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 as well as 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

Maggie Carleen
Maggie Carleen

Interim Communications Director and 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.

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Sarah Martin

Social Media Strategist, Communications Team

Sarah is currently based in Vienna, Austria, working for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly liaison office (OSCE PA), where she conducts administrative and research support. She completed her Master's from George Mason University in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and also studied at King's College London in the Department of War Studies. When she isn't tweeting about security issues in Russia or the Caucasus, Sarah is all about movies and memes and fluffy black kitties.

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.
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Ryanna Miller

Membership Coordinator

Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Ryanna is a DC-based realtor with Compass specializing in first-time homebuyers, investments, and international clientele. With over 7 years of program/project operations and partnership development, she has worked in poverty reduction, refugee assistance, and most recently in global finance. She owns two DC area businesses and serves on the Board of ARK DC, a nonprofit serving as a resource hub for children and families. She holds a Bachelor's degree summa cum laude in Political Science from Alabama A&M University and a Master’s Degree in International Relations specializing in Conflict Resolution and Negotiation from American University.

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.

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.

Marc Larance
Marc Larance

Events Manager, Events Team

Marc volunteers as an Events Manager organizing events and developing partnerships with various international organizations in DC. When he’s not wranglin’ speakers for events, he sits at a desk at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs begging people not to click on the phishing links they receive. Beyond that, you can find him taking silly pictures of his dog or reading obscure history books.

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.

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Spandana Singh

Event Manager, Events Team

Spandana Singh is an Events Manager at YPFP, focused on cybersecurity and technology programming. Currently, Spandana works as a Policy Associate at New America's Open Technology Institute, where she focuses on issues of cybersecurity, content regulation, corporate transparency, AI, privacy and surveillance. Previously, Spandana served as a Millennial Public Policy Fellow at New America, a Public Policy Fellow at Twitter in San Francisco, and as the 2018 Cybersecurity and Technology Fellow at YPFP.  Originally from India, Spandana has spent most of her life living in East Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.

Adam Tabaka
Adam Tabaka

Events Manager, Events Team

Adam Tabaka has Bachelors of Art degrees in International Studies and Political Science with minors in History and Spanish from Virginia Tech.  He also has a Master of Arts degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University.  He has interned at the U.S. Information Agency and on Capitol Hill.  He has held positions in Washington, DC at a trade association, an international development consulting firm, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Treasury, and Homeland Security.  He is currently an Audit Program Manager liaising with the Government Accountability Office and DHS Inspector General for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Discussion Groups

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

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Caleb Herr

Director of Technology Operations

Caleb Herr is the Director of Technology Infrastructure for the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP). He has 7 years of Information Technology and Web Development experience involving user management, Customer retention management and network administration. Caleb currently works as the Education Coordinator for the Association of Old Crows (AOC) where he works with individuals in the Electromagnetic Warfare community to find relevant course material for Professional Development Courses and Webinars. He is a graduate of Westminster College in Fulton, MO, where he studied National Security Studies and Transnational Studies with an emphasis in Eastern European security. Caleb has a passion for National Security and International Relations and enjoys the opportunity to bring together his two worlds of technology and international relations.

Youth Summits Team

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Thamar Harrigan

Youth Summits Coordinator

Thamar Harrigan is an international trade attorney, legislative policy expert, and economic development advisor.  She holds both a Juris Doctorate and a Masters of Law in International Business, which she obtained in China from a joint program between the National University of Singapore and East China University of Political Science and Law.  She previously served as an Obama presidential appointee as the Senior Advisor for Intergovernmental Relations at the U.S. Department of HUD. Prior to this, she served as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador of the Republic of Haiti at the Embassy in Washington, DC.

Fellowship Program

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.

Ryan Gardiner
Ryan Gardiner

Editor, Fellowship Program

Originally from New Jersey, Ryan graduated from Rutgers University and received his commission in the U.S. Navy.  After six years, he attended the Fletcher School where he received his master’s degree, concentrating on international energy markets. Ryan currently works at the Department of Homeland Security and is an editor for the YPFP fellows program.

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Dan Haverty

Editor, Fellowship Program

Dan is currently an intern at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. He received his BA in Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross, and his MA in International Relations from the University College Cork. He has written extensively on contemporary developments in Irish and British politics, and he is most passionate about Irish history, culture, and language.

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

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Shane Szarkowski

Editor in Chief, Charged Affairs

Shane Szarkowski is the Editor in Chief of Charged Affairs, the in-house foreign policy digital journal of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP). He has four years of editorial experience involving heavy volumes of research and writing around EU institutions, renewable energy and financial policy. Shane is a recently conferred PhD (International Relations) from Oxford Brookes University where he wrote on the convergence of identity and state-building policy in Afghanistan. He is well-traveled, having lived in six countries in the past two decades, and is looking forward to settling somewhat permanently in the DC area to help cultivate the next generation of foreign policy thought leadership.

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.

Connor Collins
Connor Collins

Staff Writer, Charged Affairs

Connor is an International Security Consultant at Command Group, a Washington D.C. based consulting firm, where he advises governments, corporations, and high-net worth clients on international, national, and geopolitical security issues. Connor majored in Political Science at Dickinson College, also receiving a minor in Economics, and a certificate in Security Studies.

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.

Marcedes Yanora
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.