Chris Conklin grew up in Allendale, New Jersey and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve upon graduating high school in 2008. He deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2011, where he supervised a communications team. He entered Fordham University upon returning to the U.S. and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 2014 with a BA in political science and a minor in economics. Following graduation, Chris served as a Community Economic Development advisor with the Peace Corps in rural El Salvador. There, he primarily facilitated training sessions for his community’s development association and women’s group to strengthen their internal management practices and promote community participation. He also assisted the association in implementing an efficient wood-burning stove project, a cyber café for at-risk youth, a community-owned and -operated bakery, and a scholarship program for high school and college students. At Yale, Chris focused his studies on issues relating to diplomacy and governance in fragile states and developed proficiency in French. He also served as a teaching fellow for Jackson Senior Fellow Emma Sky. Over the summer, he complemented his studies by returning to El Salvador to intern with the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador.