MEET OUR TEAM

Our lab is made up of three separate teams which approach our mission of disinformation research, bot tracking, analysis reports, and public outreach.

FOUNDERS AND DIRECTORS

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THOMAS PLANT

FOUNDER

Tom Plant is received his B.A. in International Relations and Hispanic Studies from the College of William & Mary ’22. His research interests include the role of mis- and disinformation within the rally ‘round the flag effect and emerging technological threats to international security. Tom also serves as a Research Fellow for the Project on International Peace and Security (PIPS) and as an Editorial Assistant for the Department of Hispanic Studies.

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AARAJ VIJ

CO-DIRECTOR

Aaraj Vij is pursuing a B.A. in International Relations and B.S. in Computer Science from the College of William & Mary '23. Drawing on his education, he researches both policy and technical solutions to detect and counteract disinformation campaigns before they proliferate. Aaraj also serves as the Technical Director for the W&M Social Science Research Methods Center.

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MEGAN HOGAN

FOUNDER

Meg founded DisinfoLab during the summer of 2020 following her fellowship with the Project on International Peace and Security, where she published an award-winning white paper on deepfakes as a disinformation tactic. She graduated from the College of William & Mary in YEAR, with a B.A. in International Relations and Economics. In addition to foreign disinformation campaigns, Meg’s research interests include the intersection of technology and policy, post-Soviet politics, and East African stability.

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ALYSSA NEKRITZ

MANAGING EDITOR

Alyssa is the Managing Editor and Disinformation Analyst for DisinfoLab. She is a senior pursuing a B.A. in International Relations with a minor in Data Science from the College of William & Mary. Her interests include polling data analysis and tracking foreign media influence in Eastern Europe. Alyssa also works for the National Center for State Courts. She loves DisinfoLab and hopes you do too!

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JEREMY SWACK

CO-DIRECTOR

Jeremy Swack is currently pursuing a B.S. in both Computer Science and Data Science from the College of William and Mary ‘24. Using his background in machine learning and data visualization, he researches data driven methods to analyze and predict the spread of disinformation. His other research interests include deep learning applications, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence. 

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SARAH WOZNIAK

OUTREACH COORDINATOR

Sarah is the Outreach Coordinator for DisinfoLab. She is a Sophomore pursuing a B.A. in International Relations and Economics. Her interests include international security and development, specifically foreign disinformation. She also serves as the Director of Public Relations for The Monitor, is a knowledge management intern at USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, and a member of the Varsity Women’s Gymnastics Team at William & Mary.

 

2022-2023 TEAM MEMBERS

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SHALOM AKOLATSE

Technical Disinformation Analyst

Shalom is a Technical Analyst for DisinfoLab. He is a freshman pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science from the College of William and Mary. He is interested in the intersection of tech and ethics, and responsible use of technology when applied to humans, especially in the context of (dis)information. His other interests include music, mathematics, and creative writing.

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EMA BACA

Communications Team

Ema is a sophomore pursuing a B.A. in International Relations with a minor in Economics from the College of William & Mary. Her interests include social media disinformation in Eastern Europe with a focus on election security. She serves as a Junior Production Editor for The Monitor as well as an intern for the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum.

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MYRA CROPPER

Technical Disinformation Analyst

Myra is a Technical Analyst for DisinfoLab. She is a freshman currently studying Computer Science. Her research interest include using machine learning to detect manipulated images and Deepfakes to stop the spread of disinformation. This is her first semester at DisinfoLab and she’s excited to be a part of the team.

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SHRADHA DINESH

Disinformation Analyst

 Shradha is a Disinformation Analyst for DisinfoLab. She is a sophomore pursuing a B.A. in DataChey Science with a double major in Political Journalism from the College of William & Mary. Her research interests include election security and political polarization in the U.S. She has previously researched state-level eviction proceedings and redistricting.

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MAEVE DONAHUE

Disinformation Analyst

Maeve is a Disinformation Analyst for DisinfoLab. She is currently a sophomore studying international relations and French at the College of William & Mary. She is interested in international politics, French politics, and human rights. This is her first semester in DisinfoLab.

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MICHAEL FOLEY

Disinformation Analyst

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JACK FRIMET

Disinformation Analyst

Jack is a Disinformation Analyst for DisinfoLab. He is a Sophomore pursuing a B.A. in Economics and Government. His interests include online political communication and political polarization in America. He is also a research assistant in the Social Networks and Political Psychology (SNaPP) Lab at William & Mary and is a member of the Tribe Hockey team.

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PRANAV GONEPALLI

Technical Disinformation Analyst

Pranav is a technical analyst for DisinfoLab. He is a sophomore pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science with a minor in Data Science from the College of William and Mary. His research interests include image manipulation and social media disinformation, as well as using machine learning to combat its spread.

