A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

START names Dr. Amy Pate research director


START names Dr. Amy Pate research director

May 28, 2014Jessica Rivinius

START recently appointed Dr. Amy Pate as its research director. An expert in international relations and comparative politics, Pate will work closely with START’s principal investigators and administrative team to help foster the highest quality, original research examining the most pressing and fundamental questions about terrorism, counterterrorism and resilience. Pate’s own work focuses on ethnic politics, democratization, political instability, terrorism and counterinsurgency/counterterrorism.

“Amy is a standard bearer at START with respect to academic rigor and effective research management,” said William Braniff, START’s executive director. “She is someone that I consistently sought out for guidance previously, so recognizing her role as a leader at START makes official what was already a reality.”

“Amy’s long service to START makes her a natural for this position,” said Gary LaFree, START director. “She has internalized our organizational mission and vision, and how that should manifest in terms of the quality and relevance of our research agenda.  In addition to her personal skillset, she is a reservoir of institutional knowledge and lessons learned from the past nine years."

Pate first began working with START through the Minorities at Risk Project, where she served as its project coordinator. The project, based in the Center of International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland, which focused on analysis of violent versus non-violent behavior by organizations representing an ethnic constituency. After finishing her doctorate in 2007, Pate remained as a full-time researcher, jointly affiliated with CIDCM and START, furthering MAR’s work on organizational behavior. She transitioned to a research position with the Special Projects Division in 2011, where she was instrumental in growing and solidifying a relationship with the Strategic Multilayer Assessment office within the Department of Defense.

“Having attended the original Department of Homeland Security site visit prior to the original START grant, it has been amazing to watch START grow and evolve from an idea to a vibrant network of researchers producing some of the best terrorism research in the world,” Pate said. “I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with START’s executive leadership and principal investigators to synthesize what we’ve learned over the past decade of work and to help chart the next decade of research to address the needs of policymakers and practitioners.”

Her recent projects have included: research on the crime-terror nexus; an examination of the rise of Islamist political parties in Muslim-majority countries; and tracking of protest behavior and political instability in Jordan. Pate plans to continue her own research while assuming the research director duties, including traveling to Nigeria to conduct field research this summer.

Pate earned her doctorate and master’s degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland in 2007 and 2005 respectively, and her B.A. in Political Science, History, and Russian from Miami University (Ohio) in 1998.

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