Javid Ahmad (16) is a South Asia analyst and studies pressing security and counterterrorism issues in the region, with a particular focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan. He also works with the U.S. government on the region. Prior to Yale, he was a program coordinator for Asia at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a Washington-based think tank, where he focused on South Asia. Previously, he worked in the political and legislative section of the Embassy of Afghanistan and the public affairs office of Voice of America, both in Washington, DC. He has also worked on democracy promotion for organizations in Kabul. Javid’s writing has appeared, inter alia, in The New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, CNN.com, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, and The Daily Beast. He studied international relations at Beloit College and EU affairs at Vesalius College in Brussels. At Yale, Javid plans to study the intersect between law and politics.
Barrett Alexander (17) graduated with honors from Loyola University Chicago in 2005 with a B.A. in History. Following graduation, he received a commission in the Marine Corps and completed Naval Flight Training, earning his rating as a KC-130J pilot. Between 2009 and 2015, he served in Okinawa, Japan, deploying throughout the Pacific Region and Southern Afghanistan. He flew in support of humanitarian aid and disaster relief efforts in mainland Japan and the Philippines during Operation Tomodachi and Operation Damayan. While working as part of Theater Security Cooperation exercises, he held a wide range of positions in countries outside Japan that include Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, and Australia. Most recently, he worked on a headquarters staff coordinating the deployment of Marine aviation assets across the theater for contingency operations, such as the Nepal disaster relief. At Yale, Barrett plans to focus on energy security and national security in East Asia along with US-Japan relations.
Jillian Anderson (17) graduated magna cum laude from Colgate University in 2012 with a degree in International Relations and Japanese. Her senior thesis focused on the relationship between US aid and NGO organizational capacity with a focus on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zambia. While at Colgate, Jillian also served as a delegate on the 63rd Japan-America Student Conference (JASC) and as the American Executive Committee Chair of the 64th JASC. After leading the 64th JASC, Jillian joined AmniSure International, a QIAGEN company, where she worked in business development for a women’s health product. During the acquisition period, Jillian became very interested in managing change in a multicultural environment. She also continued to volunteer with a variety of non-profits in the Greater Boston area. At Yale, Jillian hopes to continue to explore the relationship between health and development and how to better manage multicultural operations in both the public and private sectors.
Rebecca Joy Anderson (16) graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from American University in 2012 with a B.A. in International Studies and a minor in French. As an undergrad, she concentrated her studies on international economic relations and international politics. Her senior thesis concerned international education governance and regional-global organizations, connecting ideas of power dynamics in international education to modern political economy movements. Outside the classroom, she has been involved in a variety of social justice causes, from cycling across the United States with Bike & Build in 2009 to assisting women's empowerment NGOs in Senegal.
Prior to graduate study, Rebecca worked for organizations in Illinois, Washington, DC, Senegal, and Turkey. Through internships and work with the Program on America and the Global Economy at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, UK Trade & Investment at The British Embassy, and Power Auctions LLC, she has researched a wide range of matters pertaining to international business, economic policy, innovation and growth. Most recently, she has lived and worked as a lecturer in the foreign languages faculty of a Turkish university on a Fulbright grant.
At Yale, Rebecca intends to continue her studies of political economy and global governance, through which she seeks to explore means of reconciling economic globalization with sustainable development and improved human rights.
Dev Banerji (17) graduated with high honors from UT Austin in 2009, where he earned degrees in English and psychology. Soon afterward he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the mountains of northern Thailand. There, Dev was elected onto the HIV/AIDS Committee and worked with local NGOs, high schools and rural communities to design and implement HIV/AIDS and Life Skills workshops. He lived in a Shan village a stone's throw from Burma and developed an English curriculum at the local schools. Peace Corps was such a once-in-a-lifetime experience that Dev decided to make it twice-in-a-lifetime and served soon after as a university instructor in Guizhou, China's poorest province. He taught English literature, writing, and cross-cultural studies; most of his students came from rural farming villages and were the first of their families to attend college. Most recently, Dev returned to Thailand as program manager of an NGO in Chiang Mai that offers aid to young male victims of sex trafficking. During this time he oversaw a substance abuse project, which provided harm reduction services to at-risk groups, and researched the male sex industry in Asia through the lens of human rights and forced migrant labor.
Anna Batarina (16) graduated with honors from the Moscow Finance University majoring in international finance. After graduation she worked at Ernst&Young International Tax Services in Moscow and then joined Uralkali, one of the largest global fertilizer companies, where she was Director of Capital Markets and Investor Relations. Anna’s achievements at Uralkali include a successful completion of the company’s IPO at the London Stock Exchange, as well as streamlining of the reporting function, including financial, annual and sustainability reporting. She also managed the relations with international investment banks and established a corporate broking program for Uralkali. Anna is a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) charterholder. She also holds an MS degree in Clinical Psychology from the Moscow State University. At Yale, Anna plans to combine her international finance experience and clinical educational background to focus on issues related to global health and strategic development of nonprofit organizations.
Sophia Azeb Berhie (16), originally from Huntington, West Virginia, graduated cum laude from Georgetown University in 2014 with a BS in Foreign Service and Certificate in African Studies. At Georgetown she served as a fellow at the Center for Social Justice and interned around DC at the State Department, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and on Capitol Hill. Sophia is currently a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow with the U.S. Department of State and will join the Foreign Service on completion of her Jackson degree. At Yale she will pursue studies focused on conflict in sub-Saharan Africa.
Tom Berry (16) graduated from West Point in 2006 with a B.S. in Art, Literature, & Philosophy and commissioned as a U.S. Army Infantry Officer. During his 7 years in the Army, he deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, where he led troops in a variety of security and development focused missions. After leaving the active duty Army, Tom lived in South America, spending time in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador, where he participated in a language immersion program and volunteered with youth empowerment programs aimed at increasing English language skills, educational outcomes, and creative vision for rural youth. He is also continuing to serve as an infantry officer in the Connecticut National Guard. At Yale, Tom plans to focus his studies on providing economic alternatives to violence for youth in conflict and post-conflict zones.
Shravan Bhat (17) was born in Bangalore, India and grew up across India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Germany. After graduating from Aston University in the United Kingdom with a BSc Business & International Relations (including an Erasmus exchange year at the European University Viadrina in Germany), he joined Forbes Magazine in Mumbai, India. As Senior Correspondent, he has focused on tech start-ups, social entrepreneurs, foreign investment into India and European affairs. In 2015 he was selected as an India-Germany Media Ambassador by the Robert Bosch Foundation and completed a summer fellowship with Manager Magazin in Hamburg, Germany. Aside from fluent English, Shravan speaks intermediate French, German and Hindi. At Yale, he plans to focus on the intersection between policy, business and development: how governments can catalyze sustainable, foreign investment in emerging economies.
