Research Team

I have a number of individuals working with me on various projects and research. Below you will find more information on my current team members. 

Research staff banner

Kersty KearneyKersty Kearney

Research Manager and Network Manager for the Defence and Security Foresight Group

Kersty is Dr. Momani's Research Manager for all of her ongoing research projects, as well as the Network Manager for the Defence and Security Foresight Group, a network funded through the Department of National Defence's MINDS program. She previously worked at Interpol’s Global Complex for Innovation within the ’Capacity Building and Training Directorate’, where she assisted in conceptualizing and monitoring ongoing programs in Southeast Asia, including a number of efforts related to improving border security and training police forces in the region. During her undergraduate studies, she worked for the House of Commons and the Ministerial Office of the Finance Minister.

Kersty obtained a Master of Human Geography from Radboud University in the Netherlands, specializing in Globalization, Migration, and Development in 2018. Her thesis sought to understand the parallels between the migration industry literature regarding migration brokers and its relevance within international sport. 

Postdoctoral fellows banner

Dr. Shelly Ghai Bajaj

Postdoctoral Fellow, Mis/Disinformation and Ethnocultural Communities

Shelly Ghai Bajaj (Ph.D., University of Toronto, 2022) is a Postdoctoral Fellow working with Dr. Bessma Momani on projects relating to identity, democracy, disinformation, and social media. 

She studies comparative politics of both developing and advanced industrial democracies and is interested in the politics of identity and ethnonationalist mobilization, political parties and party strategy, the use of social media by political actors, and South Asian politics. She is also interested in qualitative research methodologies, content analysis, and comparative historical analysis. Her work on Hindu nationalism and electoral politics has been published in Asian Survey (2017) and in an edited volume on Politics and the Religious Imagination (Routledge, 2010). 

Jean François BélangerDr. Jean-François Bélanger

Postdoctoral Fellow, Defence and Security

Jean-François Bélanger is a Postdoctoral Fellow working with Dr. Bessma Momani on questions of cybersecurity and populism. His book project, titled Why Competence Matters: Counter-Proliferation and Deterrence, focuses on the variation in the use of force against nascent proliferators. Using concepts from practice theory and applying them in a strategic setting, the book examines how competence in previous deterrence crises plays an important role in the decision by counter-proliferating state to use force or not to curb proliferation. His broader research examines the role of status inconsistencies in nuclear proliferation, competence and rule-adherence, Coercive diplomacy in light of technological changes, and public opinion survey research related to questions of international security. His research has been funded by the Canadian Defense Security and Defense Funds, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Le Fonds de Recherche Société et Culture.

Jean-François received his PhD in Political Science from McGill University in February 2019. Prior to joining the University of Waterloo, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the International Security Studies Center at Yale University from 2018 to 2020.