Emma Vitale

Research Assistant

Emma is a second-year MA candidate at Johns Hopkins SAIS concentrating in Strategic Studies and minoring in European and Eurasian Studies. She serves as the Research Assistant to Strategic Studies Associate Director, Dr. Paula Thornhill, and is also interning in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO Policy. Before SAIS, Emma worked for a small consulting company on projects for OSD's Washington Headquarter Services and the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs. Emma holds a B.A. in International Studies from Boston College. 

Sam Wilkins

Research Assistant

Sam Wilkins is an active-duty U.S. Army Special Forces officer with deployments to Somalia, Nigeria, and Afghanistan. At SAIS, Sam serves as the Research Assistant to Dr. Mara Karlin and is pursuing an MA in Strategic Studies and International Economics, with a minor in African Studies. His research is at the intersection of American foreign policy in Africa, limited military interventions, and the Cold War. His writing on these and other topics has appeared in War on the Rocks, The National Interest,The Strategy Bridge, The Modern War Institute, and The Small Wars Journal. Sam is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Hannah Dennis

Research Assistant

Hannah is a second-year MA candidate concentrating in Strategic Studies and the research assistant to Senior Research Professor and Director of External Programs Dr. Thomas G. Mahnken. She previously served in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Foreign Service Institute School of Language Studies and the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security. Hannah received her BA in International Studies from American University in 2018.

Marisa Shannon

Research Assistant

Marisa Shannon is a strategic studies MA candidate at Johns Hopkins SAIS where she serves as the research assistant to Professor Adam Szubin. She also interns in the Office of Strategy and Force Development within OSD Policy. Marisa was previously the assistant director of Washington meetings at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). In this capacity, she researched and led meetings on a wide variety of topics related to U.S. foreign policy, national security, and economics. Marisa holds a BA in International Relations and Spanish from Boston University. 

Holly Geffs

Research Assistant

Holly is an M.A. Candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Students (SAIS) in Strategic Studies, with a minor in European and Eurasian Studies. She holds a 2018 B.A. with Honors from Yale University in Global Affairs and International Security. At SAIS, Holly is Research Assistant to Lt. Gen. (R.) Dave Barno & Dr. Nora Bensahel; in this role, she supports their scholarship on U.S. military modernization and the changing face of national and international security. Since January 2020, Holly also interns in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for European & NATO Policy, where she works with the Nordic and Baltic regional portfolios. Prior to graduate school, Holly was a Research Assistant in the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Europe Program. At CSIS, she co-authored numerous publications on transatlantic defense cooperation, Russian malign information operations and illicit finance, and the development of great power competition in the Arctic. 

Marina Dickson

Research Assistant

Marina Dickson is a second year MA candidate concentrating in Strategic Studies at SAIS where she works as a Research Assistant to Professor Thomas Rid and serves as a Quartermaster for the 2021 International Staff Ride. She has previously worked at University of Maryland's Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security, as well as the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies. Marina holds a BA from Bates College in History and Politics. 

Eileen Roos 

Research Assistant

Eileen Roos is a second-year SAIS MA Candidate focusing in Strategic Studies. She is excited to serve this year as Professor John McLaughlin’s research assistant. Her research interests include American defense policy, international security, and Eastern Europe. Eileen graduated in 2013 from the University of Virginia, where she majored in History and Foreign Affairs. She is originally from Arlington, Virginia. 

Photo: David Solimini 2018

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