Research Affiliate, START
Dr. Susan Szmania is an expert in countering violent extremism (CVE) and terrorism prevention. Since 2009, she has held academic and government positions addressing CVE at START, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State. From 2016-2018, she served as a member of the U.S. government’s interagency CVE Task Force, where she oversaw efforts to synchronize research and analysis addressing violent extremism. Susan has developed CVE programs and policies in the United States and supported international CVE initiatives during her assignments at U.S. Embassies in Europe and the Middle East. She has published numerous research and policy reports on CVE, including the co-authored book, Community-focused Counter Radicalization and Counter Terrorism Projects (Lexington Books, fall 2018).
From 2004-2009, Susan taught courses in conflict resolution, negotiation and peace studies as an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. As part of her research, she worked with the Marquette University Law School’s Restorative Justice Initiative to conduct victim offender mediations in the Wisconsin prison system.
Susan completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her interdisciplinary dissertation research analyzed victim offender mediation cases in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She speaks Swedish, Spanish and is learning Arabic.
- University of Texas - Austin, Ph.D., Communication Studies
- University of Texas - Austin, M.A., Germanic Studies
- University of Texas - Austin, B.A., Psychology and Scandinavian Studies
- Selection Committee Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellowship on Diplomacy, Security & Development, 2015-2018
- Meritorious Honor Award, U.S. Department of State, 2014
- Nominee, U.S. Department of State's Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs, 2011
- Superior Honor Award, U.S. Department of State, 2011
- START, Senior Researcher, 2015-2017
- U.S. Department of State, 2009-2015
- Saint Louis University - Madrid, Adjunct Professor, 2012
- Mälardalen University (Sweden), Visiting Researcher, 2008-2009
- George Mason University, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Visiting Researcher 2008
- Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Mexico), Visiting Researcher, 2007
- University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Assistant Professor, 2004-2009