Go to the U of M home page
25 Years

Graduate Students

Agyei Boakye, Oforiwaa Pee

Geography, Environment & Society
Email Address: agyei005@umn.edu

Brought up in Ghana, Oforiwaa Pee Agyei-Boakye developed a deepened interest in sustainability and urban planning issues in her formative years. Her long-term goal is to contribute to a sustainable transportation network to meet the fast pace of urbanization in Africa. Pee has a masters in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning and a bachelors in Development Planning from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. She is a LEED Green Associate certified professional and an American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) candidate. Pee has been involved in sustainability and urban planning efforts through academic research, volunteering and leadership positions in the US and sub-Saharan Africa. She has professional experience working with Kantar Millward Brown, Vidaris Inc., Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission. She is a climate justice work group member for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Environmental Justice Advisory Council ( NEJAC) and an Appalachian Trail Next Generation Advisory Council Member for Appalachian Trail Conservancy. She has won various awards such as the Hulet Hornbeck Emerging Leaders in Trails scholarship by the American Trails Association, the Philadelphia Future Leaders Graduate Scholarship by the Urban Land Institute, Leslie and Greta Spaulding Education Fund Scholarship, Francis Pitkin and Richard P. Byler Charitable Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation Scholarships; and Richard G. Bickel Planning Education Award Scholarship by the American Planning Association Pennsylvania Chapter, PWC GreenBiz Emerging Leader as well as the Kate Goldstein Emerging professionals scholarship.

Alarcon Espinoza, Giovann

Applied Economics
Email Address: alar0013@umn.edu
Country: Peru

Anantharaman, Harsha

Geography, Environment & Society
Email Address: anant055@umn.edu

Harsha is from Chennai, India. He has a Bachelor's and a Master'a degree in History from the University of Madras and University of Delhi respectively. In his Master's, he focused on modern India, writing papers in the fields of economic, political and cultural history. Between 2013 and 2017, he was an activist-researcher in Chennai, India working with informal waste workers (waste pickers). During this time he developed an abiding interest in the dynamics of labor, capital, informality and caste/class politics as they play out in the city's Neoliberalizing waste-scapes. In the Ph. D, he hopes to substantially deepen this engagement through research that foregrounds the histories, spatialities and work of indigenous waste pickers, including historical geographies of their migrations into cities as well as the spaces, times and relationships that contour their ife and work in the modern Indian city.

Asante-Wusu, Isaac

Geography, Environment & Society
Email Address: asant017@umn.edu
Country: Ghana

I grew up in Awutu-Bawjiase, a farming locality in the Central Region of Ghana.  I have a bachelor’s degree in Development Planning from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. I also hold a master’s degree in Geography from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I am currently enrolled in the PhD program in Geography, Environment and Society at the University of Minnesota. My main academic interests lie in urban and development geography. In terms of urban geography, I am interested in the urban political economy of African cities, urban planning, sustainable urban development, and the politics of urban services provision. With respect to development geography, my interests lie in inequality in access to potable water supply, poverty, and economic globalization and its impacts on the demographic and spatial growth of cities in Africa. My PhD dissertation project is focused on urbanization and inequality in access to municipal water supply in the Accra-Tema City-Region of Ghana.

Bargi, Drishadwati

Asian Languages and Literature
Email Address: bargi003@umn.edu
Country: India

Drishadwati is from Kolkata, India. She has done her M.Phil in Women's Studies from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. She did her M.A and B. A in English Literature from the same university. Her M.Phil dissertation interrogated the creation of caste markers in  three canonical Bengali novels that were published in the decades close to India's Independence from the British rule in 1947. In her PhD, she wants to understand the relationship between caste as an identity and space as one of its major determinants through an analysis of the mythologies and chronicles of the city of Kolkata. She has also been actively writing for online portals, journals and magazines in which she has discussed and debated issues related to caste, gender, student politics, affirmative action, food politics etc. 


Bhattacharya, Sayan

Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies
Email Address: bhatt229@umn.edu
Country: India

Sayan Bhattacharya is a queer activist and journalist from West Bengal, India. He has completed an M.Phil in Women’s Studies from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. For his PhD, he would like to understand how transgender people are accessing citizenship across caste and class specificities in India and how these negotiations are disrupting and/or getting folded within normative frameworks of the nation state. Sayan volunteers for a number of groups in Bengal working on gender, sexuality and disability rights. Recently, he co-organised a 3 day Disability and Gender Rights workshop as a platform to explore the possibilities of alliance building between Bengal's transgender movements and disability movements. He has organised queer reading circles, film screenings and several meetings between the media and queer communities to address the sensationalist coverage of LGBTIQ movements in the media. 

Bokun, Anna

Email Address: bokun001@umn.edu
Anna is a Sociology PhD Student from Chicago. She received her BA in Political Science from the University of Chicago and MA in European Studies from NYU. Her Master's Thesis examined how the transition from socialism to market-driven competition impacted credit access in Central and Eastern Europe. Her doctoral research explores labor markets, human capital, and family demography. In particular, Anna studies the relationship between labor market shifts, skill-based technological change, and employment disparities.  

Borja, Jonathan

American Studies
Email Address: borja028@umn.edu

Jonathan was born and raised on the island of Guåhan (Guam) and identifies as a first-generation, queer indigenous CHamoru. Prior to coming to the University of Minnesota, Jonathan attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Pathology & Audiology and Social Welfare and Justice with a minor in Educational Studies. Jonathan’s research interests center on personal narratives on CHamoru identity and various intersections with concepts or issues including the perceptions of gender and sexuality in ancient CHamoru society compared to contemporary CHamoru society, the militarization of Guåhan and how CHamorus reconcile being a colony of the United States, while being denied rights offered to other U.S. citizens, and race relations with other ethnic or racial minorities. Jonathan’s interests in interdisciplinary work stem from his McNair Scholar’s project that took all three programs he was studying to examine the effects of professional development on the phonemic awareness (PA) skills of early childhood educators (ECEs) in a low-income school in Milwaukee. Jonathan’s involvement as the Founder and Chair of the Guam + Islanders Student Association (GISA), as well as his work as a Program Assistant in the Center for Intercultural Engagement (CIE) and as an Apartment Manager in the Office of Residence Life (ORL) allowed him to become more confident in his ability to articulate to Marquette the ways in which they disadvantaged their marginalized students. 

Brokob, Morgan

Email Address: broko008@umn.edu
After growing up all over the United States, Morgan Brokob received concurrent BAs in  Arabic and International Studies from the University of Oklahoma and an MA in International Studies from the University of Denver, where her final project examined the challenges of transnational feminist activism in Tunisia. In Sociology at UMN, she hopes to apply her interest in transnational feminist and queer theories to the study of political power and dissent, and the ways in which communities advocate for social change in contested spaces.


Budhiraja, Kriti


Kriti is from New Delhi, India. She received her BA in Political Science from the University of Delhi and finished her Masters and M. Phil at the Center for Political Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is interested in the political economy of urbanization in contemporary India.  Her M. Phil work explores this through a study of planned development in India. In her doctoral project, Kriti hopes to write an account of the contemporary history of Delhi, understood through the shifting contours of the state and its relationship with urbanization.

Caglar, Berkant

Email Address: cagla004@umn.edu

Berkant Çağlar is a PhD student in Sociocultural Anthropology. He is focusing on the alternative forms of aging, care and kinship formations imagined and enacted by the transwomen themselves in the face of social policies that fail to address the needs of them. He wishes to understand the relationship between enduring state violence and its influence on communities, bodies, and forms of political subjectivities that transwomen encountered with. He further aims to trace the possibilities that are embedded in this care practice, and kinship formation in order to discuss how different forms of activism and claims of truth are produced within the imaginations permitting a different world. He has come to think the experiences of this particular group along with his MA thesis that focuses on the absence of elderly LGBTQI people in Turkey. He received his BA in Media and Communication and Sociology from Izmir University of Economics and MA in Sociology from Bogazici University.

Cárdenas, Mariana

Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
Email Address: carde196@umn.edu

I am a biologist born in Venezuela and raised in Colombia. I got my undergraduate degree in Biology at the Universidad del Valle (Cali, Colombia). Then, I was part of the Young and Innovator Researchers program, awarded by the Colombian Science and Technology Administrative Department, in which I implemented a strategy for monitoring air pollution using lichenized fungi as bioindicators in Cali (Colombia). After that, I joined the graduate program in Ecology at Universidad Central de Venezuela (Venezuela) as MSc student, where I developed my master thesis “Effects of ecosystem engineers on lichen communities of the highland environments in Venezuela: an overview from community ecology, functional ecology and interaction networks”. While I developed my MSc studies, I was part of the Venezuelan Lichenologists Group, working on the use of lichens as bioindicators in several Venezuelan cities. Last two years I’ve been working as a researcher at the Environmental and Ecological Sciences Institute of Universidad de Los Andes (Venezuela), where I focused my research on the study of lichens in high tropical environments and their colonization after glacier retreat in the last Venezuelan glacier. Now, I will be joining the UMN as a PhD student at the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, and I hope to focus my research on the study of the variation of lichen functional traits on primary succession scenarios in the context of climate change.

Chatila, Samira

Email Address: chati005@umn.edu

Samira Chatila is a doctoral student in the Comparative and International Development Education program at the University of Minnesota. In my home country Lebanon, I’ve pursued my MA in Education from the Lebanese American University and my BS in Medical Laboratory Sciences from the American University of Beirut. I am also a proud recipient of the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change fellowship and the Provost’s Fund fellowship for my doctoral studies at UMN. I’ve been actively researching and managing studies related to the education of vulnerable children in the Middle East and the Arab region since 2016. My research interests include (and are certainly not limited to): education policy; language and identity; displacement (including internal displacement and forced migration); and critical pedagogy. I am always excited and ready to learn and grow.

Chatterjee, Anindita

Email Address: chatt051@umn.edu
Country: India

Anindita Chatterjee is from Delhi, India. She has an undergraduate degree in Law (Symbiosis Law College, Pune) and a master's degree in Development Studies (Ambedkar University, Delhi). She worked for two years in a non-for-profit organization (Samavesh, Madhya Pradesh) on issues of elementary education in government schools in rural India. She is currently pursuing a PhD in the Department of Geography, Environment and Society. Her doctoral research studies examines contestations over the making and circulation of "intellectual property", and is particularly interested in the significance, potential and limits of law, and legal argument and reasoning,and their alternative paths to the politics of access to knowledge. Her broader interests include critical legal studies, political economy, and economic geography. 

