Our Leadership


Jessica Trisko Darden
Associate Director
Jessica Trisko Darden is Associate Director of Bridging the Gap and Assistant Professor at the School of International Service at American University. She is the lead investigator for the Women in Combat Roles (WiCR) Data Project, which seeks to measure and analyze women's participation in national militaries and armed groups from the Second World War until the present day. Jessica has published policy commentary in a variety of outlets, including The Baltimore Sun, The Huffington Post, Newsweek, and The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog.  She has been interviewed by BBC Radio, CNN, The Globe and Mail, The Wall Street Journal, and The Today Show, among others.  She was formerly a Visiting Scholar with the Program on Order, Conflict and Violence at Yale University and holds a Ph.D. in political science from McGill University.
Nazneen Barma
Naazneen H. Barma is Associate Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. Her research and teaching focus on the political economy of development, natural resource governance, and international interventions in post-conflict states. She is currently working on a book manuscript on the political economy of transitional governance approaches to peacebuilding. Naazneen received her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and her BA and MA from Stanford University. She has worked extensively for the World Bank, with a regional specialisation in East Asia and the Pacific. She has published academic articles on governance, innovation, and institution-building in the developing world and has co-authored policy-oriented pieces on the political economic implications of the evolving international system. She is co-editor of The Political Economy Reader: Markets as Institutions and co-author of Rents to Riches? The Political Economy of Natural Resource-Led Development.
Brent Durbin
Brent Durbin is assistant professor at Smith College, where he teaches courses in U.S. foreign policy, strategic intelligence, military conflict and culture, and international relations. His research interests span these topics, with a particular focus on the organizational dynamics of national security bureaucracies. He is currently working on a book manuscript exploring the politics of U.S. intelligence reform. Brent earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and also holds a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.P.P. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has held research fellowships at GWU’s Elliott School of International Affairs, Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), the University of California’s Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC), and Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge. Prior to joining the Smith faculty, Brent taught in the public policy program at Stanford University. He is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has served as press secretary for U.S. Senator Patty Murray, and as an advisor and senior staff member on several campaigns for U.S. Congress.
James Goldgeier
James Goldgeier is Dean of the School of International Service at American University and President of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA). Previously, he was a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. He also taught at Cornell University, and has held a number of public policy appointments, including Director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs on the National Security Council Staff, Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Henry A. Kissinger Chair at the Library of Congress, and Edward Teller National Fellow at the Hoover Institution. In addition, he has held appointments at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Brookings Institution, and the Center for International Security and Cooperation. From 2001-2005, he directed George Washington University’s Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies. He has authored or co-authored four books including: America Between the Wars: From 11/9 to 9/11 (co-authored with Derek Chollet); Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy toward Russia after the Cold War (co-authored with Michael McFaul); and Not Whether But When: The U.S. Decision to Enlarge NATO. He is the recipient of the Edgar S. Furniss book award in national and international security and co-recipient of the Georgetown University Lepgold Book Prize in international relations.  Among his current projects, Dean Goldgeier and collaborators at Duke University and the University of California, Berkeley, lead the Bridging the Gap initiative, which encourages and trains scholars and doctoral students to produce research oriented policy-relevant scholarship and theoretically grounded policy work.  Dean Goldgeier’s areas of expertise include contemporary international relations, American foreign policy, U.S.-Russia relations, the European Union, transatlantic security and NATO.
