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Undergraduate Researchers

Below are the short bios of our Fall 2021 ROCCA Undergraduate Researchers, or the ROCCA’teers!

Max Adams (he/him/his) is a Sophomore at Vanderbilt majoring in Political Science and minoring in Business. In the ROCCA Lab, Max is working on behalf of the Outsourcing Repression team with Dr. Ritter, as well as the Reducing Prejudice toward Refugees team with Dr. Larson. Outside of the ROCCA Lab, Max is a member of the Ingram Scholars Program on campus and really enjoys beekeeping in his spare time. After Max graduates in 2024, he is hoping to pursue a career in law.

 

 

 

Ehab Alhosaini (he/him/his) is a junior majoring in Public Policy and Economics. He is currently part of the Alliances and Refugees teams with Dr. Benson and Dr. Larson. He is interested in international relations, economic development, and relations between rural and urban individuals. He also loves to hang out with friends, play soccer, and catch up on the news.

 

 

 

Martín Alemán is a junior majoring in Economics and Political Science with minors in Scientific Computing, Data Science, and History. He works on Professor Benson’s research team on Small Arms Trade Networks and Political Violence, as well as Margaret Frost’s State vs. Organized Crime. Outside of Rocca, Martín enjoys being outside and exploring beaches and mountains in his home country Panama.

 

 

Rahan Arasteh (he/him/his) is a third year student studying Political Science and Human & Organizational Development, with minors in Spanish and Data Science. At ROCCA, he is helping research the effect of the small arms trade on civil wars and the influence of the internet on political extremism. Outside of ROCCA, Rahan is part of Vanderbilt Student Government as a Senator and the Model UN travel team. In his free time, he enjoys the delicate art of taking frequent naps.

 

 

Hannah Biles (she/her/hers) is a sophomore studying Public Policy with a concentration in Foreign and International Policy, and is minoring in business and data science. At ROCCA, she is currently working on the Conflict Evolution project and the Bolivian Deaths project. Outside of the lab, she is on the Vanderbilt Dance Marathon executive board, and is the director of first-year experience for Delta Delta Delta. Hannah loves doing yoga, studying Spanish, and reading in her free time.

 

 

Trent Bohan (he/him/his) is a sophomore majoring in political science and human & organizational development. He is a part of Professor Larson’s refugees team and Professor Schram’s team. Outside of ROCCA, Trent is a member of Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations and enjoys running, and backpacking.

 

 

 

Claire Cho (she/her/hers) is a sophomore majoring in Political Science and Economics with a minor in Business. She is part of Professor Larson’s Reducing Prejudice toward Refugees project and Professor Coe’s Economic Origins of War and Peace team. Outside of ROCCA, she writes for the Vanderbilt Hustler and enjoys longboarding around campus.

 

 

 

 

 Zhi-Ying Chua (she/her/hers) is a junior studying Political Science and Economics. In the ROCCA Lab, she is a researcher on Professor Larson’s and Professor Coe’s teams. Zhi-Ying enjoys swimming, hiking, and curating poetry recommendations for her friends.

 

 

Cate Delafield (she/her/hers) is a senior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Arabic. She is a researcher on Professor Coe’s “For Whom Does Terrorism Work” and Professor Schram’s teams. Cate is a member of Vanderbilt’s Arabic Club, as well as the club tennis and equestrian teams.

 

 

 

 

Holly (Xinyi) Deng (she/her/hers) is a senior majoring in Political Science and Economics. She is working on Professor Coe’s For Whom Does Terrorism Work project and Economic Origins of War and Peace project. Outside of the lab, Holly is involved in Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations.

 

 

 

 

 

Oliver Dong (he/him/his) is a junior majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science. In ROCCA, he is in Professor Larson’s team on Reducing Prejudice toward Refugees and Professor Benson’s team on Alliances. Outside of ROCCA, he is working toward a software engineering career.

 

 

 

 

 

Duaa Faquih (she/her/hers) is a sophomore studying Political Science. She is a member of the Bureaucratic Repression team with Professor Ritter and the Refugees team with Professor Larson. Outside of her work with ROCCA, she is a staff writer for the Vanderbilt Hustler, a part of MLC’s Multicultural Action Cohort, as well as the Muslim Students Association.

