Introducing Our Spring 2021 Marcellus Policy Fellows

The Marcellus Policy Fellowship is the John Quincy Adams Society’s most selective program, providing promising foreign policy minds an early-career opportunity to produce independent, impact-minded research under expert guidance. Fellows learn about US foreign policy from top scholars and path-breaking thinkers, refining their own ideas into a high-quality policy paper and supporting materials. The Society is pleased to announce the Spring 2021 cohort of the Marcellus Policy Fellowship.

John Ramming Chappell

John Ramming Chappell is a joint J.D. and M.S. in Foreign Service candidate at Georgetown University. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, John received his B.A. in International Studies and Arabic from the University of Mississippi, where he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He is particularly interested in national security law and progressive foreign policy with a focus on Africa and the Middle East. John previously worked at the Middle East Institute and has been a policy fellow with Foreign Policy for America and National Security Action.

John’s project will focus on US foreign policy in the Sahara and Sahel, a region grappling with the effects of armed conflict and climate change. He plans to formulate recommendations for a diplomacy-first approach to the region that addresses the root causes of political and human insecurity.

Nick Cleveland-Stout

Originally from McMinnville, Oregon, Nick Cleveland-Stout is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and is the Chair of the John Quincy Adams Society at Colorado College. Previously, he participated in the National Council on US–Arab Relations Summer Scholars Program, where he helped write a report on the Yemeni Civil War. Nick has also received a Sheffer Grant of Roman Catholic Studies to conduct interview research on the Catholic Church’s social action programs in the Philippines and is a Critical Language Scholarship recipient. 

Nick’s paper develops the argument for a “Green” BRAC (Base Closure and Realignment). While there are many reasons why another round of BRAC is necessary, an often overlooked one is that the Pentagon is a major polluter. The US Department of Defense emits more CO2 than many industrialized nations and is responsible for contaminating the drinking water of millions of Americans with “forever chemicals.” Nick’s paper will examine the case for an environmentally-oriented BRAC as a possible route to better prioritize both national security and human security, further democratize foreign policy, and better position the US to be a leader on climate.

Sadaf Dastan

Sadaf Dastan is an M.A. candidate in International Affairs at the George Washington University, and a Don Lavoie Fellow at the Mercatus Center. She has several years of experience conducting research on the Middle East, peace and conflict studies, and US foreign policy, presenting her work at various academic conferences. She graduated magna cum laude in 2019 from George Mason University with B.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, a concentration in International Conflict, and a minor in Anthropology. She is an alumna of the Joseph Schumpeter Fellowship at the Mercatus Center and the Summer Honors Program at the American Enterprise Institute. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and reading.

For her policy paper, Sadaf intends to investigate the importance of diplomacy in future US-Iran relations during the Biden Administration and beyond. She hopes to examine and weigh the impact that sanctions, diplomacy, and force have had on bringing Iran to the negotiations with the US in the past and how that may inform future decisions between the two nations. Lastly, she intends to define the lasting influence of US-Iran relations on diplomacy in the Middle East region.

Nani Detti

Nani Detti is an intern for the Africa Program at the Center for International Policy, where she tracks and analyzes US foreign policy towards Africa and curates content for a weekly US-Africa newsletter that aims to inform policymakers. From the rise of Islamist insurgency to conflicts to election violence, and to crackdowns on civil society, Nani has covered stories that reveal an alarming decline in democracy and the compounding threats to human security. Nani is a recent graduate of St. John’s College.

Nani will explore the effectiveness of the current over-militarized US counterterrorism effort in the Sahel and West Africa. Nani also wants to draw attention to how climate change, economic inequality, and weak governance factor into the rise of extremist groups on the continent. As the number of terrorist groups and attacks increases, Nani will curate what a better and effective counterterrorism effort looks like and how local African governments can work with their foreign allies to provide a long-term solution for this security threat.

Grant Golub

Grant Golub is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of International History at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He graduated from LSE with an MSc in the History of International Relations and with a B.A. from Princeton University in History and American Studies. His dissertation focuses on Henry L. Stimson, the War Department, and the politics of American grand strategy during World War II. His broader research interests include US diplomatic history, grand strategy, and Anglo-American relations. He is also a Project Assistant with the Cold War Studies Project at LSE IDEAS, a university think tank, and the seminar coordinator for the LSE-Sciences Po Seminar in Contemporary International History.

Grant’s policy paper will focus on process and decision-making reform within the US foreign policy and national security apparatus. Since the Kennedy administration, American foreign policy decision making has gradually been centralized at the White House under the president and the National Security Council (NSC). This has left other important federal agencies frozen out of the foreign policy process, to the detriment of US national security. Grant will propose changes to reform this process to ensure decision-makers receive as much information as possible before crafting American foreign policy. This will include reforms both between the White House and the executive branch and within executive branch agencies traditionally charged with major roles in the foreign policy apparatus, such as the State Department.