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BRENNAN GREEVES

Technical Disinformation Analyst

 
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CHEYENNE HWANG

Technical Disinformation Analyst

Cheyenne is a technical analyst for DisinfoLab. She is a sophomore at William & Mary pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science and Sociology. Her research interests include globalization patterns, technology in ethics, and media representation. She also serves as a research assistant for AidData’s GeoQuery tool and a member of the W&M Dance Team, ROCKET Magazine web team, Asian American Student Initiative (AASI), and Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.

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ALEK KUZMENCHUK

Disinformation Analyst

Alek is a Disinformation Analyst for DisinfoLab.  He is a junior pursuing a B.A. in International Relations.  His interests include security and civil society in Eastern Europe and South Asia, countering nontraditional threats to peace and stability, and nationalism.  He also serves as the Director of Operations for The Monitor, an intern at the Global Engagement Center in the U.S. Department of State, and a member of the varsity gymnastics team.

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MANEL LEONG

Technical Disinformation Analyst

Manel Leong is pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science from the College of William and Mary.  He is a Technical Analyst for DisinfoLab.  His research interests include how social media algorithms affect political polarization and how governments utilize social media to spread disinformation.

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IAN MACDONALD

Technical Disinformation Analyst

Ian MacDonald is a Technical Analyst for Disinfo Lab. He is currently a sophomore at the College of William & Mary pursuing a B.S. in computer science with a double major in film and media studies. Among his research interests are the identification and impact of social media bots on politics and economics, machine learning as a tool for disinformation, and the (mis)uses of artificial intelligence for image generation and manipulation. Ian also works as a Support Technician for the William & Mary IT Department.

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JOSIE MASSENET

Disinformation Analyst

Josie Massenet is a Disinformation Analyst for DisinfoLab, as of October 2022. She is a sophomore pursuing a double major in International Relations and Economics. Her research interests include international security, developmental economics, and Russia’s war on Ukraine. Massenet is part of the Flat Hat, and on the Executive Board of the Economics Club. She is a James Monroe Scholar and a Freeman Fellow, and is excited to be a part of the DisinfoLab team!

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BRENNEN MICHEAL

Disinformation Analyst

Brennen Micheal is a Disinformation Analyst and joined DisinfoLab in Feburary 2022. He is a junior pursuing a B.A. in Government with a minor in Psychology. His research interests include the role of disinformation and emerging technology on national security and U.S. election security. He is also an intern with the U.S. Army War College with the Study of Internal Conflict research project.

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WILLEM MORRIS

Technical Disinformation Analyst

Willem Morris is currently pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science and Data Science at William & Mary and works as a Technical Analyst for Disinfolab.  His research interests include the behavioral patterns of people on social media and the mechanisms and intentions behind social media algorithms.

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COMFORT OHAJUNWA

Technical Disinformation Analyst

Comfort Ohajunwa is a Technical Analyst for Disinfolab. She is currently a freshman pursuing a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science. Her research interests include social media and its influence on political ideology and polarization. In the past, she has worked on applied mathematics research on the spread of COVID-19.

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CHAS RINNE

Technical Disinformation Analyst

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SAMANTHA STRAUSS

Disinformation Analyst

Samantha is a Disinformation Analyst for DisinfoLab. She is a senior currently pursuing a B.A. in history and government. Her research interests include American polarization, election security and racial justice. She also serves as a James Blair Historical Review Peer Editor and is a member of Young Democrats.

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SOFIA VALLE

Disinformation Analyst

Sofia is a Disinformation Analyst for DisinfoLab. She is a Sophomore pursuing a B.A. in International Relations and Chinese Studies. Her interests encompass Chinese FDI in Europe, Chinese maritime grey-zone activities, and maritime transparency in the South China Sea. She serves as the Vice President of the W&M John Quincy Adams Society chapter and is a research assistant for the William and Mary Global Innovation Challenge.

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JIACHEN WANG

Disinformation Analyst

Jiachen Wang is a Disinformation Analyst for DisinfoLab and is pursuing a B.A. in Government and Economics at the College of William & Mary ‘23. His interests include political theory, comparative politics and international trade.

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MARY WATERMAN

Disinformation Analyst

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YE XIAO

Technical Disinformation Analyst

Ye Xiao is a Technical Analyst for DisinfoLab. She is a sophomore in Applied Statistics. Her interest includes using NLP and other technical tools to analyze disinformation on social media. She is also a research assistant in AidData and a technical support in the Bray School Lab.

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YILE XU

Technical Disinformation Analyst

Yile Xu is a Technical Analyst for DisinfoLab. She is a junior at the College of William & Mary pursuing B.S. in Computer Science and Data Science on the data application track. Her research interests include bioinformatics and data mining.

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