Biographical Profiles of Current Ph.D. Graduate Students

Hélène Benveniste
Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines de Paris, 2012
Science and Executive Engineering, Master
Rennes, Brittany, France
Hélène is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP) at the Woodrow Wilson School. In her dissertation, she focuses on interactions between damages from climate change, international migration and inequality, using Integrated Assessment Models and a scenarios-based approach. She is also interested in International Environmental Agreements design, and in communication between science and policymaking on climate change. Hélène graduated in 2012 with a MSc in science and executive engineering from Mines ParisTech, France. For her master’s thesis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, she developed a statistical tool for scoring extreme climate events forecasts. She then started her career as deputy attaché for energy at the French Embassy in Germany. During the Paris Agreement year, she worked as research scientist and project manager of a scientific advisory group to the French climate negotiation team, focusing on assessing countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions. When not obsessing over climate change, Hélène can be found in the local movie theater or hiking in the nearest national parks.
Christopher Crawford
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, 2012
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, B.S.
East Lansing, Michigan
Chris is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the environmental policy program, studying biodiversity conservation through the lens of agricultural land use change. As demographic, technological, and environmental forces change the spatial distribution of global agriculture, Chris is particularly interested in regions where agriculture is being abandoned or repurposed, and the environmental trade-offs these changes represent. Where do these transitions present opportunities for habitat regeneration in former agricultural fields, and how might policy be designed to harness these opportunities and encourage conservation? Chris aims to answer these questions by leveraging global datasets and geospatial analysis tools while drawing on the fields of ecology, environmental science, and economics. Prior to graduate school, Chris worked at the nonprofit Sustainable Conservation in San Francisco, working to encourage river restoration in California’s Central Valley and prevent the use of invasive plants in gardening and landscaping. Chris graduated from the University of Michigan in 2012, and likes riding his bicycle, taking pictures of clouds, and listening to Swedish music.
Katherine Elgin
Princeton University, 2013
Politics, A.B.
The Plains, Virginia
Katherine is a Ph.D. candidate in security studies interested in grand strategy, civil-military affairs, alliance dynamics and national security decision-making processes. Her dissertation examines the Sino-Russian relationship and Russian grand strategy. Before commencing her graduate studies at the Woodrow Wilson School, Katherine worked at the Foreign Policy Program of the Brookings Institution. There, she focused on U.S. grand strategy and global political trends, contributing to several books and projects. While in D.C., Katherine also worked with a defense research firm. Katherine speaks Swedish, Russian and French. She grew up on a family farm near Middleburg, Virginia, and enjoys photography, tennis and traveling.
Travis Frederick
The Ohio State University, 2014; Georgia Institute of Technology, 2017
International Studies, B.A.; International Affairs, M.S.
Fairfield, Ohio
Travis is a first-generation college student from Ohio, a third-year Ph.D. student in the security studies cluster, and a graduate researcher in Princeton’s Socio-Cognitive Processes Lab. His professional interests include societies’ collective memories of political events, the political psychology behind threat perceptions, and U.S.-Russia security relations. His personal interests include three-item lists. Travis speaks Russian and holds a B.A. from The Ohio State University and M.S. from Georgia Tech. He has worked for the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. State Department, and the Georgia Tech Research Institute.
Xiangwen Fu
Peking University, 2015; Peking University, 2018
Environmental Science, B.S.; Environmental Science, M.S.
Beijing, China
Xiangwen was born and raised in Beijing, China. Prior to arriving at Princeton, he earned a master’s degree at Peking University with a focus on urban air pollutant dispersion. His previous research mainly dealt with characterizing the distribution of traffic-related air pollutant in complex urban terrain by developing and using atmospheric models. Xiangwen plans to continue his work on urban air pollution in China, and is interested in assessing the implications of environmental policies on urban air quality, energy use and human health.
Yixin Guo
Peking University, 2014
Atmospheric Sciences, B.S.
Beijing, China
Yixin joined the STEP family after finishing her undergraduate study in atmospheric and oceanic sciences at Peking University, China. She had intensive training in physics, programming and maths, and explored the summertime long-range transpacific transport of ozone. The voluntary experience for the Nature Conservancy Beijing Office in her senior year further cultivated an interest in science policy and raised concerns about China’s climate and air pollution policy. At Princeton, several courses and seminars made Yixin interested in agriculture, i.e. agricultural pollution from fertilizer and manure, food security and rural development. She looks forward to helping a transition to sustainable practices in the developing world.
Rohit Gupta
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi 2004; Indira Gandhi National Open University, 2009; Princeton University, 2019
Electrical Engineering, BTech; Public Policy, M.A.; Public Policy, MPP
Patiala, Punjab, India
Rohit grew up in Punjab and graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi with a major in electrical engineering. After briefly working in different technology based research roles, he felt his calling lay in public services. He was selected as an Indian Administrative Services officer in 2006. He has worked as the district magistrate, which is the head of District Government in India, in six different districts. As the district magistrate, he was responsible for direct supervision of more than twenty government departments, maintaining law and order in the jurisdiction, and coordinating with multiple agencies to ensure the holistic development of district. He passionately believes in promoting and executing policies that protect the environment along with economic development. While studying for the MPP program at Princeton, he rediscovered his passion for research and scholarship. He hopes to continue his journey of developing skills for contributing towards a sustainable future with the STEP Ph.D. program at the School.
Carlton Haelig
Rutgers University, 2013; George Mason University, 2017
History/Political Science, B.A.; International Security, M.A.
