About Gravity

Founded in September 2023, Gravity was started by a group of multi-disciplinary students from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies passionate about driving out conspiracy networks from our communities and re-establishing the resilient communities that America was built on.

Our Values

Community resilience

To us, community resilience means that the social environment of a community - what it believes, how members act towards one another - should be decided by its community, not by multi-national conspiracy networks. Community resilience can't be taken for granted, especially as digital media is trying to dictate how our community members think and act. We're here to build tools that communities can rely on to make them resilient.

Research-based toolkits

We don't just shoot from the hip. Our methods and tools are backed by the latest research and careful study of online radicalization and extremist trends. It's a lot of work, but we keep our research transparent and accessible so you can ask us about it anytime.

Tech is a force multiplier, not a silver bullet

Our technical solutions are pretty cool, and we're proud of them. But we don't let that get in the way of our mission: to help communities weed out conspiracy networks and bring them together. We simply apply bleeding-edge technical solutions to help your community flourish.

Our Team

Kathleen Rabe

Project Lead

Kathleen is a student at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). She studies International Policy and Development with concentrations in Financial Crime Management and French. Prior to MIIS, she studied business and practiced real estate in California. Her interests include reading and traveling... whether to the closest beach or around the world.

Kojin Glick

Technical Lead

Kojin Glick leads the technical team, and acts as the lead developer for this project. He is a Master's Candidate in Non-Proliferation and Terrorism Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. If you can't find him typing lines of code at his desk in Berkeley, California, then he's probably backpacking the Sierras.

David Santana

Marketing Lead

David is a dual BA/MA Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies candidate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, CA. He is also pursuing Financial Crime Management and Russian language specializations. David accepted the position as Marketing Lead early in September 2023, and he is continuously trying to do great work to make Project Gravity the best it can be and to be a great team player. Hobbies include reading ancient history, dabbling in other foreign languages, playing basketball on beautiful courts next to the beach, or dribbling the ball with the MIIS soccer club.

Amanda Morton

Research Lead

Amanda began her career as a forest scientist, and spent years educating the public on climate change, but pivoted to explore the connections between conspiracism and extremism at the Middlebury Institute, where she studies how extremist groups use technology to recruit new members and plan terror attacks.

Amanda has always been fascinated with conspiracy theory beliefs, and started following Flat Earth and anti-vaxx communities as a hobby. But it became clear during the COVID-19 pandemic that America’s love affair with conspiracy theories was turning deadly. The spread of medical conspiracy theories and vaccine disinformation led to more Americans dying. Amanda was one of the first scientists to report that Americans living in Republican counties were at greater risk of dying of COVID.

One of her goals is to develop a Holocaust education curriculum that teaches K-12 students about the rich history of Jewish resilience in the face of genocide.

Zach Ackemann

Budget Manager

Zach Ackemann is a current Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies candidate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, seeking to graduate in 2024. Zach is excited to work on the Project Gravity team implementing innovative counter extremism technologies, and is engaged in finding ways to bring those technologies to the individuals and communities who need them the most. Zach’s experience also includes planning, implementing, and leading multiagency training exercises and policy development programs for emergency services agencies and professionals, and he continues to work on training and policy development in the counterterrorism space.

Frances Breidenstein

Team Member

Frances is a graduate student at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism. Her research at CTEC focuses on extremism in online gaming spheres and far-right extremism. She's also a Graduate Research Assistant at Diverting Hate, where she researches the manosphere, gender-motivated terrorism, and violent misogyny. When she's not occupying her time writing or scraping the internet for vitriol, Frances can be found playing the guitar, singing, and taking photos.

Halle Shephard

Team Member

Halle Shephard is a Master’s candidate of Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies 24’ at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. She was born and raised in Maryland. She graduated from Middlebury College in 2022 majoring in International and Global Studies and minoring in Linguistics. She has spent her graduate and undergraduate career studying Russian and Japanese. Halle Shephard currently works at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies as a Graduate Research Assistant. Her work is centered around education projects for high school students interested in nuclear nonproliferation. She is passionate about inspiring young students to study nonproliferation and countering violent extremism.

Leo Eckel

Team Member

Leo is currently a second year graduate student at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey studying Nonproliferation and Terrorism (NPTS).