Larissa Abaunza serves as Deputy Research Project Manager, where she oversees the implementation of WIIS Global’s research agenda and programming. She became engaged with women’s rights work at the age of 5. Having “grown up” in the offices of Amnesty International, where her mother served as a director, she has dedicated her life to advancing the rights of women globally. Larissa received her BA in International Relations, with a concentration in Genocide, Human Rights, and Holocaust Studies from Claremont McKenna College, culminating in her award-winning thesis, titled “Rape and Sexual Violence Used as a Weapon of War and Genocide.” Larissa was selected as a Fulbright recipient through the U.S. Department of State where she conducted research into the segregation and racial discrimination of Roma communities in Eastern Hungary. Upon her return to the United States, Larissa continued her education, receiving her MA in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Her area of focus in her MA program was the intersection of gender and terrorism, specifically on how women and girls are the keys to combatting violent extremism. Her graduate thesis examined the motivations and agency of women combatants in Nicaragua’s Sandinista movement and Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers. Larissa is an experienced and dogged researcher with an extensive background in open-source research, data, and policy analysis, as well as rigorous qualitative and quantitative research related to gender and security. Some of her other research and advocacy interests include gender dimensions of emerging and disruptive technologies, indigenous feminism in Latin America, post-conflict transitional justice, racial disparities in maternal healthcare in the U.S., and reproductive health and justice.