Terrorism and Political Violence Researcher and PhD Candidate (ABD), Department of Justice Law & Criminology, American University School of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C.
Research interests include terror groups’ use of the Internet, social media, and encrypted platforms, communication of extremism, extremist innovation online, popular culture of extremism, foreign fighters, and radicalization.
M.A. in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies
Honorary M.A. in Oriental Studies (Ancient Civilizations of the Near and Middle East), University of Cambridge
B.A. (Hons) in Oriental Studies (Ancient Civilizations of the Near and Middle East), University of Cambridge
Terrorism and Counterterrorism certification, Georgetown University, GeorgetownX
Awards and Fellowships
Research Fellow at the Accelerationism Research Consortium, December 2021 – Present.
Graduate Fellow at the Polarization and Extremism Research Innovation Lab (PERIL) at the Center for University Excellence, American University, November 2020 – Present.
Presidential Fellow, Transcultural Conflict and Violence Initiative, Georgia State University, July 2016 – July 2018.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
“Career Foreign Fighters: Expertise Transmission Across Insurgencies,” with Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn, and David Malet, The RESOLVE Network (report), April 13, 2020.
“The Utility of Disabled Fighters in the Islamic State,” Perspectives on Terrorism, 13(3), June 2019, pp. 76-86.
“Assessing the Future Threat: ISIS’s Virtual Caliphate,” with Dr. Mia Bloom, Orbis: FPRI’s Journal of World Affairs, 63(3), Summer 2018, pp. 372-388.
“A War With ISIS is a Battle Against Ideologies,” Small Wars Journal, published online July 31, 2015.
“A Ticket to Turkey and a Desire to Fight: Why Some Foreign Fighters Travel to Syria,” Small Wars Journal, published online November 18, 2014.
“From the Guy Next Door to the Fighter Overseas: A Look at Four Foreign Fighters who Joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” Small Wars Journal, published online August 29, 2014.
“The Egyptian Sinai: A New Front for Jihadist Activity,” Small Wars Journal, published online March 26, 2013.
Reports & Popular Press
“Women in American Violent Extremism: An Examination of Far-Right and Salafi-Jihadist Movements,” with Devorah Margolin, NCITE/DHS grant paper, the Program on Extremism, George Washington University, published June 2022.
“Learning from Foes: How Racially and Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists Embrace and Mimic Islamic State’s Use of Emerging Technologies,” with Yannick Veilleux-LePage and Emil Archambault, grant report for the Global Network on Extremism & Technology, published online June 7, 2022.
“Fade to Black: Islamic State Supporter’s Reactions to the Death of Leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi,” with Meili Criezis, Insight for the Global Network on Extremism & Technology, published online February 14, 2022.
“The Boogaloo Ballad of Henry Graves: Maintaining a Healthy Democracy Final Report,” with Cynthia Miller-Idriss, David Malet, and Pasha Dashtgrad, the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Polarization, Extremism, and Research Innovation Lab (PERIL), published November 17, 2021.
“What is the Islamic State in Khorasan?” Lawfare, published online August 27, 2021.
“Selfie and Siege: Women’s Social Media Footprint and the US Capitol Hill Siege,” with Devorah Margolin, Insight for the Global Network on Extremism & Technology, published online March 3, 2021.
“The Christchurch Attack Report: Key Takeaways on Tarrant’s Radicalization and Attack Planning,” with Yannick Veilleux-Lepage and Amarnath Amarasingam, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT), published online December 18, 2020.
“Interview with Chelsea Daymon,” The ISIS Reader Blog, published online December 16, 2020.
“LOL Extremism: Humour in Online Extremist Content,” Insight for the Global Network on Extremism & Technology, published online October 26, 2020.
“Online Extremist Funding Campaigns: COVID-19 and Beyond,” Insight for the Global Network on Extremism & Technology, published online August 24, 2020.
“Pandemic Narratives: Pro-Islamic State Media and the Coronavirus,” with Meili Criezis, CTC Sentinel, Vol. 13, Issue 6 (June 29, 2020) pp. 26-32.
“The Coronavirus and Islamic State Supporters Online,” Insight for the Global Network on Extremism & Technology, published online March 13, 2020.
“The Ukrainian Conflict: Foreign Volunteers and Online Identity Formation,” Insight for the Global Network on Extremism & Technology, published online January 31, 2020.
“Alter Egos: Misconceptions About Religiously Radicalized Women,” War on the Rocks, published online September 5, 2018.
“A New Age of Terror? Older Fighters in the Caliphate,” with John Horgan, Mia Bloom, Wojciech Kaczkowski, and Hicham Tiflati, CTC Sentinel, Vol. 10, Issue 5 (May 4, 2017) pp. 13-19.
“Syria Options: Refugee Preparation & Resettlement,” Divergent Options, published online January 12, 2017.
“Down the Rabbit Hole and Through the Looking-Glass of the Islamic State,” Muftah, published online April 16, 2015.
“The Resurgence of Egyptian-Iranian Relations,” Open Democracy/Open Security, published online August 30, 2012.
“The Ebb and Flow of Egyptian-Iranian Relations,” Open Democracy/Open Security, published online February 16, 2012.
Bunker & Dilegge (2015). “Jihadi Terrorism, Insurgency, and the Islamic State: A Small Wars Journal Anthology.”