Julie Bodenmann (16) graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University in the City of New York in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts and a double major in Political Science and Psychology. During her undergraduate studies, Julie found herself drawn especially to international relations and human rights courses. She was also a research assistant at the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War & Peace Studies. She hopes to build on her academic foundation during her time at Yale by completing international law and political science courses with a focus on human rights. Professionally Julie previously pursued a journalism career, interning with companies such as Psychology Today, Swiss Radio and Television, and the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, while gaining additional work experience in the communications departments of IBM Switzerland and Nestlé headquarters. As an intern at the Swiss Embassy in Santiago de Chile, she mainly worked with non-profit organizations that receive Swiss funding for social development and human rights projects, analyzed ongoing Chilean government reforms, and worked with visiting Swiss experts (mainly in the fields of democracy and political participation, consultation processes, constitutional reform, and energy efficiency). Julie speaks (Swiss) German, French, and Spanish fluently and hopes to improve her Italian.
Anna Brundtland (16) is a Fulbright scholar from Oslo. She graduated with First Class Honors in International Relations from the London School of Economics in 2013, focusing primarily on political theory and economic history, driven by her desire to explore the ways in which markets can best play a favorable role in state building. Before undertaking her BSc, Anna volunteered for a year in China as an English teacher and later as a volunteer for the water charity Voss Foundation. Prior to pursuing her M.A. at Yale, Anna thus worked for two years as a research analyst at Goldman Sachs in London, focusing on the retail sector. As part of her efforts to get a better personal understanding of the important interplay between economics, finance, politics and state building, Anna chose to leave Goldman Sachs and travel to Ramallah, West Bank to work for the United Nations. At the UN, she was part of the World Health Organization’s team establishing a Public Health Institute in the occupied Palestinian territories. She worked primarily on setting up and improving health registries, as well as acting as a speechwriter for senior WHO leaders and Norwegian politicians on Palestinian, public health and policy issues. Anna moreover worked part time as a research assistant at the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute as well as studying Hebrew. At Yale, Anna intends to focus on development economics, international human rights and sustainable development. She speaks English and Norwegian as well as basic Hebrew.
Nerea Cal (16) graduated with honors from West Point in 2006 with a B.S. in Comparative Politics. She was commissioned as an aviation officer and attended flight school, receiving her rating as a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot. From 2008 to 2011 she was assigned to the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade and served in a variety of leadership and staff positions and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. She served as an aviation liaison officer to an armored brigade in the Republic of Korea and most recently completed company command of an Air Assault Blackhawk Company in the 82d Airborne Division. Nerea plans to focus her studies at Yale on International Relations with a particular interest in political economy, national security, diplomacy, and Latin America. After completing her studies, she will be assigned as an International Relations instructor in West Point’s Social Sciences Department.
Tara Chandra (16) was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida. She graduated with Honors from the University of Chicago in 2011, double majoring in Political Science and Fundamentals: Issues and Texts. Most recently, she served as a Research Assistant at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think tank in Washington, D.C., where she was the lead researcher on a book about U.S. foreign and national security policy. In working on the book, Tara wrote extensive research papers, assisted with interviews of senior government officials, and managed the editing process. She has previously interned at the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Department of State, on the Hill, and at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. At Yale, she plans to study the intersection of women's rights and U.S. national security. Specifically, she is interested in assessing how the United States can craft better policies that treat women's rights as a vital national security concern in order to help other countries become both more stable and better partners in combating security threats.
Allison Cordell (16) graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Duke University in 2010 with a B.A. in Public Policy Studies and minors in Political Science and Russian Culture and Language. Prior to pursuing her M.A. in Global Affairs at Yale, she worked as a Program Assistant at the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. In this position, she supported the Mexico Institute’s research agenda and conference coordination. Earlier, she served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, where she advised municipal authorities on improving efficiency and encouraged citizen participation in local development. She previously was an intern for the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Allison completed a thesis at Duke, earning graduation with highest distinction with her thesis on democracy assistance in the Russian Federation. She plans to study economic development, rule of law, and security issues at Yale.
Justin Crocker (17) graduated magna cum laude from The Ohio State University in 2005 with a B.A. in Criminology and was commissioned in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer. He served as a platoon leader and executive officer with the 4th Infantry Division from 2006 to 2009 and deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Justin later completed the Special Forces Qualification Course and served as an Operational Detachment-Alpha commander and company commander with the 3rd Special Forces Group from 2011 to 2015. Justin deployed multiple times to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a Special Forces Officer. Recently awarded the General Wayne A. Downing Scholarship and a fellowship at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Justin plans to study U.S. national security strategy and diplomacy in Central and South Asia while at Yale. After completing his studies, Justin will return to the U.S. Army special operations community.
Robin Czerwinski (17) graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with highest distinction from the University of Michigan. She earned a B.S. in the Environment with a minor in Geoscience and a specialization in Aquatic Ecology. Her senior thesis, which earned highest honors, examined environmental factors that influence the breakup of Antarctic ice shelves. Interested in sustainable development, Robin studied abroad in South Africa and Costa Rica to gain a better understanding of the human impacts of both transnational and community-based conservation. Her collective efforts as an undergraduate earned her the prestigious Udall Scholarship. Robin has extensive experience working for the National Park Service. In just five seasons, she worked her way from intern to Supervisory Park Ranger leading the Division of Interpretation at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Prior to coming to Yale, Robin served as an Environmental Education and Community Outreach Specialist as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Mexico. Partnering with the Comisión Nacional de las Áreas Naturales Protegidas (National Commission of Natural Protected Areas), she helped community members living within the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve in Guanajuato live more sustainably. At Yale, Robin plans to study international environmental policy, with a specific focus on transboundary water resources.
Sofía del Carril
Sofía del Carril (16) is a Fulbright/Government of the City of Buenos Aires scholar, from Argentina. She earned a law degree from the Universidad Torcuato di Tella in 2009. Prior to coming to Yale, Sofía worked as an attorney specializing in capital markets and corporate law in Argentina, and served as a law clerk at the Superior Court and the Appeals Court of the City of Buenos Aires. She has lived in Mexico, where she studied abroad at ITAM in 2007, and in Washington, D.C., where she interned at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity in 2009. For years, she has been involved with social projects and non-profits, mainly in the field of entrepreneurship. At Yale, she intends to focus on Law and Development, exploring the relationships between rule of law and economic and political development. Sofía is fluent in Spanish, English and French.
