Carnegie Mellon University


Dr. Kiron Skinner accepts faculty position at Pepperdine University, May 12, 2022

Dr. Kiron Skinner, the Taube Professor for International Relations and Politics at Dietrich College’s Institute for Politics and Strategy, has accepted a faculty position at Pepperdine University.

Dr. Skinner is the founding director of IPS, which began in 2013 in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, and became its own academic unit within Dietrich College in 2015. Thanks to her leadership, IPS is able to provide courses and degree programs in international relations and politics to undergraduate and Master’s students at Carnegie Mellon. Dr. Skinner also established Carnegie Mellon’s Washington Semester Program. Read more

Jonathan Cervas named special master in charge of redrawing New York State Congressional Maps, April 19, 2022

A New York State judge named Dr. Jonathan Cervas, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Institute for Politics and Strategy and an expert on electoral politics, as the special master in charge of redrawing the state’s Congressional maps.

The judge, State Supreme Court Justice Patrick McCallister, ruled in March that the Congressional maps passed by the state legislature following the 2020 census violated the state constitution. Read more

Tracking sanctions for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Sam Abodo, April 13, 2022

Sam Abodo had good reason to apply for an internship with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. That committee works on political appointees, of which there are many pending; he had think-tank experience and wanted to spend time on the Hill; and the Capitol is across the street from Carnegie Mellon’s Washington, DC office and classroom, where Abodo takes classes at night as a participant in the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program

He couldn’t have known when he applied that he would be writing memos and attending hearings about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“There’s a lot of work on it, and I think the committee staff does a good job of getting us interns involved in it,” said Abodo, a junior International Relations and Politics major with a minor in Cybersecurity and International Conflict. “And also, the discussion at work has been great, learning what staffers think about the situation, getting some expert analysis that I wouldn’t have gotten without working on the Hill.” Read more

Russia’s Only “Winning Move," February 4, 2022

In the movie WarGames, a supercomputer runs through scenarios for nuclear war and concludes, “The only winning move is not to play.” The US should consider this when facing off against President Vladimir Putin, IPS Navy Fellow Commander Kimberly Manuel writes in Proceedings.

Assessing How Consumers Interpret and Act on Results From At-Home COVID-19 Self-test Kits, January 31, 2022

Dr. Baruch Fischhoff contributed to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzing how well people followed instructions when administering at-home COVID tests, and how likely they were to follow the recommendations once receiving their results. 

Baruch Fischhoff honored as AAAS Fellow, January 26, 2022

Dr. Baruch Fischhoff was named an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, one of four Carnegie Mellon faculty to earn the recognition. These honorees have gone above and beyond in their respective disciplines. They bring a broad diversity of perspectives, innovation, curiosity, and passion that will help sustain the scientific field today and into the future. Many of these individuals have broken barriers to achieve successes in their given disciplines. Read more

Alumni Spotlight: Ali Munden, January 24, 2022

One of Ali Munden’s friends dropped by her dorm room freshman year and asked what she was working on. Some assignment for one of her International Relations and Politics courses, she told him. “Yeah, it’s great.”

He paused for a second.

“Wait,” he said. “That wasn’t sarcasm.”

“I said, ‘No, it wasn’t,’” said Munden, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Politics and minors in both Cybersecurity and International Conflict and Business Administration. “I really enjoy what I do. I enjoy my classes. I think our professors work extremely hard to make classes interesting, for us to feel engaged, for it to feel meaningful, for it to feel applicable.” Read more

Twenty years later, the Friedman Fellowship continues to immerse CMU students in Washington, DC, January 18, 2022

Cynthia Friedman felt the allure of Washington, DC early in her political career. The people who change the world do so from inside the Beltway, and she wanted to immerse herself in that culture.

After four years on the Johnstown, Pennsylvania town council, she told her husband, Milton, “I’ve got to do something a bit bigger.” She enrolled in George Washington University to earn a Master’s degree in Public Administration and felt the energy vibrating throughout the nation’s capital.

“Washington is a very heady experience,” said Friedman, a CMU trustee emerita. “There’s power there, let’s face it. You can read about what that power means in the front pages of the newspapers, and you can be on the ground sometimes in an office where these things are taking place, and you’re called upon to help.”

Friedman wanted to empower Carnegie Mellon University students to experience the city as she had. In 2000, with a significant grant from Friedman in honor of her husband Milton, a CMU alumnus, the Friedman Fellowships were born. Twenty years later, the grants, available to Carnegie Mellon students from any course of study, have helped more than 300 students intern in DC, an experience that launched careers for many of them. Read more


Reshaping the Threat Environment: Personalism, Coups, and Assassinations, January 2022

In an article published in Comparative Political Studies, IPS Assistant Teaching Professor John Chin and his co-authors argue that that as personalism increases, rival elites, less able to coordinate coup attempts, turn to strategies that do not require substantial elite coordination: assassinations.  

