YPFP DC Staff

Executive Team

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Kolby Keo

Interim President

Kolby has volunteered with YPFP since February 2016, previously serving as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Programs. As YPFP Interim President, he leads a team of over 100 volunteers, oversees day-to-day operations, and facilitates collaboration across YPFP’s teams. Kolby works as Special Assistant to the Executive Director & Head of External Engagement at the University of California Washington Program (UCDC). Prior to UCDC, he worked as a legislative aide in the United States House of Representatives. From 2013-2015, Kolby served as a city commissioner in his hometown, Garden Grove, California. He currently serves on the Fellows Board of the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS), as vice president of the UC Irvine Alumni Association DC chapter, and has volunteered with the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) since 2004. Kolby received his BA in political science from the University of California, Irvine, graduating summa cum laude with the Chancellor’s Award of Distinction.

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Vlada Yaremenko

Programming and Communications Associate

Vlada Yaremenko is a senior at the University of Utah pursuing a degree in International Studies focusing on Culture and Identity and a minor in Music. Vlada is originally from Ukraine, however, she also lived in Germany and India. Furthermore, Vlada has served on the board of the United States National Committee for UN Women Utah Chapter as the VP of PR and Membership Committee where her focus was to improve the status of women in Utah. After graduation, Vlada hopes to continue her work in international policy and women’s issues in developing countries and share her love for music with people of the world.

Business Development Team

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Alexander Wilson

Managing Director, Business Development

Communications Team

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Yoojin Park

Director, Communications

Maggie Carleen
Maggie Carleen

Newsletter Editor

Maggie Carleen is a Washington, D.C.-based writer and editor who joined YPFP in early 2018.  She works as a grant writer for Living Goods, a community health nonprofit operating in east Africa. Maggie received her undergraduate degree from the George Washington University and is currently pursuing her master’s in communications at Georgetown University.  Maggie is passionate about bagels and the Washington Nationals.

Membership Team

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Antoine Battle

Membership Director

Ben Lutz
Benjamin Lutz

Membership Manager

Ben has volunteered with YPFP since October 2018 and he joined as a member in September 2018. As Membership Manager, he works with all of YPFPs global members by making data-driven decisions. He also is in charge of the technical database, Wild Apricot, which manages all aspects of the membership experience. Ben received his BA in International Politics from Elon University and his MA in Middle East Security and Peace Studies from the University of Bradford. He speaks Arabic and enjoys the vibrant cultural scene of DC.

Events Team

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Anthony Aslou

Managing Director, Programs

Anthony Aslou is the Director of Events at YPFP and has been a member of YPFP since 2017. Currently, Anthony works as a Designations Analyst at the Bureau of Counterterrorism in the U.S. Department of State, drafting legal records in order to both sanction groups and individuals as terrorist and maintain terrorist designations. Previously he worked with the U.S. Department of Justice and at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. Originally from Hollywood, Florida, he obtained a BA in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Central Florida, where he also studied in Amman, Jordan after receiving the David L. Boren Scholarship. He received a Master of Arts in International Security from Sciences Po Paris, concentrating on Middle East Studies and Intelligence. In his free time, Anthony enjoys traveling, experimenting with new food recipes, and playing/ watching soccer.

Edwin Portugal
Edwin Portugal

Event Manager, Events Team

Edwin is on YPFP’s events team, where he manages professional development events.  He is a 2017 graduate of Brown University, where he studied Public Policy and Slavic Studies. While in college, he studied abroad in Almaty, Kazakhstan. He currently works at the American Financial Services Association, where he researched state-level financial services legislation.

Hailey Becker
Hailey Becker

Professional Development Portfolio, Events Team

Hailey Becker joined YPFP in July 2018 as the co-lead of the Professional Development portfolio on the Events team.  She is a South Florida native and a citizen of Peru. Currently Becker is a Special Assistant to the Executive team at the Center for American Progress. Before joining American Progress, Becker interned on several Florida State Senate campaigns, a presidential campaign, and as the Federal Legislative Affairs Intern at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where she helped monitor current legislation and its effect on median and low-income people. She earned her B.A. in International Studies and Political Science, along with a minor in Latin American Studies from the University of Florida.

Discussion Groups

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Ryan Nelson

Director, Discussion Group Program

Ryan Nelson has volunteered with YPFP since May 2017 as Director of the Discussion Group Program. He leads a division of YPFP comprising of 22 discussion groups, each of which holds monthly discussions about varying international affairs topics. Ryan works as a Legislative Assistant for his home state Senator, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota. In this role, he advises the Congressman on issues pertaining to foreign affairs, national defense, finance, and technology. He also served six years in the Army National Guard. Ryan obtained his bachelor's degree in Finance from North Dakota State University. In his free time, he enjoys reading, traveling, hiking, and hunting.

Blaine Johnson
Blaine Johnson

 Chair, Chinese Language Discussion Group

Blaine Johnson helped launch YPFP's Chinese Language Discussion Group in 2018. Blaine is a policy analyst working on Asia and energy policy, with a focus on China and Taiwan. Blaine has a masters degree from Fudan University's School of International Relations and Public Affairs and a bachelors degree from Dartmouth College. Blaine speaks Mandarin, Spanish, and almost enough French to read a menu.

