Board of Directors and Principal Investigators

Valerie M. Hudson
University Distinguished Professor and George H.W. Bush Chair at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, has researched national security affairs, foreign policy analysis, and gender in international relations. Hudson has authored numerous publications, including Sex and World Peace (with Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Mary Caprioli, and Chad Emmett; Columbia University Press, 2012), and Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population (with Andrea Den Boer, MIT Press 2004), which won the Association of American Publishers Award for best book and the Otis Dudley Duncan Award for best book in social demography. Hudson is also co-author of The Hillary Doctrine and The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide. She is a recipient of the Karl G. Maeser Excellence in Teaching Award, served as president of the Foreign Policy Analysis Section of the International Studies Association, and for eight years directed the graduate program in international relations at the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies at Brigham Young University. Hudson received a PhD from the Ohio State University, and has taught previously at Northwestern, Rutgers, and Brigham Young Universities.
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Rose McDermott
Rose McDermott is the David and Mariana Fisher University Professor of International Relations at Brown University and a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She works in the areas of political psychology. She received her Ph.D.(Political Science) and M.A. (Experimental Social Psychology) from Stanford University and has also taught at Cornell and UCSB. She has held fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and the Women and Public Policy Program, all at Harvard University, and has been a fellow at the Stanford Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences twice. She is the author of five books, a co-editor of two additional volumes, and author of over two hundred academic articles across a wide variety of disciplines encompassing topics such as gender, experimentation, national security intelligence, social identity, cybersecurity, emotion and decision-making, and the biological and genetic bases of political behavior.
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Mary Caprioli
An associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota—Duluth, Head of the Department of Political Science and Director of the International Relations Program, has researched the role of gendered structural inequality on political conflict and violence, including interstate/intrastate violence and security issues broadly defined to include human rights. Caprioli has published articles in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Quarterly, International Security, and the Journal of Peace Research, and is writing two books. From 1999–2004, she was an associate editor for International Studies Perspectives. Her work has highlighted the need for cross-national data on women that captures the full extent of inequality relative to each society. She has been awarded several research grants and her expertise has been sought by the World Bank, UNIFEM, and the Africa Peace Forum. She brings experience in data development and is an advisory board member of the Minorities at Risk Project. Caprioli received a PhD from the University of Connecticut.

Andrea den Boer
A lecturer in international politics at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, researches in the area of ethics, women’s rights, and gender in international relations. Her publications include a co-authored book with Valerie Hudson (Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population, MIT Press 2004), articles on women’s rights and the effectiveness of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and writings on the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. Her current research examines issues related to violence against women in Asian states. She is an associate editor of Global Society: Journal of Interdisciplinary International Relations. Den Boer received her PhD from the University of Kent.

Donna Lee Bowen
Professor Emerita of Political Science and Middle East Studies at Brigham Young University, has researched the interface of religion, gender, social policy, comparative politics, and international politics. Bowen is the author of articles published in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Politics and Gender, American Political Science Review, among others. She is the editor and author of three volumes of Everyday Life in the Muslim Middle East (with E.A. Early and B. Schulthies) and co-author of The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide (with Valerie M. Hudson and Perpetua Lynne Nielsen). Bowen has held a number of research grants including support from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Ford Foundation, National Endowment of the Humanities, and two Fulbright research awards. The Minerva Initiative of the Department of Defense supposed Womanstats research for The First Political Order. She has served as a member of the board of directors of the Middle East Studies Association, American Institute for Maghrib Studies (and also served as Treasurer and Vice President), and BYU Studies. She helped found and then established and administered the Middle East Studies/Arabic program at Brigham Young University for nine years. Bowen received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Perpetua Lynne Nielsen
A teaching professor of Statistics at Brigham Young University (BYU), joined the WomanStats Project in fall 2012 after co-writing a Politics and Gender journal article with Valerie Hudson and Donna Lee Bowen. Her research interests are in the area women’s situation in clan-based societies, clans and the rule of law, mentoring women in higher education, Statistics education, classical test theory, and blended learning in large distance education courses. Prior to her BYU faculty appointment, Nielsen worked for: the Philippine government conducting nationwide surveys to measure the socio-economic impact of electrification on rural households and small businesses, Intel as a statistical process control consultant, and SkyMall as a market research director. Nielsen received a BS in Mathematics from the University of the Philippines, an MS in Statistics from Brigham University and a PhD in Instructional Psychology and Technology from Brigham Young University.