Grassroots Environmental Activism Is One Answer to China’s Climate Commitments, December 17, 2021

On November 4, 2021 the Chinese government released a white paper detailing its past accomplishments and objectives for combatting climate change. Among other goals, the Chinese Communist Party government pledged to reach “peak carbon” output by 2030 and to create a carbon neutral economy by 2060.

The Chinese commitments drew criticism from world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, who called them “disappointing.” Furthermore, an unexpected energy shortage in recent months led the Chinese government to call for a compensatory, short-term increase in coal production. With these crosswinds – international pressure to decarbonize and domestic pressure to cheapen energy costs – will China honor even its “disappointing” public commitments?

Senior Greta Markey Earns Marshall Scholarship, December 16, 2021

Carnegie Mellon University's Greta Markey has been named a recipient of the highly competitive Marshall Scholarship, which is awarded to less than fifty Americans each year to fund graduate education in the United Kingdom. She is the fifth CMU student to receive the award since 1955.

Markey participated in the Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program, working on policy research that allowed her to better understand the political process. Because the Marshall Scholarship is focused on US-UK relationships and leadership, her real-world experience helped set her apart from other applicants.

Alumni Spotlight: Julie Kim, November 23, 2021

Eight thousand miles from home, a realization struck Julie Kim.

Spending a year as a Program and Research Coordinator at the Social Entrepreneurship for Sexual Health in Guangzhou, China, unlocked something for her. No more did she feel content to rely upon the universe to send chances her way. 

“Being away for a year was a very formative experience for me because it was another experience where I learned the power of an individual,” said Kim, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2013 with a degree in International Relations and Politics and an additional major in Chinese. Read more

A systems framework for remedying dysfunction in US democracy, December 14, 2021

"A complex systems approach to the study of politics seeks to account for emergent behaviors that arise from such a combination of features," IPS Postdoctoral Fellow Jonathan Cervas and co-authors Dr. Sam Wang, Dr. Bernard Grofman, and Dr. Keena Lipsitz write in the paper, titled, "A systems framework for remedying dysfunction in US democracy." The idea is to create models that account for the vagaries of democracy, both those included in the Constitution and those which have evolved into unwritten norms, and predict how proposed reforms might address the fracturing of our democracy -- or backfire down the road.

Alumni Spotlight: Eduardo Benatuil, November 12, 2021

"The thing that really attracted me to Carnegie Mellon was looking at the data-driven and more analytical approach to economics,” said Benatuil, who graduated in 2011 with a degree in Economics and an additional major in International Relations and Politics. He now works as a Senior Associate Broker at Willis Towers Watson, an insurance brokerage firm in Chicago. Read more 

The Economic Consequences of Banking Crises: The Role of Central Banks and Optimal Independence, November 15, 2021

Dr. Daniel Hansen, an IPS Postdoctoral Fellow, published a new article in American Political Science Review showing that banking crises produce larger unemployment shocks and credit and stock market contractions when the level of central bank independence is high. He also proves that these significant economic costs are mitigated when central banks do not have the inflation-centric policy mandates predominantly considered necessary.

Alumni Spotlight: Chris Sparks, October 13, 2021

On a rainy day in Denver in 2016, Chris Sparks and his family needed something to do.

They stumbled across an escape room. “Dorm of the Dead,” it was called, with the goal of saving the campus from the zombie apocalypse, as one does. They lost.

“Not only had I never had that much fun on vacation before with my family, but I was hooked,” Sparks said. “I came back to Maryland and played six or seven other escape rooms, got my butt kicked, but I learned how they worked. And now, 130 escape rooms and my own company later, I love them, because escape rooms give us a chance not only to escape from puzzles but to truly escape from a crazy world for a while, and there’s a magic in it.” Read more

Why Donald Trump Should Be a Fervent Advocate of Using Ranked-Choice Voting in 2024, October 22, 2021

The motivation for this article, by IPS Professor Dr. Jonathan Cervas and UC Irvine's Dr. Bernard Grofman and  is to provide contrary evidence for two main misconceptions. First, that third-party candidates are “spoiling” elections for the Democrats. Our evidence clearly shows that third parties have the potential to hurt either of the two main parties; however, in 2020, it was Donald Trump who was hurt the most, although not consequentially. Second, some reformers believe that ranked-choice voting benefits the Democrats; again, we show that—all else being equal—in the 2020 presidential election, it was the Republicans who would have benefited by the change in rules.

