Jessica Trisko Darden is a Jeane Kirkpatrick fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where her research focuses on US foreign aid policy, specifically the effectiveness of such aid in improving political and human conditions in recipient countries, and the coercive effect of foreign aid, which often allows countries to divert economic assistance to military expenditures.

Dr. Trisko Darden is also an assistant professor of international affairs with the School of International Service at American University. Earlier, she was an assistant professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario and a visiting scholar and teaching fellow at Yale University.

Dr. Trisko Darden has contributed to several edited volumes and has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including Asian Security, Human Rights Review, and International Journal. She has also written for the popular press and has been published in The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, among others. Her broadcast appearances include CNN, “The Today Show” on NBC News, and BBC News.

She has a Ph.D. in political science and a B.A. in international development and Russian studies from McGill University. She also has an M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies from the University of Texas at Austin.


  • Assistant Professor, School of International Service, 2015–present; Associate Director, Bridging the Gap, 2017–2018; Director, Comparative and Regional Studies Program, School of International Service, 2015–16; American University
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Western Ontario, 2012–14
  • Visiting Scholar, Program on Order, Conflict and Violence, 2010–12; Teaching Fellow, Jackson School of Global Affairs, 2011–12, Yale University


Ph.D., political science; B.A., international development studies and Russian studies, McGill University
M.A., Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies, University of Texas at Austin