Our Presidential fellows and faculty continue on pursue impactful, diverse careers with skills cultivated working with the TCV and the University.


Dr. Janani Balaji worked with the TCV as a fellow from 2012 to 2016.  She graduated with a Ph.D. from Georgia State in 2016. Since then, she has been working as a Data Scientist at CareerBuilder.

Some of her research focus includes graph data management, graph analytics, distributed databases, distributed computing, machine learning and natural language processing.

Aaron Dicker was a Presidential Fellow with the TCV from 2015 to 2017.  He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Communication. He earned his master’s degree in Communication Liberal Arts and Sciences from Ball State University and his B.A. in Political Science from DePauw University. His research interests include argumentation, anti-Semitism, visual rhetoric, social movements, and terrorism.

Dicker’s background also includes teaching courses in Communication and coaching intercollegiate debate at multiple universities.

He also previously worked for the Quality Enhancement Plan at Wiley College where he implemented curriculum utilizing academic debate as a conflict resolution and educational tool.  He’s a current member of the  National Communication Association (NCA), the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA), and the Southern States Communication Association (SSCA).

Research and Published Studies:

El Damanhoury, K., Winkler, C., Kaczkowski, W., & Dicker, A., (2018). Examining the military-media nexus in ISIS’s provincial photography campaign. Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, 1-20.

Winkler, C., El Damanhoury, K., Dicker, A., & Lemieux, A.F. (2018). Images of death and dying in ISIS media: A comparison of English and Arabic print publications. Media, War, & Conflict, 1-15.

Winkler, C.K., El Damanhoury, K., Dicker, A., & Lemieux, A.F. (2016). The medium is terrorism: Transformation of the about to die trope in Dabiq. Terrorism and Political Violence, 1-20.


Dicker, A. (2018). Escaping the “broken middle”: Arguments for particular audiences using dissociative disruption. National Communication Association Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, UT.

Dicker, A. (2018). Toward the affective turn in social movement theory. Rhetoric Society of America Biennial Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

Dicker, A. (2017). Defending the “Domestic Foreigner”: Jews and Muslims as “Un- American”. ACA/AFA Summer Conference on Argumentation, Alta, UT.

Dicker, A. (2017). #UCIntifada: The Future of BDS on American College Campuses. Morehouse College Interdisciplinary Symposium on Social Justice, Social Movements, and Activism at Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA.

Dicker, A. (2017). Counterpublics and the Universal Audience. Southern States Communication Association Annual Conference, Greenville, SC.

Dicker, A. (2016). Visual interpellation in Dabiq’s “Selected 10”. National Communication Association Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Lemieux, A.F., Winkler, C., Simati, M., El Damanhoury, K., & Dicker, A. (2016). An analytical comparison of behavioral change appeals in Al-Shabaab’s Gaidi Mtaani and ISIL’s Dabiq. National Communication Association Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Winkler, C., Dicker, A., & El Damanhoury, K. (2016). Visual and sound strategies in ISIS Propaganda. VOX-POL Conference, Dublin, Ireland.

Winkler, C., Lemieux, A., Dicker, A., & El Damanhoury, K. (2016). Validating Extremism: Daesh’s use of authority in al-Naba’ infographics. International Society for the Study of Argument/Wake Forest University Biennial Argumentation Conference, Venice, Italy.

Dicker, A. (2016). Reducing recidivism: Prison reform through higher education. 6th Annual Conference on Scholarly Teaching, Atlanta, GA.

Winkler, C., Lemieux, A., Dicker, A., & El Damanhoury, K. (2016). Visual communication strategies of ISIL’s Dabiq magazine. International Studies Association – International Communication Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Michael Jablonski is an attorney and author.  He earned the 'Outstanding Academic Achievement by a Graduate Student' Award from the Georgia State Department of Communication.  He is the author of the book The Real Cyber War: The Political Economy of Internet Freedom with Dr. Shawn Powers. His work is focused on the political economy of information employed by violent political extremist, exploitation by violent political extremist of incumbent practices in western, online media, and the establishment of radical and extremist identities over time through discourses that interact with less radical communities.  He served as a Presidential Fellow with the TCV and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree. 