Cohen-Rencountre, Agléška

American Studies
Email Address: cohen514@umn.edu
Country: USA

Rebecca (Agléška ) Cohen-Rencountre graduated with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in Native American Studies.  For their doctoral work, Agléška plans to study gender assimilation in Native American residential boarding schools.   This historical and ethnographic project will use a transnational and feminist studies framework for understanding the ways gender fluidity was made invisible in these institutions.

Coral, Deniz

Email Address: coral006@umn.edu
Country: Turkey

Deniz is from Eskisehir, Turkey. She received her BA degree in Economics from Bogazici University. Since she felt the desire to have a more critical and interdisciplinary approach to explore the boundaries of economics as a social science, she obtained her MA degree in Cultural Studies from Istanbul Bilgi University. She is interested in economic anthropology, political economy, and psychoanalysis. For her PhD, she aims to study Turkish financial markets to pursue the question of how financial imagination shapes the economic field, as well as how the machinery of financial markets is sustained by the actions of financial actors.

Csr, Shankar

Email Address: csr00001@umn.edu

Shankar did his undergraduate in philosophy from the University of Delhi and his master’s in history from Ambedkar University, Delhi (AUD). His masters’ thesis focused on a people’s history of crime in the railways in colonial south Asia. He also taught Critical Writing in Ashoka University for two years to the students of the Young India Fellowship. His interests lie at the intersections of history and philosophy. Of late his focus has shifted towards researching the intellectual histories of the marginalised. His doctoral research will be on an intellectual and social history of anti-caste movements in post-colonial India. 

Digari, Sheetal

Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development
Email Address: digar001@umn.edu

Sheetal is joining University of Minnesota as a graduate student in Comparative and International Development Education. She is from Manipur a northeastern state of India. She has BA in Political Science from University of Delhi, a Master's (MA) in Social Work from Jamia Millia Islamia, and a Master's (MS) in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M University. Sheetal has transdisciplinary research interest and is engaged in promoting gender equality through education.

Espósto, Isaac

Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies
Email Address: espos037@umn.edu

Isaac Espósto is originally from Péta Lúuma/Petaluma, California (Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo) and up until recently resided in Tucson, Arizona while finishing their MFA in Poetry at the University of Arizona. Their research centers on the intersections between Queer/Trans* Theory, Post-Colonial Theory, Marxism, and Indigenous Studies. They are extremely excited to be joining the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies cohort in Minnesota, although slightly worried about how their hairless cat will do with the cold.

Fajardo Sotelo, Guillermo

Spanish & Portuguese
Email Address: fajar028@umn.edu
Country: Mexico

Guillermo Fajardo is a Mexican fiction writer and an ABD student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. He completed a B.A. in Law from the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM) and earned a M.A. in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As a writer he has published four novels, one book of horror short stories and has been included in multiple anthologies in Mexico and the United States. His novel, The presidential speeches, won the second place in the contest organized by Editorial de Otro Tipo in 2016.

His articles have appeared on journals such as A Contracorriente, Letras Hispanas, Catedral Tomada, and Revista Antrópica. His doctoral dissertation analyzes the representation of Mexican masculinities in works of fiction. His broader interests include Mexican literature, violence in Latin America, detective fiction, and the intersections between power and literature.

He holds an opinion space at Excelsior, a Mexican national newspaper.

Farrell, Jessica

Email Address: farre256@umn.edu
Country: USA

 Jess Farrell grew up in Marlborough, Massachusetts.  She left the northeast to attend Washington University in St. Louis where she received a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in anthropology and political science and minoring in history and writing.  After graduating, she spent nearly three years working for the Peace Corps, teaching in Azerbaijan and Liberia.  Returning from these experiences, she is currently perusing a PhD in African History focusing on Liberia in the 1800’s.

Gavin, Ryan

Environmental Health
Email Address: gavi0065@umn.edu

My name is Ryan Gavin, and I’m an incoming Ph.D. student in the School of Public Health’s environmental health program. I grew up in Minnesota and pursued both my undergraduate and master’s degrees in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Science. Though I’ve spent most of my life in Minnesota, I was fortunate to have been able to spend a few years traveling before beginning university, and it was through that travel that I became interested in the issues surrounding nutrition, agriculture, and ecosystem health. Until now, my research has focused on closing yield gaps through cropping system modernization in east Africa and exploring the nutritional variability in wild cereal ancestors, but as my understanding of the issues facing our global food system has evolved, so to have my research interests. While I still view agricultural management as a fascinating and important area of science, through my PhD I’d like to more directly explore the public health impacts of agricultural production, practices and policy.

Godoy da Costa Lima, Karla

Master of Development Practice
Email Address: godoy021@umn.edu

Karla was born in one of the Brazilian favelas located in Recife, Northeast Brazil, and dreams to reduce poverty among women, in developing and underdeveloped countries by empowering them and their communities. She earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science with a minor in International Relations from the Federal University of Pernambuco, where she also pursued her master’s in Political Science. During her studies, she developed and published research about political representation, UN peace missions and sexual crimes, sustainable development as a democratic measure, and acquired professional experience as an analyst of economic and financial projects for industries. Since very young, Karla has been involved with the creation and development of StartUps and Social Businesses. At the age of 16, she was hired as CMO for LifeUp, a StartUp focused on the development of humanitarian technology to solve problems in the lives of people with some type of physical disability. Her newest endeavor was to develop and be the CFO of EcoCiclo, a StartUp that manufactures the first biodegradable sanitary pad produced in Brazil and, through the manufacturing process, empowers women in situations of social and economic vulnerability by employing and giving them chances for personal development. 

Gorrin Castellano, Guillermo

Human Rights
Email Address: gorri018@umn.edu

Guillermo Gorrin Castellano is a Political Scientist from Caracas, Venezuela with interests in conflict resolution, immigration, international security, and serving refugees and displaced peoples. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College in Political Science. In recent years, he has been working in the legal industry assisting foreign nationals with business, humanitarian, and family immigration matters. Now as a Master of Human Rights candidate, he aims to focus his research on efforts to control, reduce, and ban the use of anti-personnel mines and cluster bombs around the globe. His areas of study are Latin America, and Southern Africa; but also extend to other conflict-intensive regions. He also wants to incorporate the effects of these ordinances on forced migration, specifically in the Venezuela-Colombia border and the Mozambican northern regions. Guillermo lived in the Kingdom of eSwatini for two years, where his interests for de-mining sparked after volunteering with the local efforts as an interpreter. As an asylee himself, Guillermo wants to produce meaningful research that assists others who have endured forced migration to be better assisted by their host countries. In his free time, Guillermo enjoys learning other languages and writing. He has contributed to the Star Tribune and other local media outlets. He also enjoys volunteering with local organizations, including the Minnesota Anti-sex Trafficking Project, the Minnesota Family Court Project, various local legal clinics, and grassroot organizations raising awareness towards the Venezuelan crisis.

Hanson, Louis

Educational Psychology
Email Address: hans7635@umn.edu

As a first generational African student of a single, working-class mother from Ghana, I have had my fair share of limitation and challenges but one thing that stuck with me throughout the years are my three (3) Ls – To LEARN, To LEVERAGE and To LEAD. My name is Louis Hanson. I am a graduate of the University of Cape Coast, Ghana with a Bachelor of Education Degree in Early Childhood Education. Over the past years, with the last three spent as a behavior technician with a non-profit organization founded by one of the first Board Certified Behavior Analysts in West Africa, I have grown to have a strong drive to study in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). This will mainly help me provide interventions for children with special needs which will contribute to the dissemination of Applied Behavior Analysis in Ghana and West Africa at large. Also, I have always had keen interest in parental involvement and how it affects the education of the child as well as interest in Applied Behavior Analysis. Therefore, as an incoming Ph.D. student pursuing Special Education, I would like to explore how the two concepts correlate and take a look at the cultural limitations that affect the quality of services provided by ABA Centers in the West African region. I strongly believe this will contribute to the integrity of ABA programs implemented in Ghana and West Africa as a whole.

Imady, Nusaiba

Asian Languages & Literatures
Email Address: imady002@umn.edu

Nusaiba Imady comes to UMN from Damascus, Syria, with a Masters in Gender Studies from University of London- School of Oriental and African Studies. In her MA she focused on the creative output of cultures in the aftermath of disaster, specifically performative aspects of desire in the writings of Syrian Activist in Diaspora. Her PhD work explores Madness in the writings of early 1900s Arab Women Writers. Her other research interests include romance novels, postcolonial desire and fan-fiction.

Jamkar, Vishal

Public Affairs
Email Address: jamka003@umn.edu

Vishal Jamkar did his Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India. After a brief stint in the corporate sector, he joined an Indian nonprofit, PRADAN working in various capacities ranging from a community organizer to an advisor to the Government of India. For over a decade, he worked with Dalit and Adivasi communities in Central India on issues of livelihoods, governance, and social justice. He completed his Master’s in Development Practice and will be continuing his doctoral studies from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, USA. His research interests lie at the intersection of Public Policy Analysis, Caste Discrimination in India, and Critical Race studies. In his free time, Vishal likes to follow politics, cook and explore different cultures.

Ji, Seung-Gyeong

Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies
Email Address: jixxx228@umn.edu
Country: Seoul, South Korea

Seung-Gyeong Ji comes from Seoul, South Korea. During her undergraduate work at HUFS, she involved in student's political activism and women’s right activism in/out of campus. She led volunteer activities at Korea Sexual Violence Relief Centre. At Ewha Womans University, she produced research on the abortion experiences and on the reflectivity of qualitative research work. She also worked as an intern at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development at Geneva, Switzerland. Her current research interests lie in post colonial approaches in development studies, sexuality and social justice in post-colonial societies.

Kaimana, Fa’aumu

Email Address: kaima004@umn.edu

Fa’aumu Kaimana grew up in White Center, Washington State and earned her BA in Anthropology and Sociology from the University of Washington. She is a PhD student in Anthropology interested in researching cultures of higher education institutions and how Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) reframe norms and policies of such institutions for their own benefit. Fa’aumu’s involvement with Minnesota Transform aims to center the voices of Indigenous students and tribes. Her role in a campus tours and orientations project seeks to disrupt dominant settler colonial narratives about the University of Minnesota and bring attention to the institution's responsibility towards BIPOC communities. This is simply part of a larger global conversation about higher education institutions in relation to issues of tribal sovereignty, Indigenous economic empowerment, global Indigeneity, and decolonization.