Kathleen Devlin (17) graduated magna cum laude from Villanova University with a B.A. in Political Science and minor in Chinese Studies. Before coming to Yale, Kathleen worked as a Research Analyst with the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., conducting international public opinion polling on topics including globalization, democracy and economic attitudes. During this time Kathleen also wrote numerous publications analyzing international views of trade, immigration and foreign aid. Previously, Kathleen was a Fulbright grantee in southern Malaysia, where she spent a year teaching English and organizing English-language camps and events for secondary students in coordination with the American and Malaysian governments. At Yale, Kathleen wants to use quantitative analysis to examine economic relations between the U.S., Southeast Asia and China.
Hanan Elbadawi (MAS 16) completed her undergraduate studies at Cairo University with a BSc in political science, then earned a Master’s degree in international relations from the American University in Cairo, with a thesis titled “The Failure of State Building in Iraq: Dilemmas of a Forgotten Social Contract”. She has a professional background in diplomacy and communications. She accumulated work experience in governmental, non-governmental and regional institutions. The bulk of her career in diplomacy was spent working as a desk officer at the cabinet of the former Secretary General of the Arab League, Amre Moussa, and as a political aide to his chief of staff. She has worked extensively on Arab and Middle Eastern affairs, including the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, the situation in Gaza, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. She also worked as a speech writer for the former Secretary General. Hanan is also a published writer with a profound interest in arts and culture. She took part in a number of independent art projects including creative writing and storytelling workshops. Moreover, she has been an active participant in the public sphere in Egypt and was a member of a number of youth groups and social movements after the Jan 25th revolution. Hanan is enrolled for a one year Master of Advanced Study in Global Affairs.
Dira T. Fabrian (16) graduated with Honors from the University of Indonesia in 2010 with a Bachelor of Social Science in International Relations. While in college, she joined the English Debating Society of the University of Indonesia, participated in the 2009 Harvard National Model United Nations in Boston, and interned at the Indonesian Consulate General in Mumbai. Her final year dissertation was about the South Korea-US FTA negotiation. After graduation, Dira joined the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a Diplomatic and Consular Officer. She graduated from the Junior Diplomatic School as the valedictorian and had her short diplomatic assignment in the Indonesian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. There she attended various UN meetings, made reports, and assisted the Indonesian delegation during the 66th Session of the General Assembly. Since March 2012, she has been assigned to the Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. At Yale, Dira plans to focus her study on security and development issues in Southeast Asia.
Anders Fridén (16) is a graduate of the University of Oxford with a BA in History and Persian, primarily focused on modern Middle Eastern history. Anders developed his interest for the region when he served as a military interpreter at Swedish Armed Forces’ Interpreter Academy. He volunteered to take part in the ISAF operation in Afghanistan in 2009, where he worked asan intelligence analyst based in Sar-e Pul. Within the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Anders has also pursued a civilian career since 2011 with three postings at Swedish embassies around the world. He was posted to the Embassy of Sweden in Tehran, Iran, where he established a new consular section for British citizens in Iran. In the aftermath of the Afghan presidential elections in 2014, he employed his skills in Persian while acting as a European Union Election observer based in Kabul. At Yale, Anders intends to concentrate on International Law and American Foreign Policy.
Kristrun Frostadottir (16) graduated from the University of Iceland in 2011 with a B.Sc. in Economics. During her undergraduate studies she worked for the Director at the Governor’s Office at the Central Bank of Iceland, on matters relating to the IMF’s Stand-by-Agreement with the Icelandic government after the economic crisis. After graduation she worked as an Economic and Policy Analyst at Arion Bank’s Research Department. At Arion bank she focused on sectors such as natural resources and industry and analyzed the economic effects of changes in Iceland’s fisheries management legislation, providing policy advice to the parliamentary committee overseeing the reform. She moved to the US in fall 2012 and graduated from Boston University with an MA in Economics in January 2014, where she was a Dean’s Fellow. During her last semester at BU she worked as a journalist on the editorial board of Iceland’s main business newspaper, Vidskiptabladid, reporting on economic affairs in Iceland and abroad. Before joining the Jackson Institute she worked as an economist and project manager in a working group for the Icelandic Prime Minister’s Office, on monetary reform in Iceland. She speaks Icelandic and English with native fluency, and has advanced knowledge of Spanish and Danish. At Yale, Kristrun intends to focus on public and international finance and demographics.
Sarah Gerstein (17) graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2007 with a B.S. in Comparative Politics with honors. She commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Military Intelligence Corps and attended initial intelligence training at Fort Huachuca, Arizona before reporting to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Sarah was assigned to the 525 Battlefiend Surveillance Brigade, where she deployed to FOB Sykes, Iraq as a signals intelligence platoon leader. Upon her return to Fort Bragg, she served in a variety of leadership and staff positions. She deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan as an intelligence officer in 2010-2011. Sarah most recently completed company command of a military intelligence company in the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. While at Yale, Sarah plans to build on her military experiences with a focus on grand strategy and security studies. After completing her studies, she will be assigned as an International Relations instructor in West Point’s Department of Social Sciences.
Lissa Glasgo (17) graduated cum laude from Rice University in 2010 with a BA in English Literature, concentrating in journalism and creative writing. Shortly after graduation, Lissa joined the U.S. Peace Corps and served for two years as an education volunteer in southeastern Benin. There, she taught English in a rural public junior high school and developed and implemented a number of educational resource improvement and girls' empowerment projects at the local and regional levels. Following her service, Lissa returned to the U.S. to continue her work in international development and gender empowerment, working with the Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University on projects and research related to mobile health (mHealth), very young adolescent sexual health education, gender norm transformation across the life course, and gender-based violence. At Yale, Lissa will focus her studies on social innovation, gender norms, and the research methods needed to learn about how the two interact in developing countries and contexts.
