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 focuses on energy security and national security in East Asia along with US-Japan relations.
Roberta Allport (18) graduated from Oxford University in 2013 with a 1st Class Honours degree in archaeology and anthropology. An avid enthusiast of applied social sciences and international relations, Roberta was heavily involved in several international relations publications and societies during her undergraduate studies. Upon graduating, Roberta interned for Nathan Associates London Ltd, an International Development Firm in London, before returning to the Caribbean to intern for the Caribbean Farmers Network, a St. Vincent-based grassroots regional farmers advocacy group where she worked with members of all 13 CARICOM states to set policy recommendations addressing the concerns of small farmers across the region. She has since gone on to work for a sustainable tourism start-up, and later held a position as the project officer in a relief programme set up in the wake of a devastating tropical storm in her native Dominica. At Yale, Roberta plans to focus on international finance, trade and economic development, with particular emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean.
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 is exploring the relationship between health and development and learning how to better manage multicultural operations in both the public and private sectors.
Rebecca Joy Anderson (17) 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 undergraduate, 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 lived and worked as a lecturer in the foreign languages faculty of a Turkish university on a Fulbright grant.
At Yale, Rebecca is continuing 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.
Gracia Angulo Duncan
Gracia Angulo Duncan (18) graduated from Harvard College in 2010 with a B.A. in human evolutionary biology. Prior to attending Yale, she lived in Mexico City for three years working for the Harvard David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies as Program Coordinator and later as Program Director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Gracia also previously worked in Paris, France at Shearman & Sterling LLP as a Legal Assistant for the International Arbitration team for two and half years. She was born in Honduras and grew up in Jamaica before moving to the U.S. to study at Phillips Academy and Harvard. She speaks fluent English and Spanish and is proficient in French. At Yale, she plans to focus on the role of multilateral and international organizations in combating corruption in Central America, as well as explore the relationships between law, governance, and development.
Pat Austria (18) is a graduate of William and Mary where she double majored in international relations and business with a concentration in entrepreneurship. At 18, Pat accepted an offer at the World Bank’s Innovation Practice as one of the first and youngest members of the Mapping for Results team—a groundbreaking initiative aimed at improving the discussion and distribution of foreign aid. In her sophomore year at college, she started The Lunas Project--a disaster management platform that leveraged crowdsourcing technology and geospatial tools to improve rescue and relief efforts in the Philippines. Pat also helped start the Data for Development category of the Big Ideas competition where she mentored a number of students to help them develop innovative projects with social impact. After college, she went on to become an Analyst at the World Bank Governance Practice and the Director of Communications at Global Playground. At Yale, Pat hopes to study how we can leverage technology to improve international development and empower citizens.
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.
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 and 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 focuses on the intersection between policy, business and development: how governments can catalyze sustainable, foreign investment in emerging economies.
Hitoishi Chakma (18) earned a bachelor of social science with Honors from the University of New South Wales. For his honors research, Hitoishi explored the interrelation between identity construction, development and state making, against the backdrop of the civil conflict that afflicted the borderland regions of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the 80s and 90s. A recipient of the AusAID Development Scholarship in 2009, he is a native of Bangladesh and belongs to the indigenous Chakma people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. He has interned with Save the Children Australia, and has also worked as a writer for the Bangladeshi national daily The Daily Star. Since UNSW, Hitoishi has been working at BRAC, focusing on market based approaches to development. At BRAC, Hitoishi has primarily worked on digital financial inclusion, and lead research efforts for the Microfinance Programme and also the Social Innovation Lab. At Yale, Hitoishi plans to explore market based approaches to development especially focusing on how developments in digital financial services can empower the poor.