Kalita, Dhrijyoti

Asian Languages & Literatures
Email Address: kalit008@umn.edu

Dhrijyoti Kalita is from Guwahati, India. He has completed an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Delhi, Delhi. He is a writer and translator and translates from Assamese to English and vice versa. His research interests include Postcolonial Ecocriticism, Zoocriticism and Anthropocene studies with a special interest on South Asian and Northeast Indian literature. In his PhD, he would like to probe into select “precarious” ecologies situated in Assam, Northeast India. He is interested to work on the multiple human-nonhuman entanglements in landscapes like flood and dam-building zones, national parks, tea gardens and floating river islands (popularly known as chars). During PhD, he is also particularly intent at studying “human-elephant” collisions, possibilities, challenging and changing relationalities in different landscapes of Assam. Currently, he is translating Ibrahim al-Koni’s novel Gold Dust (English) – a narrative based out of a man-camel relationship in the Saharan deserts – into Assamese(now being serialized in an popular Assamese monthly) and an Assamese novel Buddhajaya (based on the life of Gautam Buddha’s wife, Yasodhara Gopa) by Geetali Bora into English. He has two other commissioned book-length translation projects at hand. 

Klett, Katrina

Natural Resources Science and Management
Email Address: klett0016@umn.edu

Katrina Klett comes to UMN from neighboring North Dakota. She is originally from the Midwest, however, she has lived in China for 12 years. She has completed her Masters in Chemical Ecology from the Chinese Academy of Science. Her research focuses on the pheromonal communication of Apis cerana, the Asian cavity dwelling bee species. Katrina has co-founded and operated a social enterprise that purchases honey from mountain dwelling beekeepers and sells their product in urban centers within China. She grew up in a migratory beekeeping family and has worked in the commercial beekeeping industry in many locations around the world. She currently serves on an expert honey panel at USP, producing a more up to date honey standard, and serves on the Society for Conservation Biology Scholarship Selection Committee. She is the parent of a three year old son and two teenage girls.

Kumar, Snigdha

Email Address: kumar238@umn.edu
Country: India

Snigdha is from New Delhi, India. She has a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Economics from the National University of Singapore and the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland respectively. For her Master's thesis, she explored the impact of structural adjustment policies on urban poverty in India. A desire to better understand the dynamics of urbanization and its relationship with capitalism led her to enroll in the MPhil degree in Sociology at the University of New Delhi, India. Her recently submitted MPhil thesis examined the informalized structure of the labour market in India and its implications for the nature of capitalism more generally. in the PhD, she hopes to tie her interest in capitalism, urbanization and labour together to make sense of the role of informal labour in shaping and sustaining the aspirational and exclusionary world-class city of the global south. 

Kunduri, Eesha

Geography, Environment & Society
Email Address: kundu025@umn.edu

Eesha Kunduri is pursuing a PhD at the Department of Geography, Environment and Society at the University of Minnesota (UMN). Her research spans the domains of labor studies and urban studies. She is broadly interested in understanding how identities shape the way people experience development processes and outcomes, and has recently written on caste reconfigurations among industrial and home-based workers in Indian cities. Prior to joining UMN, she worked as a Research Associate with New Delhi based think-tank, Centre for Policy Research (CPR), for over four years. During her time at CPR, she worked on projects pertaining to lived experiences of work and migration in metropolitan and small cities in India, on state-citizen engagements in urban India, and on comparative experiences of migration and urbanization in New Delhi and Johannesburg. Eesha holds an M.A in Development Studies from Ambedkar University, Delhi and a B.A (Hons.) in Economics from the University of Delhi.

Lahiri , Sutirtha

Conservation Biology
Email Address: lahir022@umn.edu
Sutirtha Lahiri is a PhD student at the conservation science program. He holds a bachelors in Science from University of Delhi and an MSc in wildlife science from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, India. He subsequently held a research position at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune. Hailing from Assam, Sutirtha's research interests are tied to the Northeast of India. He has conducted ornithological research on Hornbill nesting ecology, vocal behavior of Drongos as well as bioacoustic monitoring of bird communities in grasslands. For his PhD, he is keen to understand how and whether fragmented populations of grassland birds are connected. He is also keen to study how floodplain grasslands shape, and are in turn shaped, by humans. He intends to combine his training and experience in ecology with interests in ethnographic research to have a holistic understanding of a complex socio-ecological system, and contribute to both biodiversity conservation and human well-being.
Apart from this, he is also a freelance writer, and his articles have appeared in several platforms including Sanctuary Asia, RoundGlass Sustain, Outlook traveller and National Geographic Magazine. He is also recipient of several fellowships and research grants including the WII Fellowship, Rufford Small Grants, Oriental Bird Club Conservation Grant, IDEA WILD Equipment grant. 

Le, Xuan Hung

Political Science
Email Address: le000029@umn.edu

Hung was born and grew up in Ha Noi - the capital of Viet Nam. He has a BA degree in Political Science from Voronezh State University, Russia. After a brief stint as an NGO worker in Viet Nam, in 2015 he was awarded an Erasmus Mundus scholarship to partake in the International Master's Degree program in Russian, Central, and East European Studies at the University of Glasgow, UK and the University of Tartu, Estonia. Hung is interested in exploring the juncture of various critical theories (such as Marxism and postcolonial/ decolonial theories) and the study of international politics and global changes. His areas of interests also include Russian foreign policy, post-Western political thoughts and humanitarianism in non-Western contexts.

Lyimo, Francis

Email Address: lyimo002@umn.edu
Country: Republic of Tanzania

Francis Lyimo hails from Dar es Saleem, United Republic of Tanzania. His undergraduate work was done at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in Sociology. He then received an MA in Sociology from the same university. His graduate school research agenda in the areas of political and environmental sociology centers on understanding land and natural resource disputes in sub-Saharan Africa. He is especially interested in the involvement of multinational corporations (and states) in the processes that give rise to these disputes. He is currently seeking a PhD in Sociology at the University of Minnesota.

Manion, Megan

Political Science
Email Address: manio054@umn.edu

Megan Manion is from Bend, Oregon. She graduated with B.A.s in Politics and History from Willamette University in 2014. After working as a paralegal and as a political advocate for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in the U.S., she earned an M.Sc. in the Politics of Conflict, Rights, and Justice from SOAS, University of London. Her Masters research investigates transitional justice in the Central African Republic, exploring lived experiences of peace and justice in the context of massive, everyday violence and persistently ineffective international intervention. Her research interests center on questions of legitimacy, sovereignty, and agency in post-conflict politics of accountability and reconciliation, seeking to amplify those voices and experiences rendered silent in theory and in practice. Megan is currently reading for a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota’s Political Science Department, with a particular emphasis on the theory and practice of transitional justice, from local communities to global institutions.

Marzec, Julie

Public Policy
Email Address: marze010@umn.edu

Julie Marzec is a Social Policy PhD student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and a Master of Arts in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Cincinnati. For her Master’s thesis, she conducted qualitative field research focused on state responses to gender-based violence in Ecuador since the political Left Turn. She was also a member of the University of Cincinnati Gender Equity Research Team, conducting a gender equity analysis of the City of Cincinnati, commissioned by the City of Cincinnati Gender Equality Task Force. Her other research interests include transnational feminisms, critical development studies, migration, and public policy.

McFadden, Keavy

Geography, Environment, and Society
Email Address: mcfad074@umn.edu

Keavy McFadden is a graduate student in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society. Drawing on urban geography and critical education studies, her PhD work explores market-based education reforms exemplified by the charter system in Chicago, considering the role of schools in the production of urban space and the racialized geographies that constitute the city. In addition, Keavy is interested in critical cartography, poetry, and questions of epistemic justice and solidarity.

Miller, Ai

Email Address: mill7176@umn.edu
Country: USA

Ai Miller is from Toledo, Ohio, and did hir BA at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. A non-binary-identified transgender person, Ai has worked closely with a number of transgender youth to help them navigate institutional barriers to having their identities fully recognized in higher education. Hir research examines the history of transition for transgender people in the United States in the 20th century, with particular focus on the agency and resilience of individuals pursuing transitional healthcare, as well as legal and institutional policies relating to transition. Zie hopes to expand this research in the PhD program in History.

Mills, Marguerite

Geography, Environment & Society
Email Address: mills278@umn.edu

Marguerite Mills is a geographer and artist. She has been a core member and researcher of the Mapping Prejudice project since 2018. Mills holds a B.S. in Developmental Psychology and a master's in Geographic Information Science with a minor in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in the department of Geography Environment and Society. Mills' research takes a deep mapping approach, focusing on the intersection of private property and housing as a critical juncture for interrogating structural oppression and material inequality. As a cartographer, Mills uses spatial analysis, place-based narratives, and media-rich platforms to bring underrepresented stories to light. In addition to cartographic work, she is a theorist and writer in the area of property, housing, and inequality. For a sampling of her work, see their website. When they aren't writing or making maps, Mills is a housing activist, advocating for the rights of unhoused neighbors in the Twin Cities. They can also be found exploring wild and underground places, drawing, painting, or pole dancing.

Mondragon Botero, Ariadna

Plant and Microbial Biology
Email Address: mondr042@umn.edu

I was born in Cali, Colombia where I grew up. I studied biology and microbiology (two majors) at the University of Los Andes in Colombia. For my undergraduate projects I worked on the biography of the Sapotaceae family and in the characterization of Archaea for soil bioremediation. When I graduated from the university I worked in the Colombian paramos and for a private enterprise on waste management and composting. After working for a few years I made my masters in TROPIMUNDO an Erasmus Mundus program, in which I spent one semester in France, one semester in Belguim and one semester in Cameroun. My master thesis sealed with the tropical dry forests in Madagascar, and during my PhD I am going to pursue this study, working for the conservation of this threatened ecosystem. 

Mpofu, Ntombizodwa

Email Address: mpofu003@umn.edu
Country: Zimbabwe

Ntombi Mpofu is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Africa University and, a BA in history and MA in history from the University of the Witwatersrand. Her Ph.D. research investigates the history of water in South Africa focusing on the roots and causes of water scarcity, an issue that is currently threatening water security in the country. In the midst of the foreboding threat of “day zero“, a situation when most taps will be switched off – literally, her research examines the history behind limited water supply while taking into consideration predicted increased variability and persistently high levels of social inequality. In a context in which South Africa is likely to address an increased variability in its water supply, the research investigates factors such as changing use patterns and habits, infrastructure provision and decline, institutional responses, industrial demands, and climate change. She has research and teaching experience from higher education institutions in both South Africa and the United States.

