Senior Staff

Senior Staff


Valentine Gilson, Editor-in-Chief

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Valentine Gilson is a second-year master’s student in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs. She received her undergraduate degree in international relations and global studies at the University of Texas at Austin and studied abroad in Paris at SciencesPo. In addition to JIS, she works as a graduate assistant helping undergraduates improve their writing and method techniques.  Her research interests are around war and identity politics. She is very interested in what causes conflict and why it is perpetuated in a world full of human rights law and a general (verbal) moral objection to extreme hardship.


Emily Bierut, Director of Operations
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Emily Bierut is a second-year master’s student in the Global Governance, Politics and Security program with a concentration in global security. Originally from Lafayette, New York, Emily received her bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Political Science from the Virginia Military Institute in May 2016. While in DC, Emily keeps busy with an internship and working with the Journal. Prior to becoming the Director of Operations, Emily served as a Peer Reviewer for the Journal.


Ariel Leuthard, Director of Submission, Data & Analytics
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Ariel Leuthard is a second-year master’s student in the Global Governance, Politics and Security. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Ariel received her bachelor’s degree in international relations, economics and religious studies from the University of San Diego in December 2015. While in DC, Ariel has worked and interned at a number of places including The Israel Project. On the weekends, she loves going to brunch and spending time at any of the District’s museums.


Wendy Atieno, Director of Resources & Training
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Wendy C. Atieno is a first-year graduate student studying Global Environmental Policy with a focus on water and urbanization in cities in the global South. She received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and political science from Principia College in small town Illinois and spent a year teaching and tutoring writing across the curriculum. Following this, Wendy spent three years in Vientiane, Laos, a year of which she spent teaching English as a Foreign Language to the most amazing group of young learners, where she — just like her teachers — attempted to explain the chaos that is the English language. A native of Nairobi, Kenya, she enjoys reading about the US immigrant experience, spicy food adventures, and good travel writing.


Ashley Baek, Director of Outreach
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Ashley Baek is a first-year graduate student studying Intercultural and International Communication at the School of International Service. She was born and raised in Orange County, California and received her bachelors in International Studies at the University of California, Irvine in 2013. After graduation Ashley joined the Peace Corps and served as a community development/ English language teaching volunteer in Mongolia from 2014-2017. She is interested in the effects of cross-cultural communication between peoples through the use of arts and cultural diplomacy as a tool to promote peace and understanding between nations.


Keith Gordon, Editorial Director
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Keith Gordon is a second year master’s student in the Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs program, concentrating in environmental ethics and the ethics of international development. With a background in both philosophy and agriculture, Keith focuses his research on the ethical impact of climate change initiatives and alternative agricultural practices. Prior to AU, Keith was Senior Partner of an agricultural management firm in California. In addition to serving on the Journal of International Service, Keith is also a consultant for the Alliance for Peace-building.


Erica Benjamin, Interim Media Director
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Erica Benjamin is a master’s student in the Comparative and Regional Studies program with a focus on political economic and security issues in East and Southeast Asia. She was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and received her bachelor’s degree in political science at Texas A&M University in the great state of Texas. While at American University, Erica has served on the Graduate Student Council both as a program senator as well as the chief of staff. Erica has also served as the Director of Operations for JIS. When not busy working, she enjoys writing creatively, both literary and musical pieces, and the art of tea making.


Interested in joining the team?
Please visit the Join the Team page to learn more and access the application.