Birce Gokalp (17) was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. She graduated with high honors from Bogazici University, double majoring in Political Science & International Relations and Management. Prior to her MA in Global Affairs, she interned at Microsoft in Istanbul for a year in the communications team, undertaking responsibilities in the media relations both at the local and global levels. She attended Stanford University for a summer quarter taking courses on economics and social entrepreneurship and received the certificate for International Management. As an undergraduate, she studied abroad at SciencesPo Paris focusing on European integration and multiculturalism, interned at Turkish Policy Quarterly, worked in the business development team of a tech startup and volunteered in Gaziantep, in Southeastern Turkey. At Yale, she plans to focus on changing face of media, and its links to democracy and policy making as well as to gender studies
Beth Mara Goldberg
Beth Mara Goldberg (17) graduated with honors from Georgetown School of Foreign Service in 2012 with a BS in International Security Studies and a certificate in African Studies. Most recently, she worked at Freedom House on Middle East and North Africa Programs, designing and implementing programs across the region to criminalize torture, engage women in politics, and legalize free expression. She previously worked with Namati on post-conflict rule of law and with Amnesty International on mapping the Arab Spring conflicts. Prior to working in Washington D.C., she taught refugee youth in Kenya and conducted an ethnography of the Somali diaspora across Kenya, Europe and the United States. She was a recipient of the Humanity in Action Fellowship in 2012 through which she studied Islamophobia and international human rights legal mechanisms. At Yale, Beth plans to pursue studies in diplomacy and the intersection of human rights and technology. She hopes to focus on issues of internet freedom and the democratizing effects of technology in repressive regimes.
James Gorby (17) graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2009 double majoring in Chinese and Economics. As a cadet, James spent a semester abroad at Peking University in Beijing China. He received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the armor branch. Upon finishing training, James was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division, where he deployed to Maysan Province in southeastern Iraq as a platoon leader from 2010-2011. After serving as a platoon leader and concluding a period of staff time, James was assigned to Korea. Most recently, he served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone at Panmunjom Truce Village. At Yale, James hopes to study political economy, globalization, diplomacy, and to continue honing his language skills. Following graduation, he will continue to serve the Army as a Chinese language instructor in West Point's Department of Foreign Languages.
Shashank Iyer (17) graduated with honors from UC Berkeley with a BA in Political Science, focusing on refugees and displaced populations. His honors thesis explored the feasibility of land for peace agreements in settling territorial disputes, with an emphasis on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Shashank has also studied at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey and has conducted field research in Syria and Lebanon. After Berkeley, Shashank served as a US Peace Corps volunteer in a rural fishing community in the Philippines for 27 months. There, he implemented and facilitated environmental and livelihood education trainings, improved English language skills for students and teachers of his host community, fund-raised for the creation of a livelihoods education center and partnered with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement trainings for educators from conflict-affected regions of Muslim Mindanao. Most recently, Shashank worked for USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), where he reviewed and evaluated proposals for projects to provide assistance to populations marginalized and displaced by armed conflicts, droughts, floods, food insecurity and disease in East and Central Africa. Shashank is a joint-degree candidate with the Jackson Institute and Yale School of Management. At Yale, Shashank will study issues related to disaster management, with a focus on forced migration, displacement and resettlement. Shashank is fluent in Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Tagalog and English and possesses limited working proficiency in Spanish and Turkish.
Jacobs, Joshua (17) graduated from the University of Oxford in 2013, before working in the UK Parliament as Researcher to the Prime Minister’s Envoy to the Sahel. In this role he focused on the politics of Mali and Niger, as well as on British energy security. He now works as a freelance journalist with a particular interest in the intersection of politics and human rights issues. Other internship and professional experience include stints at Haaretz newspaper in Tel Aviv, The Independent in London, and a Washington DC foreign policy think tank. At Yale he will specialize in US foreign policy and international law, particularly as they relate to military intervention and engagement with multilateral institutions. He speaks fluent French and Spanish, and gets by in modern Hebrew.
Míriam Juan-Torres (16) graduated with honors from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona with a Degree in Law. As a student in Barcelona, she became actively involved in UNANIMUN, the International Relations association of her university. Her active involvement in Model United Nations around the world lead her to be elected president for two consecutive years. While studying law, she also interned at the law firm Baker&McKenzie and worked as a research assistant in the Department of Public International Law of her university. In 2013 she was awarded the prestigious scholarship by the Catalan foundation "La Caixa" to pursue her post-graduate studies in the United States. At Yale, she plans to focus on Security and Justice, furthering her studies in the rule of law, disarmament, and security.
Zeinab Khalil (17) graduated from the University of Michigan--Ann Arbor where she studied International Relations, Middle Eastern Studies and Gender, Race & Nation. She wrote her honor's thesis on the prospects for democratic outcomes following post-military coup parliamentary elections. She was a Middle East policy intern at The Century Foundation, where she researched civil society mobilization, security sector reform, and women and militarization. She previously worked with Nazra for Feminist Studies in Cairo, where she co-published a report on military policy against women human rights defenders. She is a Kathryn Davis Award recipient, which she used to start QUWA, a women’s anti-violence and political organizing program for displaced Arab women. She previously lived in Turkey working with Syrian refugee women, and more recently lived in Brooklyn where she worked at the Arab American Association of New York as a community organizer and policy associate. At Yale, Zeinab will delve into the intersections of militarism, state-civil society relations, and regime change and democratization.
Aprille Knox (17) graduated magna cum laude from Boston College in 2011 with a B.A. in International Studies and a minor in Philosophy. As an undergraduate at BC, she concentrated her studies in ethics and international social justice, with a focus on post-conflict environments. After graduating, Aprille served as a public health educator with the Peace Corps in Guinea, West Africa. She worked with local health care providers, agricultural cooperatives, and youth groups to build community awareness of priority health issues, including maternal and newborn child health, family planning, and nutrition. Most recently, Aprille worked for Results for Development Institute (R4D), based in Washington D.C., as part of their governance team. There, she worked closely with civil society organizations throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia to support their efforts to hold governments accountable for delivering education, health, and other vital public services. At R4D, Aprille also co-authored a working paper examining the strategic decision-making and impact of think tanks in response to political, economic, and social context factors. Aprille is deeply interested in exploring the role citizens can play in demanding change from their gorvernments, and plans to focus her studies at Yale on the impact citizen participation can have on improving development outcomes.
Izabela Kolodziej (17) was born in Poland. She graduated with a B.A. in Politics and East European Studies from University College London (UCL) in 2013, focusing on Russian foreign policy. During her degree she interned for the highest political offices in Europe, including Office of the President of Poland, Polish as well as British Embassy in Moscow and Office of the President of the European Parliament in Brussels. She was an active member of the students’ community, serving as the President of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at UCL. She was selected to represent Poland at many youth conferences and leadership projects in Belgium, Germany and Canada. Prior to attending Yale, Izabela worked at a political communications company in London, and had been involved in a project organised by a Polish Member of the European Parliament, aimed at empowering women in her province in South East of Poland. At Yale, Izabela will focus on international security and conflict resolution while looking specifically at the Caucasus region. She is interested in strengthening her conceptual understanding of conflict and the reason for which war happens in the context of political, economic and military components of policies. She will then attempt to apply learnt concepts in investigating the security threats of the frozen conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Michael Kolton is a US Army major serving as a Foreign Area Officer (FAO) specialized in China. Foreign Area Officers are regionally focused experts in political-military operations with advanced language skills, cultural understanding and the ability to advise senior military and civilian strategic decision-makers in an era of persistent conflict. Most visibly, FAOs serve as military attaché at US embassies.