Internship Spotlight: Emily Sespico, August 31, 2021

The unanticipated effect of COVID-19 on house apportionment, August 25, 2021

The Quest for Uncontested Power: Presidents' Personalities and Democratic Erosion in Latin America, 1945–2012, August 23, 2021

Putting Terror in Its Place: An Experiment on Mitigating Fears of Terrorism among the American Public, August 11, 2021

Baruch Fischhoff wins the 2021 Sigma Xi William Proctor Prize for Scientific Achievement


Alumni Spotlight: Chloe Hawker, July 20, 2021

Jonathan Cervas joins Pennsylvania Reapportionment Commission as map consultant, July 13, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Kelsey Thompson, July 1, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Alex Pomerantz, June 9, 2021

Jacob Feldgoise Wins 2021 K&L Gates Prize, June 8, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Kayla Lee, May 26, 2021

Senior Joshua Pinckney Rallies to Ace Comeback, May 17, 2021

Russian disinformation, white supremacy, and COVID-19: Students face them all in a war game, May 25, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Raaga Kalva, May 10, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Alex Pasch, May 4, 2021

From Beto O'Rourke to Safra Catz: IPS faculty expose students to an array of virtual guests, May 3, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Simran Jagtiani, April 20, 2021

Ignacio Arana selected as Provost's Inclusive Teaching Fellow, April 22, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Dana Kim, March 31, 2021

Verdict in on CMU Mock Trial, April 5, 2021

Three Institute for Politics and Strategy students are part of a team that advanced to the American Mock Trial Association's Opening Round Championship Series. 

Alumni Spotlight: Emily Peterson, March 23, 2021

By studying the what and the why, Dr. Allison Clark works to increase voter turnout, March 17, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Vincent Brown, March 15, 2021

Some CMU/WSP students do more than study on Capitol Hill. They intern on it, March 12, 2021

The Green New Deal and birthdays with AOC: A Q&A with Gisselt Gomez, March 12, 2021

Unfinished Business: RaShall Brackney details personal determination in IPS Professional Journeys event, March 12, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred, March 10, 2021

In Washington, DC, Engineering and Public Policy majors round out their educations, March 9, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Devin Gund, March 1, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Yulin Kuang, February 22, 2021

Former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best discusses the "something more" of diversity, equity, and inclusion, February 19, 2021

IPS faculty gathers to discuss 2020 election, February 12, 2021

Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett describes the launch of Space Force in a visit with the CMU community, December 8, 2020

Economic solutions: Senior Fellow Richard Grenell discusses his work on the Serbia-Kosovo agreement, December 3, 2020

Lessons from a diplomat: Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley visits IPS, November 20, 2020

"A perfect complement:" The interplay between IPS' cybersecurity minor and technical majors at CMU, November 20, 2020

Kiron Skinner rejoins CSIS Missile Defense Project Advisory Board, November 18, 2020

Conrad Tucker visits IPS for Professional Journeys discussion, November 13, 2020

All about the data: Institute for Strategic Analysis and SOCOM hold executive short course, November 10, 2020

Kiron Skinner joins editorial board of Texas National Security Review, November 10, 2020

Professor Marcia Chatelain talks Breonna Taylor, race, and police in America, November 10, 2020

Professor Jason Blazakis discusses conspiracies, disinformation, and COVID during IPS event, November 4, 2020

On the eve of the election, Congressman Mike Doyle joins IPS for a virtual event, November 3, 2020

National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien Joins CMU Community to Discuss Foreign Policy Priorities, October 29, 2020

Baruch Fischhoff Recruited to Help Devise COVID Vaccine Distribution Plan, October 16, 2020

IPS Postdoctoral Fellow Madison Schramm wins an award for her dissertation, September 4, 2020

IPS Class of 2020 graduates share the next step in their journeys, August 7, 2020

Friedman Fellows embrace virtual "DC" experience, July 27, 2020

"This is super valuable information. Nobody else has it": How Ignacio Arana's PhD research influenced his latest paper, July 27, 2020

Disrupted research provides Dan Silverman's students with important lessons in adaptation, June 18, 2020

Richard Grenell joins IPS as a Senior Fellow, June 9, 2020

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz joins IPS class via Zoom, May 15, 2020

“You need to talk to people that have been there": James Mattis makes virtual class visit, May 1, 2020

During physical distancing, MS IRP-AMP students present theses via Zoom, April 21, 2020

Meghan Mattern brings USAID experience to the Institute for Politics and Strategy, April 16, 2020

IPS gathers, remotely, to foster community during COVID-19 pandemic, April 16, 2020

Seven thousand miles away from campus, CMU Qatar students experience Washington, DC, March 17, 2020

A day in the life: Carnegie Mellon University Washington Semester Program, March 16, 2020

Separating signal from noise: IPS students participate in an NCTC intelligence simulation, February 27, 2020

Army War College International Fellows visit Carnegie Mellon, February 19, 2020