Erik Woodward 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.