The functions of our former Research Department have been realigned into other areas of our stafff. For more information or questions, please contact us at info@ypfp.org.


The Research Department is YPFP’s internal think tank. Its goal is to create intellectual capital that underpins YPFP’s mission and establishes YPFP as a venue and vehicle for cutting-edge discourse on the future of foreign policy, leadership, and the Millenial generation’s unique role in shaping world affairs. The department aims to produce high-quality materials that have an impact on foreign policy. As the think tank of YPFP, the goal of the Research Department is to create intellectual capital that underpins YPFP’s mission and establishes YPFP as a venue and vehicle for cutting-edge discourse on the intersection of the future of foreign policy, leadership, and the Millennial generation's unique role in shaping world affairs. The research department produces high quality materials that have an impact on foreign policy.


The Office of the VP is to manage all of the department’s projects and initiatives. It is the duty of the office to ensure that our membership has access to quality information and can engage with other members of the community. The VP works across the organization to collaborate on a variety of projects with other departments. It is also charged with ensuring that the department grows in size and recognition.

Vice President: Matthew Hays

Bio: Matt Hays is the Vice President of the Research Department at Young Professionals in Foreign Policy. As Vice President Matt leads a team that produces a range of content, analysis and events that seeks to highlight young professionals' unique contribution to the discourse on the future of foreign affairs. Matt works at a non-profit whose mission is to advance freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, democratic governance and the rule of law. Prior to this, Matt worked for the US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia. Matt received his M.S. in Global Affairs from New York University, where he concentrated on current and emerging transnational security threats. Matt holds a B.A. in History from American University.

Email: matthew.hays@ypfp.org

Managing Director: Amy Chin

Bio: Amy Chin specializes in programming and research in gender issues and human rights in developing and transitional countries. She has a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the New School and a Bachelor in Business Administration in Marketing Management from Baruch College. She has traveled, studied, and worked in 32 countries (so far). Her research experience includes qualitative studies on gender perceptions, education for girls in post-conflict societies, domestic violence, sex trafficking, women’s participation in politics, women’s access to quality healthcare, and long-term usage of antiretroviral treatments (ART) in sub-Saharan African Countries. 

Email: amy.chin@ypfp.org


The Research Collection Division is the home of on-going research analysis and data collection initiatives for YPFP. The purpose of the division is to curate research on the intersection of the millennial generation, leadership, and the future of foreign policy; accumulate member-generated content on critical foreign policy issues; and uncover key trends and critical global challenges that will affect the next generation of foreign policy leaders.

Director: Caitlin Tomae

Bio: Caitlin Tomae is currently a defense contractor focusing on transnational organized crime. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Boston College and her Master’s Degree in European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies from The George Washington University. Prior to her career as a defense contractor, she interned at the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and DoD Office for Russia, Eurasia, and Ukraine Policy. She enjoys research of all kinds, especially when it benefits YPFP’s mission to foster the next generation of foreign policy leaders.

Email: caitlin.tomae@ypfp.org


The Publications team serves as the primary contact for developing and publishing research content and newsletters, especially the YPFP blog. It has been charged with increasing YPFP’s recognition as a foreign policy thought leader in academia and the foreign policy community through these products.

Director: Bob Vitas

Bio: Bob Vitas is a technical writer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As YPFP’s Director of Publications and Blog Manager, he leads a team of writers and editors in creating content that engages foreign policy students, academics, and practitioners. Previous stints include the Labor Department, an education nonprofit, the House of Representatives, U.S. Agency for International Development, and a scholarly journal. Bob joined YPFP after graduating from American University’s School of International Service, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in international relation and English literature. He was raised in the Midwest and Eastern Europe.

Email: bogdan.vitas@ypfp.org


The YPFP Fellowship Program is an intensive research experience designed for YPFP members preparing for careers in research, academia, and foreign policy. YPFP Research Fellows research topics that are central to YPFP’s worldview and translate these findings into potential solutions for challenges facing the millennial generation. This research is designed to add to the overall foreign policy discourse and advance YPFP’s standing within the international affairs community.

Meet our current class of fellows here.

Director: Neysha Alvarez

Bio: Neysha M. Alvarez is a Senior Associate Analyst at the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute. She previously worked for the Transportation Security Administration in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Syracuse, New York. Ms. Alvarez has also worked with nonprofit organizations such as Americans for Informed Democracy and Democracy Matters. She also currently serves as Director of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy’s Research Fellows Program, where she leads a team of research fellows in creating content for YPFP and the greater foreign policy community. She holds a bachelor of arts in international relations with a minor in Middle Eastern studies from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affiars.

