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Research Team

Graduate Research Assistants

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Previous Research Assistants

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Iryna Perezhogina

The George Washington University

Iryna Perezhogina grew up in Crimea. She studied and worked in Ukraine, South Korea, Singapore and the United Sates.  She is currently working towards completing MA program at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs – European and Eurasian Studies.   Her focus is on international energy affairs with a concentration on former Soviet republics and the Arctic region. Iryna has previously acquired a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Sociology (Kiev, Ukraine - 2012) and Master’s in International Development Studies (Seoul, South Korea - 2015). Iryna has close to 10 years of professional work experience. She has worked in business administrative and operational positions in the Washington, DC area since 2016 and for the past three years prior joining GWU she has been the Chief of Staff at a government contracting firm.  Iryna speaks Russian, Ukrainian and English fluently. She enjoys tracking various developments in Russia and Ukraine; high intensity workouts and working-dog sports with her Doberman, Bolt.


Melissa Shaiman

The George Washington University

Hey guys! I am a recent graduate of GW, having completed a double major in International Affairs and Geography. I am especially interested in urban sustainability by understanding how cities can adapt for globalization and climate change through environmental stewardship. I started research in arctic sustainability during my sophomore year after I took a class on the Arctic and loved it! The Arctic is a fascinating region, where climate, people, and natural environment intersect in their own unique ways. I look forward to uncovering more of the story that the Arctic is trying to tell us.


Ayden Cohen

The George Washington University

Ayden is an active transportation planner in the private sector focusing on providing safe and accessible bike and pedestrian connections for people and communities of all ages and abilities. With additional experience in both public sector and non-profits, Ayden is extremely passionate about designing safe streets through systemic approaches. Her work on the MUST project focuses on the ways in which road infrastructure plays a role in systemic safety in Arctic environments, and how that compares to other regions of the world. Outside of work, Ayden enjoys biking around DC to find the best coffee in town.

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Zhuoyi Liu

The George Washington University

Zhuoyi is a senior at the George Washington University, pursuing a BA in Environmental Studies and International Affairs with concentrations in International Environmental Studies and Security Policy. He is interested in energy security, transition, and climate change adaptation. He hopes to combine his passion for sustainability and policy, further expanding his view on various sustainability issues in the Arctic. 


Gavin Zavatone

The George Washington University

Gavin Zavatone is an undergraduate student at GW studying Political Science with a minor in law and society. Gavin has spent his time at GW exploring matters of global policy, regulation, energy, and the environment. With this education and experience, Gavin hopes to have an impactful career in international law pertaining to energy, natural resources, the environment, and Environmental Social Governance (ESG). 

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