Ellen Chapin (18) graduated as a Jefferson Scholar with highest honors from the University of Virginia in 2014 with a B.A. in foreign affairs and political philosophy, policy, and law. Inspired by the aftershocks of the Arab Spring, Ellen studied abroad in Tanzania and Morocco to discuss emerging political parties, gender divides, and resurgence of Islamic fundamentalist groups in the region. Her work there inspired her to lead a team of grant researchers to Tanzania the following summer to coordinate with the World Vegetable Center to teach business-owning women about sustainable agribusiness techniques. Additionally, Ellen’s thesis examined the application of the human right to health in East Africa, specifically focusing on prevention and treatment of malaria and HIV/AIDS. After graduation, Ellen spent two years at the U.S. Department of Justice, where she worked to calculate and monitor trends for national white collar crime takedowns, to write policy memos regarding criminal healthcare fraud filed with Congress, and to assist with trials against top executives at BP following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. At Yale, Ellen is excited to return her focus to security issues in East Africa, and plans to study international strategy, particularly containment of radical Islam in Zanzibar and beyond.
Ziyou (Andrea) Chen (18) graduated with first honor from The University of Hong Kong (HKU) in 2013 with a bachelor of journalism and a double major in sociology. Following graduation, she joined the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based English newspaper, reporting on China's foreign and defense policy from both Hong Kong and Beijing. She covered breaking news, major issues and events including the missing flight of MH370, the South China Sea disputes, China's military parade, and interviewed serving and former diplomats and politicians, including German Ambassador to China Michael Clauss and former US Energy Secretary Steven Chu. At Yale, she hopes to learn more about American foreign policy and work towards more nuanced and informed reporting on US-China relations. She would also like to consolidate her knowledge base on economics and international law.
Ibe Chukwuma (18) graduated cum laude with a B.Sc. in interdisciplinary studies, with a concentration in political and economic development in Africa, from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. While at Old Dominion, Ibe obtained a certificate of completion, as a PepsiCo Fellow, from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business Summer Institute for General Management.
Prior to Yale, Ibe worked as a senior training specialist at leading U.S. defense contractors. During his time with the firms, Ibe traveled extensively across Africa advising regional security units and managing U.S. government capacity building initiatives in the defense/security sector. Ibe’s professional experience includes assignments in Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zambia. He has collaborated with international partners, including British and Dutch military advisors, on program implementation in Uganda. Ibe has served as a guest speaker in the USAFRICOM Regional Studies elective at the National Defense University’s Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia.
Ibe joins Jackson's MA program with a focus on business, government and the international economy. He is exploring how government policies influence decisions by firms and industries, and vice-versa. Ibe’s interests include foreign direct investment, infrastructure development, capital markets, macro and micro policy issues in emerging and frontier markets in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
Chris Conklin (18) graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Fordham University in 2014 with a B.A. in political science and a minor in economics. Before and during his studies, Chris served as a Marine Corps Reservist with the 6th Communications Battalion based out of Brooklyn, NY. He completed a deployment to Southern Afghanistan in 2011 where he worked in the area of communications. Following graduation, Chris served as a Community Economic Development advisor with the Peace Corps in El Salvador. He primarily worked with his community’s development association to strengthen their internal management practices and promote community participation. He also assisted the association in carrying out several community development projects. At Yale, Chris plans to focus his studies on migration, demographics, and diplomacy with a particular interest in Latin America.
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. Justin is a recipient of the General Wayne A. Downing Scholarship and a fellowship at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. At Yale, Justin focuses on 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 studies international environmental policy, with a specific focus on transboundary water resources.
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 uses quantitative analysis to examine economic relations between the U.S., Southeast Asia and China.
