Alumni Profiles

Gray Barrett headshotGray Barrett, Class of 2016

I currently serve as a conflict data analyst with the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations at the U.S. Department of State, where I focus on using data to provide early warning and monitoring of atrocities, conflict, and instability. Previously, I received my MA from Emory University and was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Oslo and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO). I worked with Drs. Cornett, Haschke, and Gibney on the Political Terror Scale and Societal Violence Scale while an undergraduate at UNC Asheville (and maintain a current affiliation with the PTS), and that collaboration was instrumental in forging my career path. The rigor and level of attention I received as a student helped me figure out where I wanted to go after graduation and gave me the confidence to figure out how to get there.



Abby Cassario headshotAbby Cassario, Class of 2019

Abby Cassario graduated from UNC Asheville with a BA in political science and psychology in the spring of 2019. She came to UNC Asheville with the intention of becoming a sportscaster, but after falling in love with coursework in the departments of psychology and political science, she decided on a career as political psychologist, studying the psychological mechanisms that underlie American political behavior. She is currently a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests stand at the intersection of moral cognition, intergroup relations, psychometrics and American politics. She is currently working with Dr. Keith Cox in the UNC Asheville Department of Psychology on a project investigating the validity of authoritarianism measures in marginalized populations, and with colleagues at UNC on projects investigating the role of college socialization on worldview development, ideological differences in intergroup harm perception, and the measurement of moral outrage on Twitter.

Read her recent co-authorship that appeared in The Wasington Post.



Nefertiti Karismaida Fenison headshotNefertiti Karismaida Fenison, Class of 2018

I completed a minor in Pol Sci at UNCA in 2018 and now I work freelance as an English to Indonesian interpreter for a Charlotte-based language service provider in two settings: medical (hospitals) and in elementary schools with students who have immigrant parents. Additionally, I volunteer as a columnist for a non-profit organization called Indonesia Mengglobal, whose mission is to help young international students from Indonesia to gain acceptance to top-rated universities in the United States and other popular study abroad destinations. I believe I owe my success to the stellar mentorship and guidance I received from UNCA Pols Sci professors like Dr. Linda Cornett (who instilled a sense of scholarly discipline and high standard of competitiveness, but also collaboration, in her classrooms), Dr. Kenneth Betsalel (who respects students’ needs to always intellectually question the status quo), and Dr. Dwight Mullen (one of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever met). I also am appreciative of the time I spent with Dr. Ashley Moraguez as she helped me understand better how American government operates.



Sydney Nazloo headshotSydney Nazloo, Class of 2019

Sydney Nazloo graduated from UNCA in May 2019. After spending a few months job hunting while working in a restaurant and volunteering at Pisgah Legal Services, she began working here in Asheville at the Law Office of Leah Broker as a Legal Assistant. She is still a Research Assistant for the Political Terror Scale. She is currently working on applications for PhD programs in Political Science for admission in Fall 2021. She is immensely grateful for the experience she had in the Political Science department at UNCA and still keeps in touch with old professors.