 

 

 

 

Sarah Fishbein (she/her/hers) is a senior pursuing a double major in Medicine Health and Society and Political Science. Sarah serves as the Assistant Director of the ROCCA Lab. She also works with Professor Coe to lead the Terrorism team. Outside of the lab, she is involved in AKPsi and Student Alumni Board. Sarah enjoys running, crosswords, and yoga.

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Gignac (he/him/his) is a junior majoring in Political Science and Economics with a minor in Data Science. He is a member of Professor Larson’s Refugees team and Professor Benson’s Small Arms Team. Outside of ROCCA, Warren is a member of the College Scholars program and conducts international policy research through AugNación. His hobbies include hiking and photography.

 

 

 

 

 

Biyao Guo (he/him/his) is a Junior majoring in Political Science and Economics. He works on Professor Coe’s Economic Origins of War team and Professor Benson’s China, US, Taiwan Relations team. Outside ROCCA, he also loves to play soccer and tennis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arjun Gupta (he/him/his) is a Vanderbilt sophomore who is majoring in Economics and Applied Mathematics. He is working with Andrew Coe on the “Economic Origins of War and Peace” as well as Emily Ritter on the “Evolution of International Organizations”. Outside of ROCCA, Arjun is on the board of the Vanderbilt Finance Club, the Excel Modeling Club, and The Abstract.

 

 

Chloe Hall (she/her/hers) is a junior majoring in Public Policy and minoring in Data Science. In the ROCCA Lab, she is the Director of the student-run Lab Outreach team and a member of Professor Smith’s Arms Transfer and Alliances project. On-campus, she is a contributor for the Vanderbilt Political Review and works as a writing consultant for the Vanderbilt Writing Studio.

 

 

Yuna Jeon (she/her/hers) is a junior double-majoring in Human & Organizational Development and Spanish & Portuguese. She is a member of the Reducing Prejudice toward Refugees Team directed by Dr. Larson, as well as the Outreach Team directed by Dr. Coe. Outside of ROCCA, Yuna works with the Next Steps program and is involved in the Asian American Student Association, AMIGOS, and the Student Basic Needs Coalition.

 

 

 

Hunter Johnson will graduate from the College of Arts & Science in 2023. He is double majoring in Russian and Music. He is working on Professor Coe’s teams, investigating Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorism. Outside of ROCCA Hunter is a member of the NROTC Unit.

 

 

 

Joseph Kang (he/him/his) is a sophomore studying Economics and History with minors in Business and Political Science. He is working with Professor Coe’s team on Economic Origins of War and Peace and with PhD candidate Dylan Irons on interviews of North Korean refugees. Outside of the Lab, he is involved in Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations and the Vanderbilt Prison Project. In his free time, he enjoys playing sports and avidly supports the Boston Celtics and Chelsea FC.

 

 

Lexi Kay (she/her/hers) is a freshman majoring in Political Science and Human & Organizational Development. She is currently a member of Professor Ritter’s Evolution of International Organizations team and Professor Ritter’s Outsourcing Repression team. Outside of ROCCA, she is a member of the Vanderbilt Dance Team and enjoys cooking and playing the NYT Daily Mini crossword.

 

 

Isabelle Krieger (she/her/hers) is a senior studying  French and European Studies with minors in clarinet performance and musicology. She is part of Professor Coe’s Nuclear Proliferation and Professor Dorff’s Conflict Evolution teams. When she is not deeply pondering the philosophy behind Spongebob quotes, she can be found playing recorder in the middle of the night, sleeping in the grass after reading too many French comics, or throwing dice after losing a round of Settlers of Catan.

 

 

 

Ancher (Peixuan) Li (he/him/his) is a senior studying Political Science and Economics with interests in international relations and political economy. He is involved with Professor Larson’s Reducing Prejudice toward Refugees project and Professor Dorff’s ConflictNet project. He is also a member of the Vanderbilt Debate Team and VP of Undergraduate Political Science Association.

 

 

Sunny Li (she/her/hers) is a Junior studying Math and Econ. She is part of Professor Coe’s Economic Origins of War project and Professor Smith’s Arms Transfer and Alliances project. Outside of ROCCA, she enjoys playing board games.

