Jessica Stern

Senior Preparedness Fellow

Division of Policy Translation and Leadership Development


Ph.D, Harvard University: Public Policy, 1992

MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Technology Policy Program (Chemical Engineering), 1988

BA, Barnard College, Major: Chemistry. Minor: Russian. 1985

Graduate, Massachusetts Institute of Psychoanalysis, 2016


Jessica Stern’s current research is focused on evaluating initiatives to reduce recidivism among released violent extremists. This National Institute of Justice-sponsored research project is conducted at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Stern has also been working the Emergency Preparedness Research Evaluation & Practice (EPREP) team at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to evaluate countering violent extremism (CVE) programs in Colorado, Canada, Sweden and Macedonia – a project funded by NATO and the Department of Homeland Security. Stern’s past research and writing has focused on perpetrators of violence and the possible connections between trauma and terror.  She has written on terrorist groups across religions and ideologies, among them neo-Nazis, Islamists, anarchists, and white supremacists.  She has also written about counter-radicalization programs for both neo-Nazi and Islamist terrorists.


Jessica Stern is a Senior Preparedness Fellow at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a research professor at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies.  Stern has taught courses on counter-terrorism for 20 years – at Boston University, Harvard, and CIA University. She is a Member of the Homeland Security Experts Group, a Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a non-resident Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.   She is currently offering courses on mapping dangerous speech online and on the psychology and history of terrorism.  She has participated in several DHS, NATO, and DOD-funded countering-violent extremism projects at Boston Children’s Hospital and at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  Stern is the coauthor with J.M. Berger of ISIS: The State of Terror; and the author of My War Criminal: Personal Encounters with an Architect of GenocideDenial: A Memoir of TerrorTerror in the Name of God; and The Ultimate Terrorists.  Stern served on President Clinton’s National Security Council Staff in 1994-95.  She was included among seven “thinkers” in Time Magazine’s 2001 series profiling 100 innovators.  She was selected as a Guggenheim Fellow in 2009, a World Economic Forum Fellow from 2002-2004, an International Affairs Fellow in 1994, and elected to Sigma Xi, an engineering honors society, in 1986.  Stern advises a number of government agencies on issues related to terrorism. She has a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College in chemistry, a master’s degree from MIT in technology policy, and a doctorate from Harvard University in public policy.  She is a 2016 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Psychoanalysis.


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