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The David M. Rubenstein Fellows

The Rubenstein Fellowship program, originally announced in 2017, is supported by a generous gift from Brookings Trustee David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of the Carlyle Group, and is part of Brookings’s commitment to advancing diversity in its scholarly community.  

In 2019, these two-year fellowships have been awarded to 10 outstanding early- and mid-career scholars, who will be placed across five research programs at the Brookings Institution to study a wide range of local, national, and global policy issues.  

Please note: We are not currently accepting applications for the Rubenstein Fellowship program. Please check back in the Fall of 2020 for more information on the application process and deadlines. 

The 2019 CLASS OF David M. Rubenstein Fellows


Madiha Afzal, Foreign Policy Madiha Afzal

Madiha Afzal is a visiting fellow at Brookings. Her recent book, “Pakistan Under Siege: Extremism, Society, and the State” (Brookings Institution Press, 2018), examines the roots of extremism in Pakistan. Her research lies at the intersection of development, security, and politics, with a focus on Pakistan. Afzal has also published several journal articles, book chapters, policy reports, and essays. In addition, she writes analytical pieces for publications including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Washington Post, Dawn, and Newsweek. She is regularly interviewed by media outlets including BBC, NPR, and PBS. Afzal was previously an assistant professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has also taught at Johns Hopkins SAIS, and consulted for international organizations including the World Bank and UK’s Department for International Development.

Learn more about Madiha Afzal.

Matthew Collin, Global Economy and Development Matthew Collin

Matthew Collin is an Anglo-American economist whose research focuses on understanding and addressing spillovers of global institutions and norms as well as helping domestic institutions become more efficient and equitable. Specifically, his recent academic research aims to understand the costs and benefits of policies aimed at reducing illicit financial flows, including money laundering and cross-border tax evasion. It also includes work on making property rights systems more effective, improving domestic tax compliance and measuring the effectiveness of age-of-marriage laws. He is also keenly interested in the implications for machine-learning in development policy as well as how access to science improves research productivity in developing countries. Matt has previously worked in the World Bank as an economist in the Global Tax Team and as a Young Professional in the Human Development Chief Economist’s office. He has also previously held positions as a Research Fellow at the Center for Global Development and as an ODI Fellow in the Ministry of Finance of Malawi. He holds both a DPhil in Economics and an MSc in Economics for Development from the University of Oxford and a BA in Mathematics and Economics from Clemson University.

Learn more about Matthew Collin.

Alex Engler, Governance Studies Alex Engler

Alex Engler studies the implications of artificial intelligence and emerging data technologies on society and governance. Most recently faculty at the University of Chicago, Alex teaches classes on large-scale data science and visualization to public policy students. He ran UChicago’s MS in Computational Analysis and Public Policy and designed the MS in Data Science and Public Policy at Georgetown University. He was formerly a data scientist and principal investigator at the Urban Institute, where he helped found the Center for Technology and Data Science. Alex is also a proud alumnus of Sunlight Foundation’s Labs and the Congressional Research Service.

Learn more about Alex Engler.

Lindsey Ford, Foreign Policy Lindsey Ford

Lindsey Ford’s research focuses on U.S. defense strategy in the Asia-Pacific region, including U.S. security alliances, military posture, and regional security architecture. She is the Richard Holbrooke Fellow and Director for Political-Security Affairs at the Asia Society Policy Institute. Ford previously served as a senior adviser in the Pentagon from 2009-2015, where she managed a team of advisers overseeing maritime security, multilateral security affairs, and force management planning. She was also a leading architect of the Asia rebalance strategy work for the Department of Defense’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance Review and oversaw the development of the Department’s first Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy.

Learn more about Lindsey Ford.

