Senior Researcher, START
Dr. Susan Szmania is a Senior Researcher with a focus on countering violent extremism (CVE). Prior to joining START in 2015, she worked for the U.S. Department of State. In the political sections of the U.S. Embassies in Stockholm, Sweden (2009-2011) and Madrid, Spain (2011-2014), Susan developed and implemented innovative interagency-supported CVE programs and drafted annual reports on human rights, religious freedom and trafficking in persons. She also served as staff aide to the U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra (2012-2013) and at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia (2014-2015).
From 2004-2009, Susan was an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she taught courses in peace and conflict studies. She published original research on alternative dispute resolution and legal communication in journals such as Conflict Resolution Quarterly and contributed co-authored chapters to volumes such as Forensic Communication: Application of Communication Research to Courtroom Litigation. In collaboration with Marquette University Law School’s Restorative Justice Initiative, she also conducted victim offender mediations in the Wisconsin prison system.
Susan completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation research analyzed victim offender mediation cases in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Susan attributes her ongoing interests in language, culture and international engagement to her early experience as an AFS high school exchange student in Sweden.
- 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, 2015-2016
- 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
- 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
- Integrating Victims’ Voices in the U.S. Criminal Justice System. (Book Chapter)
- Alternative Dispute Resolution in Medical Malpractice: A Survey of Emerging Trends and Practice. (Journal Article)
- Mediators’ Communication in Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue Involving Crimes of Severe Violence: An Analysis of Opening Statements. (Journal Article)
- Addressing the Court, the Offender, and the Community: A Communication Analysis of Victim Impact Statements in a Non-Capital Sentencing Hearing. (Journal Article)
- Finding the Right Time and Place: A Case Study Comparison of the Expression of Offender Remorse in Traditional Justice and Restorative Justice Contexts. (Law Review Article)