Valentine Moghadam
Valentine M. Moghadam joined Northeastern University in Boston as Director of the International Affairs Program, and Professor of Sociology, in January 2012. She was previously at Purdue University. Born in Tehran, Iran, Dr. Moghadam received her higher education in Canada and the U.S. In addition to her academic career, she has been a senior research fellow at UNU/WIDER in Helsinki, Finland (1990-95), and a section chief at UNESCO in Paris (2004-06). Dr. Moghadam’s areas of research are globalization, revolutions and social movements, transnational feminist networks, and gender in the Middle East and North Africa. Among her many publications are Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East (1993, 2003, 2013), Globalizing Women: Transnational Feminist Networks (2005, winner of the American Political Science Association’s Victoria Schuck Award), and Globalization and Social Movements: Islamism, Feminism, and the Global Justice Movement (2009, 2013). Her current research is on prospects for a women-friendly democratization after the Arab Spring.
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Alison Brysk
Alison Brysk is the Distinguished Mellichamp Professor of Global Governance at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author or editor of fifteen books on international human rights, most recently The Struggle for Freedom from Fear: Contesting Violence Against Women at The Frontiers of Globalization (Oxford University Press, 2018). Professor Brysk has been selected Distinguished Scholar in Human Rights of the International Studies Association and the American Political Science Association; a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center; a Fulbright Professor in Canada, India, and the UK; a Taiwan Fellow; and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dara Kay Cohen
Dara Kay Cohen is Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests span the field of international relations, including international security, civil war and the dynamics of violence, and gender and conflict. Her first book, Rape During Civil War (Cornell University Press, 2016), examines the variation in the use of rape during recent civil conflicts; the research for the book draws on extensive fieldwork in Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste and El Salvador. Cohen's second book, Lynching and Local Justice: Legitimacy and Accountability in Weak States (Cambridge Elements: Political Economy series, 2020) is coauthored with Danielle F. Jung, and draws on original survey and focus group data collected during fieldwork in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Her research has appeared or is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review, Annual Review of Political Science, International Organization, International Security, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Global Security Studies, Journal of Peace Research, Political Behavior, PS: Political Science & Politics, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Stanford Law Review, Third World Quarterly, and World Politics, and has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS), the United States Institute of Peace, Folke Bernadotte Academy (Sweden) and the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), among others.

Cohen received her Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and an A.B. in political science and philosophy from Brown University.

Sabrina Karim
The Hardis Family Assistant Professor in the department of Government at Cornell University. Her research focuses on conflict and peace processes, particularly state building in the aftermath of civil war. Specifically, she studies international involvement in security assistance to post-conflict states, gender reforms in peacekeeping and domestic security sectors, and the relationship between gender and violence. She is the co-author of Equal Opportunity Peacekeeping: Women, Peace, and Security in Post-Conflict Countries (Oxford University Press, 2017). The book was the winner of the Conflict Research Studies Best Book Prize for 2017 and the American Political Science Association Conflict Processes Best Book Award for 2018. She is also co-author of the book “From Gender Equality to the Status of Women: Concepts and Measurement in Conflict and Peace Studies” (Under review). Her work has appeared in the American Political Science Review, International Organization, the British Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Peace Research, International Interactions, World Development, among others. She directs the Gender and Security Sector Lab ( where she is conducting surveys of security force personnel around the world to better understand how gender identities shape security forces violence, abuse of authority and misconduct. She is also the PI of the NSF CAREER Award The Domestic and International Politics of Global Police Violence (
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Catalina Monroy
An Assistant Professor in the Politics and International Relations program at Rosario University in Bogotá, Colombia. She received her PhD in the program of Political Studies at the University Externado de Colombia, Bogotá where she focused mainly in Colombian and Latin American foreign policy analysis. Her current research interests include gender and International Relations, gender and urban security and women´s political empowerment. She runs the "WomanStats en español" project in Colombia and she is aiming to expand the WomanStats Project to the entire Latin American region.

