PGG Students2018-03-16T17:30:37+00:00
MARTIN CHO
Martin earned a BA in History from the University of Illinois (1999) and a MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University (2013).

His research interests are in the geopolitics and development of energy resources.

Prior to enrolling at Virginia Tech, he worked in investment banking, covering natural resource and infrastructure companies. Martin later worked at the Department of Energy focusing on new energy technology and on international policy.

CARL CIOVACCO
Carl is a PhD student in the Government and International Affairs Program. His research focus is on national security and the social construction of threat perception. He is currently writing his dissertation on the evolution of American threat narratives around China.

Formerly an American military officer with experience in the intelligence community, he currently works in the financial industry.

Carl holds a Bachelor of Science in International Relations from West Point and a Master in Public Policy in International Security and Political Economy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

PISHTIWAN JALAL
Pishtiwan was born in Iraqi Kurdistan the same year five thousand Kurds were massacred by chemical weapons, nearly two hundred thousand Kurdish women and children were buried alive in the desserts of Arabia, and 5,000 villages (including his) were destroyed. He grew up and finished school within a civil war zone.

After earning his BA at the University of Kurdistan-Hewler, he started a masters program in International Security at the same university and worked as the deputy manager of Radio Dewran. After winning a scholarship from the Kurdistan Regional Government, he moved to Washington, D.C. earned an MA in International Affairs at the Catholic University of America, and worked as a research assistant at the Rethink Institute.

His main research interests are terrorism, Islamic radicalism, political Islam, democracy and the Kurdish issue.

CRAIG JOHNSON
Craig’s research interests include international organization and nuclear security regimes.

He holds an MA in Security Policy Studies from The George Washington University and a BA in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

He is a Seminar XXI Fellow with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a recipient of the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholarship Award. He currently serves as a national security analyst for the United States Government.

JOE KARLE
Joe earned a BS in Political Science from Central Michigan University (2010) and an MA in International Relations (2016) from Texas A&M University.

His interested in analyzing US nation building efforts in the Middle East since 9/11, particularly the way interactions between US personnel and local leaders (governmental and military) impact the development of governance and security structures.

Joe served as a paratrooper in US Army’s 3/509th Parachute Infantry Regiment as was deployed to Afghanistan from 2011-2012.

GREGORY KRUCZEK
Greg’s research interests are nationalism studies, ethnic conflict and civil war, and Middle Eastern Christian communities. His doctoral dissertation examines how Assyrian-Christian communities in Iraq have responded to ISIL and the breakdown of the state.

Greg worked at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, and Penn State University’s Center for Network-Centric Cognition and Information Fusion. He was also an instructor in the Department of Political Science at Susquehanna University, teaching classes on world affairs and comparative domestic politics.

Greg has a B.A., B.S., and M.A from Penn State University.

RICK LANDGRAF
Major Walter “Rick” F. Landgraf III is an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.

He earned a BA in Political Science from McDaniel College in 2003, an MPIA from Virginia Tech in 2010, and an MS in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University in 2013.

He has over 13 years of experience in intelligence analysis and collection operations, including three years of combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently posted in the United Kingdom serving as an intelligence liaison.

His research interests are NATO-Russia relations, de facto independent states, and post-Soviet conflicts.

GELA MERABISHVILI
Gela holds a BA in international Relations and an MA degrees from Tbilisi State University. On a graduate level, he narrowed his focus on the politics of South Caucasus (2013). He also holds a MA degree in European Studies from Maastricht University (2012).

His professional background includes internships at the Embassy of Georgia to Hungary, Center for EU Enlargement Studies, and the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs (all in Budapest) and research assistantships at Center for European Policy Studies, and European Stability Initiative (both in Brussels). He is interested in how sub-state actors, such as cities and regions, influence international politics.

In terms of geographic regions, he is interested in the EU, particularly its foreign and security policy, Russia, and the countries in their shared neighborhood.

GABRIEL MITCHELL
Gabriel is the US Representative of Mitvim – the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies. O

riginally from the United State, Gabriel moved to the Middle East after completing his Bachelor of Arts in History at The Ohio State University. He also holds an Master of Arts in Political Science from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Gabriel’s interests include regionalism, majority-minority politics, and the formation of state foreign policy. His dissertation explores the relationship between energy policy and foreign policy in Israel and the Eastern Mediterranean.

ERIC READING
Eric serves as Executive Vice President for Chemonics International, a leading global development firm promoting meaningful change around the world to help people live healthier, more productive, and independent lives.

During his career he has worked in development policy and program implementation in governance, urban development, conflict, food security, energy, health, education, environment, gender, and economic growth in more than 40 countries in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America and lived in Egypt and Kosovo. His research focuses on the dynamics shaping global development policy and practice.

Eric holds an M.A. (1993) and B.A. (1992), both in international affairs from Florida State University.

JEANNETTE RUIZ
Jeanette received an undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Her research interests focus on understanding how information and communication technologies (ICTs) impact and empower informal networks as tools for re-shaping economies, polities, and international relations. She has worked as a contractor serving the Department of Defense.

ATAL JASON SHARIF
Atal Jason Sharif is a US Air Force Civil Aviation Intelligence Analysis Center Principle Intelligence Analyst specializing in counter proliferation, arms trafficking, drug smuggling, counter terrorism, and counter intelligence. In addition to his 11 years in the Air Force civil service, Atal deployed twice to Afghanistan as a civilian: in 2011 on-loan with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as a Senior Intelligence Analyst studying civil military relations, governance, and Afghan security institutions, and in 2015 with the Ministry of Defense Advisor (MoDA) program as a Senior Advisor for the Afghan National Police advising on several police intelligence issues to include analysis, special investigations, counter corruption, and counter insurgency operations. Atal’s research focuses on Afghan security institutions and US train, advise and assist policies.