Zack Devlin-Foltz (18) grew up in Washington, D.C. playing baseball and occasionally spending summers in the Dominican Republic volunteering and playing more baseball. He graduated with a B.A. in economics and political science from Macalester College in Minnesota. After Macalester, he spent a year studying soccer fans and thugs in Paraguay, Argentina, and Mexico as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, before moving to Cairo to work on his Arabic while researching the relationship between state capacity and Islamism. More recently, Zack spent 4.5 years as an active duty Marine Corps Infantry Officer, serving on islands in the Pacific, on boats in the Middle East, and with a training/advising team in Guatemala. In 2015, he became a Foreign Area Officer for Latin America and will serve in that capacity as a reservist while at Yale. After leaving active duty, he spent several months traveling and learning French, first in Belgium and then in Mali. He is fluent in Spanish, getting pretty good at French, and can sometimes still fake it in Egyptian Arabic. At Yale, he will hone his statistical skills and apply them to questions emerging from the intersection of conflict and economic development.
Lydia El Bouazzati
Lydia El Bouazzati (18) was raised in Morocco where she lived until age of 20. She then left for France to continue her engineering studies and then started working in Paris as an engineer in a major oil & gas company. She was then expatriated in Angola for more than three years, first in the capital Luanda then on an FPSO - Floating Production Storage and Offloading unit- located one hundred miles from shore in the Gulf of Guinea and producing more than 250 kbpd. After that, she came back to Paris to develop the design of new oil & gas installations. During her nine-year career, Lydia developed her expertise in oil, water and natural gas process design and exploitation, deep offshore wells, subsea technologies, FPSO exploitation, troubleshooting and optimizing production systems.
Lydia speaks Berber, Arabic, French, English, Spanish and Portuguese. She loves Near Eastern antiquities, 19th and 20th century European paintings, piano concerts and operas, French and Arab literature. She also likes swimming.
At Yale, Lydia plans to study energy policies development. She is interested in contributing in solving global energy issues like energy poverty, environmental pollution, increase in energy consumption, etc. and she aims to approach these issues from multiple angles: engineering, law, economics and policy.
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 is building 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 focuses 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. Before coming to Yale, 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 focuses on the 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 is pursuing studies in diplomacy and the intersection of human rights and technology. She focuses 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 studies political economy, globalization, diplomacy, and is continuing to hone 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.
Robert Greiner (MAS 17) is an Army strategist who specializes in defense planning, policy, and strategy. He is a 2002 graduate of Ohio University with a B.A. in sociology. Robert’s military career spans 17 years and includes time as an enlisted artilleryman as well as armor officer on the M1A1 main battle tank. He most recently worked at the Department of Army Headquarters in Washington, DC where he led policy development for irregular warfare, security cooperation, and international military engagement. Prior to this Robert was assigned to the Department of State as a military liaison within the Management Bureau. Here he advised senior State officials on issues pertaining to chief of mission authority and the integration of diplomatic and defense capabilities. Throughout his career Robert has also served as a military advisor to the Iraq Army and Iraq Department of Border Enforcement, a cavalry troop commander and executive officer, heavy armor platoon leader, and enlisted cannon crewmember. While at Yale, Robert seeks to broaden his understanding of the national security apparatus with a focus on foreign policy and international security.
Tatsuro Imai (18) graduated from the University of Tokyo, Japan, in 2011 with a B.A. in economics, primarily focusing on microeconomics, game theory, and finance. Prior to Yale, he worked at the government of Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism for five years. Tatsuro’s main field was maritime policy; he engaged in law-making with regard to protection for ships against Somali pirates and indemnification for ships conveying Iranian oil to Japan. During this time, he also drafted white paper about land use, concentrating on measures for sustainability of communities and safety from national disasters, as a chief writer.
At Yale, he plans to pursue studies in international politics and security, especially maritime security in the Asia-Pacific region.
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 studies 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.
Joshua Jacobs (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 specializes in U.S. 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.
Youngmin Jo (18) is a Foreign Service officer from the Republic of Korea (ROK). He graduated from Seoul National University with a B.A. in psychology and joined the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2013. Prior coming to Yale, Youngmin was dealing with the North Korean nuclear issue during North Korea’s fourth nuclear test and the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2270. He was part of the ROK delegation in numerous bilateral and trilateral consultations between the ROK and the U.S., Japan, China, and Russia as Special Assistant to the ROK’s chief nuclear negotiator for the Six-Party Talks. From 2007 to 2009, he served in the ROK Army for two years. At Yale, Youngmin plans to study security issues in the Asia-Pacific region and management. Youngmin was raised in Seoul, New Jersey, and Minnesota.