Bruce Jentleson
Bruce Jentleson is a Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University, where he previously served as Director of the Terry Sanford Institute (now Sanford School) of Public Policy. He is a leading scholar of American foreign policy and has served in a number of U.S. policy and political positions. In 2015-16 he is the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress. Jentleson’s current book is Transformational Statesmanship: Difficult, Possible, Necessary (under contract, W.W. Norton). Prior books include American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century (5th edition, W.W. Norton, 2013); The End of Arrogance: America in the Global Competition of Ideas, co-authored with Steven Weber (Harvard University Press, 2010); and With Friends Like These: Reagan, Bush and Saddam, 1982-1990 (W.W. Norton, 1994). He also has published articles in numerous academic and policy journals and for leading online sites such as ForeignPolicy.com, CFR.com (Council on Foreign Relations), Huffington Post, TheHill.com, and Washington Post Monkey Cage. From 2009-11 he was senior advisor to the U.S. State Department Policy Planning Director. In 2012 he served on the Obama 2012 campaign National Security Advisory Steering Committee. He also served as a senior foreign policy advisor to Vice President Al Gore in his 2000 presidential campaign, in the Clinton administration State Department (1993-94), and as a foreign policy aide to Senators Gore (1987-88) and Dave Durenberger (1978-79). He also has served on a number of policy commissions, most recently the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) Working Group co-chaired by Madeleine Albright (2011-13). From January-June 2014 he was a Distinguished Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and now is a Global Fellow. Other research appointments include the Brookings Institution, U.S. Institute of Peace, Oxford University, International Institute for Strategic Studies (London), Australia National University, and as a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in Spain. He has served as a consultant to the Carnegie Commission for Preventing Deadly Conflict, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Assembly, the Atlantic Council, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the U.S. Institute of Peace. He has lectured internationally, including in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, the Netherlands, Qatar, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. He is often quoted in the press and has appeared on such shows as the Lehrer News Hour, BBC, al Hurra, China Radio International, and NPR. Jentleson is a co-founder of the Bridging the Gap project promoting greater policy relevance among academics. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the Close Up Foundation and the National Security Network, Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs (Executive Committee), and the Editorial Boards of Political Science Quarterly, Washington Quarterly, Global Responsibility to Protect, and CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online). In 2009, he was the program co-chair for the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association. He holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University, and was recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Harold D. Lasswell Award for his doctoral dissertation; a master's from the London School of Economics and Political Science; and a bachelor’s degree also from Cornell, including study at the Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia.
Jordan Tama
Jordan Tama is an Assistant Professor at the School of International Service at American University. He specializes in the politics, institutions, and processes of U.S. foreign and national security policy making. He is the author of Terrorism and National Security Reform: How Commissions Can Drive Change During Crises. He has also published articles in a variety of scholarly and popular publications. Jordan has served as a senior aide on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the U.S. House of Representatives, as a speechwriter for former U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton, and as an intelligence and counterterrorism policy advisor to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2013-2014 Jordan was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Steve Weber
Steven Weber works at the intersection of technology markets, intellectual property regimes, and international politics. His research, teaching, and advisory work focus on the political economy of knowledge intensive industries, with special attention to health care, information technology, software, and global political economy issues relating to competitiveness. He is also a frequent contributor to scholarly and public debates on international relations and US foreign policy. One of the world’s most expert practitioners of scenario planning, Steven has worked with over a hundred companies and organizations to develop this discipline as a strategy planning tool from line businesses to the C-suite. He served as special consultant to the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and has held academic fellowships with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and was Director of the Institute of International Studies at UC Berkeley from 2003 to 2009. He now directs the Center for Long Term Cybersecurity at Berkeley. Over the last 20 years Weber has advised global companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations around the world on risk analysis, strategy, and business forecasting in the areas of international political risk, technology, and global economic change. His books include The Success of Open Source and most recently The End of Arrogance: America in the Global Competition of Ideas (co-authored with Bruce Jentleson) and Deviant Globalization: Black Market Economy in the 21st Century (co-authored with Jesse Goldhammer and Nils Gilman). He is currently working on a new book, Beyond the Globally Integrated Enterprise, which explains how economic geography is evolving and the consequences for multinational organizations in the post financial crisis world.


Jeff Colgan
Policy Engagement Fewllow
Jeff D. Colgan is the Richard Holbrooke Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.  His research focuses on two main areas: the causes of war and global energy politics. His book, Petro-Aggression: When Oil Causes War, was published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press.  An article that previews the book’s argument won the Robert O. Keohane award for the best article published in International Organization (Oct 2010) by an untenured scholar. He has published other articles in International Organization, World Politics, International Security and elsewhere. Professor Colgan previously taught at the School of International Service of American University 2010-2014, and was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC in 2012-13.  He completed his PhD at Princeton University, and was a Canada-US Fulbright Scholar at UC Berkeley, where he earned a Master’s in Public Policy.  Dr. Colgan has worked with the World Bank, McKinsey & Company, and The Brattle Group.  Dr. Colgan participated in Bridging the Gap's International Policy Summer Institute in 2012.
Joshua Shifrinson
Policy Engagement Fellow
Joshua Shifrinson is an Assistant Professor at the Bush School at Texas A&M University. He earned his doctorate in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he focused on international relations and security studies. He earned his undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Brandeis University. Dr. Shifrinson’s research interests include grand strategy, power transitions, military operations, energy security, and diplomatic history. His research has been published in journals such as International Security and the Journal of Political and Military Sociology as well as by think tanks and research organizations. He participated in Bridging the Gap's New Era Graduate Training program in 2011.
