Staff

Vanessa Cardenas, Chief Operations Officer

Vanessa received a B.A. in Global Affairs and B.A. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution from George Mason University in 2016. In 2017, she went on to obtain her Masters in International Law & Diplomacy at the American University of Paris. She has also studied at the University of Oxford, taking classes on International Human Rights Law and Feminist Political Theory. Since 2019, Vanessa has served as Board Member & Treasurer at the ACLU of Northern Virginia. She has maintained membership in the prestigious Carnegie New Leaders Program (CNL) since 2018. Previously, Vanessa was a Research Fellow at the Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights, and Conflict Prevention, focusing on genocidal rape & survivor testimony in Rwanda. As a researcher, her areas of interest include international criminal law, rape and sexual violence, and victim testimonies & narratives. As Chief Operations Officer at Genocide Watch, Vanessa manages day-to-day operations while overseeing all research projects and website improvements.

Deanna Wilken, Senior Program Director

Deanna Wilken is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Sociology and has an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Nottingham. She has lived in Australia, Thailand, China, and England, and traveled within various other countries outside of her home in the United States. During her time abroad, she developed a passion for human rights and decided to write her M.A. thesis on the effects of war and conflict on human trafficking in Southeast Asia. As Senior Program Director, Deanna conducts research on genocide case studies and manages interns in producing publications for the Genocide Watch website. In addition, Deanna is the Executive Director of her nonprofit called Project Trafficked, which focuses on helping survivors of human trafficking. She spends her free time with family and friends, reading, hiking, and traveling.

Lola Flomen, Senior Research Director

Lola Flomen graduated from George Washington University with a B.A. in International Relations and Affairs (concentration in Global Public Health) and a minor in Public Health. She is a Princeton in Africa Fellow (2019-2020) and is currently working at Population Services International in Côte d'Ivoire as a Regional Evidence and Reproductive Health Fellow. Lola has extensive volunteer experience working in developing countries such as the Jones Safe House for Youth in South Africa, the Chiang Rai Special Education School in Thailand, and Oleleshwa’s Girls Secondary School in Kenya. She has also interned at the United Nations, Save the Children, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Kenya. Lola is passionate about creating culturally sensitive and evidence-based health interventions to reduce the burden of infectious disease amongst girls and women of reproductive age. As Senior Research Director, she conducts research and manages interns at Genocide Watch. Lola aspires to become an epidemiologist and alleviate global preventable communicable diseases.

Sarah Kane, Early Warning Analyst & Communications Coordinator

Sarah Kane is a rising senior pursuing a major in Public Policy, a minor in History, and a certificate in Human Rights at Duke University. Her specific focus within human rights is migration, although she is passionate about the promotion and protection of human rights on an international scale. Sarah has worked at two NGOs that service refugees: Kiron in Berlin, Germany and InfoPark in Belgrade, Serbia. She is currently working from her home town of Cape Coral, Florida.

Alexandra Sharp, Early Warning Analyst & Editor

Alexandra Sharp is a rising senior and Walter Williams Scholar at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She holds dual major in Magazine Journalism and International Studies – Peace Studies and has a minor in Religious Studies. Her past research has concentrated on sexual assault as a weapon of genocide and gender disparities among victims and perpetrators. Journalistically, Alexandra’s passion lies in human rights and international reporting. She’s produced features on human trafficking, animal abuse, and climate change as well as conducted field reporting in Costa Rica. She is also the founder and president of Mizzou Amnesty International and serves as a Diversity Peer Educator at her university. In the future, Alexandra hopes to work for a news magazine where she can continue reporting on foreign affairs and human rights abuses.

Eric Ross, Early Warning Analyst

Eric Ross is a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he will also be pursuing an MA in history in the fall. As an Early Warning Analyst at Genocide Watch, Eric will focus primarily on West and Central Africa and will be placing particular emphasis on monitoring the security situation in the Sahel. Prior to Genocide Watch, he worked at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism and at the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he assisted in counterterrorism and atrocity prevention research.

Lauren Salim, Early Warning Analyst & Alliance Against Genocide Coordinator

Lauren is currently pursuing her M.A. in Human Rights at the University of London. She previously received her B.A. in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University. As a member of the research team, she will be monitoring events and developing reports on the Horn of Africa region as well as co-coordinating the Alliance Against Genocide. During her undergraduate degree, she spent some time in Uganda where she was inspired by the people and their stories of resiliency. In the past she has served on the board of directors for an organization aimed at helping youth through their experiences with grief and loss. She is also a Student Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies. Lauren is interested in the intersection between human rights and the digital realm, particularly the polarizing effects of online hate, propaganda, and social media and their role in exacerbating offline conflicts. After completing her studies, she would like to pursue research, advocacy and policy work for upholding and internalizing human rights.

Fiona Neibart, Educational Research & Timestream Creator 

Fiona Neibart is a rising junior at the Marymount School of New York. As part of her Global History course, she spent two months researching the genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar, specifically the circulation of social media that amplifies hate speech towards the Rohingya. She also compared the roles of media in genocides in Cambodia, China, Rwanda and Armenia. Fiona recently co-created and co-wrote a presentation to get a grant from Bank of New York Carnegie Mellon for an organization called Safe Passage Project, which provides legal support for adolescent immigrants in New York City. Fiona serves as the news and layout editor for The Joritan, her school newspaper and vice president of the Latin Club. She is also a nationally ranked saber fencer and volunteer at the Association to Benefit Children, a New York City non-profit. As an intern for Genocide Watch, she will be monitoring countries in Southeast Asia including Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Philippines, and Thailand.