Luke Johnson (18) graduated cum laude from Claremont McKenna College in 2009 with a degree in government. He also studied Russian at International University in Moscow, eventually becoming proficient in the language. After graduation, he lived in Washington and worked as a journalist. He got his start writing on the 2010 elections for The American Independent, a nonprofit news outlet. He then moved to the D.C. bureau of The Huffington Post, where he was a politics reporter and associate editor, covering campaigns, Congress, and breaking news. He also worked for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, writing on developments in the post-Soviet region and reporting on foreign policy. In addition to reporting from Washington, he has reported from Moscow, where he earned a Knight Foundation fellowship, and Ukraine, where he was a freelance reporter.
At Yale, Luke hopes to concentrate on post-conflict development and state-building in fragile states.
Ross Kastner (MAS 17) graduated cum laude from The Citadel in 2006 with a B.S. in business administration. He commissioned into the Army as a field artilleryman and, after completing the officer basic course, deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon returning, Ross served as a platoon leader and deputy operations officer before transitioning to the military intelligence career field in 2011. Following intelligence officer training, he served as a battalion intelligence officer for an artillery unit in the 4th Infantry Division. He later took command of a brigade headquarters company and deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2013, Ross was accepted into the Foreign Area Officer program and proceeded to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA for a year-long course of intensive Russian language study. From there, he was assigned to the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany for a 14-month period of regional training and immersive travel in and around the former Soviet Union. Ross plans to focus his studies at Yale on international security and diplomacy with an interest in Eurasia. After completing his studies, he will return to the U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer field.
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's studies focus on the intersections of militarism, state-civil society relations, and regime change and democratization.
Zachary Kitt (18) graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned a B.A. in global studies. He also studied abroad in Salvador de Bahia, complementing his regional emphasis on Latin America. After graduating in 2012, Zachary began working as a business analyst in the e-commerce industry. Over the next few years he worked for and with start-ups and small businesses in the Greater Los Angeles area before taking on a role as a web developer and, ultimately, lead web developer. He also interned as a research assistant at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, where he worked on several projects concerning human rights-based approaches to development for the Czech government and researchers at Charles University. While at Yale, Zachary is interested in researching how nations interact with cyberspace, as well as how they use it as an instrument for interacting with each other.
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 governments. At Yale, Aprille focuses her studies 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 the Office of the President of Poland, the Polish as well as the British Embassy in Moscow and the 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 organized by a Polish Member of the European Parliament, aimed at empowering women in her province in South East of Poland. At Yale, Izabela focuses 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
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 focuses on the intersect of business and government and Middle Eastern politics.
Hongwei (Lesley) Li (17) graduated from Fudan University in 2013 with a B.A. in philosophy. She also studied abroad at Yale University and the University of California, Irvine (UCI). In Shanghai she conducted field research on the education situation for children of migrant workers. While in India, Hongwei served as a volunteer teaching English and hygienic knowledge to children living in the slums. 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's studies focus on developmental policies with a cross-sector perspective.
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 focuses on African economic history and improving statistical capacity in African states.
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.
Grant Mandigora (18) graduated from the University of Cape Town (UCT) with a bachelor of social science in organizational psychology and a post-graduate diploma in marketing management from the University of South Africa (UNISA). He has extensive experience in managing operations for premium retail brands in South Africa. More recently he has worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)/UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) as a Regional Trade Coordinator focusing on Renewable Energy for Southern Africa. At Yale, Grant will concentrate on energy, and hopes to combine this with an MBA from Yale’s School of Management.