“A New Age of Terror?” With Dr. Mia Bloom, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP), IntelUnclassified, June 15, 2017.
Researcher on “Maintaining a Healthy Democracy: Countering Extremist Disinformation in the Age of COVID-19” grant, working with Dr. David Malet and Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss. American University (AU) and AU’s Polarization and Extremism Research Innovation Lab (PERIL), September 18, 2020 – November 17, 2021.
Researcher on preventing/countering violent extremism (P/CVE) and foreign fighter projects working with Dr. David Malet. American University, August 26, 2018 – Present.
DOD/Minerva “Documenting the Virtual Caliphate,” July 2016 – July 2018.
DOD/Minerva “Preventing the Next Generation: Mapping Children’s Mobilization Into Violent Extremist Organizations,” July 2016 – July 2018.
Foreign Policy Research Institute’s (FPRI) “After the Caliphate: Reassessing the Jihadi Threat and Restoring Stability in the Fertile Crescent,” Nov 1, 2017 – July 31, 2018.
Invited Speaking Engagements and Conferences Presentations
“Post-Organizational Extremism in the Aftermath of the Buffalo Shooting,” (panelists), George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, June 27, 2022.
“Methods for Strategic Intervention,” (Chair), Second Annual Global Network on Extremism and technology Conference (GNET), May 19, 2022.
“Digital Identity Formation Online Through Emoji and Imagery,” Twitter, September 8, 2021.
“Violent Extremist Organisations & Their Responses to COVID-19,” (panelists), First Annual Global Network on Extremism and technology Conference (GNET), May 26, 2021.
“The Global Impact of COVID-19 on Violent Extremism,” (roundtable participant) organized by Hedayah, the Euro-Arab Foundation, the International Center of Excellence to Counter Violent Extremism, and the United Nations Office Against Terrorism (UNOCT), April 22, 2021.
“Extremism and Misinformation During COVID-19,” (roundtable participant) International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention, Virtual due to COVID-19, April 8, 2021.
“Knife, Heart, Smiley Face, Clapping Hands: An Analysis of Extremist Emoji and their Linguistic Conventions,” International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention, Virtual due to COVID-19, April 6, 2021.
“Humor in Extremist Content Online,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s CVE Working Group roundtable, March 2, 2021.
“Counter-Terrorism in an Era of Pandemic,” Keynote speaker for the Organization for Security Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Parliamentary Assembly’s seventh meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism (CCT), June 5, 2020.
“Understanding Career Foreign Fighters,” with Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn, David Malet, and moderated by Colin Clarke, United States Institute of Peace (USIP), May 26, 2020.
“Career Foreign Fighters,” with Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn and David Malet, USAID/State Dept. CVE Working Group, teleseminar, April 28, 2020.
“Extremism and the Global Health Crisis,” George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, March 30, 2020.
“Career Foreign Fighters: From Cannon Fodder to Commander,” International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention, Honolulu, Hawaii, March 25 – 28, 2020 (canceled due to COVID-19).
“ISIS Culture on Telegram,” Society for Terrorism Research (STR), International Conference, Oslo, Norway, June 21, 2019 and Terrorism and Social Media (TASM), International Conference, Swansea University, Swansea, U.K. June 25, 2019.
“Online Jihadism: Content and Practices,” Twitter, Dublin, Ireland, June 11, 2019.
“Strategic Communication, Persuasion, and Messaging Tactics of Terror Groups: Innovations in a Mass-Mediated World,” (roundtable participant), International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention, Toronto, Canada, March 28, 2019.
“Evolution of Technology with Non-States Actors: ISIS,” (presentation and roundtable head) United States Air Force Academy’s 60th Academy Assembly, Colorado Springs, Colorado, October 17, 2018.
“Utility of Disabled Fighters in the Islamic State,” VOX-Pol Conference on Violent Extremism, Terrorism, and the Internet: Present and Future Trends, Amsterdam, Netherlands, August 20, 2018.
“Telegram, ISIS, and Threats to the Homeland,” presented at NORAD-USNORTHCOM, Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 30, 2018.
“Addicted to the Net: Power of Social Media and Terrorism,” (roundtable participant) International Studies Association’s (ISA) Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA, April 5, 2018.
“Addicted to Terror? Charting the Psychological Qualities of ISIS’ Preferred Platform,” with Dr. Mia Bloom, Society for Terrorism Research (STR), International Conference, New York University (NYU), New York, New York, August 15, 2017.
“A Minority Report Scenario: Social Media and Tech Companies Involvement in CVE and Counter Terrorism,” Terrorism and Social Media (TASM), International Conference, Swansea University, Swansea, U.K. June 28, 2017.
“Foreign Fighters,” virtual guest lecture for ATS1701 Terrorism and Political Violence course, School of Social Sciences, Monash University, Australia, Summer 2021.
“Extremism and COVID-19,” virtual guest lecture for the Masters of Conflict Management course, Leiden University, The Netherlands, October 15, 2020.
“An Overview on Podcasting,” virtual lectures, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA. March 13, 2020, April 20, 2021, and April 22, 2021.
“ISIS on Telegram,” American University guest lecture, Washington, D.C. March 4, 2020.
“Online Jihadism,” double seminar session, VOX-Pol Summer School 2019, Dublin, Ireland, June 10, 2019.