Musaifer, Sara

Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development
Email Address: musai001@umn.edu

Sara Musaifer is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Comparative and International Development Education and a graduate student fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change. As a Fulbright Scholar, she received a masters of arts degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota. She also holds a bachelors of arts degree in political science from the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan. Her professional experiences are transcultural and transnational, and include policy research, cross-sectors engagement, community outreach, capacity building, reconciliation, restorative practices and international development. Her current research interests lie in the field of education and its intersection with political socialization, labor market organization and peacebuilding in the Middle East. In her doctoral studies, she plans to focus on examining non-formal education environments, particularly as they relate to youth empowerment and its role in supporting sustainable reconciliation in the region.  

Nguyen, Oanh

Political Science
Email Address: nguy2465@umn.edu
Country: USA

Oanh Nguyen is from Portland, Oregon. Her undergraduate work was done at the University of Oregon. After graduating with a BA in Philosophy and Political Science, she moved to Bangkok, Thailand. There, working in both the urban setting and in an immigration detention center, she provided legal representation to urban refugees seeking international protection via the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She is currently seeking a PhD in Political Science at the University of Minnesota with a particular focus on human rights in Southeast Asia.  Her interests include: rule of law, migration, and labor.   

Nguyen, Khoi

American Studies
Email Address: nguy2204@umn.edu
Khoi Nguyen received a MA in Women’s Studies focusing on queer Asian American literature at Southern Connecticut State University, and BA in English at Fairfield University. Khoi previously taught Asian American Studies at the College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University. Khoi's research will trace the genealogy of the queer refugee in the U.S. post-1975 to have a better understanding of the state forms of border surveillance. Their project wishes to address the lack of engagement with issues of U.S. militarization and globalization in current queer refugee scholarships. They received the Southeast Asian Archive Anne Frank Visiting Researcher Award at UC Irvine (2017), and will be visiting other immigration and queer archives.

Nyachega, Nicholas

Email Address: nyach006@umn.edu

Nicholas Nyachega is a historian of Africa, born and raised in Zimbabwe’s rural Honde Valley borderlands. He graduated from the University of Zimbabwe in 2013 with a BA Honors degree, majoring in History. After working at the University of Zimbabwe as a Teaching Assistant in the History Department, he earned a Master’s in African History from Rhodes University, South African in 2017. His Master's research explores everyday life in Zimbabwe’s Honde Valley borderlands, examining people’s wartime experiences beyond the narratives of violence and suffering. 

He is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Minnesota, majoring in African History and minoring in Development Studies and Social Change. His doctoral research examines a history from below by highlighting the local quotidian experiences of borderlanders- indigenous Africans who live(d) in adjacent Honde Valley and Inyanga areas along the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border. He brings borderlanders’ everyday lives and local sovereignties to the center of analysis to understand how people’s everyday life goals and desires have changed over time and space, sometimes working in harmony or defiance to nation-state organizing principles and apparatuses of control. He examines how borderlanders’ local ideas of space and mobilities to critique state-centered perspectives to African borderlands.

 His contact is  nyach006@umn.edu

Oong, Zheng

Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
Email Address: oong0001@umn.edu

I was born and raised in George Town, Malaysia. I earned my BA in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior from the University of Minnesota. For my undergraduate senior thesis, I studied the phylogeography and population differentiation of Steller’s Jays (Cyanocitta stelleri) in the western United States. I remained in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley as a curatorial and laboratory assistant for a year after graduation, during which I continued to work various projects on avian diversification. I am interested in studying the diversification and biogeography of birds, particularly those of my native Asia, where the evolutionary relationships of birds remain poorly documented. With my PhD research, I want to use an integrative approach -- combining genetic, ecology and morphology datasets -- to improve our understanding in the aforementioned areas, in order to improve estimates of true diversity, which, in turn, will hopefully improve conservation efforts.

Payne, Gabriale

Email Address: payne199@umn.edu
Country: USA

Gabriale Payne was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She obtained her BA in History with a minor in Anthropology at the University of Colorado at Denver in 2007 where she discovered her passion for interdisciplinary research while researching and writing her Honors Thesis, which explored the historical relationship between the changing meaning(s) of female genital cutting and women’s grassroots movements among the Gikuyu in colonial Kenya. After taking a brief hiatus from her academic work, inspired by her lingering passion and commitment to interdisciplinary research, she returned to graduate school at the University of Minnesota in 2011 and is now working to complete her PhD in African History. Her current research examines changing sex/gender systems in Kenya from the 19th to the 20th century with a particular emphasis on exploring the ways in which Gikuyu notions of manhood and masculinity have been (re)constructed alongside and/or in interaction with notions of womanhood and femininity. She also has a strong commitment to investigating and illuminating the ways in which a Eurocentric gaze – a characteristic feature of the production of knowledge on or about Gikuyu cultural practices, gender norms, and sexuality throughout the colonial period – continues to structure what is and what can be said about the historical (re)construction of Gikuyu culture and society.

Pham, Chau

Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
Email Address: pham0326@umn.edu

I was born and raised in Hanoi, Vietnam and did my undergraduate studies at Yale University, where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. For my senior thesis, I studied the relationship between tree biodiversity and ecosystem function in a tropical forest in Sri Lanka. For my PhD, I’m interested in working in the dry forests of Central Vietnam, a region with a diversity of vegetation types. There, I want to study what factors determine the transition between savannas, dry forests, and moist forests, as well as how the forests respond to natural and anthropogenic disturbances in the context of global change.

Poindexter, Sami

Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies
Email Address: poin0009@umn.edu
Country: USA

Danielle's undergraduate focus was on feminist theory and peace studies at the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at University of Redlands.  She received an MA in Applied Women's Studies from Claremont Graduate University.  Danielle's interest include;  gender and sexuality studies, peace studies, the politics of AIDS/HIV, international and global studies, the politics of NGOs in the global south.  Contributing to the building of a more equitable world is Danielle’s ultimate goal and she plans to achieve this through Feminist Studies.

Santella, Julie

Geography, Environment, and Society
Email Address: sante076@umn.edu

Originally from South Dakota, Julie Santella earned her BA in political science and Spanish from Northwestern University. Research assistance on a project exploring religion and politics in African democracies kept Julie tied into Northwestern's Department of Political Science beyond graduation and extended her research interests from Latin America to Africa through fieldwork in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. This experience fed into a 2014-15 Fulbright Student grant, in which Julie explored the work of the Interfaith Standing Committee on Economic Justice and the Integrity of Creation, an inter-religious coalition engaged in social and economic justice advocacy around Tanzania's dynamic extractive sector. Julie continues to pursue her interests in identity and the politics of resource contestation in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Tanzania, through her PhD studies in Minnesota's Department of Geography, Environment and Society.

Santosa, Lisa

Geography, Environment, and Society
Email Address: santo261@umn.edu
Country: USA

Lisa is a native of the Washington DC Metro area but has also lived in the Southern US and Japan. She obtained her undergraduate degree at Boston University in 2009 in the Bachelor of Fine Arts where she studied Studio Arts and Philosophy. Deciding to switch career and disciplinary tracks, Lisa went on to gain a Master of Arts in International Commerce and Policy at George Mason University in Arlington, VA and also participated in a summer course abroad in South Africa. The decision to change disciplinary approaches was informed by wanting to take a more activist approach to issues of race, gender, and global inequality. Becoming critically aware of the institutional processes involved with global financial flows and the developing world, Lisa seeks to critique these processes through her doctoral research in South Africa where she will investigate race, commercial agriculture, and the police state in relation to land restitution post-apartheid.

Schaedel, Marie

Applied Plant Sciences
Email Address: schae659@umn.edu

Marie Schaedel grew up in Chicago, Illinois and earned her BA in Biology from Carleton College. A semester spent in Tanzania fueled Marie’s interest in tropical agriculture and inspired her to continue working abroad. Marie stayed at Carleton after graduating to work as an Educational Associate. During this time, Marie managed a team of undergraduate researchers and studied the role of the popS protein in the development of Bacterial Wilt Disease in tomatoes. Following this year of lab work, Marie returned to her passion for tropical agriculture and served as an Environment and Food Security Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa 2016-2018. During her time in Togo, Marie organized a national summer science camp for girls and worked with local growers’ cooperatives to introduce rabbit husbandry to improve food security and household income. Marie was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for a project proposal inspired by her work in Togo with a nitrogen-fixing ground cover to enhance soil fertility. As a PhD student in the Applied Plant Sciences department, Marie intends to study the role of plant-microbe interactions in building sustainable agricultural systems and promoting livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa.

Seda, Abraham

Email Address: sedax006@umn.edu
Abraham Seda is from Harare, Zimbabwe. He received a B.A Honors and an M.A in African History from the University of Zimbabwe. His research focuses on the history of leisure, recreation and sport in colonial Zimbabwe, where colonial games were an integral part of colonial rule. His research highlights how Africans appropriated boxing and recreated the boxing ring as a site of resistance and cultural expression.

Serour, Amgad

French and Italian
Email Address: serou001@umn.edu
Country: Egypt

Amgad was raised in Egypt. He received a BA in French from Cairo University and an MA, again in French, from the University of Western Ontario.  He has worked as an archival researcher, gathering information on the French speaking press in Egypt, as part of a joint venture between Egypt and France under the aegis of the CNSR of France (the National Center for Scientific Study). In his MA work he looked at the role of different media – novels, movies and graphic novels – in defining the relationship between memory and space.  In his doctoral work he intends to expand his investigation of various media to include virtual social media.  He will investigate how social media forces the rethinking of spatial and historical divides, as well as rethinking the relationship of identity to geography.  He wants to analyze the network-based dialog around the geopolitical, social and economic division of the global north and global south.

Soto, Michael

Email Address: sotox116@umn.edu
Country: USA

I am a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Minnesota and fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center for Global Change (ICGC). My PhD dissertation is titled, "The Role of Social Networks in Memory Formation and the Social Reintegration of Ex-combatants"  My research focuses on Colombia, with a comparative component on Northern Ireland. I have a MA in Anthropology of Development and Social Transformation from the University of Sussex, a MA in Sociology from the University of Minnesota, and a BA in Development in Latin America from Harvard University. 


