Research Assistants

Ksenia Armstrong

Ksenia Armstrong is currently a junior at John Jay College, majoring in International Criminal Justice and minoring in Spanish. She grew up and attended school in Russia with advanced learning studies in foreign languages. Ksenia is fluent in Spanish, familiar in basic German and currently attending the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) to study French. During her time in Russia, she participated in exchange programs at her university that tutored students from around the world who came to study politics and economics. Ksenia moved to the United States five years ago and changed her field of study because she intends to be more involved in international relations. She is particularly interested in the following issues: humanitarian assistance to third world countries, raising awareness of human rights, world poverty, lack of information and insufficient coverage of international problems in the media. Ksenia plans to apply to graduate school in International Relations (IR). Her studies in IR combined with her linguistic background will enable her to pursue her career goals in the field of human rights. 

Katherine Azcona

Katherine Azcona is currently a junior at John Jay College, majoring in Political Science and minoring in History. She is fluent in Spanish and intermediate in French. During her freshman and sophomore years, Katherine was a fellow for Organizing for America (aka Organizing for Obama) president Obama’s campaign organization for the NYC-metro area. She also had the opportunity to intern for Councilman Eirk Martin Dilan at the New York City Council office. She is very actively engaged in the activities at the college, such as being a member of the Democrats Club, Students for Justice in Palestine, Dominican Students Association. Recently, she became the secretary of the Middle Eastern Club, treasure of the United Nations Club and joined the peer ambassador program. Katherine intends on going to law school to study international law or attend grad school and study international relations. 

Richard BalkissoonRichard Balkissoon

Before joining John Jay College, Richard Balkissoon received an Associate’s degree in computer science in his native country, Guyana. He is currently the Center’s webmaster and also an upper junior pursuing a Bachelor’s of Arts in Computer Science in the Criminal Justice field. Richard’s web related skills include the following: web development, graphic designing, building and repairing computers, and surveillance systems installation. In the future, he hopes to pursue a career in Computer Forensics.


Taniya Dewan

Taniya Dewan is an undergrad senior majoring in International Criminal Justice and minoring in Computer Science. She is multi-lingual, fluent in Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and basic Arabic. In her first few years at John Jay, Taniya has undertaken various student leadership roles, such as serving executive positions for the Buddhism for Justice Club, Desi Club and Bhangra team to help promote the ideal of connecting people through culture. She has also been significantly involved in the Student Council serving as a chairperson on the Honors and the Criminal Justice Committee, aiding in curriculum improvements for new students. She was designated the role of a Student Leader as part of the credited Peer Ambassador Program, which serves as an advisory board in developing networks and communication skills among students. Currently, Taniya is a selected participant for the 2012-13 Prison to College Pipeline Program promoting education among inmates. She has also been nominated by President Travis to serve on the Student Election Review Committee that overlooks Student Council. Taniya is also a delegate in John Jay’s United Nations Student Association team representing the country of Angola at the 2013 NMUN conference. As a result of her dedication and commitment, she has recently received the John Jay Rising Star Award. In the near future, Taniya plans on pursuing her masters in International Relations and Cyber security. She is now the Center’s webmaster.


roziRozhaja Doci

Rozhaja Doci is a graduate student pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in International Crime & Justice.  Before joining John Jay College, Rozhaja graduated from NYU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. Her time spent living in Albania and Italy, as well as her travels to Spain, France and Peru influenced her decision to pursue a degree in International Relations. She is fluent in Albanian and Spanish, and familiar in basic Italian. She is interested in the area of human rights and counterterrorism. During her Master’s program she hopes to find a way to combine both areas of interest. 

Yumna Khan

Yumna Khan is a recent graduate who received her BA in political science and a minor in history. She is proficient in the following languages: Urdu, Hindi, and basic Arabic. In the past year, Yumna interned with State Senator Kevin Parker in NYC, which exposed her to a large multitude of responsibilities, such as developing extensive partnerships and coordinating events to serve community constituents. Yumna has also served as a peer counselor at John Jay. Her role consisted of motivating students to reach potential goals and spreading awareness of serious mental issues. By joining a student club called Active Minds, she has advanced her commitment to the de-stigmatization of mental health issues among college students as an officer of the club. Yumna is also a delegate in John Jay’s United Nations Student Association team representing the country of Angola at the 2013 NMUN conference. Yumna joined the UNICEF CUNY challenge with her team tackling the lack of birth registration in South Asia leading to issues such as child labor and trafficking. She has recently joined the board for the Institute for Conscious Global Change’s Youth Committee, to assist the non-profit in the Millennium Earth Project for sustainable development using the Geographical Information System. In the future, she plans on pursuing an international relations Master’s degree related to her interest in development, international cooperation, and governance. 

Marina Kumskova

Before joining John Jay College, Marina Kumskova received a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics with a minor in German in her native country of Russia, where she was working as a translator. She is fluent in German, English and Russian, familiar in basic Spanish. Marina is currently getting a second degree in International Criminal Justice with minors in Art and Human Rights at John Jay College. Her interests in human rights began in her own country, when she became a witness of human rights violations. Last year, Marina volunteered for the United Nations as a Content Creator for Seeds Theater Group located in Papua New Guinea. She is particularly interested in exploring the following issues: quality of education in developing countries, women’s rights, religious freedom, violence against children, developing art as a part of the educational process. In the future, Marina plans to attend graduate school in the areas of Human Rights and International Relations.


Adriana Michilli

Adriana Michilli graduated from Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Corporate Communication and a double minor in Sociology & Italian Studies. Her time spent living abroad throughout her academic career in countries such as Spain, Italy, France and Haiti have spawned her interest in the field of international human rights. Today, she is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in International Crime & Justice. The focus of her graduate course work has been especially geared towards gaining a deeper understanding of critical issues in international justice such as human trafficking and migrant smuggling operations. In particular, Adriana is interested in studying ethnic Albanian and Balkan organized crime networks. Adriana is also very passionate about researching women’s rights in post-conflict situations such as the 1995 Bosnian genocide & the 2010 Haitian earthquake. She is currently working as an intern with Immigration & Customs Enforcement and has been assigned to the Human Trafficking/Smuggling unit for the fall 2012 semester. In the future, Adriana seeks to work as a consular officer for the Department of State and assist in the visa screening process of persons seeking to obtain entry into the United States.

Ana Paredes

Ana Paredes is a fourth-year student at John Jay College, pursuing a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology and a minor in Political Science. Ana has mastered the Spanish language because of her Guatemalan background. Her interests in international human rights were awakened upon completing a course titled, United States Foreign Policy in Latin America. Furthermore, through John Jay’s Habitat for Humanity Chapter, Prison-to-College Pipeline Program, and Global Medical Brigades, she has served minority groups locally and abroad in Panama. She foresees her career headed in the direction of the protection and proliferation of human rights, specifically the right to education.


Nikolaos Petropoulos

Nikolaos Petropoulos is a PhD student in the Criminal Justice Doctoral Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He holds a MA in Criminal Justice from John Jay College/CUNY. He also holds a second MA from the University of Athens in European Law, a third MA from Panteion University of Athens in Criminal Law, a fourth MsC from the University of Athens in Crisis Management and a fifth MA from the Panteion University of Athens in Public Administration. His research interests include crime and illegal immigration, terrorism and human rights, homeland security. He speaks Greek, English, Spanish and Italian.