PhD Candidate


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Katharine Petrich is a Visiting Researcher at the Center for Policy Research at the University of Albany and an Adjunct Lecturer at Santa Clara University. She holds a PhD in Political Science from Northeastern University, specializing in International Relations. Her research is primarily focused on insurgency, terrorism, and transnational crime in Northern Latin America, the Horn of Africa, and South Asia. Kate is dedicated to an ethnographic qualitative research approach and spends a significant amount of time in the field interviewing violent actors and their law enforcement counterparts

Kate’s research is primarily concerned with international security issues, particularly those concerning disruptive non-state organizations (terrorists and transnational organized criminals) and asymmetric conflicts. She is interested in the developing regions of South Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Previous projects include an exploration of the tactical and strategic shifts of insurgent forces, African and Asian natural resource corruption issues, special operations counterterrorism deployments, as well as dissertation research on the criminal diversification of transnational terrorist organizations. She is currently working on two major projects: an assessment of al-Shabaab’s criminal capabilities, and a historical case study tracing the divergence of M-19 and FARC in 1990s Colombia.

Previously, Kate worked with the US Department of Justice, the US State Department, USMA Modern War Institute, and the Hudson Institute. In her pre-PhD life, she worked with the Trans-Border Institute as a researcher, documenting, recording, and coding homicide victims of cartel related violence. She contributed extensively to the Justice in Mexico News Monitor project, writing articles about narco-violence based on Spanish-language Mexican news. Her work can be found here.