Manus McCaffery (18) graduated from Stanford with a focus on energy and environmental policy. Afterwards, he moved to Mongolia to work with the Ambassador at Large of Mongolia. For three years, Manus worked on regional energy and environmental policies alongside numerous ministers, parliament members, and policy experts. His focus was on nuclear energy – in particular, how to sustainably mine uranium and increase international security and cooperation. In this position, Manus was a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo’s (Todai) Department of Nuclear Engineering, as well as a visiting lecturer to PhD students for a Seoul National University and Todai summer school on multilateral energy cooperation. Manus was in Japan when the Fukushima Daiichi disaster struck, and in the ensuing instability became deeply involved in nuclear education as well as in multi-country policy talks. He then relocated to Ecuador and worked in environmental risk management and biodiversity conservation efforts for USAID and USAID-funded projects. Manus often traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he coordinated the risk management component of a Food for Peace project. Manus has also traveled to Honduras and Malawi to author environmental assessments, and to Haiti, El Salvador, and Paraguay to lead environmental compliance workshops. Most recently, he completed an MPhil at the University of Cambridge. At Yale, he plans to focus on the intersection between energy consumption, the environment, and security.
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, her studies focus on the role of women’s empowerment in international development and stability.
Agnivesh Mishra (18) graduated with Honours from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in political science and economics. During his undergraduate years, he was extensively involved in Model United Nations (MUN) conferences and consistently won awards in major MUN competitions, including at Harvard University. Agnivesh went on to complete a master's degree in political science at the University of Waterloo, where his thesis concerned the role of soft power in nation branding and diplomacy, utilizing the example of the Bollywood industry in helping achieve Indian foreign policy objectives. While working for the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service division of the Canadian Consulate in Shanghai, Agnivesh contributed to the development of Sino-Canadian bilateral relations through political economic reporting on regional issues and public relations initiatives. During the time, he was also working as National Policy Director for STAND Canada and contributed to Canadian policy engagement in Central Africa, including preparing a recommendation paper to implement the Disarmament, Demobilization and Re-integration (DDR) program for combatants in the Sudans.
Prior to Yale, Agnivesh worked with the Alberta public service in different capacities including in international trade, immigration and sustainable energy policy. He helped expand Alberta's commercial profile in China, Korea, Japan and India through trade promotion, engagement with local and international Asian stakeholders and developing Asia-oriented market research reports; contributed to policy development to enhance skilled immigration into Alberta; and, advanced Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) policy initiatives in Alberta and the world through the development of a robust provincial engagement strategy on CCS.
Agnivesh is fluent in English, Hindi, Oriya and Urdu, has conversational working proficiency in Mandarin Chinese and knows basic French. At Yale, Agnivesh will be pursuing his interest in diplomacy and foreign policy studies with a focus on South Asia and East Asia.
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 organization 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 focuses on technology and development, with a special interest in start-ups in India.
Mark Parker (MAS 17) is an international security analyst for the U.S. government focused on the intersection of political affairs and defense issues. His work has focused on examining how organizational structure and interpersonal relations shape foreign policy and civil-military relations. He previously served as a staff assistant on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, preparing members of Congress and staff for hearings with senior defense officials, diplomats, and experts from academia. Mark is a native of Washington, D.C. and graduated from the University of Michigan in 2007. At Yale, Mark intends to study strategy and international security.
Sebastian Pfülb (18) graduated summa cum laude with an interdisciplinary B.A. in liberal arts and sciences from Maastricht University’s honors college, focusing on international affairs and Middle East politics. Sebastian has received several research grants for the work on his senior thesis, which examined President Obama’s Middle East policy in the wake of the 2011 revolutions and was jointly supervised by faculty from Maastricht University and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Prior to his graduate studies at Yale, Sebastian spent more than two years in the Middle East, working as a Project Manager & Research Fellow for the Regional Office Gulf States of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Germany’s most prominent political foundation. In this capacity, he was responsible for the design, implementation, and evaluation of development interventions in the fields of good governance, economic development, and civil society as well as high-level policy dialogues.
