Organizational Management

Nathan Benevides


Nathan has several years experience in nonprofit outreach, grassroots mobilization, and social media marketing. Having worked with corporate brands, small foundations, large nonprofits, and academic publications, he brings dynamic communications expertise to The ‘MPOWER Project. Nathan received a B.A. in International Relations from Emmanuel College and a Master’s of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Beyond his work with the ‘MPOWER Project, Nathan is active supporting social and environmental justice campaigns through his work with Boston-based One Square World and is currently researching media development challenges in the developing world.


Ryan Wick


Ryan is an award winning Director, Producer and Editor who lives in New York City.  Over his 10+ year career he has directed not only for film and TV, but also commercial spots and documentaries for brands such as Nike, McDonald’s, Pepsi, Heineken, Toyota, Versace, New Era and countless others. His “One of a Kind” series for Dr Pepper won the 2015 Digiday award for Best Branded Content Series and he has also won several Telly Awards and Communicator Awards. From 2010 - 2015 he was the Director of Video Production at Complex Media and currently works as the Director of Branded Content at the Whistle Sports Network, where he specializes in developing and creating content that connect with both millennial and Gen Z audiences. In addition to his role as Co-Creative Director for The ‘MPOWER Project, he is also hard at work on his second novel.


Brian Miller

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Brian is a filmmaker and non-fiction storyteller based out of New York City.  He focuses primarily on creating short-form video content: documentaries, commercials, branded content and promos.  Working in the roles of Producer, Videographer and Editor, his work has taken him from Ghana to Japan to Costa Rica, and his client list includes Unilever, GE, McDonalds, Vogue, Bayer, Corcoran, RR Donnelley, and Berlitz, as well as several others.  Currently, Brian works with Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs to create video content engaging in topics around economic, political and social welfare issues. He has a particular interest in telling stories that highlight human potential and views The ‘MPOWER Project’s mission - to out-brand destructive ideology through storytelling -  to be of utmost importance. Brian will be serving as Co-Creative Director for The ‘MPOWER Project’s creative working group.

Data Science/Technology

We are in the process of developing this team.


Rachael Pepper

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Rachael is currently a senior at Pace University, Pforzheimer Honors College, completing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Peace and Justice Studies. Rachael is serving as Research Associate for The ‘MPOWER Project and is compiling a dynamic and comprehensive database of psychographic and personal motivation indicators for individuals who have been convicted of acts of terrorism in the U.S. and other english-language countries to more comprehensively develop the Organization’s core research theory. Outside of The ‘MPOWER Project, Rachael is writing a dystopian novella covering themes of racial prejudice and totalitarian regimes. Rachael will be starting a Masters program on Peace and Justice studies at UC San Diego in fall 2018. 

Tommy Leo


Tommy is a Research Associate for The ‘MPOWER Project and a recent graduate from Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, in Psychology with a Music Minor. At The ‘MPOWER Project, Tommy is assisting with the completion of the organization’s comprehensive database of threat actors convicted or killed committing acts of terrorism and contributing to the organization’s research theory by identifying psychological indicators that can lead to violent extremism.  Outside of The ‘MPOWER Project, Tommy is assisting with a research project studying how young adults make sense of political events by analyzing narratives written about the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Tommy is also a musician and has conducted research in how music can impact changes to mood and state of mind. In his spare time, Tommy is an avid theatre-goer, enjoying musicals and concerts of all varieties.

Rachael Firestone


Rachael is a Masters candidate at Columbia University studying Political Science. Her research focuses on American political behavior and political psychology, particularly political extremism and gender and politics. Prior to attending Columbia, Rachael obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and and Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Alabama. She plans to continue her academic career this fall at Vanderbilt University, where she will obtain her PhD in Political Science and continue her research projects in political psychology and political behavior. Rachael is serving as a research associate for The ‘MPOWER Project.  She is compiling a comprehensive database of far-right actors actively promoting violence in Western civilizations. This database furthers The ‘MPOWER Project’s research agenda by expanding avenues for analysis relating to the Organization's original audience theory - Identity Vulnerability. Outside of academia, Rachael enjoys hiking, kayaking, and spending time with her two Doberman Pinschers.

Marina Chernikova

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Marina completed her PhD in Social & Organizational Psychology at University of Maryland in May 2018; her dissertation aimed to identify personality traits that can predict unethical behavior. She has won multiple grants to support her research, and published numerous peer-reviewed articles on motivation, personality, and the psychology of terrorism. Prior to attending University of Maryland, Marina received her BA in Philosophy & Literature from St. John’s College in 2011. Marina is currently serving as a research associate for The ‘MPOWER Project; she helps create reports describing the research that comes out of the project. Outside of work, Marina enjoys reading novels, eating sushi, and hiking with her collie mix.


Stephanie Huynh


Stephanie is a rising junior at Lehigh University earning her Bachelor of Arts in international relations and minor in psychology. Stephanie is working on a variety of organizational and research projects for The ‘MPOWER Project over the next several months. In addition to her work at The ‘MPOWER Project, Stephanie is National Contributing writer for an online women’s magazine at Lehigh University.  In addition, she enjoys traveling and is currently planning to study abroad and volunteer in Chiang Mai, Thailand to develop her understanding of government and politics in Southeast Asia.