Before becoming a FAO, Michael served as an infantry officer with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2008, he led a platoon from a joint security station in Baghdad and conducted counterinsurgency operations with the Iraqi police and army. From April 2011 to April 2012, Michael led an infantry company at a combat outpost in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. As the senior ranking American officer, he led 150 American Soldiers partnering with over 1200 Afghan security personnel. Michael’s unit lived and operated with the Afghan army, border police, and local police. He was responsible for security, governance, and development across three Afghan districts.
From 2005-2007, Michael was a graduate fellow at the East-West Center. He holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the United States Military Academy at West Point. At Yale, Michael is pursing a multidisciplinary approach to further understand China and the Asia-Pacific region.
Eugene Larsen-Hallock (16) is a California native fresh off a ten-year stint in South Korea. Immediately before coming to Yale, Eugene was with the Korea Institute of Public Finance, a quasi-governmental think tank. There he collaborated with officials from the World Bank and the Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance in the establishment and operation of a knowledge sharing network for finance ministry officials spanning most of the East Asia and Pacific region. Alongside his work and studies, Eugene has been active as a Korean-to-English translator, working on projects for clients including the World Bank, Samsung, and the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games. He is also an award winning translator of Korean prose and has lectured in literary translation at the post-graduate level for both the Literature Translation Institute of Korea and the Ewha Women’s University Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation. He has previously translated scripts for the National Theater Company of Korea and is currently participating in a government-funded project to make classic works of modern Korean fiction freely available online. Eugene’s academic history includes a B.A. in philosophy from UC San Diego and graduate studies in Korean literature at Seoul National University. His studies at Yale will focus on global finance, public-private collaboration—and the means by which sustainable fiscal and economic reform can be achieved.
Emilie Leforestier (17) is from France. She graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. During her studies, she focused on strategy, interning at a strategy firm in Amman, Jordan and ultimately working as a research assistant for McGill's Centre of Strategic Studies. She also completed a minor in Art History. Upon graduating, she sought to link her academic background with her interest in the European public sector and joined the European Investment Bank as a strategy analyst. She then moved to strategy consulting, working for McKinsey & Co. in Europe and North Africa with a focus on healthcare, pharmaceuticals and education. She took time off to volunteer for an education NGO and support the healthcare component of USAID's Jordan Competitiveness Program in Amman, Jordan. At Yale, she plans on focusing on the intersect of business and government and Middle Eastern politics. She also hopes to study Arabic and join Yale's climbing team.
Stephanie Leutert (16) graduated from Skidmore College in 2011 with a B.A. in International Affairs and Spanish Literature. Prior to attending Yale, Stephanie worked as a Research Associate in the Latin America Studies program at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York. There she focused on emerging economic, political, and security issues in the region, and contributed to the 2014 CFR Task Force on North America. Previously, Stephanie conducted field research on refugee policy in Ecuador in collaboration with Asylum Access Ecuador and CODHES. She has also researched war torture in northern Uganda in partnership with the African Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims. While at Yale, Stephanie looks forward to focusing on economic development and international trade in the Americas.
Hongwei (Lesley) Li (16) graduated from Fudan University in 2013 with a B.A. in Philosophy. She also studied abroad in Yale University and the University of California, Irvine (UCI). In Shanghai she conducted field research on the education situation for children of migrant workers. In India Hongwei served as a volunteer where she taught English and hygienic knowledge to slums kids. Hongwei’s internship experience in China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs and Huainan Municipal Commission of Education gave her deep insight into policy implementation within China. In addition to being fluent Chinese and English, she is learning Japanese. At Yale, Hongwei hopes to further pursue her interest in developmental policies with a cross-sector perspective.
Liza Lin (MAS 16) is a Fulbright scholar from Singapore, and a reporter with 9 years of experience across Asia. Liza graduated from Nanyang Technological University in 2006 with a degree in journalism, and started work with Bloomberg Television. There she field produced and reported from events such as the IMF/World Bank meetings in Singapore, anti-Thaksin riots in Thailand, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation Summit. In 2010, Liza moved to Shanghai, reporting on China's growing consumer and automotive industries for Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek, and covered politically important events including China's National People's Congress, the World Economic Forum Tianjin. During her five years in China she has reported from locations such as labor strikes in Guangdong province, middle-class riots in Hangzhou. A co-written investigative magazine article on Amway, China and Harvard was selected as one of three finalists for the 2014 Society of Publishers in Asia Awards Excellence in Business Reporting. At Yale, Liza hopes to learn more about international political economy in developing nations in Asia.
Jay Locke (17) is from Decorah, Iowa. He graduated with honors from Oglethorpe University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a minor in Economics. As an undergraduate student, he designed and managed a rural agriculture research project for an NGO in Mewat, India, and completed an internship in corporate internal audit for Newell Rubbermaid, a manufacturing company in Atlanta, Georgia. After graduating, he continued to accumulate experience in corporate internal audit with SunTrust Banks and Newell Rubbermaid and was licensed as a Certified Public Accountant. Starting in 2013, he served as a Community Economic Development advisor for the Peace Corps in Kakamega, Kenya. While there he facilitated the development of Village Savings & Loan Association microfinance projects and small businesses with community groups, and developed an interest in the historical legacies and statistical measurement of African economies. At Yale, Jay intends to focus on African economic history and improving statistical capacity in African states.
Eric Lockhart (16), a native of New York City, graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in economics in 2007. Prior to returning to Yale, Eric was a Leadership Gifts Associate at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), where he worked on private fundraising with a focus on the IRC's Board and Overseers. Eric also volunteered as the Executive Director of the New York branch of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP), overseeing the day-to-day operations of YPFP New York alongside the long-term planning and strategic development of the branch. Before the IRC and YPFP, Eric worked at Merrill Lynch in the Investment Management and Guidance group, where he focused on portfolio construction and asset allocation. He is pursuing a joint degree in global affairs and business at Yale with a focus on public-private partnerships in the context of women and girls’ economic empowerment.
