Our Team

Meet the Leir Team

Katrina Burgess

Katrina Burgess, Ph.D.

Director, Henry J. Leir Institute

Professor of Political Economy

Office: Cabot 603B

Email: katrina.burgess@tufts.edu

Dr. Katrina Burgess is Professor of Political Economy and Director of the Leir Institute for Migration and Human Security at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She has published widely on labor politics, migration, remittances, and diasporas, including her most recent book, Courting Migrants: How States Make Diasporas and Diasporas Make States (Oxford, 2020). She is also writer and producer of Waylaid in Tijuana, a 2020 documentary about Haitian and Central American migrants whose journeys to the United States are disrupted by shifts in U.S. policy. Her current project, Hopes, Fears, and Illusions, addresses how migrants traveling north through the Americas assess risk and process information regarding their prospects for making it to the United States.

She previously taught at Brown University, Syracuse University, UCLA, and the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM) and received her PhD in Politics from Princeton University.

Marcela Millan, MALD F05

Project Manager, Henry J. Leir Institute

Office: Cabot 603

Email: Marcela.Millan@tufts.edu

Marcela Prieto-Millan joined the Leir Institute as a full-time Project Manager in January 2024. Marcela graduated with a Fletcher MALD in 2005. During her time at Fletcher, Marcela studied migration and remittances issues and was research assistant to Professor John Hammock. She was a panelist at Harvard University’s Colombian Migration Conference where she presented her capstone project titled, “Impact of Remittances on Colombia.” After graduating, she worked alongside Adjunct Lecturer Lawrence Harrison as program officer for Fletcher’s Cultural Change Institute. In 2008, Marcela moved to Hong Kong with her husband and two children, where they resided for the past fifteen years before returning to the Boston area in summer 2023. While in Hong Kong, Marcela built on her entrepreneurial experience by opening two businesses, and continued to hone her professional skills through her volunteer, advisory and board positions at the Hong Kong International School, the Girl Scouts of America, the Boy Scouts of America and the Fletcher School’s Hong Kong Alumni Club.

Prior to Fletcher, Marcela worked in financial advertising and marketing. She is a proud alumna of the Universidad Externado de Colombia.

Mathew Jie Sheng Yeo

Mathew Jie Sheng Yeo, Ph.D. Candidate

Program Coordinator, Henry J. Leir Institute

Email: Mathew.Yeo@tufts.edu

Mathew is currently serving as the Program Coordinator at the Leir Institute. He is a PhD student at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy. Prior to enrolling at Fletcher, Mathew worked as a researcher at the Taejae Future Consensus Institute, a research institute based in Seoul, South Korea, where he collaborated with the former Under Secretary of the United Nations, Ambassador Kim Won Soo, to devise strategies for fostering cooperative relations between the US and China.

Mathew obtained his Master’s degree in International Studies from Seoul National University and completed his undergraduate studies in Political Science at Nanyang Technological University.


Rebecca Kelly

Rebecca Kelly, MALD Candidate

Events Coordinator, Henry J. Leir Institute

Email: Rebecca.Kelly@tufts.edu

Rebecca is a first-year MALD student studying gender/intersectional analysis and human security. She is particularly interested in the gendered aspects of issues like violence, peacebuilding, and migration. During undergrad, she studied international relations, history, and French at Tulane University.

After graduating in 2019, Rebecca interned at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and for Senator Tammy Duckworth. She then worked for a Chicago-area Congressman for several years as a Constituent Advocate and assisted constituents having issues with USCIS, the Department of State, and Social Security. She was especially passionate about VAWA visa issues and helping refugees navigate the immigration process. At Fletcher, she is a board member for the Conference on Gender and International Affairs and leads the French table. Rebecca is excited to work with the Leir Center and expand her understanding of migration issues while supporting the center’s mission and events.


Brie McGowan

Brie McGowan

Communications, Henry J. Leir Institute

Email: Briana.McGowan@tufts.edu

Brie McGowan is a first year MALD student studying international migration, international legal studies, and international development. She is a Double Jumbo who has worked for various migration nonprofits focused on resettlement and integration of immigrants and refugees. She currently works for the Fletcher Refugees in Town project as a Research Assistant and is thrilled to take on the Communications Research Assistant role with the Leir Institute!

In her free time, she teaches ESL classes to migrants, participates on the executive committee of the Fletcher International Development Group, and serves as Senior Staff Editor of PRAXIS—Fletcher’s student journal for human security.


Sarah O’Rourke

Sarah O’Rourke

Social Media, Henry J. Leir Institute

Email: Sarah.O_Rourke@tufts.edu

Sarah O’Rourke is a first year MALD student concentrating on International Security and Conflict Resolution and Negotiation. After graduating from the College of the Holy Cross in May 2021 with a BA in Political Science and Peace and Conflict Studies, she worked as a paralegal at Ropes & Gray and then as an associate at PwC.

While attending Holy Cross, Sarah interned in the Office of Iranian Affairs at the State Department and wrote a thesis on the impact of U.S. sanction policy on human rights in Iran. Sarah is interested in the intersection of national security policy and human security.


Aamna Ahmad

Aamna Ahmad, MALD Candidate

Internal Communications – Editor This Week at Leir, Henry J. Leir Institute

Email: Aamna.Ahmad@tufts.edu

Aamna is a MALD ’24 student from India. Prior to Fletcher, she worked at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a leading public policy think tank based in New Delhi, where she supported activities across capacity development, communications, and program operations. Specifically, her role focused on conceptualizing, creating, and implementing online and in-person learning programs aimed at promoting transparency and accountability in governance.

She graduated with BA and MA degrees in Sociology from the University of Delhi.


Allyson Teague

Allyson Teague, MALD Candidate

Internal Communications – Assistant Editor This Week at Leir, Henry J. Leir Institute

Email: Allyson.Teague@tufts.edu

Allyson Teague is a second-year MALD student at Fletcher focusing on Human Security and Humanitarian Affairs, as well as International Legal Studies. Allyson recently graduated from the University of San Diego with a BA in International Relations and a minor in Spanish. As a Trio McNair Scholar, she has conducted and presented research on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Cali Baja region. Additionally, Allyson worked for Leir’s Hopes, Fears, and Illusions project this summer, interviewing migrant populations in transit through Southern Mexico.


Finnbarr O'Reilly

Finnbarr O’Reilly, MALD Candidate

Website Management, Henry J. Leir Institute

Email: Finnbarr.O_Reilly@tufts.edu

Finnbarr O’Reilly is a first year MALD student studying international business and technology in international affairs. He graduated in 2023 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. As an undergraduate, he interned at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Center for International Private Enterprise. He also founded a chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society.

He currently serves as the Website RA at the Leir Institute.