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McCain Institute Announces National Security & Counterterrorism Fellowship New Cohort

WASHINGTON, DC (March 3, 2023) — The McCain Institute at Arizona State University is proud to announce the 2023 class of its National Security & Counterterrorism Fellowship (NSCT), featuring representatives from four of the Five Eyes (FVEY) countries, including the program’s first participant from New Zealand.

Designed by former Director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center Nick Rasmussen and executed in partnership with the National Security College of the Australian National University (ANU), the NSCT Fellowship brings together a group of the most promising rising leaders engaged in national security and counterterrorism work from countries that comprise the Five Eyes intelligence alliance: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

This third cohort of NSCT fellows is comprised of 15 rising young leaders – 10 women and five men – who hail from a variety of public sector organizations and agencies, including the U.S. State Department, the U.K. Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, the Australian Federal Police, the FBI and more. This program provides mentorship, networking, and professional development experiences for the fellows who have been chosen based on a track record of leadership, distinction, and achievement in national security and counterterrorism.


  • Joselyn Eling, Counterterrorism Investigations and Intelligence Operations, Australian Federal Police
  • Louise Maguire, Intelligence Analyst, Australian Defence Force
  • Melissa Travers, National Security Professional
  • Alexander Willox, National Security Professional

New Zealand

  • Ruby Gavey, Senior Advisor, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s National Security Group

United Kingdom

  • Anisha, UK Government
  • Anna Kareklas, Counterterrorism Professional
  • Liz M., National Security Professional, UK Government
  • Tom Newton, Deputy Head of the US & Canada Department, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
  • Kiren Vadher, Head of Monitoring and Evaluation, Defence, Science & Technology, Ministry of Defence

United States

  • Matthew Boury, Counterterrorism Professional
  • Michael Friel, Integration Manager, National Counterterrorism Center, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
  • Sarah Grant, Attorney, National Security Division, US Department of Justice
  • Barbara Johnson, Intelligence Analyst, Counterterrorism Division, FBI
  • Ben Snyder, Foreign Affairs Officer, Bureau of Counterterrorism, US Department of State

“We are proud to be working with these emerging leaders at such a crucial point in their careers,” said McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Farkas. “America and our Five Eyes partners face a multitude of challenges, and we need our next generation of national security leaders to be ready for them.”

“The Five Eyes partnership remains one of the most important tools for protecting the United States and our citizens,” said McCain Institute Board Member General David Petraeus, U.S. Army (Ret.), former Commander of the Surge in Iraq, U.S. Central Command, NATO/U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and former Director of the CIA. “The McCain Institute’s National Security and Counterterrorism Fellowship allows young leaders already established in the national security and intelligence landscape to develop and build ties with other future leaders from Five Eyes partner nations who may work together to solve future crises. This hands-on fellowship is creating a global network of peers who will address some of the most pressing global national security issues throughout their careers.”

“The National Security College at the Australian National University is delighted to partner with the McCain Institute again to deliver this outstanding program. The College is committed to developing people, ideas, and networks for a secure future, and we look forward to working closely with the 2023 fellows in pursuit of this goal,” said Professor Rory Medcalf, head of the ANU National Security College.

Next week, the 2023 fellows will officially kick off their cohort year in Washington, D.C., meeting with various high-level national security leaders, scholars, and policymakers to discuss national security priorities, international intelligence cooperation, and character-driven leadership. The module will also include site visits to numerous agencies in the D.C. area, including the FBI, the Department of Treasury, the CIA, the White House, and the U.S. State Department, plus a visit to the International Spy Museum. Separate, week-long cohort visits to London and Canberra will take place later in 2023.

The 2023 cohort is the program’s third group of fellows, which now includes a network of 41 fellows across the FVEYs.

“Under Nick Rasmussen’s thoughtful mentorship, this fellowship has cultivated true personal and professional friendships,” Shawna Sinnott, U.S. Marine Corps officer and NSCT fellow from the 2021-2022 cohort, said. “I am certain that these relationships will be enduring and that our experience with the McCain Institute has prepared us to call on each other as we approach tomorrow’s increasingly complex security dilemmas.”

“The fellowship provides meaningful access to senior decision-makers and practitioners from across the national security space. The shared learning process with the other fellows was what made the experience so special,” said Brett Kubicek, research manager at Public Safety Canada and NSCT fellow from the 2021-22 cohort. “Examining global challenges and reflecting on career pathways together with this outstanding group of fellows was eye-opening and beneficial to both my personal and professional development.”

Learn more about the National Security & Counterterrorism Fellowship program here.

About the McCain Institute at Arizona State University
The McCain Institute is a nonpartisan organization inspired by Senator John McCain and his family’s dedication to public service. We are part of Arizona State University and based in Washington, D.C. Our programs advance democracy and human rights, empower character-driven leaders, combat human trafficking, and prevent targeted violence. Our unique power to convene leaders across the global political spectrum enables us to make a real impact on the world’s most pressing challenges. Our goal is action, not talk, and like Senator McCain, we are fighting to create a free, safe, and just world for all.

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social, and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

Publish Date
March 3, 2023