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Scoville Fellowship Allows NC State Alumnus to Work on Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security in the Middle East

Jacob Sebastian
Jacob Sebastian

Jacob Sebastian, a December 2019 graduate of NC State, has been awarded a Herbert Scoville, Jr. Peace Fellowship. Sebastian is one of just three recent college graduates in the nation to earn a spring 2020 fellowship, and he will work for the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) in Washington, D.C.

For his fellowship with the NTI, Sebastian will work for six to nine months on the International Fuel Cycle Strategies team with Corey Hinderstein and Richard Johnson. His research at NTI will focus on the future of the nuclear safeguards regime and innovating new approaches to nonproliferation and nuclear security in the Middle East. He graduated with highest honors from NC State with degrees in mechanical engineering, applied mathematics, and political science as well as a minor in Middle East Studies.

Sebastian hopes to use his interdisciplinary education to help bridge the typical academic and professional silos that exist between the technical and policy communities in the nuclear nonproliferation space. His senior capstone project centered around using nuclear energy futures and other technical and economic data to predict the next generation of “would-be” proliferates in the Middle East. His undergraduate research also focused on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with particular interest on understanding the domestic politics and decision-making structures that allowed the JCPOA to be accepted by the typically conservative and anti-western stakeholders in Iran.

In addition to his research, he participated in Student Government as a senator for the College of Sciences, Model United Nations as a deputy director of the Chicago International Model United Nations conference, and was a resident advisor for the Quad community. He developed his passion for public service and servant leadership through participation with the Caldwell Fellows program at NC State. During his undergraduate career, he was selected as a Benjamin Franklin Scholar and a Triangle Institute of Security Studies Scholar. Sebastian has completed legislative research internships with the Wake County Democratic Party, Congressman David Price (NC-04), and North Carolina Senator Jay Chaudhuri. Previously, he was a research assistant at Lawrence Livermore National Lab’s Center for Global Security Research, where he worked with Mona Dreicer on the future of cooperative measures to reduce nuclear dangers, with a focus on the Middle East. Sebastian is a novice Arabic speaker and looks forward to continuing his Arabic studies post-college.

Established in 1987, the Scoville Fellowship is a highly competitive national program that provides recent college and graduate school alumni with the funding and opportunity to work with senior-level policy experts at one of more than two dozen leading think tanks and advocacy groups in Washington, D.C. for six to nine months. Scoville Fellows contribute to the work of their office through research, writing, public education, and/or advocacy. They may focus on nuclear and conventional arms control and nonproliferation, conflict prevention and resolution, defense budget, diplomacy, emerging technology threats, environmental security, or related international security issues. They also attend policy talks, Congressional hearings, coalition meetings, and small group events with experts in government, media, NGOs, and universities arranged by the fellowship, and receive active mentoring and networking from the board of directors and former fellows.

Many Scoville Fellows have gone on to prominent positions in the field of peace and security with domestic and international NGOs, the federal government, academia, and media. The fellowship recruits from across the U.S. twice a year and provides a salary, benefits, travel expenses to DC for interviews and moving, and a small stipend for attending conferences, policy courses, and foreign language classes. The fellowship is named for Herbert (Pete) Scoville, Jr. (1915-1985), who held a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and was a former deputy director for research at the CIA, assistant director for science and technology at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, president of the Arms Control Association, and mentor for numerous young people in arms control, national security, and peace issues.

If you or someone you know are interested in applying for the Scoville Fellowship or similar prestigious programs, the University Fellowships Office is here to help! Visit for assistance.