Tamaami, Asia

Master of Development Practice
Email Address: tamaa002@umn.edu

Asia Tamaami is a Seattle native and graduated with a double major in Education, Communities, & Organizations, and American Ethnic Studies from the University of Washington. During her time as an undergraduate student, Asia had the opportunity to study abroad in South Korea, Italy, and The Philippines, which ignited her passion for international development and led her to the Humphrey School’s Masters of Development Practice program. As a first-generation American and proud daughter of Somali and Oromo refugees, Asia’s lived experiences have influenced her commitment to serving communities historically at the margins. With this in mind, Asia seeks to advocate for vulnerable immigrant and refugee communities in the United States and abroad, including her own Somali and Oromo communities. Asia hopes to use her MDP degree as a means of achieving social transformation and improve the lives of refugees by reducing the harms left by war, conflict, and disaster. Her interests are in human rights, law, forced migration, immigrant rights, community-based research, community-driven development, education, and advocacy.

Tibebu, Redeat

Plant Biological Sciences
Email Address: tibeb010@umn.edu

I'm originally from Ethiopia and moved to the United State at a young age. I earned my B.S.c from University of Minnesota with a focus on Plant Biotechnology and a minor in International Agriculture. Prior to graduating, I carried out a semester internship at the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research center working on identifying the corn and wheat varieties available in the country through DNA fingerprinting. Upon returning, I have been working as a research associate in a plant biotechnology company called Calyxt located in New Brighton, Minnesota. I am now pursuing a Ph.D. in Plant Biological Sciences with a long-term objective of working to utilize agricultural biotechnology for improving food security and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa.

Tun, Heider

Email Address: tuntu002@umn.edu
Country: Mexico

Heider Tun is from Merida, Mexico. His undergraduate work was done at the Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan where he graduated as a cultural anthropologist. Since 2011 he has been working for a Human Rights Organization in El Salvador called: The Committee of Mothers and Family-Members of the Imprisoned, Disappeared, and Politically Assassinated of El Salvador “Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero” (CoMadres) where he actively works to preserve civil war archives, document women’s testimonies and promote human rights. In addition, Heider has done fieldwork in Mexico, El Salvador, and Peru and is interested in topics such as: violence, memory, peace, women, human rights, global change, colonial history, and popular culture. His interdisciplinary work seeks to bring the history of disadvantaged minority groups to academic discussions. He is currently seeking a PhD in History at the University of Minnesota.


Ulep, Catherine

Email Address: ciulep@umn.edu

Catherine Ulep was born and raised in Kāneʻohe, Hawai‘i.  Her undergraduate degree in Humanities with double concentrations in History and Hawaiian Pacific Studies was completed at the University of Hawai‘i - West O‘ahu.  She, then, attended and graduated with a Master’s degree from the History Department at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2017.  Her Master’s thesis “Women’s Exchanges: The Sex Trade and Cloth In The Early Nineteenth-Century Hawai‘i” draws on archival sources written in both the English and Hawaiian languages to center on the sex-for-goods trade that developed as sailors from all parts of the globe called on the port city of Honolulu.  Catherine’s topics of interest include: gender & sexuality, maritime, and commodities.  She is currently working towards a PhD in History at the University of Minnesota. 

Vargas Gutierrez, German

Plant Biological Sciences
Email Address: varga111@umn.edu
Country: Costa Rica

German is a highly motivated biologist from Costa Rica, whose both short and long term goals involve working in natural resources management for sustainable development in rural localities from Latin America. He obtained his B.Sc. in Tropical Biology at the National University of Costa Rica, and then he got a specialization in Natural Resources Management by studying the effect of two soil types in plant traits associated with drought tolerance. He is interested in the study of tropical dry forests plant communities’ responses to climate change and the implications for social development, aiming to create tools that might facilitate conciliation between economic growth and nature conservation through forest management. During his graduate studies, he wants to focus on understanding the effects of current droughts on the tropical dry forests of Costa Rica, México, Colombia and Puerto Rico, with the intention of generating physiological data to parametrize ecological models on ecosystem’s responses to climate change.

Velez Gomez, Juliana

Conservation Biology
Email Address: velez063@umn.edu

Juliana Vélez was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She earned a BSc in Biology from the Universidad de los Andes and a MSc in Biology at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. For her graduate project, she worked at the Landscape Ecology and Ecosystem Modeling Lab (ECOLMOD) to better understand the influence of changing food availability (seasonally and spatially) on the diet and habitat use of lowland tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) in the Colombian Amazon. Currently, she has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship (2017-2021) and the Conservation Sciences Fellowship (2017-2018) from the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota (UMN), to pursue a PhD in Conservation Sciences. With her PhD research, she aims to improve wildlife management by addressing coupled human and natural systems in the Colombian Orinoco Region. She will collect satellite telemetry and vegetation data that can be used to parameterize models of animal movement and habitat selection to better understand the impact of habitat loss, future changes in land use, and climate change on large terrestrial mammals.

Wares, Heather

Email Address: wares001@umn.edu
Country: South Africa

Heather Wares is from Cape Town South Africa and graduated from the University of Cape Town with a BA degree, majoring in Politics, History and English in 2007. After teaching English in Korea, she continued her studies in 2010, completing a postgraduate diploma with the African Programme for Museum and Heritage Studies at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Directly following this, she completed a Masters under the history department at UWC focusing on the representation of Maritime Archaeology in a Post Apartheid South Africa.

In addition, Heather has worked in the field of maritime and underwater cultural heritage since 2010. She has gathered her experience through various projects both in South Africa and abroad, having worked for Iziko Museums, SAHRA, the African Centre for Heritage Activities and the African Slave Wrecks Project. She leaves a position as a Heritage Officer for SAHRA in the Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit to enter into the PhD program with the African History Department. Her research interests address questions about Southern African peoples’ historical relationship to and understanding of (bodies) of water, including oceans, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. This interest lies in conjunction with questions of community, knowledge production and the creation of publics.

Wedajo, Hanna

Email Address: wedaj002@umn.edu

Hanna G. Wedajo is from Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. She has LLB degree in Law and received her Master's degree in human rights from Addis Ababa University. She worked as an Executive Director for Vision for Generation: a local Ethiopian non-profit organization. She has also worked on advocacy of the right to education on Seneheg/ Jurisprudence of law' weekly Radio Program on Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) - Ethiopia. Hanna has also been engaged in community service programs related to education. Being a Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota in Comparative and International Development Education (CIDE) program, she has a research interest on topis related ‘Aid in Education’ specifically in Sub-Saharan countries.

Wood, Eunha jeong

Gender, Woman and Sexuality Studies
Email Address: wood0072@umn.edu


Born in Korea and raised on Dakota homelands, Eunha Jeong Wood is a doctoral candidate at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in the Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies PhD program with graduate minors in American Indian & Indigenous Studies (AIIS) and Development Studies & Social Change (DSSC).  Using dialectical & historical materialism and literary critique, they research settler colonialism, empire, and indigeneity in East Asia and the Pacific at the intersections of Indigenous feminist theory, Women of Color feminisms, and Asian/American Studies. A former school teacher, Eunha is a long-time educator, writer, and community organizer dedicated to revolutionary politics, class struggle, and the collective liberation of all peoples and places.

Yates, Annika

Email Address: yates104@umn.edu

Annika Yates's research interests focus on the intersection of space, agency and political power in the context of urban Hanoi, Vietnam. As a master's student, she researched Vietnamese contemporary artists' responses to government censorship. She completed her BA in philosophy at Mount Holyoke College in 2011 and her MA in Social Science at the University of Chicago in 2018. Since finishing her BA, she spent three years living and working in Vietnam, as well as four years working for anti-poverty public policy organizations in Illinois. Annika is a Chicago native who spends her free time training for long-distance races and exploring art museums.

Ye, Wei

Email Address: yexxx378@umn.edu

Wei Ye is from southern China and is seeking a PhD in Cultural Anthropology. She received her BA in Sociology in Fudan University and finished her Master in Anthropology in Sun Yat-sen University. She worked for a business research company for a year to help understand consumers' interests and behaviors. Her research interests are in the body and embodiment, science studies and everyday life studies.

Young, Phoebe

American Studies
Email Address: youn2530@umn.edu

Phoebe Young is a Saginaw Chippewa descendant from Michigan, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in History and Ethnic Studies and worked in Minneapolis as the Community Programs Coordinator at Dream of Wild Health. She plans to study how resource extraction during the twentieth century in the Midwest has affected tribal sovereignty in Ojibwe communities, and how food sovereignty has served as a revitalization of culture, history, and tradition in the midst of these extraction projects. She hopes to develop this research into an indigenous food sovereignty curriculum for high school students.

First Year Students

Abdelnour, Amany

Email Address: abdel290@umn.edu

Amany was born and raised in Egypt. She earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from the American University in Cairo and minored in political science and business administration. During her undergrad, she studied for a year at the University it Chicago as a international exchange student. Since graduation, Amany has been working in research and consulting with a focus on development tackling multiple development challenges including informal employment, SMEs development, entrepreneurship, women empowerment, financial inclusion, and refugees access to finance. Growing up in Upper Egypt, Amany is particularly interested in education development. She volunteers with Injaz Egypt and Student Action for Refugees on projects related to access to education.

Abdullahi, Zakariya

Email Address: abdul253@umn.edu

Zakariya is a Somali-American first-year MDP student. He grew up in Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda before moving to the U.S at the age of eight years old. He received his B.A in Political Science (Public Policy) and International Relations from Augsburg this past spring. He is passionate about educational development in Africa. As an immigrant, education has been the most formative and life-changing experience for him and he believes that everyone should have access to education.

Candil Escobar, Marian

Email Address: candi019@umn.edu

I grew up in Colombia, with a social worker mom, an Aeronautical Technician police dad, and my two sibling. I volunteered since I was a child, working with disadvantaged communities, kids nonprofits and orphanages. I did my BA in Media, communication and journalism at the University of Sergio Arboleda in Bogota, CO. During my time there I did research about the memoirs of the Colombian war, student protests, Social development and the relation of poverty, government abandoned and access to education. I volunteered in multiple cities in Colombia and in a favela in Brazil. I also work with Gotas de Amor a nonprofit who work with kids and support them with education, recreation, food and more. I love to be involve in social projects and I am committed to work in favor of children to give them voice and make of the world a better place for them to grow, explore and be.

