Jennifer Widner, Director

Before joining the Princeton faculty in 2004-5, Jennifer taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan. Her current research focuses on the political economy of institutional reform, government accountability, and service delivery. She also remains interested in constitution writing, constitutional design, and fair dealing—topics of earlier research. She is author of Building the Rule of Law (W. W. Norton), a study of courts and law in Africa, and she has published articles on a variety of topics in Democratization, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Development Studies, The William & Mary Law Review, Daedalus, the American Journal of International Law, and other publications. She is completing work on a book about making government work in challenging settings, drawing on experiences in Africa, Asia, and parts of Latin America.

Leon Schreiber, Senior Research Specialist

Leon Schreiber joined ISS as a Senior Research Specialist in June 2015. He holds a PhD in Political Science magna cum laude from the Free University of Berlin, Germany, as well as MA, BA (Honours) and BA degrees from Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Leon is the author of the book Coalition Country: South Africa after the ANC (Tafelberg), has published numerous case studies and papers, and regularly writes and appears in the South African press. His research interests include the political economy of institutional reform, public administration reform, social policy, and government accountability, with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa. 

Gordon LaForge, Researcher

Gordon LaForge is a writer and global affairs analyst most recently with Predata, a predictive analytics firm specializing in geopolitical risk. He previously worked at the UN Mission to NATO and has conducted research in Brazil, Ghana, Czech Republic, and Indonesia, where he was a Fulbright scholar and journalist covering politics and corruption. He holds a master's degree from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a BA in literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder.



Sam Dearden, Researcher

Sam Dearden joins ISS from the US Agency of International Development (USAID) in Washington DC, where he worked programming emergency food aid to South Sudan, Sudan, and Chad. While at USAID, he also was the personal assistant to the Director of Policy at the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. He received his MPhil in Modern British History from Cambridge, where he studied pirate radio, Americanization, and the BBC. He received a BA in History from Brigham Young University in 2015, during which he spent two years doing volunteer work in Chile.

Jim Golder, Production Specialist

Jim Golder is a graduate of Rider University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. He joined Princeton in 1998 working in the Woodrow Wilson School Finance Office. As ISS production specialist, he is responsible for logistical planning and data management associated with the oral history program, as well as budget and finance for the program.

Doug Hulette, Program Editor

Doug Hulette is a veteran of The Wall Street Journal copy desk, where he edited articles for the Asian and European editions as well as the U.S. publication. Besides newspapers, he also worked on wire services and websites for Dow Jones and other organizations. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University and a bachelor's in English.

Sarah Torian, Communications Specialist

Sarah Torian has been involved in issues of civil rights and social and economic justice professionally for the past fifteen years. For six years, she served as communications coordinator at the Southern Regional Council, writing and editing for the organization’s quarterly journal Southern Changes. Since 2002, she has worked with nonprofits and foundations as the principal of Torian+Whitley Consulting. The Annie E. Casey Foundation has been a client throughout that time and Sarah assists the Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site and Center for Community and Economic Opportunity in the qualitative evaluation and communication of their programs and results.  BA in History from the University of Virginia and a MA in the interdisciplinary study of the American South at the University of Mississippi.


Tristan Dreisbach

Before joining ISS, Tristan spent two years as a journalist based in Tunisia and was managing editor of Tunisia Live. Prior to that, he was a program officer at the New York University Center on International Cooperation, where he studied statebuilding and peacebuilding in transitioning states. He also worked as the youth and community relations coordinator for Habitat for Humanity in New York City, and interned with the Center on Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and the office of former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Tristan has an MA in Politics from New York University and did his undergraduate work at the University of Michigan.

Gabriel Kuris

Gabriel Kuris served as a senior research specialist for ISS from 2011 to 2014, focused on anti-corruption and elections. Previously, he worked to promote human rights and legal reforms in the Philippines, Cambodia, and the Solomon Islands. He also practiced corporate law in London and New York and interned in several US government offices. He is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School. Currently, Gabriel is the deputy director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School. After ISS, Gabriel served as the deputy director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School. He continues to contribute case studies to ISS on an occasional basis.