Lauren Prather
Policy Engagement Fellow
Lauren Prather is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego in the School of Global Policy and Strategy , a Research Affiliate at the Policy Design and Evaluation Lab, and an AALIMS Faculty Fellow. She received my Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University.  Dr. Prather conducts research in the fields of international relations and comparative politics. Her work focuses generally on the domestic determinants of foreign policy, U.S. foreign policy, democracy promotion and democratization, Middle East politics, and experimental methods. It is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, the Europe Center, and the Laboratory for the Study of American Values at Stanford. Dr. Prather participated in Bridging the Gap's 2016 International Policy Summer Institute in 2011.
Sarah Bush
Policy Engagement Fellow
Sarah Bush is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Temple University. Prior to starting at Temple, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in November 2011. Dr. Bush's research and teaching interests include international relations, democracy promotion, non-state actors in world politics, and gender and politics. Her book, The Taming of Democracy Assistance: Why Democracy Promotion Does Not Confront Dictators (Cambridge University Press), explores how and why the United States and other countries turned to democracy promotion at the end of the Cold War and what the impact of doing so has been. The book combines large-N analysis of new and existing data sets of democracy assistance projects with case studies that draw on field research in Jordan and Tunisia. Dr. Bush completed Bridging the Gap's International Policy Summer Institute in 2012.
Danielle Gilbert
Dani Gilbert is a PhD student at George Washington University, where she studies political violence, nationalism, and politics of the Middle East. Her research examines hostage taking by non-state groups and employs a multi-method approach to examining the variation in media and policy response to the kidnapping of civilians. She has attended the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (IQMR) at Syracuse, Bridging the Gap's New Era Foreign Policy Conference, and the Middlebury College Arabic School. Her work has been supported in part by the Institute for Middle East Studies, the George Washington University, the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, the Les Aspin '60 Summer Fellowship, and the Georg W. Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy at Yale University. Prior to GW, Dani spent four years on Capitol Hill as a Senior Legislative Assistant and Appropriations Associate, focusing on foreign policy, health care, women’s issues, and economic policy. She holds master's degrees from the London School of Economics and George Washington University and a B.A. from Yale. She participated in Bridging the Gap's New Era Foreign Policy program in 2012.
Erik Lin-Greenberg
Erik Lin-Greenberg is a PhD student in political science at Columbia University where he studies international relations. His research interests include military escalation, non-traditional security operations, and the use of airpower. Prior to attending Columbia, Erik served as an officer in the United States Air Force and has deployed to Afghanistan and Southwest Asia. He continues to serve as an officer in the Air Force Reserve. His writing has appeared inInternational PeacekeepingDefense and Security AnalysisAir and Space Power JournalThe National Interest, and The South China Morning Post. Erik holds master’s degrees in political science from Columbia University and MIT and a bachelor’s degree from MIT. He participated in Bridging the Gap's New Era Foreign Policy program in 2015.
Lena Andrews
Lena Andrews is a PhD candidate in International Relations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she is a member of the Security Studies Program. Her research interests include U.S. civil-military relations, grand strategy, and military innovation. Before coming to MIT, Lena was a Senior Program Specialist at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, DC, where she worked on a range of issues, including the Arab-Israeli conflict, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. Lena holds a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Tufts University.
Rachel Whitlark
Rachel Whitlark is an Assistant Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She was previously a Post-doctoral Research Fellow with the Project on Managing the Atom and International Security Program at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She spent the 2013-2014 academic year as a pre-doctoral fellow also with the Belfer Center, and 2012-2013 as a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She earned her PhD in August 2014 from the Political Science Department at the George Washington University. Her interests lie in international security and foreign policy decision making and her research focuses on nuclear proliferation, U.S. grand strategy, and threat perception. Rachel's book manuscript explores how state leaders decide to use preventive military force as a counter-proliferation strategy against adversarial nuclear programs. Her publications have appeared in Survival and International Studies Perspectives. She is a member of the Nuclear Scholars Initiative at CSIS, a participant with the Public Policy and Nuclear Threats program at IGCC. She received a master's degree from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree also from George Washington. Prior to beginning her PhD, Rachel worked in a variety of capacities in the Los Angeles office of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. She is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.