NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Norwich University’s Center for Global Resilience and Security (CGRS) named two senior fellows and one student fellow in environmental security.

The senior fellows are Dr. Eszter Szenes and Dorien Braam; student Michael Cathy ’24 is the 2022 CGRS-Paul Kostecki Environmental Security Fellow.

Szenes will build on CGRS’s growing scholarship in environmental security. She will contribute to research on radicalization strategies in online far-right propaganda and disinformation campaigns related to CGRS’ core themes of water, energy, climate change and infrastructure.

Over academic year 2021-22, she has mentored CGRS student fellows as a scholarly mentor in environmental security research including climate change-fueled extremism, ecofascism and climate change’s effect on indigenous Arctic communities. In her new role as a Center for Global Resilience and Security senior fellow, Szenes will continue to mentor students’ research and collaborate on programming and domestic and international outreach.

The senior fellows are Dr. Eszter Szenes and Dorien Braam; student Michael Cathy ’24 is the 2022 CGRS-Paul Kostecki Environmental Security Fellow.

Szenes, hosted by the John and Mary Frances Patton Peace & War Center, holds a two-year visiting research position as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Research Fellow. At Norwich, she has been investigating radicalization strategies’ linguistic anatomy in online extremist propaganda and information tactics within disinformation campaigns. Her most recent work investigates the links between climate change and violent extremism, focusing on ecofascism discourses.

Dr. Eszter Szenes

Norwich student and CGRS’s Paul Kostecki student fellow in environmental security, Matthew Kolb, a second-year major in studies in war and peace and political science, has benefited from Szenes’ mentorship: “Dr. Szenes provided an invaluable role last semester through offering guidance and advice as I worked through my project, and I'm excited to continue my work with her.”

Szenes is a research fellow at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University, in Budapest, Hungary, and Vienna. She holds a systemic functional linguistics doctorate from the University of Sydney.

Before arriving at Norwich, Szenes was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. Her research interests include violent extremism, information warfare, critical thinking and disciplinary literacies.

Working with the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations

Braam, meanwhile, directs Hong Kong-based Praxis Labs, where she researches health, protection and migration issues for the United Nations (U.N.) and other international organizations. Previously, she worked with the U.N., the Netherlands government and nongovernmental organizations across Asia and Eastern Africa, focusing on forced migration, protection, human rights and shelter.

Braam holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and a Master of Science in biomedical sciences from the University of Edinburgh with a thesis on animal health in complex humanitarian emergencies. She is currently completing her doctorate in veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge in England, where she studies zoonoses — diseases transmitted between animals and humans — in displaced populations, with a focus on the Greater Horn of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

braam square
Dorien Braam

As a CGRS senior fellow, she will research collaboratively, write environmental security commentaries and mentor and advise undergraduate students.

“Dorien’s experience spans the many disciplines that CGRS aspires to expose all of our student fellows to,” said Dr. Tara Kulkarni, the center's director, the Civil and Environmental Engineering and Construction Management Department chair and an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. “As she is working on her doctoral research with her consulting and NGO experience in tow, I know she will inspire our entire CGRS community to use our education and experience in new ways to solve complex global challenges.” 

Meanwhile, Cathy, who majors in political science and minors in Spanish, is a member of U.S. Army ROTC at Norwich University. As an environmental security fellow, he’ll work with Szenes and center associate director, Dr. Kaitlin Thomas, on migration, climate and security research.

“I chose the CGRS fellowship because I view it as a challenge doing my own independent research,” Cathy said in his application. “I want to pursue topics that are very complex and global in scale, and that affect the everyday lives of people around the world. I want to help explore and find solutions that would benefit the whole of the global community.”

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About Norwich University
Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by U.S. Army Capt. Captain Alden Partridge and is the nation’s oldest private military college. Norwich is one of our nation's six Senior Military Colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

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