GDIL Student Researchers

Summer 2021

Ryan Williams


Ryan Williams is a PhD student at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He is passionate about research that develops understanding at the intersection of emerging technology and global policy. Ryan researches how information disorders affect global policy. Ryan received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Russian from Texas A&M University. In 2018 Ryan was awarded an MA in Global Policy Studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs and an MA in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. While at UT, Ryan specialized in emerging technology policy. He contributed to research as a graduate research fellow with Innovations for Peace and Development and as a Research Delegate to the Stanford US Russia Forum. Ryan also helped launch the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies digital humanities lab, the Fusion Room. After completing his MA program, Ryan joined New Knowledge as a Computational Disinformation Analyst and Data Science Team Lead. While at New Knowledge, he conducted information operations investigations and developed tools and procedures for studying narratives and affinity groups online.


Spring 2021

Katherine "Kate" Birch

birchKatherine (Kate) Birch is a junior double-majoring in International Relations and Global Studies as well as Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies within the Liberal Arts Honors Program. She is also minoring in Government and working to earn a Certificate in Security Studies from the Clements Center for National Security. After graduating from UT, Kate aspires to attend law school and pursue a career in International Law or National Security Law. Outside of school, Kate enjoys learning foreign languages, reading non-fiction, and listening to true crime podcasts.




Erica Colston

ColstonErica Colston is a senior at The University of Texas at Austin double majoring in international relations and global studies (IRG) and history. As a fall 2020 Bill Archer Fellow and senior undergraduate fellow with the Clements Center for National Security, Erica’s professional interests are primarily foreign and national security policy. With the Archer Center, she studied American public policy in D.C. while working full-time at the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. In 2019, Erica studied abroad with the Clements Center at King’s College London’s War Studies department, where she studied the history of British and American foreign policies and world order. She worked as an undergraduate research assistant for Innovations for Peace and Development, an interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research lab, as well as for scholars studying topics like the internationalization of civil wars or national security bureaucracy. At UT, she studies and speaks Russian at the intermediate level and aims to work on Eastern European regional security issues in a public service career. 


Celeste Maridat

maridatCeleste Maridat is a Master's student from the University of Jean Moulin Lyon 3 specializing in Intelligence studies, communication and disinformation. Her fields of research include Russian influence methods in francophone Africa and their impact on Franco-Russian relations.






Archit Oswal


Archit Oswal is a junior studying supply chain, Plan II, Russian, and government at UT Austin. He has received three scholarships from the US State Department to study Russian for a year in Moldova and two summers in Russia. He is interested in better understanding the interests and capabilities of the United States’ rivals on the world stage, in particular, Russia and China. After graduation, he hopes to work at the intersection of national security and economic policy and remain engaged with the Post-Soviet Space, a region near and dear to him thanks to the time that he has spent there.





Ishani Pandya

 PandyaIshani Pandya is a Junior Fellow who is pursuing a major in Government with a minor in Business. She is passionate about conducting research, especially in the sphere of disinformation and propaganda. Outside of the Global (Dis)Information Lab, she is a member of Innovations for Peace and Development (IPD) and Junior Fellows. She hopes to attend law school and/or graduate school to focus on national security work. In her free time, she enjoys reading, learning how to cook, and finding new hiking trails around Austin.