Megan Ward

Ph.D. Candidate (2016 Cohort)
Megan Zebert-Judd

Dissertation Project

Expertise of the Militarized Border: Policing Religion in the U.S. Mexico Borderlands

Professional Background

Defense Consulting and Project Management


Qualitative Methods, Textual Analysis, Atlas:ti



Megan Ward’s research concerns underreported conflict, marginalized religious practice, and law enforcement expertise throughout the U.S. borderlands and Mexico. She is particularly interested in how informal religious traditions are affected by policy decisions on the U.S. Mexico border and the institutional defense culture that guides those practices.

As part of the JSIS Global Research Group, she guides and researches global and domestic disinformation campaigns, resulting violence, and cybersecurity policy.

Megan received her B.A. in the Study of Religion from the University of California, San Diego, then her M.S. in Homeland Security from San Diego State University. Her background in conflict studies stems from six years working in the defense industry, as well as her time spent in Bangkok, Thailand researching the intersection of human trafficking and Western tourism.


  •  Megan Zebert-Judd, “Material representation: Narco religiosity in new American conception” master’s thesis, San Diego State University, 2016.

Grants & Fellowships

  • Women in Defense Horizons Scholarship 2019-2020.
  • Joseph and Yetta Blau Award for Excellence in Research 2019-2020.
  • American Academy of Women National Dissertation Fellowship (Alternate) 2019-2020.
  • International Policy Institute Cybersecurity Policy Fellow, University of Washington, 2018-present.
  • JSIS Diversity & Equity Committee Grant, 2018.
  • Dr. Clyde Snow Fund for Latin American and Caribbean Studies 2018.
  • Dr. Clyde Snow Fund for Latin American and Caribbean Studies 2017.
  • Henry M. Jackson Doctoral Fellowship, 2016.
  • Women in Defense Horizons Scholarship for M.S. work, 2013.

Post Graduation