About Us

The Sunwater Institute is a nonpartisan nonprofit interdisciplinary think tank based in North Bethesda, Maryland.


The Sunwater Institute’s mission is to strengthen the foundations of liberal democracy through interdisciplinary science, technology, and open dialogue.

What Makes Us Unique

Long-Term: Sunwater Institute focuses on long-term developments and solutions, and pays less attention to short-term election cycles, temporary trends and current headlines.

Data and Technology: Sunwater Institute leverages data and technology in ways that sustainably improve policy design, implementation, measurement, processes, and outcomes.

Nonpartisan: Sunwater Institute is proud to uphold an unbiased approach, ensuring that our work transcends political divides for the betterment of humanity. 



Our organizational values serve as guiding principles that define our culture, shape our actions and decisions, and support the team collectively in pursuing a shared vision of success.

We embrace creativity and forward-thinking, continuously seeking new and improved ways to drive positive change.

  1. Excellence: We strive for the highest standards of quality and performance in all aspects of our work, committed to delivering exceptional outcomes and exceeding expectations.

  2. Learning: We foster a culture of continuous learning, encouraging the acquisition of knowledge and skills to adapt and grow.

  3. Integrity: We uphold the highest ethical standards, promoting honesty, transparency, and trustworthiness in all our interactions and decision-making processes.

  4. Independence: We value the freedom to think, act, and make decisions autonomously, empowering individuals and the organization to contribute distinct perspectives and drive our collective success.

Our History

The Sunwater Institute was founded in 2017 by Matthew Chervenak and Stephany Yu, two American entrepreneurs with an interest in understanding how social systems are built, best operate, and can contribute to human and societal flourishing. Sunwater was born from their desire to create a unique research institute that could work to improve our foundational institutions over the long term.

What We Do

Sunwater creates and fosters ideas, collects data, conducts research, holds events, develops analytics, produces podcasts, and authors peer-reviewed papers, law review articles, policy papers, and blogs.


Sunwater brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines – natural science, law, business, political science, and economics – who engage in collaborative research and generate innovative policy recommendations on a range of critical long-term issues.


Matthew Chervenak is the President of The Sunwater Institute and responsible for its strategic direction, operations, and output.

The Sunwater Institute’s Board is composed of individuals from a variety of industries and is responsible for the Institute’s leadership, financial health, and independence.


Our Team
Mark Cohen's photograph

Mark Cohen

Senior Advisor

John Duffy's photograph

John Duffy

Senior Advisor

Walter Park's photograph

Walter Park

Senior Advisor

Matthew Chervenak

President and Chairman

Michael Hickey

Board Member

J. Eric McAndrew

Board Member

Stephany Yu


Dr. Jonathan Zifferblatt

Board Member

Congressman Daniel Lipinski's photograph

Congressman Daniel Lipinski

Senior Advisor

Honorable Philip Kiko's photograph

Honorable Philip Kiko

Senior Advisor

Sandra Strokoff's photograph

Sandra Strokoff

Senior Advisor

Charles Barnes's photograph

Charles Barnes

Account Executive

Matt Barnes's photograph

Matt Barnes

Sales and Operations Manager

Matthew Chervenak's photograph

Matthew Chervenak

Founder and President

Jessica Friedman's photograph

Jessica Friedman

Director, Marketing and Communications

Nick Harlan's photograph

Nick Harlan

Policy Analyst

Ani Harutyunyan's photograph

Ani Harutyunyan

Director, Research

Irfan Hussain's photograph

Irfan Hussain

Director, Data

King Laughlin's photograph

King Laughlin

Director, Development

Leo Meyers's photograph

Leo Meyers

Account Executive

Marah Qasem's photograph

Marah Qasem

Educational Programs Manager

Casey Burgat's photograph

Casey Burgat

External Scholar

Robert Gmeiner's photograph

Robert Gmeiner

External Scholar

Matt Jones's photograph

Matt Jones

External Scholar

Tim LaPira's photograph

Tim LaPira

External Scholar

Kenneth Lowande's photograph

Kenneth Lowande

External Scholar

Joseph Kochanek's photograph

Joseph Kochanek

External Scholar

William Matcham's photograph

William Matcham

External Scholar

Annelise Russell's photograph

Annelise Russell

External Scholar

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