Tom Shacklock, Research Analyst & Educational Research and Timestream Creator

Tom Shacklock is a recent graduate from the University of Bristol, UK, where he completed his MSc in International Relations. During the course of his master’s, he focused on peacebuilding, minority rights and genocide with a concentration on sub-Saharan Africa. He previously graduated with a BA in French Studies from the University of Birmingham, for which he also spent a year abroad at Lumière University Lyon 2, France. Tom used his time in Birmingham and Lyon to explore his interest in international affairs through student journalism. He joined French student online news team Le Journal International before becoming Current Affairs Editor with the multilingual, internationally themed Linguist 

Magazine during his final year at Birmingham. In Bristol, he took up the role of Deputy Head of News with the university’s radio station, creating podcasts on a range of political, social and cultural issues, including for the Global Affairs Podcast series, which he launched with a fellow student. Since graduating, Tom has worked in London as a freelance private tutor for high school students in French, English and History, keeping in touch with his favorite subjects while also volunteering as a researcher for diplomacy consultancy Grassroot Diplomat. While interning at Genocide Watch, his focus is on producing Timestreams and Genocide Alerts for Francophone Africa, additionally running a side-project on cases of persecution of LGBTQI+ people where there is genocidal intent. He plans for this experience to prepare him for future research opportunities including a PhD in the field.

Olivia Dudley, Alliance Coordinator & Early Warning Analyst

 

Olivia Dudley is a graduate student at the University of Denver, working on her master’s degree in International Human Rights with focuses in gender and security as well as ethnic/identity conflict and mass atrocities. In 2017, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University where she studied Slavic and Eastern European Studies, International Environment, and Women and Gender Studies. As an intern with Genocide Watch, Olivia will be writing alerts and monitoring countries in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union and building the Alliance Against Genocide Website. Alongside her work at Genocide Watch, Olivia is the co-Deputy Director of the Human Trafficking Center and a research assistant with the Budapest Centre for Mass Atrocities Prevention. Olivia is currently working on a Fulbright application to do research in Sarajevo on gender and women’s rights during the Bosnian War as well as in post-conflict Bosnia. In the future, Olivia hopes to pursue a PhD in gender and conflict, specifically within the context of genocide and other forms of mass murder. When Olivia is not working hard with Genocide Watch, you can find her hiking and camping in the Rocky Mountains, working on her photography skills, and playing with her cat, Bonnie.

Julia Sierra, Legal Associate

Julia Sierra is a fourth-year student at the Pablo de Olavide University (Seville, Spain), where she is pursuing a double degree in Law and Political Science and Public Administration. As a part of her studies, she completed a year at Sciences Po Bordeaux, obtaining a Political Studies Certificate. She also broadened her knowledge in Conflict Resolution after attending a course on “Development and Conflict” at SOAS University of London. She has been involved as a collaborator with diverse non-profit organizations, notably in the refugee field. Last summer she travelled to Saida (Lebanon), where she worked at a non-formal education program in Ouzai refugee camp, supporting Syrian and Palestinian communities. In 2017, she collaborated with the local NGO FEOX Rescue Team at Vial and Souda refugee camps in Chios, Greece. Last year, she began to volunteer at the Spanish Refugee Aid Commission, where she assists in matters of law refugees in her hometown. These experiences have greatly contributed to her formation in the humanitarian field and given her a greater appreciation for non-profit efforts. As a law student, her academic and professional interests focus on the use of international law for the protections of human rights in situations of risk and threat. Working as an intern for Genocide Watch, her work is mainly focused on providing legal assistance and advice, as well as drafting legal documents.

Naveen Bhatia, Early Warning Analyst & Communications Coordinator

Naveen Bhatia is a rising junior at the University of Southern California, majoring in Economics/Mathematics. His work experience varies from working as an audio engineer in theatre to a research analyst at a hedge fund. At Genocide Watch, Naveen will be studying and reporting on North America, as well as Honduras and El Salvador. He will also be working on a Genocide Watch podcast.

Linda Zheng, Early Warning Analyst & Communications Coordinator

Linda Zheng is a recent graduate of Binghamton University with a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Law (concentration in Genocide Studies) and Environmental Studies (concentration in Planning). As an undergraduate researcher, she utilized noninvasive drone and geospatial technology to collect and analyze data from an Iroquois archaeology site where a mass atrocity took place. Last summer, with the support of her university’s Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP) and the Summer Scholars and Artists Program (SSAP), Linda traveled to Armenia to create an independent podcast series on commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. Her work on the project gave her a unique perspective on how both traditional and nontraditional forms of commemoration can be utilized to address intergenerational trauma. For her honors thesis, she analyzed transitional justice through theories of free will and Buddhist Ethics. Her academic and professional interests focus on the nexus between transitional justice and commemoration. As an intern for Genocide Watch, she will be writing alerts and monitoring countries in Eastern Europe and East Asia. In the future, she plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in Holocaust and Genocide Studies.