Desha is a doctoral candidate at Stanford, where she researches the effects of international organizations on local institution-building. She is devoting her fellowship at CDDRL to completing her dissertation, "Why being resource poor helps postwar development." For her dissertation, Desha carried out field work in Mozambique and Uganda. In addition, she is conducting a study on democracy promotion after regime change by investigating the impact of US intervention in Panama, where she also did field work. Another study investigates the effects of remittances on access to public goods in Mexico. Desha's advisors at Stanford include Jim Fearon, Steve Krasner, David Laitin, and Jeremy Weinstein.