 

 

 

 

 

Ish Malhotra (she/her/hers) is a junior studying Economics and Political Science with a minor in Business. She has been a part of the ROCCA Lab for three years and has worked on projects with Dr. Benson, Dr. Coe, and Dr. Ritter. On campus, Ish is a Resident Advisor, a part of Women in Business, and Tikkum Olam Makers.

 

 

 

 

 

Ria Mehrotra (she/her/hers) is a junior pursuing majors in Political Science and Economics with a minor in Data Science. She graduates in 2023 and hopes to have a career in intelligence or diplomacy. Currently, she is working on the Outsourcing Repression project with Dr. Ritter and Reducing Prejudice Towards Refugees with Professor Larson. Outside of research she likes to read, dance, and go hiking!

 

 

 

Mariam Nadi (she/her/hers) is a junior majoring in Political Science, Philosophy, and Art. She is working with Professor Larson on her research n Reducing Prejudice towards refugees, focusing on the situation with South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda and with Professor Ritter on Bureaucratic Repression focusing on the Israel/Palestine dynamic. Outside of ROCCA, Mariam is the President of United Mission for Relief and Development and a member of MUN and UNICEF. She loves to read and make french fries and looks forward to being a part of the research team!

 

 

Marco Navarro (he/him/his) is a freshman studying Political Science. In the ROCCA Lab, he is part of Professor Ritter’s team on Outsourcing Repression, as well as Margaret Frost’s “State vs. Organized Crime.” Outside of the lab, Marco enjoys cooking, playing soccer, and completing the daily Wordle with no exception.

 

 

 

Demos Negash (he/him/his) is a freshman majoring in Physics and Mathematics. He is a member of Professor Ritter’s Outsourcing Repression team and Margaret Frost’s State vs. Organized Crime team. Outside of ROCCA, he writes for the Vanderbilt Political Review and enjoys reading and playing basketball

 

 

 

 

Tejas Ogale (he/him/his) is a junior studying Economics. In ROCCA, he is currently working on Professor Coe’s Economic Origins of War and Peace team and Professor Ritter’s Evolution of International Organizations team. He is also a writer on the Vanderbilt Political Review and loves to watch sports and play poker.

 

 

 

Neel Pai (he/him/his) is a junior from Naperville, Illinois triple majoring in political science, math, and economics. At Vanderbilt, he is also vice president of the mock trial team and an RA in Memorial House. He is interested in international human rights law, and hopes to attend law school after graduation.

 

 

 

 

 

Netra Rastogi (she/her/hers) is a senior at Vanderbilt with majors in Political Science and Medicine, Health, and Society, as well as minors in Spanish and Arabic. In the ROCCA lab, she works on Professor Coe’s project For Whom Does Terrorism Work and Professor Dorff’s project State vs. Organized Crime Confrontation project. Outside of the lab, Netra is a Senior Editor for the Vanderbilt Political Review. In her free time, she likes to take her dog Cinnabon on walks and dance with Vida Latin Dance.

 

 

 

Defne Salli (she/her/hers) is a junior double majoring in Political Science and Environmental Sociology with a minor in Economics. She’s a part of Professor Larson’s Reducing Prejudice toward Refugees and Professor Ritter’s Bureaucratic Repression teams. Outside of ROCCA she is a researcher in the ASCEND initiative, an executive member of SPEAR, loves cooking and listening to music -often simultaneously.

 

 

 

 

Akaash Seemakurty (he/him/his) is a freshman, studying Computer Science and Economics. He is currently working with Professor Dorff’s Rebel Direct project and Professor Larson’s Refugee Team. Outside of ROCCA, Akaash is involved in Code Ignite and also enjoys going on runs in his free time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tanya Tejani (she/her/hers) is a senior majoring in Political Science, Economics, and Environmental Sociology. Tanya is working with Professor Ritter on her research regarding International Organizations and with Professor Larson on her research regarding refugees. Outside of ROCCA, Tanya is the president of the Undergraduate Honor Council and is the Senior Advisor of Vanderbilt Women in Government.

 

 

 

 

Maggie Victory (she/her/hers) is a sophomore double majoring in Political Science and Philosophy. In the ROCCA Lab, she is currently working on Professor Larson’s “Reducing Prejudice Towards Refugees” research and Professor Bils’ “Variation in Interstate Alliances” research. Outside of the ROCCA lab, she is a writer for the Vanderbilt Hustler and is a volunteer for the Nashville Dolphins.

