Common Sense Society Announces 2023 Class of John Quincy Adams Fellows

October 13, 2023

Advanced foreign policy practitioners to gather for timely, off-the-record discussions to combat threats to freedom and prosperity

WASHINGTON, D.C.Common Sense Society (CSS), a leading international educational network, is pleased to announce the 2023 class of John Quincy Adams (JQA) fellows. This select group of advanced foreign policy practitioners come from private institutions, legislative branch staff, and executive branch leadership, each contributing their expertise in research, international trade, diplomacy, military technology and planning, communications, human rights advocacy, conflict resolution, budget appropriations, and more.

Over the next nine months, JQA fellows will gather for a series of monthly off-the-record meetings with leading American economic, diplomatic, military, and intelligence officials to examine the fundamentals of grand strategy, the realities of great power competition, and the asymmetrical foreign threats to freedom and prosperity. 

“As an international network, Common Sense Society staff, faculty, fellows, members, and alumni are actively engaged in timely conversations on the world stage,” said Common Sense Society president and C.E.O. Marion Smith. “We are connecting experienced leaders with well-placed professionals to discuss and propose solutions to current economic, human rights, and security crises—such as the war between Israel and Iranian-sponsored Hamas. We look forward to this first meeting of our John Quincy Adams fellows and to partnering with them in future to promote liberty and prosperity in their respective fields.”

Find out more about the John Quincy Adams Fellowship and get to know the 2023 class, or learn more about other upcoming fellowship opportunities for young professionals with Common Sense Society. 

2023 Class of John Quincy Adams Fellows

Mr. Zackariah Crahen is a West Point graduate and combat arms veteran. He currently works at the Defense Innovation Board (DIB) based in Washington, D.C. Zackariah co-led the DIB’s assessment of the National Defense Science and Technology Strategy, and was published in its final product, An Innovation Strategy for the Decisive Decade National Defense Science & Technology Strategy Review Task Force. He received his M.A. in public policy from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy in 2022 with concentrations in global conflict resolution and international development. 

Mr. Jacob DePeralta is a policy analyst with the House Foreign Affairs Committee majority staff. He has worked on the Hill for over three years, covering foreign relations and national security issues with Members and Committees in both chambers of Congress. He received his undergraduate degree in business from Missouri State University in 2017, his M.A. in international relations and national security from Pepperdine University in 2022, and is an alumnus of Common Sense Society’s Founders Foreign Policy Fellowship.

Mr. Sean Durns is a foreign affairs analyst in Washington, D.C. His writings and research have appeared in Newsweek, the Washington Examiner, the National Interest, the Washington Free Beacon, National Review, and The Hill and have been cited by Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. He received his M.A. in international history from the London School of Economics.

ENS Christopher Fusco received his commission from the United States Navy’s Officer Candidate School in October 2021, and has since reported as an operations officer to the National Security Agency’s Expeditionary Operations Support Group. He provides support to combatant commanders and joint special operations forces around the world. Christopher received his B.A. in physics and an interdisciplinary minor in peace and conflict studies from the College of the Holy Cross in 2020.

Mr. Joseph Guy is chief of staff for Congressman Brandon Williams (NY-22). He previously worked in the Office of the White House Liaison at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under appointment by the Trump Administration. He has worked in various capacities in the House of Representatives, and as director of programs at the Club for Growth Foundation. Joseph received a B.A. summa cum laude in economics from Syracuse University and an M.A. in public policy from Georgetown University.

Mr. Alan Hanson is a member of the Senior Executive Service at the U.S. Department of Justice where he serves as director of its Appropriations Liaison Office. He previously served as deputy chief of staff to the secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, as an acting assistant attorney general of the U.S. Office of Justice Programs, and as the second-longest serving chief of staff to retired U.S. Senator Richard Shelby. He earned a B.E. magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University and a J.D. cum laude from Georgetown Law.

Ms. Grayce McAllister is the communications director at the Council of American Ambassadors. She previously served as a liaison for AFS-USA in the Middle East and as a crisis counselor with Crisis Text Line, prompting her professional interest in foreign policy and international affairs. Grayce received a B.S. in international business from Emporia State University in Kansas.

Dr. Jacob Olidort is director of research at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America’s Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy. He previously served in a range of national security roles across the U.S. government, including in the office of former Vice President Mike Pence and as foreign policy advisor to two U.S. senators. Jacob was a term member in the Council on Foreign Relations, a Fulbright scholar to the United Arab Emirates, and a Rhodes Scholarship finalist. He received a B.A. in history and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies magna cum laude from Brandeis University, an A.M. in Near Eastern languages and civilizations from Harvard University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Near Eastern studies from Princeton University.

Ms. Kristina Olney is the executive director of the Victims of Communism Remembrance Alliance. She previously served for six years as the director of government relations at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. She previously helped to found and direct the advocacy efforts of In Defense of Christians. She also helped lead Foreign Policy Initiative’s government relations and young leaders programs. Kristina served for two years on Capitol Hill in the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and as a fellow on the House Foreign Affairs Committee for Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ).

Mr. Adam Savit Is Director of the China Policy Initiative at America First Policy Institute. He previously founded the Center for Security Policy’s China Program after holding senior research and communications roles at the organization. He served for five years as President of Log Cabin Republicans of DC, transforming the flagship chapter of the conservative LGBT organization into a vital liaison to Congress. Adam holds a B.A. in history and international relations from Penn State University.

LT Morgan Thomas is an active-duty Naval Officer with multiple deployments supporting Joint SOF in the INDOPACOM AO as a Cross-Strait subject matter expert and Mandarin linguist. He has also provided maritime domain awareness and intelligence briefings to the Joint Chiefs of Staff J2 and the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) in his role at the Office of Naval Intelligence. He is currently in a Department of Commerce Technology Fellowship at Thomson Reuters Special Services. He holds an M.A. in Political Science from the University of British Columbia and a B.A. in History and Chinese Language from Christopher Newport University. He was also a Fulbright Scholar on Jinmen, Taiwan.

Common Sense Society (CSS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes liberty, prosperity, and beauty through education and civic engagement programs. The fellowships, curriculum resources, publications, cultural programs, and national campaigns of CSS illuminate the enduring ideas that have transformed the course of human history for the better. CSS does not accept funding from governments or political parties.


For more information, contact Emily Soper at

Stay Informed

Join our mailing list and be the first to receive exclusive news.

Thank you for signing up!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.