Scott Weiner
Scott Weiner

Chair, Middle East Discussion Group

Scott Weiner is a policy analyst at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom covering the Arabian Peninsula and Iran, adjunct faculty in political science at George Washington University, and a board member of the Hay Institute. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Diplomatic Courier, Long War Journal, Carnegie Endowment's Sada Blog, and he has authored a report for the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. From 2013-14, Scott was a Visiting Research Fellow at the American University in Kuwait. He holds a Ph.D and Masters in political science from George Washington University, and a bachelors from Tufts.

Diana Schoder
Diana Schoder

Co-Chair, Energy and Environment Discussion Group

Diana is Co-Chair of the Energy and Environment Discussion Group at YPFP, where she has been volunteering since January 2019. She is also the Research Associate in Global Health, Economics, and Development at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC. Previously, she served as the Economics Editorial Fellow at the American Economic Association. Diana received her BA in economics and environmental studies from Haverford College in 2017.

Justin Margolis
Justin Margolis

Co-Director, French Language Discussion Group

Proudly Montréalais, Justin has been a member of YPFP since Fall 2016. Justin works at the Québec Government Office in Washington where he covers public, cultural, and academic affairs, la Francophonie and more. Past work experiences include the Québec Office in Brussels, the UN agency ICAO, and several NGOs. He has a Master’s in International Law from l’Université de Montréal and a B.A. from McGill.  Justin loves skiing, hockey, travel, witbiers, riesling, air conditioning, e-bikes & scooters, poutine, and anything maple.

Sarah Tralins
Sarah Tralins

Chair, Latin America Discussion Group 

Sarah Tralins is a Manager for Global Programs at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, where she is responsible for the implementation of the agency’s Global Procurement Initiative: Understanding Best Value (GPI). In this position, she coordinates with USTDA’s partner organizations, technical experts, and multilateral financial institutions to help develop the GPI to bring the best value in procurement to USTDA partner countries. Before joining USTDA, Ms. Tralins managed the Latin America portfolio at the Global Fairness Initiative in Washington, D.C., where she worked to create equitable and sustainable economic opportunities through workforce development, market access, and decent work initiatives. While in graduate school, Ms. Tralins worked at Blue Star Strategies, the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, and the U.S. Department of State. Ms. Tralins earned her master's degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she focused on Latin America and political economy. She holds a bachelors degree from Tufts University and speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

Technology Team

Youth Summits

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Thamar Harrigan

Youth Summits Coordinator

Fellowship Program

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David A. Wemer

Director and Managing Editor, Fellowship Program

David A. Wemer is the Director & Managing Editor of the Fellowship Program at Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP). He formerly served as an Assistant Managing Editor, and the 2016 Europe Fellow, of the Fellowship Program. David is Assistant Director, editorial at the Atlantic Council where he writes and edits for the New Atlanticist blog. David's writings have also been feautred in the Huffington Post, The Diplomatic Courier, Euroactiv, and Real Clear World. He is a member of the German Marshall Fund's Young Transatlantic Network and was a delegate at the 2016 Transatlantic Youth Summit hosted by the European People's Party and the International Republican Institute. He formerly worked as a Program Coordinator for the Eisenhower Institute. In 2013, David was awarded the American Historical Association's Raymond J. Cunningham Prize for his work on the economic transition in Slovakia. David received a MSc in European Union Politics from London School of Economics and a BA from Gettysburg College.

Sean McGuffin
Sean McGuffin

Director and Managing Editor, Fellowship Program

Sean is the Director & Managing Editor of YPFP’s fellowship program, having started with the fellowship in 2017. During the day he works in finance at Booz Allen and graduated from Old Dominion University in 2016 with a BA in International Studies and Political Science. Sean’s greatest interests are travel and history, and he is determined to always have visited more countries than he is years old.

Paul Sherman
Paul A. Sherman

Programming Coordinator, Fellowship Program

Paul A. Sherman is a Programming Coordinator at YPFP. Currently, he is the Program Manager at the Society for International Development, Washington Chapter. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in public policy, focusing on European affairs and French. He served as Co-Managing Photo Editor at The Michigan Daily and Contributing Writer/Online Journal Editor at the Michigan Journal of International Affairs. He also gained experience in diplomacy and American foreign policy through internships with the Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray, the American Embassy in Paris, France, and the Wilson Center.

Charged Affairs

Michael Sexton
Michael Sexton

Managing Editor, Charged Affairs

Mike Sexton is an Associate Director at the Qatar-America Institute and Managing Editor at Charged Affairs. Previously he has served as a Senior Analyst at the Chertoff Group and Data Manager at the Chicago Project on Security and Threats. He received his MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University and his BA in Mathematics from the University of Chicago.

John Ashley
John Ahsley

Staff Writer, Charged Affairs

John Ashley was the 2017 YPFP Nuclear Security Fellow; he holds a Master of International Policy degree from the University of Georgia, where his studies concentrated in CBRN nonproliferation, export controls, and international security. John also holds a B.A. in History from the University of Georgia and wrote his thesis on the Great War in Africa. His career goal is to work on the committee staff for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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Marcedes Yanora

Editor, Charged Affairs

Marcedes is a former student-athlete who ran Track and Field for Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Saint Joseph's with a BA in History and went on to get an MA in South Asia Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She has lived and worked in India and the United Kingdom and currently work for a higher education non-profit in Washington, DC. Professionally, Marcedes is interested in U.S. and South Asian national defense and foreign policy issues. In her free time, she likes to jet-ski, play sports, and read historical fiction.