I'm a doctoral candidate in Security Studies at the School of Politics, Security and International Affairs at the University of Central Florida. My research interests lie within international relations and nuclear security, with a focus on public and elite opinion on weapons of mass destruction. I also explore the robustness of norms on the use of chemical and nuclear weapons and have a regional interest in the Middle East and more specifically Israel. My current dissertation work discusses the causal mechanism of Israeli and US public support for the use of nuclear weapons as well as leader's positioning on nuclear weapons. My work has been published as articles and commentary in Defense and Security Analysis, The Conversation, Inkstick Media, Duck of Minerva, and Democratization. I taught INR 4115: Strategic Weapons and Arms Control this past Spring and will embark on INR 4102: American Foreign Policy this Fall. Prior to my PhD studies, I pursued my Master’s degree in International Relations at New York University as a DAAD Fellow (German Academic Exchange Service) and my Bachelor's degree at Manhattan College as Division 1 track athlete.
What is your area of expertise?
Are you interested in mentoring high school or college students, or both?
How did you become interested in this area?
I always always wanted to work in international security to make a -albeit small- contribution to a saver world. I then had a fantastic mentor at NYU who guided me towards the area that I felt most passionate about. His work and two graduate courses (Intelligence and U.S. National Security) awakened my curiosity about the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. During my Ph.D., I refined my interests further toward nuclear and chemical non-/counterproliferation and norms.
What was your career path to get here?
My path to become and early-career scholar has been fairly educational so far. I finished my B.A. and M.A. and now am doing my Ph.D. After my first two degrees I did not feel confident in my knowledge about my specific interests in nuclear security and decided to go into academia in order to learn the necessary analytical skills to conduct comprehensive quality research. Several internships along the way gave me important practical skills. I hope to take my skills from my doctoral program into the policy-making world.
Why should the public care?
I believe everyone has the right to a safe and secure future. With the existence of nuclear and chemical weapons, this future is all but guaranteed. I believe it is necessary to eliminate this nuclear threat – including proliferation, nuclear terrorism and humanitarian catastrophe, but we have to be realistic about how difficult this is if only few academics, think tankers, and analyst care about these issues. We need the public's interest, activism, and education to ensure a future without the use of these weapons.
What is a current issue or trend that concerns you?
I'm most concerned by my research results that suggest that public opinion is not as opposed to the use of force (conventional and nuclear) as the "social norms" against weapons of mass destruction would suggest. When people are presented with different security threats, they tend to become much more hawkish than pacifist results of other polls show.
Of course, there are several other security issues that concern me, such as nuclear tensions between the two south Asian powers India and Pakistan, expressed nuclear ambitions by Saudi Arabia, weakening of arms control, and the modernization of existing nuclear arsenals, specifically the build-up of smaller nuclear warheads.
Would you be willing to speak to a classroom about your work?Yes
What themes or topics would you be interested in lecturing or discussing with a class?
Chemical Weapons (use of such in Syria and other cases)
American Foreign Policy
College/Graduate School/Internship Applications
Advice to International Students