Carmina Mancenon (17) is a Filipino raised in Tokyo, Japan. She graduated from Princeton University in 2014 with a BSE in Operations Research and Financial Engineering. Prior to attending Yale, she worked in the advisory arm of BlackRock in New York City providing capital markets strategy design of multi-asset investment and hedging portfolios for global institutional clients including pension funds and governments. At Princeton, she partnered with Endeavor Global for her thesis, titled: "The Startup Spring: Leveraging Public Policy to Increase Capital Pools for Technology Startups in Turkey and Jordan". She also spent time in the Sales & Trading division of Citigroup in New York City, Infosys Technologies in India, and the Jabulani Rural Health Foundation in South Africa. In 2010, she presented Stitch Tomorrow, a social enterprise she co-founded, at the World Economic Forum in Davos as a British Council Global Changemaker. At Yale, she is pursuing the Joint Degree Program in Management and Global Affairs (MA/MBA) as a Silver Scholar with the Zannoni Goldman Sachs Scholarship for Global Business and Leadership. She hopes to deepen her knowledge of economic development and financial policy in relation to entrepreneurship.
Monik Markus grew (16) up in Puerto Rico. She graduated with honors from the University of Florida with a B.A. in Political Science and a certificate of International Relations. Upon graduating, she moved to Washington, DC to work in the office of Puerto Rico’s Sole Resident Commissioner in Congress, The Honorable Pedro R. Pierlusi. Thereafter, she joined the Afghan Embassy in DC, where she assisted H.E. Ambassador Eklil Hakimi in negotiating a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between the U.S. and Afghanistan. She later was put in charge of the embassy’s public affairs department, where she interacted with journalists, academics, U.S. government officials at the Department of State, Department of Defense, and others in the international community to bolster the embassy’s communications activities amidst Afghanistan’s 2014 presidential elections. At Yale, Monik hopes to further her knowledge of global governance and its legal foundations as they pertain to international security and gender equality/female empowerment policy.
Nelly Mecklenburg (17) graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Chicago in 2011 with an Honors B.A. in History, concentrating on 20th century comparative gender and race studies. As an undergraduate, she studied in France and South Africa and worked with women’s economic development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, including helping to establish a women-owned and run ice cream shop in Butare, Rwanda. After graduating, she continued her work in this region, organizing international conferences on economic and health development priorities with the Cecilia Attias Foundation for Women and Richard Attias and Associates, a strategic communications firm based in New York City. She has consulted for the New York City Department of Education and sustainable energy investments in Africa. Most recently, she returned to Rwanda to work with the Akilah Institute for Women, East Africa’s first all-women's college. At Yale, she plans to study the role of women’s empowerment in international development and stability.
Reeva Misra (17) graduated from Oxford University in 2014, majoring in Experimental Psychology. There she focused on research in multisensory integration, publishing experimental findings with the Oxford Crossmodal Lab. After graduation, she worked in India exploring how technology and social media can be used for achieving gender equality. She worked for human rights organisation Breakthrough in New Delhi, exploring sexual harassment in the city. Following this, she produced and directed a digital campaign with film production house Eros International against stereotyping and discrimination in the media. Alongside this, she launched a scholarship scheme that will allow the brightest underserved Indian children to attend the top universities around the world through a fully funded and mentored scholarship. The scheme is to receive its first intake in 2016. At Yale, Reeva looks forward to focusing on technology and development, with a special interest in start-ups in India.
Mela Louise Norman
Mela Louise Norman (16) graduated from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service with a B.S. in International Politics in the spring of 2008. Shortly thereafter she hit the campaign trail, joining the Obama campaign’s voter protection team in north Florida where she worked with a team of attorneys to ensure Floridians had equal access to the vote.
Mela Louise spent the subsequent five years serving in the Obama Administration. She got her start as a White House intern in the Office of First Lady Michelle Obama, where her duties ranged from policy research to planting a demonstration garden on the South Lawn. Mela Louise’s interest in foreign policy soon brought her to the Pentagon, where as a Defense Fellow she rotated through three different offices over the course of two years: the Office of Threat Reduction and Arms Control; the Joint Staff Pakistan and Afghanistan Coordination Cell; and the Office of Asia Pacific Security Affairs, where she was ultimately hired as Country Director for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. In that role, she was responsible for developing defense policy recommendations, strengthening U.S. relationships with key allies and partners in the region, and twice led the planning and execution of ministerial meetings attended by the U.S. Secretary of Defense, U.S. Secretary of State, and their foreign counterparts.
Just prior to joining the Yale community Mela Louise was serving as Special Assistant to the Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, the lead advisor to the Secretary of Defense on all defense policy matters in the Middle East and Africa.
During her time at the Jackson Institute, Mela Louise will study national security, with a focus on how both traditional and non-traditional security issues shape the international environment. Mela Louise hails from California, and misses the sunshine every day.
Eddy Gicheru Oketch
Eddy Gicheru Oketch (16) holds a BA from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. As the founder of Peace for Africa and Economic Development (PAD), he is committed to developing and implementing a unique and comprehensive model aimed at empowering Kenyan youth by providing an integrated and grassroots approach to peace building through economic empowerment.
An Alumni of Friends School Kamusinga (2008) and an inaugural graduate of the African Leadership Academy based in South Africa (2010), he brings great insights, passion and skills to the organization from his international exposure and deep understanding of the various challenges and opportunities facing the African continent in general, and youth in particular.
At a tender age, he worked extensively with Action Aid International in the development of the girl child project in the Kuria District of Kenya with a focus on reproductive health and acquisition of basic education. He also worked with Equity Bank Limited focusing on pre-university program development for the Bank’s Foundation. He is a Global Changemaker with the British Council, and a frequent discussant and panel leader in high profile global forums such the World Economic Forum on Africa, the May 2012 G8 Summit and the Clinton Global Initiative University. He also trained as a UNESCO International Youth Peace Ambassador in Penang Malaysia and consulted with the MasterCard Foundation head leadership in Toronto Canada on youth entrepreneurship and engagement strategy. Through his work with PAD, Eddy won the 2012 Impact Award from the Kenya Diaspora, Washington DC, and was named one of the top 30 under 30 most influential young people in the African continent in 2013.
Andrew Reeves (16) previously served as a Country Director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he helped shape and implement U.S. defense policy in South Asia. He also spent seven years as an analyst studying a variety of international security issues, most recently the conflict in Afghanistan. In this role, Andrew deployed to Kandahar Province in 2010 and 2012 as an advisor to the ISAF Regional Commander, and he subsequently led one of the U.S. Government’s flagship strategic assessments of the Afghan insurgency. He has also studied regional security dynamics in Eurasia and interned at the U.S. Mission to NATO. A native of Pensacola, Florida, Andrew graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2007 with a B.A. in Government and International Relations. At Yale, Andrew plans to study international security and grand strategy.
