Nelly Mecklenburg 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.