Arpita Tripathi

Arpita is an international development practitioner with over five years of experience in research and program management. Before moving to Princeton, Arpita worked as a Research Associate for the University of East Anglia, where her work focused on understanding the development traps in India's nutrition-delivery mechanisms. In the past, she has worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Sussex and the Indian Institute of Managemen Ahmedabad, and as a Program Coordinator for the Hyderabad chapter of India Literacy Project. Arpita received her Masters in Development Studies from Institute of Development Studies, UK. Her post-graduate thesis focused on assessing the performance motivation of community health workers in India.

Joan Ricart-Huguet

Joan Ricart-Huguet is a PhD candidate in the Politics Department at Princeton. Prior to starting his PhD, he obtained an MA in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (link is external)from Columbia University as a recipient of la Caixa Graduate Fellowship(link is external). He also holds a BA in Political Science from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and spent his year abroad the the University of California, Berkeley. He has interned at the World Bank in Poverty Reduction and Economic Management and at the United Nations Association-USA. His academic interests include the origins of political elites, the causes and consequences of colonial investments, the role of culture in shaping identity and socioeconomic outcomes as well as empirical methods, with a focus on developing countries.

Peace Medie

Peace A. Medie is a Research Fellow in the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) at the University of Ghana and an Oxford-Princeton Global Leaders Fellow. Her research centers on the dynamics of violence during and after conflicts and the steps that state and non-state actors take to address this violence. Her research has been supported by grants from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Political Science Association. Her work has been published in African Affairs, International Studies Review, and Politics & Gender and has won several awards, including the 2012-2013 African Affairs African Author Prize. She is completing work on a book that examines how international actors have influenced police implementation of gender-based violence norms in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. 

Tini Tran

Tini Tran is an international development practitioner and veteran foreign correspondent. She recently received her MPP from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and has a BA in government and journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She was a journalist for 18 years, working at U.S. newspapers including The Los Angeles Times before moving overseas to work for The Associated Press in Asia and the Middle East. She got her first overseas posting in 1999, when she moved to Hanoi as the first Vietnamese American allowed to join the foreign press corps there. She served as the AP Vietnam Bureau Chief from 2001-2006 and also reported extensively across the region, as well as conflict zones in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. She spent a year as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2006-2007, before moving to Beijing, where she covered the economic and political rise of China. Five years ago, she left journalism to move into the nonprofit development sector. She then served as program advisor at The Asia Foundation’s China office in Beijing, where she oversaw programs on environmental protection, disaster management, and regional cooperation, as well as media and communications strategy.

Undergraduate Interns

Blaykyi Kenyah

Blaykyi Kenyah (Princeton University ’19) is a student from Ghana, concentrating in Politics with certificates in Political Economy, African Studies and Statistics and Machine Learning. He is particularly interested in development politics, and how governments and institutional capacity influence development in various societies. On campus, he tutors fellow students in Microeconomics, undertakes research with faculty in the Politics department, and leads a project connecting underserved high school students with freshmen from Princeton University for college guidance.


Natalya Rahman

Natalya is an undergraduate at Princeton (class of 2019) from Karachi, Pakistan. She is concentrating in the Politics department with certificates in Quantitative & Analytical Political Science, Statistics & Machine Learning, Political Economy, and Humanistic Studies. Natalya is involved with the Princeton Perspective Project and the Bobst Center for Peace and Justice on campus. She is also an R Programming and Quantitative Social Science tutor to undergraduate students. Her research interests include political behavior, the comparative political economy of development, and state capacity, with regional focus on South Asia. 

ISS has a small research staff whose members conduct interviews around the globe, throughout the year. It also collaborates with Ph.D. affiliates from Princeton University and other institutions on short-term projects. A faculty director and associate director manage the development of research lines with the assistance of advisers.