I am the Hardis Family Faculty Fellow Assistant Professor in the department of Government at Cornell University. My research focuses state building in the aftermath of political violence.  Specifically, I study police violence and reform in a global context, including international police assistance, gender reforms in peacekeeping and domestic security sectors, and the relationship between gender and political violence. I am currently working on a book manuscript entitled, The Politics of Police Change Around the World.  Much of my research has been in sub-Saharan Africa, where I have conducted field experiments, lab experiments, and surveys.

I am the co-author of Equal Opportunity Peacekeeping: Women, Peace, and Security in Post-Conflict Countries (Oxford University Press, 2017).  The book was the winner of the Conflict Research Studies Best Book Prize for 2017 and the American Political Science Association Conflict Processes Best Book Award for 2018.  And, I am co-author of From Gender Equality to the Status of Women: Concepts and Measurement in Conflict and Peace Studies. My work has appeared in the American Political Science ReviewInternational Organization, the British Journal of Political Science, The Journal of Peace Research, International Interactions, World Development, Conflict Management and Peace Science, among others.

In 2018, I received a grant from the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance to conduct an eight-country assessment of women’s barriers and opportunities to join police, military, and UN peacekeeping missions.  In 2020, this grant turned into the development of the Gender and the Security Sector Lab, which will house the largest dataset of security force personnel in the world.

My research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Folke Bernadotte Academy, the International Growth Centre, and the British Research Council.  I received my PhD from Emory University in 2016.  Prior to that, I received a Fulbright Fellowship and received a master’s degree as a Clarendon Scholar from Oxford University.  My undergraduate degree is from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

I occasionally write for Huffington Post,  America’s Quarterly, and the Scholars Strategy Network.


email: smk349[at]cornell[dot]edu

regular mail: 214 White Hall, Ithaca, New York 14853

phone (office):607.255.3549