 Sanghoon Lee received his Ph.D degree in Computer Science from Georgia State University in 2016.  He was a TCV fellow in 2015.  He is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University School of Medicine. He has published papers to Cell, Nature Sci. Report, and Cancer Research as well as many branches of IEEE and ACM. His research interests include machine learning, deep learning, data mining and information retrieval.
Shawn Powers is the Acting Chief Strategy Officer with the U.S. Agency for Global Media.  He formerly served as the Executive Director of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.  During his time at Georgia State, Dr. Powers worked with the TCV and served as Assistant Professor of Communication. His research, as exemplified by his book, The Real Cyber War: A Political Economy of Internet Freedom [with Michael Jablonski] (U. of Illinois Press, 2015), specializes in international political communication with particular attention to the geopolitics of information and technology policy. Dr. Powers co-led the University’s European Union and British Council funded project on Civic Approaches to Religious Conflict. He also directed the Center for Global Information Studies and served on the Board of Advisors for the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. The British Foreign Council, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Open Society Foundation, the U.S. Department of State, the World Bank, and the Knight Foundation have supported his research.

Following her work as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in terrorism and media research at Georgia State, Dr. Weeda Mehran accepted a position as a faculty member with the The University of Exeter.

Dr. Meharan completed her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in the Department of Politics and International Studies.  In 2007, she obtained a master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Oxford as the first Afghan woman to graduate from Oxford University.  She also holds an M.A. in International Conflict Analysis from Kent University.  Mehran earned her B.A. with honors in Environment and Society & Sociology from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Mehran is currently a postdoctoral fellow. She was a 2018 VoxPol visiting scholar at Dublin City University where she conducted research on extremists’ media strategies.  Her research takes a multidisciplinary approach to studying propaganda campaign across a number of extremists groups such as Taliban, the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Tahrik-e Taliban of Pakistan and Lashkar-e Taiba.

Mehran has worked with a number of organizations such as Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Afghanistan Public Policy Research, Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan, Integrity Watch Afghanistan, Afghanistan Research, Evaluation Unit, and a number of UN organizations (e.g. UNWomen, UNDP).  She has written numerous policy reports on issues in Afghanistan.  She worked as a visiting scholar at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy in 2016, Hamburg University.  Mehran also served as Supervisor in the Department of Politics at the University of Cambridge.

Mehran is fluent in Persian, speaks advanced Pashtu and French, as well as intermediate German and basic Arabic. She has working knowledge of STATA, SPSS, R, Gephi, Ucinet, LIWC, and NVivo.

Research and Published Studies

“Cubs of the Caliphate: Spectacle of Violence by ISIS”: Forthcoming,

Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology

Mehran, W. (2018).  Neo-patrimonialism in Afghanistan: former warlords, new democratic bureaucrats?.  Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, Vol. 13 (2).

Miller, B., Mehran, W., Qahtan, H. & and Alsahlani, Y.K. “Qualitative and Computational Analysis of Metaphors in Jihadi Propaganda”, Chapter in Online Terrorist Propaganda, Recruitment, & Radicalization. Under contract with CRC Press / Taylor & Francis.

“More beautiful & more jewellery: Heavenly rewards for female

jihadists” R&R Special Issue of International Journal of Communication.

Book Manuscript

“Political Economy of Warlord Democracy”, Contract offered by University of Notre Dame Press.

Selected Peer Reviewed Reports and policy briefs

“Radical and Active: Radicalization among University Students in Kabul and Herat”, AREU.  2018

“Localization of Afghanistan’s NAP 1325: A 15-Province Status Report”, APPRO Publications.  2018

“Polygamy in Afghanistan”, Discussion Paper, UN Women.  2017

“Women’s Protection Houses”, Discussion Paper, UN Women.  2017

Dr. Yannick Veilleux-Lepage is an Assistant Professor with the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University.

Dr. Veilleux-Lepage worked previously as a Senior Researcher in the Transcultural Conflict and Violence Initiative.  Here, he worked on Department of Defense funded projects analyzing online extremist discourse and media products produced by extremist groups.

Veilleux-Lepage holds a doctorate in International Relations from the University of St Andrews in Scotland.  He earned a master’s degree in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in Ontario, Canada.  He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Security Studies) from Carleton University.

Dr. Veilleux-Lepage’s research is the subject of an upcoming book, titled How Terror Evolves: The Emergence and Spread of Terrorist Techniques, to be published by Rowman and Littlefield International in October 2019.

