Shanavian Smith graduated with honors from Spelman College in 2010 with a B.A. in International Studies. Upon graduating, Shanavian interned with the Peace, Programs, and Development department at The Carter Center under former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. She also worked with Habitat for Humanity International, where she contributed to donor relationship building, developed innovative data reporting tools, and advocated for affordable housing worldwide. She has since gone on to work for CARE (an international non-profit focused on development) supporting programs focused on sexual, reproductive and maternal health, primarily in the West Africa region. At Yale, Shanavian is focusing on the relationship between the public and private sectors, with an emphasis on how foundations and corporate social responsibility programs can better create sustainable solutions towards development.