 

 

Shravya Vasireddy (she/her/hers) is a sophomore majoring in Political Science with minors in French and Gender & Sexuality Studies. She is working on Professor Ritter’s Evolution of International Organizations research as well as Professor Larson’s project on Reducing Prejudice Towards Refugees. Outside of ROCCA, she is on the Model UN Travel Team and is serving as Secretary General for VUMUN 19.

 

 

 

Anthea Walker (she/her/hers) is a sophomore studying Public Policy; Medicine, Health, & Society; and Spanish. In the ROCCA Lab, she is working with Meg Frost’s State vs. Organized Crime Confrontation and Professor Bjork-James’ Ultimate Consequences teams. Outside the lab, Anthea works on the programming board for Phi Alpha Delta and helps plan cultural events as a member of Vanderbilt’s Hellenic Student Association.

 

 

 


Drake White 
(he/him/his) is a senior in the College of Arts and Science, majoring in political science; law, history, and society; and classical and Mediterranean studies. He leads Prof Ritter’s research on how international organizations change over time, and he leads one of Prof Larson’s sub-teams for her research on refugee resettlement. Outside of the lab, Drake is a member of the Student-Alumni Board and a tour guide.

 

 

 

Jessie Wu (she/her/hers) is a senior majoring in Medicine, Health, and Society and Political Science. Jessie is on her fourth year in the ROCCA lab. She currently works with Professor Ritter and Professor Benson on bureaucratic repression and East Asian relations, respectively. Aside from ROCCA, Jessie also is a board member for Alternative Spring Break. She loves spending her spare time exploring new food in Nashville and spending time with dogs!

 

 

 

Kening Xue (she/her/hers) is a junior majoring in Political Science and Economics, with minors in Data Science and Psychology. I work on Professor Benson’s Small Arms Ream and Professor Bjork-James’ Bolivian Death teams. Outside of ROCCA, I am Head of Service Committee for Vanderbilt Prison Project.

 

 

 

 

Stefani Yan (she/her/hers) is a junior double majoring in Political Science and Economics with minors in Sociology and Business. In ROCCA, she is in Professor Larson’s team on Reducing Prejudice toward Refugees and Professor Coe’s Economic Origins of War and Peace. Outside of ROCCA, Stefani is involved in the Vanderbilt Prison Project and enjoys cycling.

 

 

 

Jack (Yuantao) Yang (he/him/his) is a junior double majoring in Political Science and History with a minor in Japanese Language and Culture. He is a member of Professor Coe’s Economic Origins on War and Peace project and Professor Benson’s project on China, US, Taiwan Relations. He enjoys traveling and watching sports in his free time.

 

 

 

 

 

George Yang (he/him/his) is a junior majoring in Economics and Political Science; he is expected to graduate in May 2023. This semester, George is working on Professor Coe’s Economic Origins of War and Peace Team as well as Professor Bils’ Alliance Team. Outside ROCCA, you can find George eating, sleeping, watching soccer games, and trying not to mess up his kitchen.

 

 

 

Victoria Zang (she/her/hers) is a sophomore studying Economics and Political Science with a minor in Quantitative Methods. She is working with Professor Coe’s team on Nuclear Proliferation and Professor Benson’s team on the Politics of East Asia. Outside of the lab, Victoria a reviewer for Vanderbilt’s undergraduate research journal, a member of Women in Business, and is an avid reader.

 

 

 

 

Amy Zhang (she/her/hers) is a junior double majoring in Political Science and Economics and minoring in French. She is a member of Professor Coe’s Economic Origins of War and Peace team and Professor Larson’s Reducing Prejudice Toward Refugees team. Outside of ROCCA, Amy is also a research fellow and research assistant at LAPOP and an editor for Vanderbilt Political Review.

 

 

Kevin Zhang (he/him/his) is a senior studying Political Science and Computer Science. He is a part of Dr. Ritter’s research on international organization reform and Dr. Larson’s research on refugees. Outside of ROCCA, Kevin is also involved in Product Space, AKPsi, and Tour Guides.