J. Chappell Lawson

Chappell Lawson is an associate professor of political science at MIT. He directs the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) program and the Policy Lab at MIT’s Center for International Studies. Professor Lawson's recent work has focused on political leadership and on homeland security. From September 2009 through February 2011, Professor Lawson was on leave from MIT as a political appointee in the Obama administration, serving as executive director and senior advisor to the commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection. Before joining the MIT faculty, he served briefly as a director of Inter-American Affairs on the National Security Council staff during the Clinton administration. Professor Lawson was a National Fellow at The Hoover Institution, Stanford University (2002–2003) and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at the University of California, San Diego (1998–99). He received his PhD from Stanford University in 1999 and his AB from Princeton (the Woodrow Wilson School) in 1989.

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