Maria Rodríguez Domínguez
María Rodríguez Domínguez (17) is a career diplomat from Mexico. She holds a MSc in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics, a BA in International Relations from UDLAP in Mexico, and a Certificate in Political Studies from Sciences Po Grenoble in France. After joining the Mexican Foreign Service in 2009, Maria served as Assistant Director at the Protocol Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico. From 2012-2015, she was posted to the Consulate General of Mexico in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where she worked as Head of the Cultural, Press and Education sections and was in charge of organizing cultural activities, managing education, science and technology cooperation programs, as well as of serving as media liaison for the Consulate. Her professional background also includes work with international organizations on areas such as electoral observation, political crisis prevention, and human rights monitoring in Latin American countries. At Yale, Maria plans to focus her studies on international development cooperation and foreign policy-making. After completing her studies, she will resume her diplomatic career to continue serving her country abroad. Maria is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, English and French.
Alessandra Sanchez Godinez
Alessandra Sanchez Godinez (17) holds a BA in Economics from Mexico's Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM). She is mainly focused on poverty and inequality reduction through the design of sustainable public policies. She collaborated as a volunteer for Techo, a Latin-American NGO focused on poverty reduction, since she was 17. Alessandra also has experience working in housing, migration and public health projects. For the last couple of years she worked as a research analyst in Mexico's central bank (Banco de Mexico). At Yale she will focus on economic development, sustainability and demographics.
Tiago Sanfelice (16) graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania completing majors in Political Science and International Relations. He received a Critical Language Scholarship from the US Department of State to undertake intensive language study in Russia. In addition, Tiago founded Penn’s Assembly of International Students to advocate for the interests of foreign students before the university administration. During his three years at the National Democratic Institute in Washington, DC, Tiago worked on programs to strengthen good governance in Lusophone and Francophone Africa. As a Program Officer, Tiago trained local organizations on civic and voter education and served as an international election observer in Angola and Madagascar. Furthermore, he helped design and implement projects to enhance political parties’ outreach capacity in Mozambique. At Yale, Tiago looks forward to studying the role of non-state actors in development, South-South relations and anti-corruption. Originally from Brazil, Tiago speaks Spanish, Russian and French in addition to English and Portuguese.
Nitsan Shakked (16) was raised in Israel and is a first-generation immigrant from Iranian Kurdistan and Morocco. She holds a BSc in Geology, Atmospheric Science and Oceanography from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an MSc in Hydrogeological Modeling and Applied Environmental Sciences from the University of Tübingen in Germany. She has worked as a researcher at the Geological Survey of Israel and as a consultant in various geo-engineering projects internationally, collaborating with the Dead Sea Preservation Government Company, the Technion Institute, the Israeli Ministry of the Environment, and USAID. Before Jackson, Nitsan directed an EU-funded international project that developed a portable, rural, and inland desalination plant running solely on wind and solar energy. The plant grants access to safe drinking water in remote locations, eliminating public health issues related to Fluor and Arsenic contamination.
Nitsan speaks Hebrew and German, and is a translator of Arabic and Yiddish prose and poetry. She is currently translating two novels from Arabic to Hebrew and is co-authoring a forthcoming theoretical text on translating conflict languages. Nitsan was a peace activist in Israel/Palestine and has also operated an emergency hotline for LGBTQ youth. In addition, she has researched clandestine immigration following the Arab Spring in Lampedusa, Italy, and forced migration resulting from the Syrian civil war.
At Jackson, Nitsan plans to work on the intersection between political conflict and natural resources, especially in the MENA and Sub-Saharan regions. She is interested in applying her scientific knowledge to the creation of sound environmental policy, thus negotiating between cutting-edge scientific innovation and international development.
Mardy Shualy (16), a native of Baltimore, graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Government & Politics and a B.A. in Linguistics. As an undergraduate, he focused on the intersection of development and ethnic conflict, completing an honors thesis on the role that development projects played in the run-up to civil war in modern Sri Lanka. After graduating, Mr. Shualy spent more than two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa. He worked on education and community development projects in a rural village, teaching, training teachers and establishing a community library. Following his Peace Corps service, Mr. Shualy participated in a research project funded by the Swedish Folke Bernadotte Academy investigating instances of mediation in intrastate ethnic conflicts in Africa.
At Yale, Mr. Shualy plans to study the role international development organizations play in countries undergoing political transitions, and the monitoring and evaluation of governance reform projects.
Lawule Shumane (17) is a University of Cape Town (UCT) graduate who recently completed her masters’ dissertation on assessing the role of school-level stakeholders in improving the provision of services in the basic education sector. As an economics scholar, Lawule’s interests lie at the nexus of politics and economics – understanding how governments, globally, can better service their populations, thus, gradually reducing citizen deprivation. Professionally, Lawule has been actively involved in South Africa’s civic society as she worked for a non-profit labour research organisation where she published articles on the behaviour of South African multinationals in other African countries regarding their Community Social Responsibility and Environmental practices, as well as a study of CEO remuneration for listed companies in South Africa. Additionally, Lawule has worked for UCT’s Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice assisting in the research, development and implementation of their inaugural Leading in Public Life Programme. As a student Lawule is an involved in Remember and Give, a student development organisations whose aim is to develop and use the capacity of students to raise funds for education projects in disadvantaged communities in Cape Town, through the Student’s Health and Welfare Centres Organisation. At Yale, Lawule hopes to focus on the political economy of development and apply her learnings to her home continent. She plans remain active in many of the causes she champions such as global access to quality education.
Grigory Shutko (17) graduated cum laude from Moscow State University with BS and MS in Quantitative Methods in Economics in 2006. Since then he has been involved in high profile consulting assignments with Accenture ("05-"11) and The Boston Consulting Group ("11-"15), mostly in Energy sector. Grigory has been assisting clients and leading teams all over the globe - in Russia, US, China, Japan, Mongolia, Italy and Kuwait, doing feasibility assessment for inter-country power trade, redesigning IT function for power giant serving 40 countries, running Post Merger Integration Office for the largest integration in energy industry, facilitating takeover and turnaround for the Russian car maker. At Yale, Grigory will focus on his passion - removing institutional barriers for international projects, trade and introducing necessary changes to the way governments operate.
Timothy Stone (16) graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts in 2006 with a B.A. in Political Science. Immediately after graduation he was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force. During his seven-year career as an Intelligence Officer he completed assignments at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada as well as deployments to Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, and Camp Marmal, Afghanistan. He worked in a variety of units, including an Information Operations Team, two Fighter Wings, an Aggressor Squadron, and an Intelligence Fusion Center. This diversity of experience has allowed him to perform intelligence analysis at both the strategic and tactical level. At Yale, Timothy intends to study national security, diplomacy, and failed states.