Annelies Goger, Metropolitan Policy Program Annalies Goger

Annelies Goger applies her knowledge as an economic geographer to develop innovative policy solutions to address rising inequality and improve access to economic opportunity. Her research focuses on workforce development policy, the future of work (processes of industrial transformation), and inclusive economic development. Prior to joining Brookings, Annelies was a senior associate at Social Policy Research Associates, where she specialized in workforce development and human services program evaluation and capacity building. She has also been a research associate at IMPAQ International and the Duke University Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (now the Duke Value Chains Center). Her doctoral research examined ethical manufacturing practices in Sri Lankan clothing supply chains, where she was a Fulbright scholar and a Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellow.

Learn more about Annelies Goger.

Molly Kinder, Metropolitan Policy Program Molly Kinder

Molly Kinder’s research explores an equitable future of work and examines the impact of emerging technologies on low wage workers and women. Currently, Molly is a Senior Advisor with New America’s Work, Workers and Technology program and leads a human-centered initiative researching the perspectives of workers at high risk of automation. She is also a research fellow and adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, where she taught a new class on the social, economic and policy implications of artificial intelligence. Molly has more than 15 years of experience in innovation, policy, research, and impact investing. Previously, she was co-founder and Vice President of a $200 million social impact fund and served in the Obama administration as director in a new innovation program at USAID. She is co-author of the Center for Global Development’s best-selling book, “Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health.”

Learn more about Molly Kinder.

Addisu Lashitew, Global Economy and Development Addisu Lashitew

Addisu Lashitew is a research fellow at the Global Economy and Development program of the Brookings Institution. He has previously held post-doctoral researcher positions at Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Simon Fraser University (Canada). Addisu’s research interest spans various topics in development economics, including firm growth and productivity, resource allocation, and economic diversification. His most recent research has looked into market-based corporate approaches towards sustainable development and poverty alleviation. He has actively published on the topics of financial inclusion, social innovation, inclusive business strategies, sustainable finance, and Base of the Pyramid strategies. Addisu maintains teaching and research affiliations with the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) in Nairobi, and the School of Commerce of Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.

Learn more about Addisu Lashitew.

Rashawn Ray, Governance Studies Rashawn Ray

Rashawn Ray is Associate Professor of Sociology and Executive Director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research (LASSR) at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also one of the co-editors of Contexts Magazine: Sociology for the Public. Formerly, Ray was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. Ray specializes in racial and social inequality with a particular focus on police-civilian relations and men’s treatment of women. His work also speaks to ways that inequality may be attenuated through social policy and racial uplift activism. Currently, Ray is working on a series of research projects creating innovative virtual reality experiments that focus on policing and other social outcomes.

Learn more about Rashawn Ray.

Sarah Reber, Economic Studies Sarah Reber

Sarah Reber is Associate Professor of Public Policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her research focuses on school desegregation, elementary and secondary education finance policy, and college access. She is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a California Center for Population Research (CCPR) affiliate, and a California Policy Lab (CPL) affiliated expert. Previously, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at UC Berkeley and a Research Assistant and Staff Economist on the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).

Learn more about Sarah Reber.

Mallika Thomas, Economic Studies Mallika Thomas

Mallika Thomas is a professor of economics at Cornell, in the Department of Economics and in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She is a labor economist, and her research focuses fundamentally on examining the causes of persistent wage inequality and the consequences of policy responses. Her most recent work examines the impact of mandated family leave policies on the wages and promotion opportunities of young women and the impact of such policies on employer-based discrimination. Thomas’ ongoing work focuses on peer effects in education among female MBA students and the causes of the gender-wage gap upon graduation, the impact of employer-provided benefits on the wages and employment of low-wage workers, and the consequences of rising wage inequality and changing wage structure on the educational investments of men and women. Thomas holds a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago and has received a number of fellowships during her academic career, including the University of Chicago Presidential Fellowship, the George Stigler dissertation award, and the American Economic Association dissertation fellowship. She was named the Bruno Shayegani Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow in economics at Cornell University in 2017. Thomas has held previous positions at the Federal Reserve Board and at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Learn more about Mallika Thomas.

The inaugural class of fellows, appointed in 2017, brought a demonstrated commitment to solving many public policy challenges at the forefront of national and global conversations.

Learn more about past Rubenstein fellows.

Read the full announcement about the inaugural class.

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