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WiSe Leadership Initiative

WiSe

 

The WiSe Leadership Initiative is American Security Project’s flagship development program, committed to preparing young women to take a leading role in combating 21st century security challenges and seizing the opportunities for U.S. interests and values that abound.

The 12-month program for working professionals targets early career women, rather than mid- to senior-level women more regularly eligible for professional development programs in security. In doing so, the program hopes to begin building a stronger, more consistent pipeline of women leaders in security and foreign policy with a deep understanding of the issues and the tools required for professional success.

WiSe focuses programming to build three key areas for cohort members- expertise, and confidence in that expertise; a network of peers and mentors; and the professional skills necessary for advancement.


 

Program Director

Maggie Feldman-Piltch

Maggie Feldman-Piltch is the Special Assistant to the CEO and Board of Directors at American Security Project where she provides strategic and operational assistance to the CEO and Board of Directors, oversees special projects, and leads the organization’s private sector stakeholder engagement. She also leads ASP’s Women in Security Leadership Initiative (WiSe) and is the host of ASP’s weekly podcast series “What’s Next?”

Maggie is passionate about supporting women in national security and building networks to increase the number of women in the field. In addition to her work at ASP, she is the founder of Unicorn Strategies, a boutique consulting firm at the nexus of business, security, and policy. As the organization’s Chief Problem Solver, she specializes in operational art and supporting senior retired military leaders and their civilian counterparts.

 

Twitter: @MaggieCaroline1

 

2017 WiSe Initiative Cohort

Laura Bate
Laura Bate

Laura K. Bate is a senior program associate with the Cybersecurity Initiative at New America, where she coordinates the Cybersecurity Fellows Program. She also supports the Humans of Cybersecurity project, an effort addressing workforce issues in the cybersecurity community. She has written on information security, intelligence, and national security issues for Slate, War on the Rocks, and The National Interest, among others.

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Olga Belogolova
Olga Belogolova

Olga Belogolova is a strategic communications professional with expertise in Europe and Eurasia and information warfare, who advises individuals, companies, and organizations across different sectors. She has worked on US-European public diplomacy initiatives at the State Department, including efforts to counter violent extremism and Russian propaganda, and helped formulate policy toward Russia/Eurasia at the Department of Defense.... More

Mercedes Blackwood
Mercedes Blackwood

Mercedes Blackwood is a Senior Program Associate at the International Republican Institute (IRI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to advancing freedom and democracy worldwide. She works in the Women’s Democracy Network division (WDN), IRI’s unique initiative to increase women’s political participation in political processes.
Mercedes helps manage several WDN grants as well as collaborations with IRI’s ... More

Jessica Brookins
Jessica Brookins

Jessica Jagmin Brookins is a Foreign Affairs Specialist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). In this capacity, she works with international partners and facilities to remove or confirm the disposition of excess weapons-usable nuclear material in Asia. She previously served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Romania from 2011 to 2013 and was a Nonproliferation Graduate Fellow at NNSA f... More

Eva Cohn
Eva Cohn

Eva Cohn is the Communications Strategist for the National Security Education Program (NSEP) in the Department of Defense’s Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO). Before joining NSEP, Ms. Cohn interned at the Maryland Secretary of State Office, Subcabinet for International Affairs and the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs. Ms. Cohn received a Boren Scholarship to s... More

Anne Connell
Anne Connell

Anne Martin Connell has a background in gender, conflict, and security issues with a regional focus in the Middle East and North Africa. She is currently the Assistant Director of the Women and Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she works with leading scholars to analyze how elevating the status of women and girls advances U.S. foreign policy objectives.

Prior to joining the Council, Connell wo... More

Victoria DeSimone
Victoria DeSimone

Victoria DeSimone earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminology, Psychology, and History from Florida State University in 2014. She received her master’s degree in U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security in August 2016. While attending American University, Victoria interned at the Voice of America and the National Defense University in the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

In 2015, Victoria became the Vi... More

Gillian Evans
Gillian Evans

Gillian Evans is an M.A. candidate in Strategic Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), focusing on U.S. national security challenges originating from the Middle East and South Asia. Gillian currently interns for the Afghanistan Strategy & Policy team at the Department of Defense, and she serves as a research assistant at SAIS’s Merrill Center for Strategic Studies.

Previously Gill... More

Natalie Fuchs

Natalie Fuchs is a member of the inaugural cohort of ASP’s Women in Security Leadership Initiative with an expertise and interest in U.S.-Iran economic relations, nuclear nonproliferation, and unconventional weapons.

Natalie works as a Senior Program Analyst for a defense contractor in Alexandria, VA, conducting business operations analysis and in-depth market assessments for business development opportunities – part... More

Emily Gershon

Emily Gershon is a master’s candidate in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, concentrating in terrorism and sub-state violence. Emily is passionate about examining the nexus between security and development with a focus on government transparency and accountability in sub-Saharan Africa, and has conducted research on the impacts of military engagements on long term ... More

Sarah Gilkes

Sarah Gilkes is an M.A. candidate in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University, concentrating in Terrorism and Sub-state Violence. Prior to pursuing her M.A., Gilkes worked as a Research Associate with the George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. She holds a B.A. in Religion from Colgate University.

