Dawn Brancati received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in May 2003 with distinction. Her dissertation entitled, Design Over Conflict: Managing Ethnic Conflict and Secessionism through Decentralization, looks at the conditions under which decentralization mitigates ethnic conflict and secessionism. Decentralization, it claims, intensifies ethnic conflict and secessionism when regional parties have a strong presence in the government. Although decentralization also increases the presence of regional parties in government, different aspects of a country's political system can be changed to modify the strength of regional parties in government. Her dissertation combines a large-N analysis of 19 countries around the world with cases studies of Spain, Czechoslovakia and India. When Dawn is not in front of her computer working, you will find her either jogging or playing with her yellow lab in the park.