Condie, Abigail

Email Address: condi036@umn.edu

Abbie has spent the past five years working in Chicago as a researcher with Opportunity International, a global non-profit focused on economic development. While at Opportunity, she designed, conducted, and managed research in nine countries across Latin America, Africa, and Asia as part of donor-funded research for institutions such as UK Aid, Global Affairs Canada, United Nations Capital Development Fund, and more. Her research to date has looked at the intersections of international development with gender, behavior change, values, microfinance, education, agriculture, and digital. She is particularly passionate about utilizing and developing new human-centered and participatory methodologies. Prior to attending the Humphrey School Abbie completed a B.A. in International Relations and a minor in Spanish at Wheaton College in Illinois.

Evenson-McDermott, Kathy

Email Address: even0074@umn.edu

I was raised on a family farm in Northeast Iowa and come to this program having spent the focus of my career thus far in education, teaching and advising students with an international focus with a BA in German and MA in Educational Psychology. I am excited to bring this background together with my interest in food systems in the MDP program and develop my skills in new international contexts. I am drawn to the breadth of the coursework that the MDP program provides preparing me to work across systems, as this breadth has been how I have built my career. Majoring in German I approached language learning with an international relations mindset. Politics, history, and culture were part of my curriculum and this has continued into my advising role where I coordinate the study abroad advising for our team of 16 advisers, lead academic inbound and outbound orientations for 30+ partner exchange programs, and advise my caseload of 250 students on their business curriculum and international experience requirement. I serve as the liaison to the faculty for the international business co-major and have seen this major through 4 iterations with coursework from multiple colleges across the university. I have led students abroad for language learning in German-speaking Europe and served as site coordinator for faculty-led study abroad programs on two continents. I value the opportunity to prepare myself for this career pivot as I have been preparing my students.

Fabia, Alyssa

Email Address: fabia031@umn.edu

Alyssa grew up in Northern Virginia and moved to the Twin Cities where she completed her undergraduate degree in Anthropology at Hamline University. During that time, she studied abroad in both England and Turkey, and developed a keen interest in organizational structures, labor force movements, and the power of recognized authority. Her past work in publishing, event organizing, and nonprofits has covered logistics, customer and client relations, human resources, operations, finances, and other creative problem solving as required.

Fabos , Josh

Email Address: fabos001@umn.edu

My name is Josh Fabos and I am an incoming MDP student. I grew up in Woodstock Illinois and am currently living in Saint Paul. I majored in History and minored in Global Studies at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. While earning my degree I also served in the Army National Guard. Recently I returned from North Macedonia where I taught English to grades 1-5 as a Peace Corps volunteer. Some of the issues that drive me are human rights and the global fight to reduce poverty. I am thrilled to be a part of the MDP program and excited to learn from the staff as well as my peers.

Hussein, Dalila

Email Address: husse322@umn.edu

I was born and raised in Cairo, and earned my undergraduate degree from Cairo University with a major in Statistics and minor in Economics. My perception of the world largely expanded in university where I was invested in extra-curricular activities and the civic society, growing a passion for development and economic empowerment. I was fortunate to earn a fully funded scholarship for a study abroad year at the University of Chicago, learning about the various applications of statistics, behavioral economics and policy analysis. I also hold a degree in Liberal arts and Sciences from Cairo Initiative for Liberal Arts and Sciences, Cairo, Egypt. Upon graduation, I assumed various professional roles from market research, quantitative data analysis, project management, monitoring and evaluation and livelihoods coordination. My pursuits are driven by the passion for poverty alleviation through economic empowerment, gender equality and program evaluation .

Jeide-Detweiler, Nathan

Email Address: jeide003@umn.edu

Nathan is deeply committed to the notion that building just peace always starts with investigating what it means for a community to flourish. While growing up in West and Southern Africa he observed that flourishing looks very differently to different groups. He studied French, Political Science, and Philosophy while at St. Olaf College, in Minnesota, to learn different ways of knowing. Throughout his professional career with Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Washington, DC, the ELCA Advocacy office, and currently with an immigration law firm, he has encouraged communities to deepen their relationships and then leverage them for collective change.

He is excited about being part of the MDP cohort because his research interests include exploring how to represent the economic effects of “informal economies”, how sustainable change can also be racially just, and how to build legal and cultural structures that prevent the exploitation of natural resources. He uses he/his pronouns and always welcomes an invitation to get a cup of tea or coffee.

Keller, John

Email Address: kell2861@umn.edu

John Keller was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida. John obtained his Bachelors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Journalism. Following graduation he worked for ESPN radio. Looking for a career change John joined the Peace Corps as an English teacher in Mettu, Ethiopia for two years. He then moved on to teaching Global Perspectives in Uganda at an International School. John's most recent experience is working in Sacramento as the Peace Corps Regional Recruiter.

Kubrom, Selam

Email Address: kubro005@umn.edu

Selam is originally from Asmara, Eritrea but has been living in Maryland since 2004. She received a B.A. in Global Studies with a minor in Africana Studies and a certificate in Spanish from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In undergrad, she was able to study abroad in San Ramón, Costa Rica studying global health and environmental science. After graduation, she worked in non-profit direct mail fundraising in Washington, DC, with a client portfolio that includes Heifer International and Doctors Without Borders. With her MDP degree, she hopes to be based in East Africa, working with refugees and displaced communities.

Morris Meilad Ebied, Madonna

Email Address: morr1805@umn.edu

Madonna holds a BBA with a concentration in Finance and Minors from the American University in Cairo. Before joining the MDP program, Madonna worked as a Senior Associate in Deloitte Middle East where she advised on several deals in various industries such as Real Estate, Food and Beverage and Health Care. She also worked for 5 years as an investment analyst in an Egyptian private equity firm. Madonna is also a CFA level II candidate. After graduating from the MDP program, Madonna aims to join an organization that works on mobilizing private capital to underserved industries and geographies in order to generate more employment opportunities, eliminate poverty, enhance living standards, and spur economic development.

Moschkau, Kalvin

Email Address: mosch018@umn.edu

I am a Minnesota native with an undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin. I am passionate about financial markets and environmental sustainability and hope to pursue the relation and interdependence between these subjects over the next two years. My career has spanned from the financial sector, where I worked as a software developer for a liquidity provider in Chicago, to a position with the Federal Government as a cloud engineer for the US Geological Survey in Montana, to an organic vegetable farmer in rural California. I have volunteered abroad to help build school infrastructure in rural Nepal. This sparked my passion for sustainable development internationally. I am excited to expand upon my knowledge and experience and improve my ability to contribute to international development alongside my cohorts and faculty here at the Humphrey School.

Tamaami, Asia

Email Address: tamaa002@umn.edu

Asia Tamaami is a Seattle native and graduated with a double major in Education, Communities, & Organizations, and American Ethnic Studies from the University of Washington. During her time as an undergraduate student, Asia had the opportunity to study abroad in South Korea, Italy, and The Philippines, which ignited her passion for international development and led her to the Humphrey School’s Masters of Development Practice program. As a first-generation American and proud daughter of Somali and Oromo refugees, Asia’s lived experiences have influenced her commitment to serving communities historically at the margins. With this in mind, Asia seeks to advocate for vulnerable immigrant and refugee communities in the United States and abroad, including her own Somali and Oromo communities. Asia hopes to use her MDP degree as a means of achieving social transformation and improve the lives of refugees by reducing the harms left by war, conflict, and disaster. Her interests are in human rights, law, forced migration, immigrant rights, community-based research, community-driven development, education, and advocacy.

Second Year Students

Abdellatif, Khaled

Email Address: abdel236@umn.edu

Khaled is a petroleum and energy engineer with a multidisciplinary involvement in energy consulting, Business Development, and technology advising and development. For the past four years, Khaled has been involved in the global refining and petrochemical sector with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa markets. 

Aly, Noran

Email Address: aly00008@umn.edu


Noran Aly was born and raised in Egypt by an Egyptian father and a Syrian mother; with six younger sisters. This initially aroused her interest to understand the lives of vulnerable families of similar numbers, but living under dire conditions. She took her first step by obtaining her bachelor degree in Economics with minor Statistics from Cairo University. Noran recently worked as an economic researcher at the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development; where she delved deeper into the realm of public policy and socio-economic programs’ technicalities. One of the challenging strategic programs that Noran took part in was the “Programs and Performance-Based Budgeting” in collaboration with the USAID; through being co-responsible for monitoring and evaluating the ministries’ performance indicators on the central level. Noran’s work and academic experiences ultimately shaped her mindset to look forward to exploring brand-new approaches of strategic planning and evaluation techniques of poverty alleviation to help livelihood and food security projects meet their intended results and impact on their beneficiaries, especially in rural areas of Egypt, and possibly on the global level.

Babalola, Olaoluwakitan

Email Address: babal018@umn.edu

Olaoluwakitan is a development professional with crosscutting experience garnered by working with nonprofit organisations on issues around public policy, social/economic development, business ethics & anti-corruption and education. Her personal interaction with forms of poverty and social inequality while growing up in Nigeria redefined her goals and directed her path to the development/nonprofit sector. For the last 10 years, she has been fully committed to the pursuit of a world where social inequality and poverty are replaced with enabling & thriving environments for every human being irrespective of social strata, geography, race and gender. Her professional experience has given her the privilege to work with and impact the lives of diverse vulnerable, marginalised or low-income groups in Nigeria. Olaoluwakitan is eager to hone her research, analytical & policy analysis skills while learning about the theories of development, policy formulation, development strategies and economics at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She hopes these, as well as her experience during the MDP program, will equip her with the skills to contribute to building effective public policies, systems and sustainable plans or solutions to Africa's development issues.

Barnes, Hannah

Email Address: barn0739@umn.edu

I grew up in Hilo, Hawai'i and earned an interdisciplinary B.A. in Health Science at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. After graduating I provided English as a Foreign Language services for five years in Quito, Ecuador, first teaching classes and later coordinating academic activities. Since returning to the U.S., I’ve supported undergraduate international students' admissions at the University of Maine for two years. As a Humphrey School MDP student I look forward to exploring development practices that are community-based, sustainable, evidence-driven, and inclusive. I'm especially passionate about gender equality via access to education, healthcare, and income-generating opportunities, as well as human rights issues, including equal protections for people of gender and sexual orientation minorities. 

Enywaru, Denis

Email Address: enywa002@umn.edu

I belong to Iteso tribe from the Eastern part of Uganda. I have a Bachelor Degree in Agricultural and Rural Innovation from Makerere University Kampala-Uganda. I specialize in Agricultural Extension with over 3 years of work with Rural Communities. I have worked with Uganda Cooperative Alliance as a capacity building officer under the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture Vegetable Oil Development Program.I am also currently doing a lot of volunteer capacity building work with Farmer Cooperative Societies and Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) in the Eastern Part of Uganda. My career is driven by the specific interest in Rural Community development and the role of institutions and policies in shaping the global development dynamics.

