His research areas of interest are Taiwan's defense strategy and artificial intelligence.


Headshot of McKenna Burelle


McKenna Burelle

McKenna is a double major in International Affairs and Economics, and her specific academic interests lie in development economics. McKenna’s research in the Dean’s Scholars Program focuses on the social and economic implications of improved road connectivity throughout rural India under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) project. This summer McKenna lived in DC and interned at the Ethiopian Community Development Center (ECDC), where she built resumes, searched and applied for jobs, and conducted employment-plan interviews with immigrants and refugees from around the world. Currently, she works as a Learning Assistant for Professor Foster’s Principles of Mathematics for Economics class, where she holds weekly study sessions. Additionally, McKenna enjoys being a member of GW College Democrats and GW Women in Economics, and serving as the Director of Finance for her sorority and captain of the GW Women’s Club Soccer team. 


Headshot of Nicholas Clauge


Nicholas Clague

Nicholas Clague is a current senior studying International Affairs at The George Washington University. Nicholas concentrates on transatlantic security, Russia studies and sanctions policy. He speaks Russian and German and spent fall 2019 studying Russian in Saint Petersburg, Russia. His primary research interests are sanctions backfilling, illicit arms trading, and Russian irregular activities in Eastern Europe.


Headshot of Alexander Erdman


Alexander Erdman

Alexander Erdman is a student in International Affairs and Geography and participates in GW Polyglots. He works with student organizations at the Office of Student Affairs. 

Alexander is researching the impacts of governmental language policy. He studies the politics, educational system and administration of Greenland.


Headshot of Tamara Fazylova


Tamara Fazylova

Tamara Fazylova is a senior at the Elliott School concentrating in Security Policy and minoring in Psychology. She immigrated to the U.S. from Uzbekistan and is a fluent Russian speaker. She has interned at the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the DoD, and the Kennan Institute and hopes to continue her work in defense and security. She is currently researching how Russia uses its military interventions abroad to bolster its domestic regime stability through the case studies of Ukraine and Syria. 


Headshot of Zoe Garbis


Zoe Garbis

Zoe is studying International Affairs with a concentration in Conflict Resolution and a minor in Sustainability, with primary academic interests in women in conflict, environmental peacebuilding, and climate security. She is also an active member of Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Sorority, where she helps plan events relating to academic and professional development.

Her research focuses on the reintegration of women combatants in the FARC in Colombia. She aims to learn more about the role of women and their gendered experiences in violent insurgency, as well as the barriers in their transition to civilian life. Zoe is exploring the role that former combatant women play in the peace process and their impact on a sustainable peace in a country ravaged by decades of armed conflict.


Headshot of Maisa Munawara


Maisa Munawara 

At the Elliott School, Maisa is currently concentrating in Conflict and Conflict Resolution and minoring in Psychology. On campus, she is actively involved with Sigma Iota Rho as the Vice President of Academics and as the co-Vice President of the Muslim Students' Association. She is deeply passionate about South Asian history and politics and is excited to incorporate her love for the region as a part of her research. Maisa’s project examines the inclusion of culturally grounded constructions of mental health in Mental Health and Psychosocial Services (MHPSS) for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and its impact on facilitating access to stigmatized populations. She hopes to be able to connect this project to a broader discussion on sustainable humanitarian aid, further developing the link between MHPSS services and sustainable peacebuilding.


Headshot of Eleni Pappas


Eleni Pappas

Eleni is a senior in the Elliott School from Swarthmore Pennsylvania. She is studying International Affairs with a concentration in Comparative Political, Economic, and Social systems and a minor in economics. Her research explores the economic disenfranchisement of Russian women following the collapse of the Soviet Union in order to better understand the relationship between economic policies, the role of women in the workforce, and national identity.


Headshot of Anshul Rajwanshi


Anshul Rajwanshi

Anshul is a senior studying International Affairs with a concentration in security policy. On campus, Anshul is a Peer Advisor in the University Honors Program and a contributor to The Compass, the online component of the Elliott School's international affairs journal. He has previously worked for The Institute of World Politics and the U.S. Department of State, and he has conducted research at Stanford University and the George Washington University. His academic interests are in the areas of foreign affairs, intelligence, government, and national security.

Anshul's research looks at how states are responding to potential security concerns that accompany the "going dark" problem. He is also looking at what is motivating state responses in regards to encryption.


Headshot of John Salchak


John Salchak

John Salchak is a Senior at the Elliott School majoring in International Affairs with a minor in History. In addition to the Dean’s Scholars Program, he has served as the Chair of the George Washington University International Affairs Society. His current research interests include global governance and international organizations with an emphasis on the tensions that arise between technical experts and states in modern global governance. Specifically, he is focusing on the disputes that have occurred over the critical DNS functions of ICANN pertaining to issues of representation on the internet. Ultimately, this project explores facets of international organizational autonomy, the role of expertise, and the power of rules.


Headshot of Jacob Winn


Jacob Winn

Jacob is pursuing an International Affairs major with a concentration in International Politics, and is double majoring in Political Science. His home state is Massachusetts, and he is passionate about state, national, and global politics. He has interned with the Massachusetts Democratic Party, the Democratic Staff of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Democratic Governors Association.

As a Dean's Scholar, Jacob is researching the influence of the Brexit movement on the British Conservative Party. He is particularly interested in populism and nationalism, and the ways in which these sentiments influence mainstream political parties' voters, staffers, and politicians. His research will examine the relationship between British populism and the Conservative Party in an effort to better explain similar phenomena across Europe.