Twitter handle: @sarahegilkes

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Gabrielle Gould

Gabrielle Gould is Policy Advisor / Counsel for a Member of Congress on the Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security Committees. In this capacity, she covers the Congressman’s legislative and policy work on the Foreign Affairs Committee as well as his work related to judiciary topics. Her focus is therefore on issues of national security, rule of law, international development, and State Department policy and programming, as well as... More

Neena Kapur
Neena Kapur

Neena Kapur is currently a Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she conducts research and analysis on tools, tactics, and threat actors in the cyber realm. Her focus is specifically on cybercriminal activity in the retail and financial sector, as well as cyber threats in South and East Asia. In 2015, Neena graduated from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, specializing in ... More

Sumeet Kaur
Sumeet Kaur

Sumeet Kaur is a recent graduate of the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in International Affairs. As an undergraduate, Sumeet received recognition and awards for her research, which ranged from public health to international security topics, and has presented her work to academic audiences.

Ms. Kaur’s various skills, wide-range of inte... More

Courtney McCreesh

Courtney McCreesh currently works with the Department of Defense (DoD) to execute an immersive 7-week pre-deployment training program for DoD civilians to serve their country in Afghanistan. The program is designed to forge long-term relationships that strengthen Afghanistan’s security institutions. Prior to this position, in 2015, she supported the Pentagon’s “Force of the Future” Initiative.

She for... More

Shannon Moore
Shannon Moore

Shannon Moore is an M.A. candidate in Security Studies at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Her research focuses on intelligence analysis and policy, particularly the intersection of counterterrorism operations and human rights. She hails from San Diego, CA, where received her BA Honors in International Relations from the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

Prior to moving to Washing... More

Erica Nygaard

Erica Nygaard is a cohort member for the Women In Security Leadership Initiative. She is a recent graduate of Concordia College Moorhead, MN where she obtained a degree in Political Science and Global Studies.

Erica worked in Congressional & Public Affairs for the U.S. Trade & Development Agency where she represented the agency at external events and provided summaries to relevant stakeholders and supervisors, drafte... More

Katharine Nasielski
Katharine Nasielski

Katharine Nasielski is an experienced foreign policy professional with a strong track record in building strategic relationships that strengthen and diversify the reach of organizations. She has expertise in strengthening civil society, public-private partnerships, project management, coalition-building, policy analysis, and public diplomacy.

Katharine is currently an M.S. in Foreign Service candidate at Georgetown Universit... More

Margaret J. Nencheck

Expertise: Intelligence and Analysis

Margaret J. Nencheck has been working in the intelligence field for over ten years. She is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and served in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Officer, with a wide range of assignments from Platoon Leader to All-Source Intelligence Production Chief.

After serving on active duty, Margaret worked in a variety of positions i... More

Kedenard Raymond
Kedenard Raymond

Kedenard Raymond is a Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Corps. Her area of expertise is Public Affairs, while her research and analysis has centered on countering violent extremism. Her current position is as Press Officer in the State Department’s Office of International Media Engagement.

Her prior assignments include: Political Officer managing the counterterrorism and domestic politi... More

Alexandra Rosen
Alexandra Rosen

Alexandra Rosen was born in Southern California and left the land of perpetual sunshine for an east coast educational experience at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. While at Bucknell, she took on numerous leadership roles and served as the Executive President of Bucknell Student Government (BSG). Alexandra pursued and completed three majors: History, English, and Spanish and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain.

Wh... More

Jamie Shufflebarger

Jamie Shufflebarger is a multilateral affairs officer in the Office of UN Political Affairs, located in the Bureau of International Organizations at the U.S. Department of State. Working with the U.S. Mission to the UN, she negotiates resolutions involving Europe in the UN Security Council and other UN fora, including peacekeeping missions and political issues in Cyprus, Ukraine, Bosnia, Georgia, and Mediterranean operations.

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Maurielle Stewart

Maurielle Stewart is currently serving as a Special Assistant to NASA’s General Counsel, a politically appointee position. Prior to her service to the Obama Administration, she served as a Constituent Liaison for Democratic Minority Whip Congressman Steny Hoyer for almost 4 years. During that time, Maurielle became a professional problem solver as she worked with constituents guiding them through the channels of the federal gover... More

Lesley Anne Warner
Lesley Anne Warner

Lesley Anne Warner is a Professional Staff Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she serves as the principal adviser to the Ranking Member on matters relating to sub-Saharan Africa.

She was previously a Research Fellow at the Center for Complex Operations at National Defense University, where she directed the only open source strategic-to-tactical level analysis of the Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnershi... More

Katherine Weingartner
Katherine Weingartner

Katherine Weingartner is committed to advancing policies that address the security implications of climate change and the multifaceted security dynamics of energy transition, both in the US and internationally. In her current role, she supports the US Global Change Research Program in developing the National Climate Assessment to understand, predict, and respond to climate change impacts and their resulting risks and vulnerabilitie... More

Andrea M. Wert
Andrea M. Wert

Andrea Wert received a B.A. in International Relations from the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. Her studies focused on foreign policy, security, and East Asia and included one year studying abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.

At her current position with Sojitz Corporation of America, Andrea conducts in-depth research and analysis on a variety of topics, including but not... More

Jasmine Wyatt
Jasmine Wyatt

Hailing from Akron, Ohio, Jasmine J. Wyatt is a Legislative Correspondent for the U.S. Senate Democratic Whip, Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), and Vice President of the Council of American Ambassadors Alumni Association.

Ms. Wyatt graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in Government and South Asian Studies, and a Spanish Language Citation. To complement her studies at Harvard, Ms. Wyatt studied abroad at the School ... More