Tim Sullivan (16) graduated in 2007 from Boston College with a B.A. in Political Science. Prior to attending Yale, he served for over a year in Kabul, Afghanistan, as an advisor to the commander of the NATO coalition’s counter-corruption task force. Before his deployment, Tim worked as a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he helped launch and manage AEI’s Center for Defense Studies. At AEI, Tim researched and wrote about a range of national security issues, including NATO operations in Afghanistan, piracy and extremism in the Horn of Africa, and the United States’ nuclear force posture in Asia. Most recently, Tim has directed the business development efforts of Praescient Analytics, a veteran-owned technology services start-up. At Yale, Tim plans to study the factors that shape the development of institutions in post-conflict and transitioning states.
Sarah Tolbert (16) is a second-year dual degree Master of Environmental Management (MEM) and M.A. in Global Affairs student. She worked for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin organizing farmer’s co-operatives and promoting sustainable agriculture practices. Wanting to use her new skills in French and managing projects overseas, she stayed in Benin to work with the non-profit Songhai and the Government of Benin’s rural agriculture extension agency. She was in charge of creating a micro-lending program for women farmers and worked closely with women farming groups to install easy-to-use irrigation systems. Upon returning to the states, Sarah took her field-work experience and explored agriculture and international development from a different angle, working with the International Food Policy Research Institute. For her MEM, she researched the impacts of protected areas on local livelihoods with the International Gorilla Conservation Programme in Rwanda and Uganda. At Yale, Sarah focuses her studies on ways to better incorporate conservation practices into international food policy and development, particularly in the Congo Basin.
Elizabeth Verardo (16) graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2007 with a B.S. in Political Science. She received her commission as a Second Lieutenant in the aviation branch, and attended flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama, qualifying as an AH-64D Apache Pilot. Shortly thereafter, Liz was assigned to the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, where she deployed to Khost Province in eastern Afghanistan as a platoon leader from 2009-2010. Upon redeployment, Liz served a year as the battalion logistics officer before returning to Fort Rucker for additional training. Liz most recently deployed as a Company Commander with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) to Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. At Yale, Liz hopes to build on her military experiences with a focus on national security and U.S. foreign policy. Following graduation, she will continue to serve the Army as an American Politics, Policy, and Strategy instructor in West Point's Department of Social Sciences.
Loren Voss (16) graduated with Honors from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in International Relations and Psychology. During this time she interned at the State Department and at the non-profit Presidential Classroom. In addition to a M.A. in Global Affairs at the Jackson Institute, she is also pursuing a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She spent the last five years as an Intelligence Officer for the United States Air Force. As the Chief of Intelligence for a F-15C fighter squadron, she participated in Baltic Air Policing and aided in the redesign of Baltic threat warning and reporting. She also trained with European and Middle Eastern air forces, focusing on increasing interoperability between countries. In the spin-up to the Libya conflict, she took over the intelligence directorates of three fighter squadrons, leading to the first U.S. fighter strikes in the country. She spent the last year and a half at the Air Forces Central Command leading an eighteen-member team that serves as the Air Force’s expert on Middle Eastern air forces and tactics. In this role, she organized and chaired two conferences that created the Air Force’s reference document for understanding and training to threat air forces.
Andrew Watrous (17) previously spent three years at the National Foreign Trade Council in Washington, D.C., where he worked on trade policy and composed economic and political analysis of developments in North Africa for members of the US-Libya Business Association. As a Fulbright researcher Andrew conducted a study of political bargaining in Moroccan municipalities, focusing on the Justice and Development Party and Socialist Union of Popular Forces in the cities of Beni Mellal, Tetouan, Rabat, and Agadir. Andrew is a recipient of the Fulbright Critical Language Enhancement Award and completed the Arabic summer school program at Middlebury College. Andrew is also a graduate of the Center for Arabic Study Abroad program in Cairo, Egypt and a 2009 graduate of Princeton University with a degree in Public and International Affairs.
Garrett Wong (16) was raised in Maui, Hawaii and graduated from Yale College in 2009 with a Bachelor’s in architectural design. Following graduation, he was awarded a Richard U. Light Fellowship for a year of study at the Kyoto Consortium of Japanese Studies where he focused on Japanese language and architecture. Garrett’s focus on architecture in Asia includes conducting historical preservation field research in Phnom Penh for the Vann Molyvann Project and practicing architectural design in Tokyo at Atelier Bow-Wow and in Kyoto for Eastern Design Office. Since 2011, Garrett was a project design architect in New York at Steven Harris Architects where he contributed to a range of private residential projects from Manhattan to Taipei while working concurrently to establish the Building Roots Project, a non-profit dedicated to helping immigrants strengthen ties to their countries of origin through economic development, international exchange, and community outreach. With the Building Roots Project, Garrett directed immigrant remittances to develop a community center in Apirede, Ghana. Garrett is returning to Yale to pursue a joint-degree program in global affairs and business with a focus on integrating global corporate expansion with the economic needs of local communities.
Sakir Yilmaz (16) graduated from Ankara University, Faculty of Political Sciences in 2005. Between 2006-2010, he worked as an assistant expert/expert at the Capital Markets Board (CMB), the first and oldest financial regulatory authority in Turkey. He examined and evaluated the registration applications of the publicly held companies for their security issues and completed initial public offerings of several companies. At the end of 2010, in line with his long-term objectives and his personal interest in international relations, Sakir joined to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey and secured an appointment as a desk officer at the Deputy Directorate General for Security and Intelligence Affairs. He was in charge of covering international terrorism issues as well as the international organizations and treaties to which Turkey is a party. In October 2012, Sakir was appointed to the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad as a political officer. He followed political developments in Iraq and prepared reports with policy recommendations, also served as the Embassy’s action officer for the United Nations Mission in Iraq. At Yale, Sakir plans to focus on international security studies.
Yang Zhang (17) received a BA in International Politics and a BA in Public Administration from Renmin University of China in 2009. After that, he served as a civil servant in the Policy Research Office of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Tianjin Committee for over six years. The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference is China’s top political advisory body. Tianjin is one of the four province-level municipalities in China. In that institution, Yang has reviewed more than 500 policy recommendations made by CPPCC Members; drafted or edited 265 reports and speeches; participated in 16 large-scale research projects, and attended 21 major policy consultation conferences, including 4 Plenary Sessions of the CPPCC National Committee, which are among the most important political conventions in China. At Yale, he plans to focus on international economics and international development policies. He hopes that his experiences in China will allow him to make more contributions to the whole developing world.