Godoy da Costa Lima, Karla

Email Address: godoy021@umn.edu

Karla was born in one of the Brazilian favelas located in Recife, Northeast Brazil, and dreams to reduce poverty among women, in developing and underdeveloped countries by empowering them and their communities. She earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science with a minor in International Relations from the Federal University of Pernambuco, where she also pursued her master’s in Political Science. During her studies, she developed and published research about political representation, UN peace missions and sexual crimes, sustainable development as a democratic measure, and acquired professional experience as an analyst of economic and financial projects for industries. Since very young, Karla has been involved with the creation and development of StartUps and Social Businesses. At the age of 16, she was hired as CMO for LifeUp, a StartUp focused on the development of humanitarian technology to solve problems in the lives of people with some type of physical disability. Her newest endeavor was to develop and be the CFO of EcoCiclo, a StartUp that manufactures the first biodegradable sanitary pad produced in Brazil and, through the manufacturing process, empowers women in situations of social and economic vulnerability by employing and giving them chances for personal development. 

Kough, Eva

Email Address: kough004@umn.edu

Eva is a South Minneapolis native and earned her B.S. in Marketing with a concentration in International Business and a minor in Spanish from the University of Kansas. After graduation, she spent time in Peru as an art instructor at an educational NGO and later she moved to Australia to work at a music school in a regional community. Both of these experiences inspired her to dedicate a year to AmeriCorps VISTA at the International Institute of Minnesota to work with adult students in her home community. After working with refugees, asylees, and immigrants working towards their educational goals, Eva is extremely interested in educational opportunities, equity, and development for refugees and internally displaced people. 

Ortbahn, Casey

Email Address: ortba006@umn.edu>

I was born and raised in Pierre, South Dakota, and earned my undergraduate degree in biology from Augustana University in Sioux Fall, SD. For the past 7 years, pre-coronavirus, I had been living and working in Mozambique--first as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching high school biology in a coastal village in Northern Mozambique, then as an education officer and youth program manager at Gorongosa National Park. I am passionate about youth development, education, and conservation, and I love learning new things. My current research interests are broad and involve human population growth, youth unemployment, climate change, and sustainable livelihoods options in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Turner, Sam

Email Address: turn0487@umn.edu

Sam Turner is from rural Minnesota where he graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a bachelors in International Relations with a Focus on Political science. Afterwards he saw himself He did internships with the US State Department in Germany, and the US House of Representatives to get a better understanding of foreign and domestic policy making. As a returned Peace Corp Volunteer and Americorp wild-land fire fighter, Sam looks forward to further study environmental and international issues at the Humphrey School.

Graduated Students

Punay, Maria Victoria (Mavic)

Email Address: punay001@umn.edu

Maria (Mavic) Punay earned her undergraduate degree in Development Studies in 2007 and has since been involved in the development field in the Philippines. She has worked for the Philippines National Commission for UNESCO, coordinating and overseeing the implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage Program in the country. She has a keen research interest in the conservation and sustainable development of natural and cultural heritage sites.

Abdelghany Ibrahim, Mohamed

Email Address: abdel153@umn.edu

Mohamed is from Egypt.  He holds a B.Sc. in Accounting, MBA in financial management.  His experience is in the banking sector, and he is interested in Economic development practices to eliminate poor and corruption in Egypt.

Adaboh, Afia Achiaa


My name is Afia Achiaa Adaboh. I was born in a city called Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana. I did my undergraduate studies in Political science and Sociology at the University of Ghana. After graduation I volunteered with the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) and worked as an election monitor during Ghana’s 2012 elections. I also worked with a Faith-based NGO called Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council as a Project Assistant. In this role, I assisted the unit director in carrying out a range of projects in needy communities in the country. I hope that a Masters in development practice will equip me with the necessary knowledge and skills to plan more effective interventions and positively impact the lives of the poor and vulnerable in my country especially women and children.

Arce Martinez, Adriana

Email Address: arcem001@umn.edu

Adriana is 24 and from Bolivia.  She graduated from Catolica University in La Paz Bolivia, with a BA in International Business. During college she had the chance to explore different areas of study, from Finance to Leadership. She enjoys Entrepreneurship, Leadership and the International Relations field. One important experience she had during this time was to start a personal business by designing, producing and selling women bags to different target markets in Bolivia. After working in two international companies, she decided to focus her career on development projects that can be oriented to improve quality of life standards in developing countries.

Aryal , Sadikshya

Email Address: aryal008@umn.edu

Sadikshya Aryal is originally from Kathmandu, Nepal and has resided in the United States for the past 15 years. She holds a degree in Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University. Most recently, she served as an AmeriCorps member as Program Coordinator of Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture located in Boone, NC. Her passions are regenerative agriculture, conservation, renewable energy, and preserving and spreading indigenous knowledge. Sadikshya hopes to work in sustainable development in rural Himalayan communities after completing her Masters in Development Practice. 

Baatartsogt, Oyudari

Email Address: baata001@umn.edu

My name is Oyudari Baatartsogt and I'm from Mongolia. After earning my B.A. in psychology with honors from the U of M, I decided to pursue the MDP program.  Also, I'm a Jack Kent Cooke foundation scholar. My topics of interest include public health,natural resources, and the interrelation of the two.

Bayu, Mekdelawit

Email Address: bayux004@umn.edu

Born and raised in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, Mekdelawit Bayu joined the MDP program on the path to make her aspirations of becoming a Development Practitioner and social justice activist her career profession. She earned her B.A. in Global Studies with a concentration in International Political Economy and a minor in African and African American Studies from University of Minnesota. While her geographic area of interest continues to be sub-Saharan Africa, she is interested in developing applied skills in development program design, impact evaluation, and women empowerment.

She  is starting her MDP program with work experience in the nonprofit sector, as well as international organizations. In her role as the Communication and Outreach Manager at the nonprofit Prepare + Prosper, she worked with immigrant and underserved populations in the Twin Cities, in helping them gain access to free tax preparation and financial services. She also worked on the statewide Claim it! campaign that promotes the Earned Income Tax Credit, as well as managed social media and customer story telling programs. 

Internationally, she's worked in Ethiopia with United Nation's Economic Commission for Africa on a literary review for post-2015 Millennium Development agenda for least developing countries (LDC's) particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. She is also an African Union Youth Volunteer Corps, and as such had the opportunity to partake in various trainings, as well as the 17th Annual Summit of Heads of States meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

Becker, Katrina

Email Address: becke768@umn.edu

Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Katrina moved to Minnesota in 2010 to pursue her undergraduate degree in Public/Nonprofit Management and Entrepreneurial Management, with a minor in Sustainability Studies, at the University of Minnesota. In 2012, she studied abroad for a semester in Kenya through the Minnesota Studies in International Development Program (MSID) and completed an internship on micro-credit at a rural community bank. Since graduating, Katrina has been working as a Development and Communications Associate at WellShare International, based in Minneapolis.

Bohn, Hannah

Email Address: bohnx125@umn.edu

Born in Minnesota and raised in Colorado, Hannah earned her undergraduate degree in anthropology and French from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois in 2014. Following graduation, she served as an AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps team leader before traveling to Thailand to teach English. While abroad, she volunteered in the recovery efforts of All Hands Volunteers following Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. Most recently,  Hannah worked as communications and volunteer coordinator for a non profit home repair and disaster relief ministry in the Bahamas. At the University of Minnesota, she is excited to pursue her interests in disaster relief/recovery and volunteerism.

Bolanos Gonzalez, Didier

Email Address: bolan113@umn.edu

I am a Colombian Agronomist with undergraduate studies from EARTH University (Costa Rica) and University of Nariño (Colombia). I worked and have an ongoing connection with the Center of Studies for the Orinoquia at Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia. I have work experiences at TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation in California and Allegro Coffee, part of Whole Food Market, in Colorado. I am a co-director of RPG Foundation (Foundation that works for safe water and food security) and commercial manager of ASOPROCAFFE Association (Coffee producers association), both in Colombia. I am interested in learning development practice theories and their applicability for projects related to food value chains and the peace process in Colombia.

Bucklin, Nadya

Email Address: buckl201@umn.edu

Nadya is from Southwest MN and received her undergraduate in Global Studies from the University of MN, Twin Cities. In 2015 she spent almost a year teaching English as a foreign language in Moscow, Russia. Most recently she finished a year of AmeriCorps VISTA service during which she worked as a Family and Community Engagement Liaison at a small k-6 charter school in South Minneapolis. She hopes to focus her future career around improving living standards in developing countries, mainly through economic development and education policy work, beginning at the community grassroots level.

Butler, Megan

Email Address: butle553@umn.edu

I am in the University of Minnesota’s Natural Resources Science and Management Program. Academically my interests focus upon the human dimensions of natural resource management and community engagement/participation. For my thesis research, I am investigating the factors that enable or constrain equitable and effective Community Forest Enterprise (CFE) governance within the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala. Prior to pursuing my doctorate, I spent several years as an environmental educator and community organizer in the United States and Latin America and obtained my masters in international development practice from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. After obtaining my degree, I hope to continue working with communities threatened by environmental degradation throughout Latin America to facilitate the development of effective models of community natural resource management and solve problems related to unsustainable or unjust resource management. In my free time, I enjoy long distance running and volunteer as a Spanish/English language interpreter.

Cao, Rong


My name is Rong Cao from Shanghai, China. I have graduated from Fudan University 2010, majoring in Statistics and minoring in Laws. As the president of the Red Cross Fudan University branch, I have dedicated myself to HIV/AIDS prevention and first aid training. Having worked as a project manager in charge of a rural-teacher training project in the Adream Charitable Foundation in China for one year and a half, I have witnessed how a better education method changes the teachers’ career as well as their life. As a result, I would like to pursue more theories and tools in the education field to improve my work during my study as a MDP student. Also, I would like to learn more about health policies which is another issue I am interested in. I love reading and swimming. MDP program will be a most valuable experience in both of my career and my life. I am hoping to make new friends in the following 2 years.

Chisholm, John

Email Address: chish031@umn.edu

John Chisholm moved to Minneapolis from Oakland, California, but he is a Mainer at heart. He received a BA in Government from Wesleyan University, and is interested in sustainable development issues, with a focus on renewable energy and waste management. His areas of interest include sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean.