At Yale, Sebastian plans to study the mechanics of economic and political development to gain a better understanding of how outside actors can help build more efficient and effective public institutions that foster sustainable and inclusive growth in the post-revolutionary Arab world.
Sebastian is also a fellow of the Studienstiftung, Germany’s most prestigious academic institution.
Michael Pizzi (18) graduated from Williams College in 2012 with a B.A. in history and Arabic studies, also studying a semester abroad at Damascus University in Syria. He spent the year after graduation as a Fulbright Fellow in Jordan, where he researched the demands and challenges for Internet access in refugee camps and, later, worked as an Arabic-English translator for Syria Direct, a news outlet based in Amman. He has worked as a journalist ever since, including several years as a foreign policy reporter for Al Jazeera America in New York. He also reported for Al Jazeera from Jordan, where he wrote about spillover from the Syrian war, and from Paris after the 2015 terror attacks. As a freelancer, he has written for several major publications on topics from Internet censorship to the European refugee crisis, including contributing to a forthcoming “guidebook” to Europe for newly arrived refugees. In summer 2016, he was selected to participate in an EU-funded workshop in Budapest on violent online political extremism. He plans to explore this issue further at Yale, focusing his studies on the intersections between violent conflict, international law, and the Internet.
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 focuses 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.
Van Salih (18) was born and raised in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. She graduated from the University of Sulaimaniyah, Iraq in 2006 with a degree in architectural engineering. After graduation she joined the restoration project carried out by UNESCO at Erbil Citadel in the Kurdistan Region, where she discovered that the conservative social norms regarding women had a profound influence on the urban design and architectural elements of Erbil Citadel. After finishing the restoration researches of 18 houses, Van joined ExxonMobil Kurdistan Region of Iraq, as a supervisor to lead the company’s signature programs devoted to female empowerment. In this role she had the opportunity to work at the very heart of the international response to the humanitarian crisis arising from the large numbers of the internally-displaced people and refugees from Syria in the Kurdistan Region. She also continued to volunteer with a variety of women’s organizations. Her work with women activists who are tackling issues such as honor killings, gender-based violence, rape and female genital mutilation has inspired her to devote her life to assisting those who are less fortunate.
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 focuses on economic development, sustainability and demographics.
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 labor research organization 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 was involved in Remember and Give, a student development organization 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 focuses on the political economy of development and hopes to 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 in 2006 with a BS and MS in quantitative methods in economics. Since then, he has been involved in high-profile consulting assignments with Accenture (2005-2011) and The Boston Consulting Group (2011-2015), mostly in energy sector. Grigory has been assisting clients and leading teams all over the globe - in Russia, the US, China, Japan, Mongolia, Italy and Kuwait, doing feasibility assessments for inter-country power trade, redesigning IT functions for power giant serving 40 countries, running the Post Merger Integration Office for the largest integration in the energy industry, facilitating the takeover and turnaround for a Russian car maker. At Yale, Grigory is focusing his studies on his passion - removing institutional barriers for international projects, trade and introducing necessary changes to the way governments operate.
Tang Zongzhong (18) graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2013 with a BSc. in International Relations, and has strong interests in emerging markets, especially China and Southeast Asia. In China, Tang lived in four different cities of varying levels of development, and prior to attending Yale, Tang worked in Singapore for two and a half years as a risk consultant at Blackpeak Group, an Asia-focused research firm. His responsibilities included the management and execution of complex pre-investment research, political risk analysis, business intelligence and fraud investigation assignments across Southeast Asia and Greater China for both private and public sector clients.
Tang’s earlier experiences also include working at the Peruvian Embassy in London as a research assistant focusing on domestic political issues in the UK, as well as volunteering with an environmental NGO in rural Uganda. While at Yale, Tang looks forward to deepening his knowledge on the political, economic and security challenges in Asia, as well as exploring the interactions between politics and business in emerging markets in general.
