CSR’s Nolan Center Announces Inaugural Class of Nuclear Risk Reduction Fellows

The Nolan Center on Strategic Weapons at the Council on Strategic Risks is pleased to announce that it has accepted six remarkable individuals into its inaugural class of early-career fellows working to reduce nuclear risks.

Through mentorship and exchanges of ideas with key leaders in the field, the fellowship will enable participants to collaboratively explore the current nuclear threat landscape and work on tangible solutions. Together, fellows and the broader CSR team will aim to enrich the arms control community’s understanding of how governments can pursue risk reduction in a more meaningful and results-oriented way. In the process, participants will have the opportunity to form peer-to-peer relationships and grow as thought leaders, strengthening the field’s talent pipeline along the way. 

CSR’s Nuclear Risk Reduction Fellowship Program is part of a broader project on reducing the risks of nuclear weapons being used, with a particular focus on potential changes to nuclear policies, programs, and postures of nuclear weapons-possessing states as levers to reduce this risk as much as possible in the near term.

The CSR team is excited to launch the fellowship by welcoming the following six immensely talented individuals to the inaugural early-career class:

Dr. Jamie Kwong is a fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her research focuses on public opinion on nuclear weapons issues; threats climate change poses to nuclear weapons; and multilateral regimes including the P5 Process, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Jamie completed her PhD in War Studies at King’s College London, where her dissertation examined U.S. public opinion of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. While studying in the United Kingdom as a Marshall Scholar, Jamie served as a research assistant at the Centre for Science and Security Studies. She also worked in the Nuclear Policy Programme at the Royal United Services Institute on projects related to strategic stability, disarmament verification, and the UK Project on Nuclear Issues. Jamie interned with the U.S. State Department’s International Security and Nonproliferation Bureau, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Central Intelligence Agency. She holds an MA in Public Diplomacy and BA in International Relations from the University of Southern California, where she served as a Korean Studies Institute Fellow.

Ms. Julia Masterson is a Foreign Affairs Officer in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, Office of Multilateral and Nuclear Affairs. She was previously a Research Associate at the Arms Control Association. Julia received her MA from King’s College London and her BA from The George Washington University.

Mr. Collin McDowell currently works as a Post-Masters Student in the Nuclear Engineering and Nonproliferation division of Los Alamos National Laboratory. His work in this position focuses primarily on IAEA safeguards and the effects of international engagement on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In the past, Collin has focused on various other aspects of the nonproliferation regime, including through an internship with the WMD Branch of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA). In this position, he assisted in preparations for the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). In 2021, Collin earned an M.A. in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) and an M.A in WMD Nonproliferation, Global Security, and Nuclear Policy from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). His thesis, which studied how differing Russian and American interpretations of strategic stability have negatively affected the strategic environment, was published in a collection of works on U.S./Russian nonproliferation and disarmament dialogue. Before entering the world of nuclear policy, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea, where he worked on projects aimed at reforestation and strengthening food security.

Dr. Diana Y. Myers is an Officer in the U.S. Air Force. She is also a former Ph.D. fellow at the RAND Corporation and holds a Ph.D. in public policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She is a 2022 Center for Strategic and International Studies Project on Nuclear Issues scholar and was previously a research associate at the Center for Global Security Research at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Her doctoral dissertation explores North Korea’s evolving military threat towards China, namely with regard to nuclear weapons. Diana received her B.S. in political science and officer commission from the United States Air Force Academy.

Mr. Paul Opheim is a Presidential Management Fellow with the U.S. Department of Defense. For the first year of his fellowship, he worked as an Operations Research Analyst for the Department of the Air Force and is currently detailed to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy as a Policy Advisor on its Nuclear & Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction team. In his current role, he works on various topics related to countering weapons of mass destruction, including those related to countering the proliferation of nuclear weapon-related material. He has a master’s degree concentrating in economics from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Minnesota. Prior to his role at the Department of Defense, he performed pricing research for Southwest Airlines and completed academic theses for each of his two degrees. He is interested in nuclear issues because of the potential for catastrophic harm that nuclear weapons pose, as well as the tremendous impact they have on international security and the political, military, and economic relationships between both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states. He hopes to combine the knowledge learned through this fellowship with his experiences at the Department of Defense to prepare himself for a career working on issues related to nuclear weapons.

Ms. Vivienne Zhang is a Graduate Professional in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. Previously, Zhang was a Junior Research Scholar focusing on foreign and domestic policy issues in Greater China at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. She has also worked on various international security and human rights projects at Canadian diplomatic missions abroad in Thailand, Laos, Switzerland, and Germany. Zhang holds a Master’s degree in International Security from Sciences Po Paris, and a Bachelor’s degree in Modern European Studies and International Relations from the University of British Columbia.

This cohort of fellows will be working together with the CSR team in person and virtually throughout the next six months. CSR looks forward to announcing and accepting applications for the next early career nuclear risk reduction cohort this spring, as well as offering opportunities for mid-career collaboration later this year. 


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