I am an Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at Penn State. My research and teaching focus on international security and US foreign policy. My primary research interest is in how countries can credibly signal their intentions to each other in the context of ongoing or potential conflict. My first research project investigated the role of statements of resolve in international conflict. Some of my other ongoing projects explore how major powers signal support for their protégés and the impact of perceived leader madness in international conflict. I am also one of the leaders of the MID dataset project.
I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore and went to college at the University of Maryland, where I majored in Government and Politics and in Economics. I also studied Russian and spent a summer in Moscow.
Between college and graduate school and again during a break in my graduate studies, I worked as an intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). I eventually rose to the position of Senior Intelligence Analyst, in which I managed intelligence analysis priorities for a group of about 10 analysts and reviewed their analysis for accuracy and quality. I also wrote intelligence assessments for the US president and other top officials.
I ultimately decided to pursue an academic career. I received my Ph.D. in 2014 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I then spent four years as a faculty member at Baruch College, part of the City University of New York, before coming to Penn State.
The banner image above is a photo from Tbilisi, capital of the Republic of Georgia. During my DIA career, I briefly worked at the US embassy there.