Dr. Veilleux-Lepage currently serves as the Project manager for two Department of Defense funded Minerva Research Initiative analyzing online propaganda and visual media produced by extremist. The specific focus of these grants is to (1) create a living archive of the entirety of ISIS’ official multimedia content, including a searchable database of ISIS propaganda that includes news bulletins, photo-reports, videos, and documents; and (2) assess how children are recruited, radicalized, and deployed in violent extremist organizations in Iraq and Syria, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Northern Ireland

Other research interests include the creation of online narratives and propaganda which fosters or normalizes terrorism; historical antecedents to terrorism; far-right extremism and the transnational links of far-right groups; ideological and technical diffusion, and the application of evolutionary theory to social sciences. Dr. Veilleux-Lepage has recently secured a Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security, and Society Major Research Grant in collaboration with Dr. Barbara Perry (The University of Ontario Institute of Technology) to explores how gender and sexual politics are played out in everyday practice within the extreme right movement, both in terms of the framing of women by the movement, and women’s actions within the movement.

Dr. Veilleux-Lepage is the author of several referred articles and reports.  He has appeared or been cited in national and international media as an expert in his field, including: BBC, CBC, CNN, International Business Times, ITV, La Presse, LBC, Metro News (Sweden), Radio-Canada, Sky News, The Global and Mail, The Guardian, and The National Post.

Prior to undertaking his doctoral studies, Dr. Veilleux-Lepage worked as a senior intelligence analyst specializing in international terrorism and emerging threats for the Government of Canada. He speaks fluent English and French.

Referred Publications


Veilleux-Lepage, Y. (Forthcoming 2019). How Terror Evolves: The Emergence and Spread of Terrorist Techniques. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. [Under Contract].

Journal Articles

Veilleux-Lepage, Y., & Archambault, E. (Forthcoming 2019). Mapping Transnational Extremist Networks: An Exploratory Study of the Soldiers of Odin’s Facebook Network Using Integrated Social Network Analysis Perspectives on Terrorism. [Accepted].

Veilleux-Lepage, Y. (2016). Paradigmatic Shifts in Jihadism in Cyberspace: The Emerging Role of Unaffiliated Sympathizers in the Islamic State’s Social Media. Journal of Terrorism Research, 7(1), 36–51. DOI: 10.15664 /jtr.1183

Veilleux-Lepage, Y. (2013). Implications of the sunk cost effect and regional proximity for public support for Canada’s mission in Kandahar. International Journal: Canada’s Journal of Global Policy Analysis, 68(2), 346–358. DOI:10.1177/0020702013492536

Chapters in Edited Volumes

Veilleux-Lepage, Y. (Forthcoming 2019). A Typology of Islamic State’s Social Media Distribution Network. In Media and Mass Atrocity. In A. Thompson (Ed.), Media and Mass Atrocity: The Rwanda Genocide and Beyond. Toronto: CIGI Press. [In Press].

Archambault, E., & Veilleux-Lepage, Y. (Forthcoming 2019). Soldiers of Odin in Canada: Internal conflicts and transnational dimensions. In M. Mares & T. Bjørgo (Eds.), Vigilantism against Migrants and Minorities. London: Routledge. [In Press].

Veilleux-Lepage, Y., & Archambault, E. (Forthcoming 2019). Les Soldats d’Odin au Canada. In M. Geoffroy (Ed.), Violence et Extrémisme au Canada.  Quebec: Presses de l’Université Laval [In Press].

Veilleux-Lepage, Y., & Fedorowicz, J. (2015). The Mau Mau Revolt in Kenya, 1952-56. In G. Fremont-Barnes (Ed.), A history of counterinsurgency (pp. 177–204). Santa Barbara, California: Praeger.

Policy Publications

Veilleux-Lepage, Y. (2019, January 5). Is There A Radical Right Racism Problem in The Canadian Armed Forces? Rantt Media.

Veilleux-Lepage, Y. (2018, October 11). When the Radical Right Shows Up. Fair Observer.

Veilleux-Lepage, Y. (2018, August 26). The Extreme Right’s Legitimisation of Vehicle Ramming. Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right.

Veilleux-Lepage, Y. (2017, March 29). “How and why vehicle ramming became the attack of choice for terrorists.” The Conversation

Veilleux-Lepage, Y. (2016, October 20). “The ISIS Brand.” Open Canada.

Yannick Veilleux-Lepage. (2015, July 8). IS’ social media strategy leverages convergence culture. VOX-Pol Network of Excellence.

Yannick Veilleux-Lepage. (2015, June 17). Why the Islamic State is Actually Brilliant at Social Media. Canadian Defence Association Institute.

Yannick Veilleux-Lepage. (2015, February 1st). Canadian and British Policy toward Returning Foreign Fighters: A Missed Opportunity for Countering the Islamic State’s Narrative? Research Institute for European and American Studies.