Senem Ertan
Senem Ertan is an associate professor in the Political Science and Public Administration Department at Social Sciences University of Ankara, Turkey. She received her PhD from the University of Siena in 2013, after receiving her M.A. in Global Political Economy from the University of Kassel, Germany and her B.A. in International Relations from the Ege University, Turkey. Her recent research interests are gender equality policies in international parliaments, domestic violence laws and policies, politics of age of marriage and comparative politics. She has published many book chapters with prominent academic publishers and articles in journals such as Politics & Gender, Social Indicators Research and Global Society. She has been a co-PI of the WomanStats Project since September 2011 whilst completing a research period at the Brigham Young University for her dissertation on comparative gender equality policies. Ertan won a research grant from Visiting Scholar Program of the Fulbright and is spending ten months in 2022 for conducting a field research on Politics of Age of Marriage in the Harvard Kennedy School, Women and Public Policy Program.  

Juan Pablo Vallejo
A Consultant for the Climate Change and Sustainability Division of the Inter-American Development Bank in Bogotá, Colombia. He is also teacher of Environmental Economics and Sustainable Development. Juan Pablo received an MS on Environmental Management from Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is currently working on a research project that explores the effects of climate change in Colombia from a gender perspective.

Celeste Beesley
Celeste Beesley, an assistant professor of political science at Brigham Young University, researches in the areas of international and comparative political economy. Her current research examines political participation, women and globalization, welfare state demand, corruption and preferences over the use of force. She has a particular interest in the political economy of post-communist countries and has previously received a Fulbright grant for study in Russia and a National Science Foundation Dissertation Grant and a Boren Fellowship for research in Ukraine. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 2013.

Laura Renner
Laura Renner is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Freiburg, Germany. Her work focuses on empirical economic research on migration, including a gendered perspective on migration as well as institutions such as inheritance in polygynous societies and implications for security and stability of countries. She received her Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Freiburg in 2018. Previously, she studied Economics at Tübingen University and Heidelberg University.

Mattias Ottervik
Mattias Ottervik received a PhD in political science from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, a Master’s degree in political science from the University of Gothenburg, and a BA in history from Yale University. His main research interest is the progress and causes of social and economic development in general, and in East Asia in particular. The research done by scholars associated with WomanStats brought him to the project in 2018. Ottervik's research is on the long-term effect of changes in gender equality. Prior to his graduate studies Ottervik worked in Japan for a marketing company as a researcher and analyst, and for a high frequency trading firm as a network administrator. He is currently an assistant professor at Shandong University in China.

Carlo Koos
Carlo Koos is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Bergen, Norway. His research interests lie at the intersection peace and conflict studies and development economics. He is particularly interested in (1) gender norms and its relationship to conflict, peace and development as well as (2) the conditions under which humanitarian assistance and aid projects contribute to political and social development and fragile states. His has been published in World Politics, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the Journal of Peace Research, among others. Carlo has been part of humanitarian missions with Doctors without Borders in South Sudan, Libya, Egypt, Swaziland and Uganda. He has also research experience in Liberia, the DR Congo, South Sudan, Burundi and Nigeria. Carlo has recently been awarded a five-year research grant (StG) from the European Research Council to study the micro-level effects of civil wars on women’s empowerment.
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Modupe Oshikoya
Modupe Oshikoya obtained her BA with honors in politics and development studies and an MSc in International Politics with a focus on African politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, where her master’s thesis, titled 'The Logic of Violence in Civil War' focused on the civil war in Sierra Leone. Modupe previously worked for the House of Commons research service for six years, providing research briefings on international affairs. She also worked for the British Red Cross on their Disaster Management Programme that helped UK citizens affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami. She recently co-authored a chapter in the ‘The Handbook of Civil Society in Africa’ (published October 2013), which looks at the effect of civil society organisations on democracy and governance structures in Africa. Her current research interests include feminist security studies and gendered insecurity in civil war in Africa.

