I received my BA in psychology from Hobart & William Smith Colleges in beautiful Geneva, NY. During this time, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Denmark, where I was exposed to the field of international affairs and security. I then pursued an MA in public policy and international affairs at the American University of Paris, where I spent two and a half years in Paris. Here I focused on issues of governance and economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa. I published a few small related articles in graduate publications, and wrote my thesis on the causes of economic underdevelopment in Nigeria from 1970-2000 with a primary focus on petroleum and extractive industries.
After completing my degree, I moved to Washington, DC, where I began managing USAID-funded international development programs. I also worked with other donors (State Department, DFID, etc.), but the bulk of my work was with USAID. I specialized in French African democracy and governance programs, and helped manage a post-conflict stabilization program in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an extractive-industries transparency program in Chad, and an assortment of other smaller projects.
I then began managing programs in East Africa, where I worked in Tanzania and Kenya to coordinate regional policies and governance programs focused on multilateral natural resource management. During this time, I also began working on a rule of law strengthening program in Afghanistan. I credit these experiences with helping me to better contextualize my research interests in corruption and conflict. From 2016 to 2018, I worked with Global Integrity, managing research in its Africa Integrity Indicators project. More recently, I served as a research fellow with the Center for Open Data Enterprise, where we worked with the Federal Government to improve their strategies and infrastructure for data-sharing.
I hold a PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park in the department of Government and Politics. My work was supervised by John McCauley, Mark Lichbach, David Cunningham and Johanna Birnir. My dissertation examined why social movements in Africa adopt different strategies and end goals when rising up against the government, and I argue that the structure of different forms of corruption matter in order to understand the claims made by social movements as well as the coalitions that mobilize against the government.
Outside of my academic work, I am an avid alpine skier and a mediocre soccer player. I am passionate about coffee, books, and the environment. I am married to a beautiful and intelligent French-Moroccan woman who works tirelessly to save our oceans with the Ocean Conservancy.