Bridgewater, New Jersey
Carlton is a second year Ph.D. student studying security studies and international relations at Princeton University. His interests lie at the intersection of international relations, international security, and national security policy. Carlton’s research focuses on military innovation, adaptation, and strategy. Current projects of his look at the drivers of doctrinal innovation in military organizations and the implications of emerging technologies on innovation and the future balance of power. He is the director of the Strategic Education Initiative at Princeton’s Center for International Security Studies. Prior to Princeton, Carlton worked in a variety of capacities conducting research on national security policy and strategy in academia, think tanks and government.
Cory Isaacs
Wake Forest University, 1993; St. Mary’s University, 1996; Georgetown University, 1998, 2000, 2001; American University, 1999; Yale University, 2018
History, B.A.; Law, J.D.; Security Studies, M.A., International and Comparative Law, LLM, Taxation, LLM; Law and Government, LLM; Ethics, M.A.
Dallas, Texas
A former police officer, prosecutor, and enlisted United States Army infantryman, Cory is interested in American military professionalism and what we say about those who fight and die on our behalf. He lives with his wife Kristin and has three boys: Connor, Dayton, and Ulysses.
Lynn Lee
Georgetown University, 2017; Peking University, 2019
International Politics, BSFS; China Studies, M.A.
Seoul, South Korea
Lynn was born in Korea, spent her childhood in China and studied in the U.S. from middle school. Having been interested in security issues in Northeast Asia for over a decade, she studied international politics and Asia studies as an undergraduate and conducted independent research on China's memory of the Korean War and North Korea's domestic discourse on nuclear weapons. Upon graduation, she won a full scholarship to pursue a master's degree in China studies in the Yenching Academy at Peking University in Beijing. Her thesis analyzed China's contemporary identity in the nuclear nonproliferation regime. At Princeton, she will continue to research nuclear nonproliferation issues in China and North Korea. In addition to her academic work, she worked as a research intern for Korea studies at the Council of Foreign Relations and at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center. In her leisure time, Lynn enjoys playing squash and visiting art galleries.
Zhongshu Li
Peking University, 2015
Environmental Science, B.S.
Beijing, China
Josh is a Ph.D. student in the science, technology and environmental policy (STEP) program at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. With a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and economics (double major) from Peking University, Josh has been exposed to various research frontiers in the realms of climate change and air pollution sciences. In the fall of 2015, he started a new adventure in Princeton as a Ph.D. student, where he developed a special interest on what and how trade policy influences renewable energy industry, especially between U.S. and China.
Bing Lin
Princeton University, 2016
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, B.A.
Taipei, Taiwan
Bing was born on an island in Indonesia, and spent his childhood up to no good in a Taiwanese household going to an international school. He went to university in "Dirty Jersey," played varsity soccer, and upon graduating in 2016, moved to southern Thailand on a Princeton in Asia fellowship. There, Bing spent his weekdays teaching English at a local boarding school and his weekends on a live-aboard boat as a scuba diving guide. Following Thailand, Bing moved to the Ethiopian highlands to conduct primate behavioral research on gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada) for a year, before relocating to Dominica to conduct research on the island’s coral reefs following the damage of Hurricane Maria in 2017. This summer, Bing hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,600-mile hiking path along the mountain crests of the American west, and did his very best to avoid bears and snow along the way. Bing loves soccer, scuba diving, snowboarding, squash, wildlife photography, audiobooks, and extinct giant ground sloths, and when he grows up, wants to affect positive change in the world at the intersection of conservation ecology, behavioral economics, and public policy.
Shangwei Liu
Beijing Normal University, 2018
Environmental Science, B.S.
Beijing, China
Shangwei is a second-year Ph.D. student in science, technology and environmental policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Prior to coming to Princeton, he was an undergraduate student in the School of Environment at Beijing Normal University. His previous research focused on the impact on carbon emissions of China’s current socioeconomic transitions. Shangwei is interested in understanding the environmental impact of economic activity based on data analysis to facilitate the development of sound environmental policy.
David Logan
Grinnell College, 2009; Princeton University, 2017
Political Science, B.A.; International Relations, MPA
New Orleans, Louisiana
David’s research interests lie in arms control, nonproliferation and strategic stability, particularly in the context of the U.S.-China relationship. He has conducted research for the Brookings Institution, the Arms Control Association, and the National Defense University’s Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. He serves as a fellow in Princeton’s Center for International Security Studies. His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Nonproliferation Review, Asian Security, Joint Force Quarterly, and other publications. Prior to coming to Princeton, he worked as a middle school teacher in New Orleans and a university English instructor in Shenyang, China. He spends much of his free time thinking about the state of post-Katrina New Orleans, convincing himself to go to the gym, and exploring hip hop from across the world. David is a proud (and, at times, prideful) New Orleanian.
Mayank Misra
West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, 2007; Princeton University, 2014
Law, B.A./LLB (Hons); Public and International Affairs, MPA
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Mayank works on complex adaptive systems at the intersection of human collective behavior, ecosystems, and climate change. At the Levin Lab within the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, he focuses on the socio-ecological and co-evolutionary dynamics of human populations and ecological systems, using theoretical models and empirical research to investigate the interplay between human decision making and resource availability. Before he was at Princeton, Mayank was a constitutional and civil rights lawyer at the Supreme Court of India. He drafted federal laws relating to food security, sectarian violence, and the prevention of sexual offences against minors. He also drafted the Indian Bar Council’s code of ethics for lawyers in India. Mayank completed a Master in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School in 2014. He was a Wertheim scholar at the New York Public Library, and consultant for the Open Society foundations before returning to Princeton as a Ph.D. student.