Arielle Badger Newman
Arielle Badger Newman is an assistant professor in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises at Syracuse University. Dr. Newman earned her Ph.D. from the University of Utah in political economy, emphasizing in comparative political economy. As a political scientist bridging the fields of political economy and entrepreneurship, she brings unique perspectives and theories to the field. Newman’s research focuses on entrepreneurs outside the “mainstream,” those who seek to legitimize themselves and their entrepreneurial endeavors despite institutions that were not made for them, or in fact, were made to exclude them. She has studied this struggle for legitimization in various cultural contexts from her dissertation collecting original fieldwork with entrepreneurs in Kumasi, Ghana, to paladar restauranteurs in communist Cuba, working with resettled refugees in a culinary incubator in Salt Lake City, and interviewing female entrepreneurs throughout the United States. Her work focuses on the legitimization of these entrepreneurs outside the mainstream, and the impact of these experiences on their overall entrepreneurial journey and well-being. After working with these various vulnerable populations of entrepreneurs excluded from mainstream institutions, Dr. Newman was inspired to explore the role of trauma in entrepreneurship. When individuals are devalued and excluded, these traumatic events exist outside the realm of socially validated reality, making these experiences unspeakable. It is Dr. Newman’s goal to explore these unspeakable events and understand how trauma impacts the entrepreneurial process for these marginalized populations. Currently, Dr. Newman serves on the editorial boards of Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice as well as for Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship. Her work has been published in Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, Journal of International Business Policy, and Asia Pacific Journal of Management.

Robert Ulrich Nagel
Dr Robert Ulrich Nagel is a post-doctoral fellow at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS). His research at GIWPS focuses on women’s impact on peacekeeping missions’ effectiveness and the intersection of the Women, Peace and Security agenda and International Humanitarian Law. Prior to joining GIWPS, Robert earned his PhD in International Conflict Analysis at the University of Kent. His research explores the conflict dynamics that contribute and result from sexual violence, their consequences for international security, conflict resolution, and post-conflict stability. Robert’s research is published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution and the Journal of Peace Research. He has won the 2019 Cedric Smith Prize for the best peace and conflict studies paper by a UK or ROI-based PhD student and the International Studies Association 2020 Dina Zinnes Award. He is also a member of the editorial team for International Peacekeeping and a member of the Consultative Group for the Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict dataset.

Clara Neupert-Wentz
Clara Neupert-Wentz is an assistant professor in political science at Aarhus University. Her research focuses on peace and conflict research and state building, with a particular focus on formal and informal institutions, institutional development, gender norms, and quantitative methods. She received her PhD from the University of Konstanz, Germany. Previously, she has been a visiting fellow at Stanford University and studied at the University of Mannheim, Germany, the University of Bergen, Norway, and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Sumin Lee
Sumin Lee is an Accountability, Climate, Equity, and Scholarship (ACES) Faculty Fellow in the Department of International Affairs of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Sumin received her doctorate from Rutgers University in 2022. Her current research focuses on how conflict-affected states strategically use accountability measures for wartime sexual violence as a means to promote their legitimacy and reputation. For her project, she collected an original dataset on various accountability measures adopted during and after civil wars in response to wartime sexual violence. She is also working on multiple projects that examine conflict-related sexual violence and its effect on women’s lives in a post-conflict society using various methods such as geospatial analysis, text analysis, and panel data analysis. Sumin was a Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and also a recipient of the Empirical Study of Gender Research Network’s (EGEN) Prize 2022, which means she will present her research at the EGEN Workshop at Harvard’s Kennedy School this month. The Cambridge Studies in Gender and Politics series has expressed interest in publishing her dissertation, and this past summer Sumin was in the working group reviewing a framework for the Prevention of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence for the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Pramilla Patten.

Emeritus: Emily A. Sellars
Emily A. Sellars is an assistant professor in the Department of International Affairs at the George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Her research interests are at the intersection of comparative political economy and development economics. Her current projects examine the political and institutional consequences of migration, population dynamics, gender relations, and land tenure arrangements in Mexico and Central America. She received her Ph.D. in political science and agricultural and applied economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Emeritus: Rebecca Nielsen
Rebecca Nielsen is an assistant professor at Rosario University in Bogota, Colombia. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science at Yale University, and is an alumna of Brigham Young University, where she started working with WomanStats in 2007. Her dissertation project, funded in part by the National Science Foundation and Yale MacMillan Center, examines the consequences of civil war for women’s networks and political participation. She has conducted several years of field research on female secret societies in West Africa, particularly Sierra Leone and Liberia.
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Emeritus: S. Matthew Stearmer
Matthew Stearmer has been affiliated with the WomanStats Project since 2001, and was instrumental in developing the original database. He is currently the Chief Data Officer and Deputy Director of the Ohio Department of MedicId where he oversees several analytic units including; Data Governance, Predictive Analytics, Visualization, Quality Outcomes, and Rate Setting. Stearmer has published works in several disciplines including social movements, women’s equality, network analysis, and medical sociology. Stearmer received his Ph.D. in Sociology at The Ohio State University, having received a BA in International Studies, an MS in Geography, and an MS in Sociology at Brigham Young University.

