Students

Merwan Benamor

Merwan Benamor grew up overseas and has spent most of his time in Italy, France, Tunisia and Morocco. He is a second-year MPP student and has interned at both the United Nations and the U.S. Embassy in Morocco. Merwan speaks French, English, Arabic and Italian.

Ellen Beahm

Ellen Beahm grew up in Nashville, Tennessee before attending the University of Virginia, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs and Middle Eastern Language and Literature. She is proficient in Farsi and intends to work in international affairs, national security, or defense.

Lieutenant Aaron Brotman

Lieutenant Brotman is a native of Port Charlotte, Florida and a 2011 graduate of the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. He is an Assistant Professor of Naval Science at UVA’s Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps and teaches courses on Navigation and Naval Operations and Seamanship.

Zach Diamond

Zach Diamond is from Vienna, Virginia. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, where he graduated with a double major in Foreign Affairs and East Asian Studies. He is interested in international affairs, global governance and Chinese studies. Upon graduation, Zach hopes to join the Foreign Service.

Lee Dudley

Lee Dudley is from Richmond, VA, and he is double majoring in Leadership and Public Policy and Foreign Affairs. Lee is also the long snapper on the Cavalier football team, and an executive board member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. His areas of interest include law, diplomacy, and national security/counterterrorism.

Daniel Durgavich

Daniel Durgavich is from Annandale, Virginia, and is interested in military history and policy, as well as rhetoric and oratory. He enjoys researching the causes of war and its legal implications. Upon graduation, Daniel intends to pursue a career in the Foreign Service.

Campbell Farina

Campbell Farina is from Williamsburg, Virginia. She is double majoring in Public Policy and Spanish. Her research interests include international development, global economics and national security. Upon graduation, Campbell hopes to join the Foreign Service.

Catherine Farnsler

Catherine Farnsler is a dual citizen of the United States and Panama. She is a first-year accelerated MPP student and has previously worked for a national security contractor for the U.S. Marine Corps Installations Command (MCICOM). Her research interests include national security, foreign policy, and global economics.

Hannah Gavin

Hannah Gavin is an accelerated MPP student from Falls Church, Virginia. She has interned on Capitol Hill and with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as well as an international human rights institute. Her research interests include human rights, refugee and migration issues, and Middle East foreign policy.

Kevin Heaney

Kevin Heaney is a graduate of St. John’s University. He formerly served at New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, developing online courses, teaching and coordinating response exercises on active shooters, election security, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity. His research interest include national security, foreign policy, science/tech policy, and voting rights.

Rohan Hegde

Rohan Hegde is from Mclean, Virginia. He is a third-year undergraduate majoring in Public Policy and Leadership. He currently works as a research assistant in the Batten School’s Social Cognition and Behavior Lab, and his policy interests include counterterrorism and criminal justice reform.

Shinichi Hirao

Shinichi Hirao is a Lieutenant, Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) and a first-year MPP student. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Tokyo and is interested in the Indo-Pacific strategy and the US–Japan alliance.

Connor James

Connor is an M.A. student studying Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia. In 2019, he graduated from George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. At the NSPC, Connor has focused on researching foreign policy topics including the long-term implications of COVID-19 on the international system.

Paige Karp

Paige Karp is a second-year accelerated MPP student from Vienna, Virginia. She received her B.A. in Russian and East European Studies and her research interests include international relations, national security, and humanitarian aid. Upon graduation, Paige hopes to work for the government or a not-for-profit organization.

Paulina Keim

Paulina Keim is a first-year MPP student from Tampa, Florida. Last summer, Paulina interned at the NSPC and conducted research on the U.S. Space Force and worked for their social media team. Additionally, she is the President of the International Relations Organization and competes with UVA’s Model UN team.

Keenan Maher

Keenan Maher is a third-year student from Colts Neck, New Jersey. He is majoring in Foreign Affairs with a minor in Public Policy. His current policy interests include campaign finance reform, nuclear non-proliferation, and developmental economics. Upon graduation, Keenan hopes to work on Capitol Hill.

Eryn Meyer

Eryn Meyer is a fourth-year student majoring in Public Policy and Leadership. During the summer of 2020, she interned with the NSPC, where she conducted policy research on Chinese naval diplomacy, COVID-19, and the U.S. Space Force. She is interested in US-China relations and has studied Mandarin at China’s Fudan University.

Daniel Nakasone

Daniel Nakasone is a third-year student from Ft. Meade, Maryland. He is majoring in Public Policy and Economics and has interned in the public sector for the past two summers, working on topics ranging from transnational organized crime to counterterrorism. He is also the co-founder of UVA’s National Security, Intelligence, and Defense Club.

Violette Nourry

Violette Nourry is from France. She graduated with honors from Sciences Po Lyon and Paris 8 University in 2018. Her research include U.S. counter-terrorism policies in the Trans-Saharan region and the cooperation between France and the U.S. on security issues.

Amanda Pickens

Amanda Pickens is a second-year MPP student interested in the intersection of law, technology, and national security. She previously interned at the Institute for the Study of War, The UVA Center for Politics, and Fidelity Investments. Amanda received her B.A. in Foreign Affairs with Distinction from UVA in 2018.

Captain Shaun Redden

Captain Redden is from Cincinnati, Ohio. He received his undergraduate degree from Xavier University in 2012. He has worked at the Department of State and served in several staff and leadership assignments while on active duty. He is interested in defense policy and its impact on armed forces training, and readiness.

Hannah Semmes

Hannah Semmes grew up in Alexandria, Virginia. She is majoring in Public Policy and Leadership and minoring in Global Culture and Commerce. She has previously interned on Capitol Hill, at the World Wildlife Fund and with several technology companies. Her research interests include international relations, peacebuilding, and natural resource security.

Jake Smith

Jake Smith is a fourth-year Engineering student studying Computer Science and Cybersecurity. He has served as President of the Computer and Network Security Club at the University of Virginia and helped found the National Security, Intelligence, and Defense Club. He has experience working in both the public and private sectors.

Samuel Spelsberg

Samuel Spelsberg is a fourth-year  student majoring in Computer Science with a focus in Cyber Security. He is the Co-President of UVA’s Computer and Network Security Club, as well as the National Security, Intelligence, and Defense Club. He is passionate about technology and has good programming experience.

Caroline Still

Caroline Still is a third-year student from Jacksonville, Florida. She is double majoring in Global Security and Justice and French with a minor in Public Policy. For the past two summers, Caroline worked with the gang unit at the Jacksonville State Attorney’s Office. Her research interests include national security and counterterrorism.

Seneca Tsang

Seneca Tsang is from Chesapeake, Virginia and is double-majoring in Foreign Affairs and Cognitive Science with a concentration in Neuroscience. She has previously worked at UVA’s Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy and hopes to go to law school or work for the government upon graduation.

Captain Aaron White

Captain White received his undergraduate degree from the University of Idaho in 2010. He has interned at the National Ground Intelligence Center and served in several staff and leadership assignments while on active duty. He is interested in national security policy and its impact on the international community.