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Faculty Bios

Dr. Joseph Ahn

Joseph Ahn is currently an senior economist at the Economic Policy office in the Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President, where he develops economic models of government policy, prepares budget analyses, and analyzes regulatory impacts. He received his doctorate in Strategy from Harvard Business School, where his research focused upon the dynamics of technology transfer, including intellectual property rights bargaining and trade. His teaching experience includes microeconomics, contract theory, and mathematical methods in economics and econometrics.

Afterwards, he joined Deloitte’s Transfer Pricing unit from 2013-2016, where he served a client-facing role advising on multiple issues, primarily relating to international tax and transfer pricing, including IP migrations and valuation. Subsequently, he joined Economists Inc. from 2016-2018, where he provided expertise on litigation, antitrust matters, and court cases including labor disputes, IP, and reputational damages.

Dr. Eric Denker

Eric Denker is the Senior Lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, where he has been since 1978.  From 1998 to 2006, Dr. Denker also served jointly as the Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, overseeing the permanent collection and coordinating an active exhibition schedule that included the catalogue and show of Whistler and his Circle in Venice. Dr. Denker attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he is now a Trustee as well as the President of the Friends of the Trout Gallery. He received his doctorate from the University of Virginia. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Cornell University’s CIW Program, Dr. Denker frequently lectures in Italy for the Smithsonian Institution and for the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice. He is the co-author, with Judith Martin, of the 2007 No Vulgar Hotel: The Desire and Pursuit of Venice, exploring the contemporary visitor’s passions for the unique lagoon city. He is the author of numerous articles for guidebooks about Venice and Italy.

Dr. Daniella Fridl

Daniella Fridl is an experienced researcher, professor and practitioner in the field of international development, conflict management and international security/terrorism studies. Dr. Fridl’s background includes working at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) and the Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM) at the University of Maryland. Dr. Fridl has experience working in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors and academia, as well as international organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Dr. Fridl's expertise is in the area of state failure, state recognition, conflict management, terrorism and international security. She received her MA and PhD from Johns Hopkins SAIS University in Washington, D.C. and she currently teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in the areas of international development, conflict management, and international security/terrorism studies. She is fluent in Croatian and German.

Seth Harris

Seth D. Harris is an attorney in Washington, D.C. and a Visiting Professor at Cornell University’s Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA).  Building on almost seven years of service in the Clinton Administration, he was Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor (and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet) and Deputy U.S. Secretary of Labor from 2009 to 2014.  Now, Secretary Harris is one of the nation’s most sought-after analysts and commentators on work, workers, workplaces, labor market and retirement issues, government leadership, and government performance.
Secretary Harris brings decades of experience as a teacher and scholar, attorney and advisor, corporate board member, and leader at the highest levels of the U.S. Government.  He teaches Leadership in Public Affairs for Cornell graduate and undergraduate students and Public-Sector Leadership in a certificate program offered by eCornell and CIPA. He has co-authored three books, including Labor and Employment Law & Economics, and authored dozens of scholarly articles and op-eds on labor, employment, leadership, government performance, retirement, and economics topics. 
Secretary Harris earned a bachelor of science degree with honors from Cornell University’s School of Industrial & Labor Relations and a juris doctor with honors from New York University’s School of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and editor-in-chief of the Review of Law & Social Change.

Dr. Christine Leuenberger

Christine Leuenberger, Department of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University has published widely in various academic journals, books and popular news outlets. She was a National Science Foundation Scholar (2012-2019), a Fulbright Scholar (in 2008), a Fulbright Specialist (since 2011), and an AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of State and at the U.S. Agency for International Development (2015-2017) in Washington D.C. She is currently conducting research on global migration patterns and the rise of Separation Walls around the globe. She is further engaged in peace and educational initiatives in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.


Dr. John O'Connor

John O'Connor is a writer and editor. Publications include Shakespearean Afterlives (Icon, Cambridge), and the three-volume A Directory of Shakespeare in Performance (Palgrave Macmillan; co-edited with Katie Goodland at CUNY). Formerly principal lecturer in English and Education at Westminster College, Oxford, and a visiting lecturer at the Shakespeare Institute, he is also series editor for the Longman School Shakespeare.

Dr. David Pelletier

David Pelletier is a Professor of Nutrition Policy in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University and Director of Cornell in Washington.  His research, teaching and public engagement focuses on improved methods for the analysis, design and implementation of nutrition policy, tools for the scaling up nutrition interventions and the application of implementation science to nutrition.  He has conducted or supervised research and project work in many low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and has consulted on nutrition strategy development with the World Bank, USAID, UNICEF, WHO and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His most recent projects include the Mainstreaming Nutrition Initiative, the Micronutrient Program Assessment Project and the African Nutrition Security Partnership, the latter being an engaged, action-research project to support and document the national-level operationalization of multisectoral nutrition in four African countries.  He is a founding member and the current past-president of the Society for Implementation Science for Nutrition.

Dr. Jason Rao

Jason Rao is the Executive Director of Health Security Partners, a nonprofit focused on global health, security, and diplomacy. Dr. Rao previously served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Global Science Engagement in the White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Obama, where he led a range of science diplomacy and international security programs. 

Prior to the White House, Dr. Rao was a foreign affairs officer at the U.S. Department of State for nearly a decade, where he created and led the Biosecurity Engagement Program. During that time he was both a Brookings Legislative Fellow in the 111th Congress, and an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Diplomacy Fellow.  He holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. David Silbey

David Silbey is a military historian, focusing on modern warfare.  Dr. Silbey has written books on the British Army in the First World War, the Philippine-American War, and the Boxer Rebellion in China.  His next book, The Other Face of Battle:  Combat in America’s Forgotten Wars, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.  He is the series editor of Cornell University Press’ military history series “Battlegrounds:  Cornell Studies in Military History.”  He got his B.A. from Cornell and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University.


Dr. Katherine Benton-Cohen

Katherine Benton-Cohen is professor of history at Georgetown University. She is a historian of the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, and has written two books related to the border and immigration, both with Harvard University Press. She has received a number of grants and fellowships, is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and written for Dissent, Huffington Post, Politico.com, Lapham’s Quarterly and elsewhere. She holds a Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin in History, an M.A. from University of Wisconsin-Madison and an A.B. from Princeton University.

Dr. Katherine Scott

Katherine (Kate) Scott is associate historian in the U.S. Senate Historical Office. She received her Ph.D. in U.S. history from Temple University in Philadelphia. Her research interests include congressional oversight and investigations, executive-legislative relations, women in politics, and U.S. foreign policy. She is currently editing the executive sessions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 1969-1975, and conducting oral histories to document change in the Senate over time. She is the author of Reining in the State: Civil Society and Congress in the Vietnam and Watergate Eras (2013), as well as articles, essays, and chapters related to U.S. political history.


Cynthia Watson

Cynthia Watson is the Dean of Faculty & Academic Programs at the National War College where she began teaching in 1992. She earned her doctorate at the University of Notre Dame and a master's from the London School of Economics after graduating from the University of Missouri Kansas City, the latter naming her Alumna of the Year in 2011. Author of ten books on national security concerns, Dr. Watson is a member of International Institute for Strategic Studies, Inter University Seminar on Armed Forces & Society, the National Committee on U.S. China Relations, and the Society for Military History. She has proudly taught Cornellians in Washington about U.S.-Chinese relations since 2012.