Yameen Huq

Yameen Huq is a Marcellus Policy Fellow with the John Quincy Adams Society. He is currently finishing his graduate program at the Georgia Institute of Technology with an M.S. in Cybersecurity in the Policy track. Prior to this, he graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Economics and a B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He currently works as a manager in technology consulting, specializing in cybersecurity, analytics, and organizational design in the public and private sector. Previously, he was Deputy Data Director for the Arizona Coordinated Campaign under the Biden Presidential Campaign, supporting efforts on strategic analytics, communications and reporting, as well as voter protection.

Yameen’s policy paper will focus on the redesign of the United States Department of State. The design architecture and staffing of an organization has a direct impact on its strategic vision. Therefore, pursuing a grand strategy of restraint requires rethinking how the State Department operates in terms of personnel, processes, and technology. A State Department that is more transparent and accountable can be a strong first step towards promoting a foreign policy based on peace and diplomacy.

Ethan Kessler

Ethan Kessler is a foreign policy intern for the Cato Institute in Washington, DC. Originally from California, he is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a major in political science and a minor in history. He previously interned for the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control and the Forum on the Arms Trade in Washington, DC. He also writes for Realist Review.

Ethan will reexamine the US’s approach to its longtime security alliance with South Korea. The alliance entails one of America’s largest military commitments, yet Washington has failed to seriously consider whether this commitment should be downsized, maintained, or scaled up given rapidly changing security dynamics in East Asia. In addition to being relevant for the political future of the Korean peninsula, US military policy toward South Korea has implications for America’s commitment to nuclear nonproliferation and its relationship with China.

Scott McCann

Scott McCann grew up in Carencro, Louisiana, and now resides in Arlington, Virginia. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Louisiana State University and an M.A. in International Studies with concentrations in international security, intelligence, and conflict resolution from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Scott wants to serve in the foreign service then use his experiences to craft US foreign policy. Scott hopes to one day hike all 58 “14ers” in Colorado.

Scott’s research will focus on the US-Iranian relationship. He will discuss reconciliation through the lens of US national security interests. He will illustrate the flaws of the current policies and reveal opportunities for cooperation. He intends to produce meaningful, actionable policies to repair the damaged relationship and reestablish official diplomatic relations.

Enes Sayin

Enes Sayın is a Foreign Policy Intern at Istanbul Political Research Institute (IstanPol.) He currently studies history at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. Previously, he studied International Relations at Syracuse University where he served as the first president of the John Quincy Adams Society chapter at Syracuse University.

Enes’s policy paper will focus on the US-Turkey alliance. Since the end of the Cold War, the US struggled to articulate a strategic rationale for its alliance with Turkey even though it’s assumed there is a critical strategic partnership between the two countries. More assertive Turkish foreign policy in recent years and the increase of distrust in the alliance in the aftermath of the 2016 coup attempt has forced the US to face its contradictory approach to Turkey and take Turkey’s agency into consideration. Enes will analyze the viability of this alliance within a pro-restraint foreign policy framework for US foreign policy in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, during a time when both country’s interests diverge on several issues.

Margarita Valkovskaya

Margarita “Rita” Valkovskaya is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (BS), and the Maxwell School at Syracuse University (MPA). She currently works as a public sector consultant, supporting a range of federal, state, and local clients. Rita’s academic interests include security with a regional focus on Russia and Eurasia, emerging technologies and cybersecurity, and global supply chains. She previously worked at the Institute for Security Policy and Law at the Syracuse University Law School, where she researched the Russian technology sector. Additionally, Rita served as a graduate scholar at the New York State Assembly on the Labor Committee. Rita’s first career was fashion development and production, where she worked extensively with highly globalized garment supply chains. 

Rita’s policy paper will explore the current United States policy environment around trade controls, sanctions, and law enforcement that aim to identify and ameliorate foreign technology-based threats. The paper analysis will identify a number of priority technologies and analyze various controls used by the United States government to stop or diminish their imports, stop production or trade domestically or overseas, or institute domestic oversight on their production supply chains, among others. 

Ismaila Whittier

Ismaila “Izzy” Whittier is a first-year Master in Public Policy (MPP) student, at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, concentrating in International and Global Affairs. Izzy is also the Foreign Policy Chair of the Harvard Kennedy School’s (HKS) Progressive Caucus and is on the Editorial Board of the HKS Progressive Policy Review. Before Harvard, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Northeastern University and worked in Financial Services in New York City. He has shifted to the International Affairs field, and as his career progresses, he hopes to focus on US foreign policy as it relates to international institutions.

Izzy’s policy paper will focus on the Biden Administration’s China policy and its implications for a progressive foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region. With tensions between the US and China at an all time high, many believe a conflict between the two powers is inevitable. He will chart out relevant historical analogies involving rising and ruling powers and how these analogies relate to a Biden-era foreign policy that is focused on exercising primacy to contain China. Izzy will offer potential solutions, centered on military restraint, diplomacy, and multilateralism to help the United States peacefully deal with this critical change in the international landscape.