Rebecca TeKolste (18) joins Yale after returning from Peace Corps service in Guatemala, where she worked on the maternal and child health project with a rural Mayan community. There she worked with indigenous mothers on issues of nutrition and healthy pregnancies. She also focused on training health center staff on adult learning methodologies and interactive education techniques.
Before her Peace Corps service, Rebecca worked with a nonprofit that focused on workforce development in the Chicagoland area. After her Peace Corps service, Rebecca worked on evidence-based policymaking and program evaluation through the Pay for Success Initiative at the Urban Institute.
Rebecca graduated Phi Beta Kappa and cum laude from Northwestern University in 2012. She holds a bachelor of arts in political science with an honors degree in international studies. Her studies focused on Middle East politics. Her studies in Jordan and Peace Corps service inspired her to study gender issues and the secondary effects of American foreign policy. She speaks Spanish, some French, and has fading skills in Arabic.
William Thornberry (18) graduated cum laude from Wake Forest University in 2011. Most recently he worked for a large information technology company in the Middle East and Washington, DC. Previously he was an intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he was a contributing author to a study on the future of al Qaeda. At Yale, Will intends to focus his studies on international security.
Loren Voss (17) 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 18-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.
Erik Woodward (18) graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in anthropology and international relations from the University of Arizona in 2011. His senior thesis explored the ability of innovative microfinance lending structures to promote social reconciliation and economic development in post-conflict societies, and included field research in rural Guatemala.
After graduating, Erik returned to Guatemala to work for a small, non-profit organization as a human rights observer. Based out of remote areas of the country, Erik monitored the compliance of the Guatemalan government and multi-national corporations to domestic and international human rights frameworks in the context of large-scale development projects. Erik furthermore provided independent monitoring of Guatemala’s judicial system, observing the adherence of rural courts to domestic legal procedures and law. Erik’s reports were used to lobby the international diplomatic corps to pressure the state of Guatemala to adopt and adhere to pro-human rights laws, policies, and practices. At Yale, Erik will study the role of law in state building and economic development, with an emphasis on how creative legal approaches to human rights craft stronger, more just, and responsive states.
Will Wright (18) graduated from Duke University in 2006 with a B.A. in English and was commissioned in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer. He deployed to Baghdad from 2007-2008 and again in 2009 to Fallujah. Will 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 2012 to 2016. Will deployed to Afghanistan from 2012-2013 and again in 2014. He completed another special operations deployment in 2016 prior to matriculation at Yale. A recipient of the General Wayne A. Downing Scholarship and a fellowship at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Will plans to study U.S. national security strategy, diplomacy, and multidisciplinary approaches to counterterrorism while at Yale. After finishing at the Jackson Institute, Will plans to return to the special operations community.
Lauren Wyman (18) graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University in 2014 with a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology. Her senior thesis focused on the impact of a randomized controlled lizard invasion on spider populations on small Bahamian islands. After graduation, Lauren received a Princeton in Latin America fellowship to work at the UN World Food Program (WFP) in Panama, where she supported food assistance programs in Central America and spearheaded an urban programming campaign. Lauren then joined WFP’s office in Bogotá, Colombia, where she served as the climate change and resilience focal point. During that time, she managed a $200,000 emergency preparedness response fund to build government capacities to respond to El Niño and La Niña. Lauren developed adaptation projects with indigenous and Afro-Colombian populations along the Colombia-Ecuador border and wrote a climate change and resilience strategy for the organization, which will frame future environmental initiatives. At Yale, Lauren hopes to continue to explore the relationship between the environment and development and how to incentivize the private sector to invest in humanitarian affairs.
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 for six years as a civil servant in the Policy Research Office of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Tianjin Committee. The CPPCC is China’s top political advisory body. Tianjin is one of the four province-level municipalities in China. In that institution, Yang 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 focuses 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.