Emeritus: Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill
Professor emeritus of psychology at Brigham Young University where she directed the Women’s Research Institute. She is a fellow in both the American Psychological Association (1984) and the Association for Psychological Science (1987). After twenty-five years as a professor and department chair in the graduate school of Fordham University at Lincoln Center in New York City, Ballif-Spanvill returned to her alma mater in 1994. In addition to her professional papers and publications that address motivation and emotion, the impact of domestic violence on children, and techniques to break intergenerational cycles of violence, she is the coeditor of A Chorus for Peace: A Global Anthology of Poetry by Women; and coauthor of both Sex and World Peace, which demonstrates that security of women is a vital factor in state’s incidence of conflict and war; and PEACEABILITIES: Compelling Stories and Activities that Develop Abilities of Children to Live Peacefully with Others.

Emeritus: Chad F. Emmett
An associate professor of geography at Brigham Young University, specializes in political geography and the geography of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, with much of his research focused on the status of Christians in the Islamic world. Emmett speaks Arabic and Indonesian and has traveled and researched widely in both regions. His publications include Beyond the Basilica: Christians and Muslims in Nazareth (University of Chicago Press 1995) and other works that explore possible ways in which the city of Jerusalem can be peacefully shared, how varying methods of sharing sacred places can be used as models for sharing political space, and the role of Palestinian Christians in the Palestinian nationalist movement. In addition to WomanStats, he is working on a similar project that will be used to analyze the status of Christians in countries with a Muslim majority. Emmett received a PhD from the University of Chicago, and in 2014 was awarded a General Education Professorship at BYU.


Natalie Wright Romeri-Lewis
Natalie Wright Romeri-Lewis, doctoral student in the political science department of The Ohio State University, studies international development, refugees, and law. She has explored judicial reform and women's informal power in developing nations and lived in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. She has worked in judicial chambers and NGOs, consulted internationally, and presented to new staff at UN permanent missions on how to improve the quality of contribution and quantity of female negotiators. Currently, she teaches international development and leads several projects at The WomanStats Project: UN data-collection effort, international outreach (e.g. conferences), recruitment of new coders, training coordination, internships, and translations. She also researches urban poverty among women in Colombia as well as the rule of law worldwide. In the future, Natalie hopes to study whether the timing of the creation of power-sharing “institutions” (e.g. free press, courts, elections, constitutions) and high female participation affect the stability or transparency of newly emerging democracies.


Lauren A. Eason
Lauren A. Eason has been affiliated with the WomanStats Project since 2012 and now serves as the Senior Research Associate for the Minerva Initiative Research Award sponsored by the Department of Defense. She received a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Criminal Justice from the University of Georgia in 2010. She went on to obtain a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University in 2013. Currently living and working in Washington, D.C., Lauren’s research interest focuses on the relationship between gender, human trafficking, and CBRN weapons.

Julie Ford Brenning
Julie Brenning received a Master's degree in Asian Studies from the University of Utah. Her thesis research focused on socio-economic variables associated with the sex ratio imbalance in China. She has created the largest database in the world solely devoted to the sex ratio at birth and includes over 200 sources and 120 data points. Her current work is focussed on the initiatives in India to curb the high sex ratio at birth and sex-selective abortion occurring in the United States. She presented her preliminary results to the Congressional Commission on China in Washington D.C. in 2016..

Jessica Wells
Jessica Wells received a Master's in Public Policy from Brigham Young University where she also received a BA in Economics. She previously served as the Chief Operating Officer for the WomanStats Project while completing her Master's degree and worked with the Worldwide Organization for Women as a Global Education Opportunity intern in Geneva, Switzerland. Jessica's research interests include the intersection of women's property rights and economic development, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa.