Welcome to the Sycamore Institute 

The Sycamore Institute is a 501(c)(3) think tank focused on foreign policy issues pertaining to US and International security, run entirely by college undergraduates. Alongside American University, the Sycamore Institute consists of branches from prestigious institutions such as New York University, Yale University, and American University. 


The Sycamore Institute was founded in December of 2019  by students passionate to share their views on foreign policy topics ranging from National Security, Economics, Global Health, and Energy Security. We remain nonpartisan, yet seek to find pragmatic solutions to today's most intractable issues. Alongside our national organization, The Sycamore Institute at American University publishes op-eds and policy memos on issues that are at the forefront of U.S. and international security. We also host events with practitioners from all facets of American power such as the U.S. Military, Foreign Service, the U.S. Intelligence Community, think tanks, and NGOs.

Executive Board


Yasmeen Abed
Director of Programming (she/her)

 Yasmeen is a junior at Yale University double majoring in Political Science and Modern Middle Eastern Studies. She is passionate about refugee rights and access to education in developing countries.

Cheryn Ryoo
Chief Publisher

 Cheryn is a current Freshman at NYU interested in economics and public policy. Outside of Sycamore, she is affiliated with The West Lab, NYU Economics Review, IR Insider. 


Madison Ianniello
Director of Special Programs

Maddie is a Junior studying Foreign Policy and National Security at American University. She is a passionate communicator and has racked up awards in the American Mock  Trial Circuit including an all-national attorney Title. She is excited to help bring special programming and opportunities to all Sycamore Fellows.                  

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Razel Suansing
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Razel is a Political Science and Modern Middle Eastern Studies double major and a Human Rights Scholar under Yale Law School. Her work is focused on imagining peace-building efforts in post-terrorist and insurgent-occupied states, particularly in transitional justice processes. She is also interested in how counterterrorism efforts can be more inclusive of human rights. She has previously researched transitional justice in post-ISIL Iraq and the human rights compliance in Philippine counterterrorism. Her previous work experience includes internships in the Nobel Laureate Rappler, the Congressional Committee for Human Rights, and the Philippine Department of Justice. She has also worked with NGOs on peacebuilding in Bahrain and Darfur, Sudan.

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Alicia Xu
Director of Outreach and Partnerships


Alicia is a sophomore at NYU studying Finance and Data Science. I joined Sycamore my freshman year because I was interested in politics and wanted to see something I write get published. In my free time I enjoy road tripping - last summer, I spent 2 weeks driving on Route 66 from LA to Chicago! 

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David Bell
Executive Director

David is a Senior at NYU studying Political Science and History.  He is interested in systems theory, Counter-proliferation, and beekeeping.


Malini Wimmer

Malini Wimmer (she/her) is a senior in Grace Hopper majoring in Ethics, Politics, and Economics. Her academic focus straddles political theory and South Asian environmental sustainability. She also holds an advanced language certificate in Mandarin Chinese. Outside of class, Malini is the President of the Yale Hindu Students Organization, the Editor in Chief of the Sycamore Institute’s policy journal, and sings with the Yale Glee Club. 


Katie Ann-Ryan
Chief of Staff

Katie is a sophomore at Columbia University studying English Literature and concentrating in Human Rights. She is a coxswain for their division one men’s heavyweight rowing team and hopes to pursue a career in national security. Her favorite part about working with the Sycamore Institute is being able to provide other students with a quality introduction to the security field and an introduction into the world of think tanks.

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