Our Team

Group photo of GWI team  

 

Mary Ellsberg, PhD

Mary Ellsberg

 

Executive Director
(202) 994-7177
[email protected]

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

 

Operations Manager
(202) 994-3025
[email protected]

Marianne Makar is the Operations Manager of 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 Brookings Institution.

She has an educational background in political science and peace studies, including a master’s degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Bradford.

                                                                                                                                                                                         


Angela Bourassa, MPH

Not picture

 

Research Associate
[email protected]

Angela Bourassa is a Research Associate with the Global Women’s Institute at the George Washington University with experience in quantitative VAWG research in conflict and refugee settings in the Middle East and Africa and community settings in Latin America and the Caribbean.

She brings expertise in organizational community based participatory research and organizational capacity building from her previous career as a consulting software engineer where she served clients as a technical expert helping them to develop strategies to support their own expertise. Angela employs a similar approach with research partners, encouraging a practice of shared learning that supports sustainable, community-centered, culturally meaningful knowledge development among VAWG serving vulnerable women and girls.

Angela holds a Master’s of Public Health from the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Community Social Health and Policy from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. Her professional interests are in examining the pathways between conflict and societal violence and IPV, and research as a tool of community capacity building. 

 


 

Justin Brown (he/him)

Deviyani Dixit

 

Research Program Associate
(202) 994-7177
[email protected]

Justin Brown is a Research Program Assistant at the Global Women’s Institute. Before joining the GWI team, he worked in the nonprofit space. For two years, he served as an Americorps volunteer with City Year in Washington, D.C.’s in some of the city’s most under-resourced communities, and another two years as alumni board member. He then spent five years managing logistics, data and operations for Live It Learn It, an education-focused nonprofit. 

Justin brings a love of reading and solution-oriented approach with him to GWI to support moving the mission forward of ending violence against women.


Deviyani Dixit

Deviyani Dixit

 

Senior Research Associate
(202) 994-0863
[email protected]

Deviyani is a Senior Research Associate at the Global Women's Institute with experience working on violence against women and girls in the Pacific Islands (PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu) and South Asia (Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka). From her prior work experience at the World Bank, Deviyani brings expertise on EVAWG programming in operational sectors of the World Bank such as Transport and Extractives. In this capacity, she led the development and pilot testing of a GBV and Child Protection Codes of Conduct and Action plan along with supporting activities to prevent and mitigate risks of sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment on World Bank transport projects in the Pacific Islands. Deviyani has worked with local service providers, women’s groups and Governments in the Pacific Islands to develop GBV and Child Protection training materials, identify and support appropriate referral pathways and support M&E frameworks. Deviyani has led strategic communication campaigns on ending violence against women and girls at the World Bank and currently leads all communications and outreach at the Global Women's Institute.  

Deviyani holds a Master's in International Development and Social Change (IDSC) and has a professional interest in conducting action-oriented research to inform programming on ending violence against women and girls. 

 


 

Flávia Dutra (she/her)

Photo of Elizabeth Hedge

 

Research Assistant
[email protected]

Flavia Dutra is a Research Assistant at the Global Women’s Institute, primarily supporting the What Works to Prevent Violence – Impact at Scale Programme. Before joining the Global Women’s Institute, Flavia worked with George Washington University professors to conduct research and editing for publications. After completing her Bachelor’s degree, she transitioned to a full-time Research Assistant to a Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies professor, whom she supported in the launch of a book on reproductive rights. She is passionate about policy research on reproductive rights and women’s health care. Flavia is fluent in Portuguese.

Flavia graduated summa cum laude from George Washington University in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Psychology.

 


 

Nick Fulton (he/him)

Photo of Elizabeth Hedge

 

Communications Associate
[email protected]

Nick Fulton currently serves as the Communications Associate at the Global Women's Institute. In this role, he manages external and internal communications functions, press engagement, institutional branding, student engagement, website management, and social media content.

Before GWI, Nick contributed to the messaging and public brand of Fortune 500 companies, social justice organizations, progressive political figures/movements, and more. Through these expereinces, Nick has developed a specialization in advocacy-based communications and public relations. Nick has contributed to the communications functions of local, state, and federal government offices while also serving as an activist through political commentary calling out human rights abuses against LGBTQIA+ populations. 

Nick graduated summa cum laude from Muskingum University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. 

 


Amal Hassan (she/her)

Photo of Heather Holmes

 

Research Assistant
[email protected]

Amal Hassan is a Research Assistant at the Global Women’s Institute (GWI), primarily supporting the Building GBV Evidence Program and the Empowered Aid Project. Before transitioning to a full-time Research Assistant, Amal supported the Empowered Aid Project as an Undergraduate Research Intern. Through supporting GWI’s conflict-related projects, Amal provides specialized support specifically with research as well as leading in the management of both the Empowered Aid and Building GBV Evidence Capacity Building courses.

Amal’s unique experiences as a first-generation Somali American have guided her interests in the intersection between health equity, social justice, maternal and child health, and gender-based violence (GBV). She hopes to work in GBV research and to be able to address the maternal-child health gap in African immigrant communities utilizing culturally sensitive and trauma-informed approaches in her post-graduate career.

Amal is currently pursuing a Master in Public Health (MPH) concentrating in Maternal & Child Health at the Milken Institute of Public Health at the George Washington University. Amal graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health at the George Washington University in May 2022.

 


Heather Holmes, MBA

Photo of Heather Holmes

 

Research Institute Administrator
(202) 994-8274
[email protected]

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)

Photo of Heather Holmes

 

Senior Research Associate
[email protected] 

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

 

Research Scientist
(202) 994-9161
[email protected]

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

Maureen Murphy

 

Research Scientist
(202) 994-9203
[email protected]

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)

Chelsea Ullman

 

Research Scientist
(202) 994-3510
[email protected]

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)

Chelsea Ullman

 

Research Associate
[email protected]

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.

 


 

Skylar Wynn (she/her)

Skylar Wynn

 

Senior Research Associate
(202) 994-2028
[email protected]

Skylar Wynn is a Senior Research Assistant at the Global Women’s Institute at the George Washington University. She received her bachelor’s degree with honors in Women's Studies from Old Dominion University in May 2015. As an undergraduate, Skylar interned with the Old Dominion University Women’s Center on campus focusing on empowerment, activism and creating a sexual assault free environment. She is passionate about exploring the politics of identity within girlhood in order to provide a counter-cultural experience for girls that promotes empowerment, inclusivity and global consciousness. 

During this time, she was the recipient of multiple honors such as the Anita Clair Fellman Service-Learning Scholarship, the Carolyn Rhodes Undergraduate Scholarship, Women's Studies Student of the Year Award and an International Research Award. After studying abroad in South Africa, Skylar created Project Annette to offer assistance to a secondary school she had spent time at while focusing on education and gender equality. In partnership with Education without Borders, they were able to fund two programs promoting early childhood literacy.