The DOD Selects 2023-2024 Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Dissertation Fellows

The Department of Defense today announced the 21 awardees of the 2023-2024 Minerva-U.S. Institute of Peace’s “Peace and Security Dissertation Fellowship,” providing fellowships of up to $20,000 to doctoral candidates who show great potential to advance policy and practice in the peacebuilding and security fields.

Since 2017, the Minerva Research Initiative, a DoD-sponsored, university-based social sciences program focused on research of particular relevance to U.S. national security, has joined with the U.S. Institute of Peace’s (USIP) Peace Scholar Fellowship program to award non-residential fellowships to students enrolled in U.S. universities. The awards support doctoral research related to broad concerns in conflict management and peacebuilding, including security and stability. More than 113 applicants from 66 U.S. universities applied for the 2023-2024 awards. 

“These awards complement the efforts of USIP’s Peace Scholar Fellowship Program to expand support for advanced graduate students and create opportunities for ongoing engagement,” said Dr. David Montgomery, DoD’s director of social science. “We are proud of the doctoral candidates being funded through this collaboration and look forward to seeing their projects develop.”

The 2023-2024 Peace Scholar Dissertation Fellows include:

2023-24 Minerva-Funded Peace and Security Scholars

  • Haley Allen DeMarco (Yale University), “Staffing the Secret Police: Security Personnel in Authoritarian Argentina”
  • Salah Ben Hammou (University of Central Florida), “The Varieties of Civilian Praetorianism and the Politics of Post-Coup Trajectories”
  • Tessa Devereaux Evans (Cornell University), “More of a Threat Than Guns: The Determinants of Insurgent Gender Governance”
  • Myung Jung Kim (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign), “Negotiating Justice, Rebel Sponsorship, and War Outcomes in the Shadow of International Criminal Prosecution”
  • Enrico Antonio La Viña (University of California, Davis), “Vigilantism From Above: Democratic Backsliding and State Repression in the Philippines”
  • Emily Myers (Duke University), “Rethinking Rebel-Civilian Ties in Civil War”
  • Miryam Nacimento (City University of New York – The Graduate Center), “Coca Growers and Peasant Cultures: Explaining the Impact of Coca Prohibition on Peasant Identities in Colombia”
  • Ilayda Onder (Pennsylvania State University), “Cooperation, Rivalry, and Tactical Diffusion in Militant Networks”
  • Ana Paula Pellegrino (Georgetown University), “The State That Forges Organized Criminal Groups”
  • Beenish Pervaiz (Brown University), “Old Wars, New Tools: How Alliance Politics Shapes Vertical Nuclear Proliferation and Technological Diffusion in Pakistan and India”
  • Erika Ricci (University of Central Florida), “The Militancy Cycle: Exploring Violent Extremism Through the Italian Red Brigades”
  • Natan Skigin (University of Notre Dame), “Punitive Solidarity: How Victims’ Narratives Shape Civic Engagement and Accountability in Drug Wars”
  • Madeleine Stevens (University of Chicago), “Annihilating ‘Subversion’ and Dehumanizing ‘Delinquents’: Enforced Disappearance from the Cold War Through the War on Terror”
  • Angie Torres-Beltran (Cornell University), “The Political Consequences of Violence Against Women (Non-stipendiary fellowship)”

2023-24 USIP-Funded Peace Scholar Fellows

  • Alana Ackerman (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), “Refugees Without Refuge: Persecution and Displacement Across Borders in South America”
    Shahab ud Din Ahmad (John Hopkins University), “Conflict and Late State Formation in Colonial Peripheries: Discretionary Rule and Informality on the Afghan Frontier (1955-2018)”
  • Amanda Blewitt (New York University), “‘Living Peace’ in a Violent Environment: Local and Everyday Peacebuilding in Honduras”
  • Frieder Dengler (American University), “System Encounters: Rules of Inter-State Conduct in Early Modern Sino-European Relations”
  • Sky Kunkel (Purdue University), “The Local Effects of UN Peacekeeping (Non-stipendiary fellowship)”
  • Laura Mendez Carvajal (Kent State University), “‘Self-help’ Discourse in Foreign Aid and Inequality: Peasants’ Agency in Rural Colombia”
  • Rebecca Wai (University of Michigan), “It Takes More Than a Village: How Refugee-Host Cooperation Promotes Peace and Economic Development”

The competition for the 2024-25 cohort opens in September 2023. Visit the Peace Scholar Fellowship Program on USIP’s website to see the 2024-25 request for applications.

The Minerva Research Initiative is jointly administered by the Basic Research Office in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and the Strategy and Force Development Office in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, in partnership with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Office of Naval Research. To learn more about Minerva’s partnership with USIP, visit

The DoD Announced Awards of $20K each for the 2021-2022 Cohort of the Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Dissertation Fellows