Email: Neysha.Alvarez@ypfp.org


2013-2014 Research Fellows

Jared Miller | Foreign Policy Leader of the Future (FPLF) Report

Jared Miller is currently a senior at the College of William & Mary majoring in international relations with a minor in economics. Within his major, Jared has focused his studies around international conflict resolution. He also holds a certificate in International Conflict Transformation from the Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence, Italy. Before becoming a YPFP Research Fellow, Jared interned with YPFP’s Research Department where he worked on the Foreign Policy Leader of the Future report. Prior to joining YPFP, Jared completed a Fellowship with Organizing for America where he organized and recruited volunteers in the 2012 election. This followed a summer internship with the Truman National Security Project where he conducted research on various topics in foreign policy including energy security, counterterrorism in Yemen, and human rights violations in China. Jared is originally from Radford, Virginia, but loves to travel and recently returned from living abroad in Italy.


Alec Simantov | Foreign Policy Leader of the Future (FPLF) Report

Alec Simantov holds a Master of Public Policy degree from George Mason University with a focus on international governance and organizations. He has undergraduate degrees in History and Linguistics from the University of Maryland. Alec has worked for several organizations in Washington focusing on US foreign policy and the Middle East region including, the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), the Heinrich Böll Foundation, and the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council. He also served as an Editorial Assistant for Foreign Policy Bulletin and was an executive editor for George Mason University’s international and foreign policy student journal, TABLET. He currently works for the communications team at the International Budget Partnership, an international NGO and advocacy group that promotes government budget reforms and fiscal transparency in the developing world.

Vanessa Panaligan | Big Data Analytics + Foreign Policy Leadership Incubator Module Series

Vanessa J. Panaligan earned a Master's degree from Georgetown University for her research an studies in globalization with a strong focus on the Arab and Islamic worlds. She complemented her academic career as a Soliya Fellow, exploring the use of media in Muslim-West dialogue and youth empowerment as well as her research and volunteer efforts in Egypt and Morocco. Her Bachelor's degree in European studies is from The University of Tampa. Vanessa's professional history includes experience at the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the British Embassy in Washington. She is fluent in French and is currently learning Arabic.

Zach Pagovski | Big Data Analytics + Foreign Policy Leadership Incubator Module Series

Zhikica Zach Pagovski holds an M.A. degree in International Affairs from American University’s School of International Service. He obtained his B.A. from American University in Bulgaria double-majoring in European Studies and Political Science & International Relations. Zach’s regional expertise covers the regions of Europe, North America, Middle East, and Southeast Asia. He works on issues of preventive, public, and multilateral diplomacy; international security; counter-terrorism; peacekeeping; strategic communications; international intervention; international negotiations; international development; post-conflict development; and sustainable development.

Annalisa DeVitis, Ph.D. | YPFP Public Diplomacy Series

Annalisa (a.k.a. Lisa) focuses her research mainly in the area of diplomacy and use of media in diplomacy. Her regional focus is the Middle East. She combines her interests by exploring the impact of media and global communications on US diplomacy and investigating how contemporary diplomacy should be both "global" and "local" at the same time. She is researching traditional and new media usage in the Middle East region as well as studying how US diplomacy is adopting the context in a variety of countries in the region. As a Research Fellow at YPFP, Lisa is working on multiple projects for the Public Diplomacy Series, including a blog series, a digital library, and an e-book.

Discussion Groups

YPFP's Discussion Groups are peer-led communities within YPFP that offer selected members an opportunity to connect with other young professionals who share a depth of experience in a particular region or subject. Each Discussion Group (DG) serves as a focal point within YPFP to promote thoughtful engagement through monthly private meetings and occasional public activities. Members present original research for internal critique, host guest speakers, analyze current events, and collaborate with internal departments at YPFP. Equal parts academic symposium and coffee shop debate, members set the agenda, drive the conversation, and address the issues that matter to them most.

Please note that at this time Discussion Groups are offered only in Washington, DC and New York, NY.


Discussion groups serve as a platform for YPFP’s members to engage with like-minded individuals who share a similar passion for a certain field, subject matter, or geographic region. The groups range between 15-25 members and meet on a monthly basis to discuss the current issues in that particular topic. They are also charged with producing content in the forms of reports, blog posts, or policy briefs on their topic of interest. These groups offer a great opportunity for members with a particular academic or professional background to bring their unique perspectives and knowledge to one of the discussion groups.

Explore our Discussion Group topics and apply here.

Director: Currently recruiting https://ypfp.org/jobs/director-discussion-groups