Mary Ellsberg, PhD
Dr. Mary Ellsberg is the Executive Director and Founding Director of the Global Women's Institute at the George Washington University. Dr. Ellsberg has more than 30 years of experience in international research and programs on gender and development. Before joining the university in August 2012, Dr. Ellsberg served as Vice President for Research and Programs at the International Center for Research on Women. Dr. Ellsberg’s deep connection to global gender issues stems not only from her academic work, but also from living in Nicaragua for nearly 20 years, leading public health and women’s rights advocacy. She was a member of the core research team of the World Health Organization’s Multi-Country Study on Domestic Violence and Women’s Heath, and she has authored more than 40 books and articles on violence against women and girls. Dr. Ellsberg earned a doctorate in epidemiology and public health from Umea University in Sweden and a bachelor's degree in Latin American studies from Yale University.
Marianne Makar (she/her)
Marianne Makar is the Assistant Director of Research Administration at the Global
Women’s Institute at the George Washington University. She brings to GWI extensive
grants, finance and project management experience from more than ten years at The
She has an educational background in political science and peace studies, including
master’s degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Bradford.
Heather Holmes, MBA
Heather Holmes is a Research Institute Administrator at the Global Women’s Institute at The George Washington University. With over 20 years of professional experience, she brings a variety of expertise to GWI including budget development and long-range planning, finance and operations, personnel management, process/systems improvement strategies, and pre/post award administration. Heather’s interest in combatting violence against women began in college when she volunteered as a sexual assault peer educator and expanded years later when she volunteered as a court appointed special advocate in the District of Columbia. She is passionate about working to end gender-based violence and is particularly interested in the areas of human trafficking, child marriage and climate change.
When not working, Heather volunteers with several organizations around the DMV, including those focused on food insecurity, homelessness, at-risk youth and animal welfare. She holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Strayer University and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French from Mary Washington College.
Andrea Koris, MSc (she/her)
Senior Research Associate
Andrea Koris is a Senior Research Associate with the Global Women's Institute at George Washington University. As a practitioner, she brings over a decade of experience supporting community-based and transnational initiatives responding to gender-based violence and supporting the health and bodily integrity of women and girls across the U.S. border-Mexico border, Central America and East Africa. As a mixed methods researcher she is specialized in trauma-informed, participatory qualitative methods and facilitating participatory data analysis. She is a published author on various topics including novel methods of gender-based violence prevention; adolescent sexual and reproductive health; and decolonizing aid and donor governance.
Andrea holds a MSc in Global Health from Duke University. In addition to focusing on GBV research she works as a full spectrum doula, and is interested in the impacts of climate change on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse in humanitarian aid, on GBV risk mitigation and response, and on maternal, sexual, and reproductive health access writ large.
Maureen Murphy, MPH
Maureen Murphy is a Research Scientist with the Global Women’s Institute at the George Washington University. Previously, she has worked with numerous international non-governmental organizations, including in South Sudan with the American Refugee Committee and in Sierra Leone with GOAL Ireland. Prior to this, she worked with the Child Protection in Crisis Network based at Columbia University to coordinate locally driven child protection and gender based violence research projects in Africa and Asia.
Maureen holds a Master’s of Public Health from Columbia University and has a professional interest in improving monitoring and evaluation in complex emergencies, particularly in the realm of gender-based violence and reproductive health programming. She is a published author on a variety of gender based violence and reproductive health topics.
Alina Potts, MPH (she/her)
Alina Potts is a Research Scientist with the Global Women’s Institute at the George Washington University, where she aims to center women and girls in asking and answering questions around how to better address gender-based violence (GBV) in humanitarian settings. Previously, Alina coordinated violence prevention research at UNICEF and explored intersections between GBV and child protection in emergencies. As a practitioner, Alina led GBV programming for the International Rescue Committee in a number of humanitarian responses over the last 10+ years—including Bangladesh (Cox’s Bazar), Lebanon, Syria, DR Congo, Kenya (Dadaab) and Sudan (Darfur). Her experience in forced migration extends to refugee resettlement in the US; asylum advocacy in Europe; and addressing grave violations in conflict settings.
Alina holds a BA in Anthropology and International Development from Boston University and a Master's of Public Health in Forced Migration and Health from Columbia University. She welcomes opportunities for shared learning, and teaches graduate classes on GBV in complex emergencies.
Chelsea Ullman, PhD (she/her)
Dr. Chelsea Ullman is a Research Scientist at the Global Women’s Institute (GWI). She joined GWI at its founding while serving as a Presidential Fellow at the George Washington University (a selective program that offers high-achieving students the opportunity for professional development while completing a Masters degree).
Chelsea has contributed to the strategic growth of GWI by developing key policy initiatives, communications & outreach programs, and participating in research on violence against women and girls globally. Chelsea holds a PhD in Public Policy and Public Administration, focused in Gender and Social Policy, from the George Washington University. Her doctoral work explored theories of justice for survivors of campus sexual assault in the United States, with a goal of improved policymaking on the issue. Chelsea is committed to amplifying the voices of survivors of violence in research and policy.
Jessie Weber, MPH (she/her)
Jessie Weber is a Research Associate with the Global Women's Institute at the George Washington University. She has been working with various grassroots efforts to support displaced populations across Europe since 2020, and previously worked as a coordinator for child safeguarding in northern France with Project Play and partner organizations prior to joining GWI. Within the US, she has seven years of experience volunteering with grassroots organizations supporting immigrant populations across the northeast and has a professional background in legal and psychosocial support for veteran populations, including two years working with the Center for Integrated Healthcare to support behavioral health treatments for post-traumatic stress and substance use disorders.
She holds a BA in Government concentrating in International Relations from Cornell University, and a Master in Public Health concentrating in Humanitarian Health from the George Washington University. Her professional interests center on bridging gaps of accountability to and collaboration with affected populations in research and programming, and on the inherent right of all people to accessible, individually-adapted health services, including mental health and psychosocial support.