Compton, Jennifer

Email Address: compt035@umn.edu

Jennifer graduated from Lawrence University in 2011 with a B.A. in Government. She is interested in forced migration and refugee resettlement, a passion that stems from time spent working with refugees while teaching and living in Amman, Jordan. For the past three years, Jennifer has worked with refugees and immigrants new to the Twin Cities at a small non-profit, and is eager to deepen my understanding and ability to impact this work.

Cruise , Samantha

Email Address: cruis005@umn.edu

I graduated in 2016 from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor's degree in Economics, with a concentration in international econ. Some of my interests during undergrad were on Latin American studies and human rights, and I luckily got to spend this past winter traveling to Peru, Ecuador, and Argentina. I hope to continue studying human rights, public health, and political development over the next two years.

Dampha, Nfamara

Email Address: damph002@umn.edu

Nfamara K. Dampha, a native of The Gambia is admitted to the MDP program with the expectations to becoming a special international development expert on climate change adaptation and social welfare. He earned Cum-laude- BA in Development Studies with a minor in Psychology at the University of The Gambia in 2012. Over the course of three years professional experience, he also served as Director of Administration at the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), under the Office of the President, Republic of The Gambia. He has officially attended international conferences in many African countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, etc.

Mr. Dampha was also a Mandela Washington Fellow of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative 2014.  He spent six (6) weeks studying Public Management at the University of Minnesota and participated in a week Washington Fellows Summit hosted by President Obama. There he had the opportunity to interact, hone his leadership skills and network with U.S. leaders in the field of business, government, non-profit sector and young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.

As a current MDP student, Dampha is found to be interested in international development practices on disaster risk reduction/ management, climate change adaptation/ mitigation, social welfare/public health issues, and project planning and management.

De Mel, Randi


My name is Randi De Mel, and I am from Colombo, Sri Lanka. For my young days, I wanted to have a career in the nonprofit sector in order to make a difference in peoples’ lives. I earned my double major in Supply Chain Management and Finance (Bachelor of Science) from Arizona State University in 2009. Furthermore, I obtained a Master of Science in Public and Nonprofit Institutions (PNI) from St.Cloud State University in 2013. For my master’s thesis, I conducted an empirical analysis that examined the effect of human capital (education and health) on economic growth in developing countries using data from the World Development Indicators Data Base from 1980 to 2010. Moreover, this study analyzed whether education of females contributes to economic growth more than the education of males. Additionally, since 2010, I have been a volunteer for the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter and Central Minnesota Chapter. Currently, I am a volunteer International Services Caseworker for the Restoring Family Links Program where I help to reconnect families separated due to war, disasters, and on humanitarian grounds for the American Red Cross Twin Cities Chapter. I am extremely excited to be part of the MDP program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. While pursing my MDP degree, I will be studying a minor in program evaluation. My research interests are in education, poverty, income inequality, and sustainable development in developing countries. For my hobbies, I enjoy travelling, hiking, and reading.

Deeb, Rayan

Email Address: deeb0016@umn.edu

I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. I recently graduated with a BA in Political Science/ International Affairs and a Minor in Economics at the Lebanese American University of Beirut. I am a Fulbright grantee and I am eager to use what I will be learning throughout the MDP program in my future career. I am mainly interested in humanitarian and institutional development. My main research interests are poverty in developing countries, equal educational opportunities and human rights, in particular the rights of refugees, women and minorities. I have previously worked with LOYAC, a youth empowerment NGO which aims to lessen the unemployment rate through connecting the youth with companies. I also worked with refugees, where I taught them the English language. I have a passion for writing - I was a reporter at The Daily Star and a blogger with Wooden Sporf. 

Diemer, Alexandra


My name is Alexandra Diemer, a native Minnesotan with an itch to travel and interests in culture, health, and creative expression. I graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in 2011 with a degree in Biology, but along the route to sorting out my long-term goals and prospects for education, I spent my ‘gap year’ working and developing other skill-sets. Because nutrition and holistic health are important parts of my personal life (and I needed to pay rent and buy things like groceries), I became certified as a personal trainer. I also worked as a development intern with One Heartland, a non-profit based in Minneapolis that provides respite and social counseling for children and families who are at-risk and suffering from HIV/AIDS, poverty, and other health/social obstacles. Then in February, I traveled to South America and spent two months volunteering in a shanty community on the southern border of Lima, Peru.\nThe push that led me to this program began in 2010 when I spent three months researching in the savannahs of Namibia. It took me a while to interpret how living a simpler life from a tent and a backpack could frame my future, but my work in Africa was the first experience that really got my blood boiling. I knew I wanted to continue with higher education, but none of the graduate programs I had found fit all of my study area interests. I saw a common theme in my experiences abroad: that in order for conservation to be successful and viable, core issues must be confronted from as many sides of the spectrum as possible. So I kept searching for a collaborative degree, one that was multi-faceted and transcended the boundaries of ‘traditional’ conservation efforts (if such a term can be used). And just as my educational quest has led me to the MDP program, I am very enthused to see how the next two years mold and whittle my career path.

Dimore, Kidist

Email Address: dirmo003@umn.edu

Kidist Dimore was born in Ethiopia and came to the United States at a young age. She attended the University of Minnesota, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies with minors in African and African American Studies as well as Public Health. This preparation placed Kidist on a career path through healthcare and research, as she went on to work with leading organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, International Health Consultancy, and UnitedHealth Group. Moving forward, Kidist hopes to expand her understanding of sustainable development and health care access in developing nations while she is pursuing her master’s degree in Development Practice at the Humphrey school. 

Dorbor, Edwin


Edwin Dorbor was born and raised in Liberia, West Africa. He graduated from the University of Liberia with a B.S. degree in Economics. He spent several years working with Save the Children UK, UNICEF, UNDP and the Government of Liberia. His job responsibilities included supporting management, implementation and monitoring of women and children’s programs across Liberia and other West African Countries. His experience working with these different organizations motivated him to pursue a study in Master of Development Practice in International Development at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He is looking at starting a program management career in the field of international development. Edwin resettled with his family in Minnesota in 2009. He enjoys outing and being with his family and friends.

Dyna Barroso, Felipe

Email Address: dynab001@umn.edu

My name is Felipe Dyna Barroso and I am originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I hold a B.A in International Affairs from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, but spent three years of my undergraduate at the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo. Over the course of five years of professional experience, I had the opportunity to work for the Bexar County Economic Development Department in San Antonio and the Tax Collections Department in Barueri (Brazil). The experience in the public sector in both countries sparked my interest in the role of the State as a catalyst for development. On a more specific level, my professional interests are in project design and evaluation. As a current MDP student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, my career and life goal is to assist developing nations in achieving economic development coupled with social justice.

Elsayad, Elmohanad

Email Address: elsay021@umn.edu

ELmohanad is 23 years old. He grew up in Port-said in the north of Egypt and then moved to the capital to study at the American University in Cairo through the LEAD scholarship sponsored by USAID. Elmohanad received his bachelor's of science in construction engineering with a specialization in Construction Management in Spring 2016. He is a believer that the success of any project or program depends primarily on its management system, and is very interested in digging deep into the field of public management and the management of development programs.  He is also interested to learn about Infrastructure and housing policies to combine his Construction Engineering background with Public Policy and Development. As a student leader at his University, Elmohanad participated in different development campaigns in Egypt's slums where he helped promote the infrastructure of these areas by raising funds and providing solutions to some of the problems.

Elsayed , Neamatallah

Email Address: elsay030@umn.edu

I grew up in Cairo, Egypt. I have a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University, Egypt, with a minor in economics. I also hold a degree in Liberal arts and Sciences from Cairo Initiative for Liberal Arts and Sciences, Cairo, Egypt. My main academic interests lie in sustainable development. Given my professional background working at the Ministry of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform of Egypt and being part of the sustainable development unit at the ministry, I am interested in the capacity building of governmental officials in the field of integrating the sustainable development concept into national plans as well as strengthening the monitoring and evaluation framework. 

ElShiekh, Ahmed

Email Address: elshi006@umn.edu
I'm a 25 year old Egyptian development professional, with three years of experience in economic and health development. I have a BA in Political Sciences and an MA in IHRL from the the American University in Cairo and an MBBS in Medecine and Surgery from Cairo University. I previously worked in UN Women to combat violence against women, National Egyptian NGOs to incentivize scientific and medical innovation and entrepreneurship, and most recently with the Egyptian Government's ministry of trade to support the growth of MSMEs and achieve sustainable economic development. My areas of interest are development policy formulation and public administration.

Eyimina, Tarere

Email Address: eyimi002@umn.edu

Tarere was born and raised in Lagos Nigeria, but is originally from Bayelsa state in the Southern part of Nigeria. She studied economics and International Relations at Knox College in Galesburg Illinois. She is particularly interested in micro-finance and how it can be used to empower women and help them lift their families above the poverty line. She has worked on several community development projects including creating a youth board and a travel/tourism package for the galesburg community. She has some experience writing rants for Discovery Depot, a children's museum in Galesburg. She spent a year teaching grade three students at a public elementary school in Lagos Nigeria. 

Fair, Julia

Email Address: fairx033@umn.edu

Julia graduated from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin in May 2016 with a BS in Sociology with a Social Justice Emphasis and a BA in Sustainable Community Development with a minor in Environmental Studies. While at Northland College, Julia conducted research for both her major department and the Center for Rural Communities. While attending the Humphrey Institute, she hopes to study peace processes following civil conflict and how societies have fared. She will focus on on-the-ground activities during negotiations to measure the effects of outside intervention (i.e. peacekeeping forces, NGOs, and the people appointed to broker peace agreements) on the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Faris, Kasim

Email Address: kasim009@umn.edu

I did my undergraduate studies in Business Administration in Pakistan. After starting out as a journalist, I worked in a grassroots NGO and later joined the national office of Save the Children in Pakistan. I got the opportunity to work with the organization in different capacities in East Africa and most recently in the Middle East. Though I attended several workshops and also completed a few diplomas related to development practice, I realized that I needed to gain interdisciplinary training in policy making, economics, program evaluation and financial management to reach my professional goals. The right balance of academic and skill-based training is what has brought me to the MDP program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Fenn, Melinda

Email Address: fenn0063@umn.edu

Melinda grew up in Madagascar and South Africa before moving to Minnesota for high school. The diverse social inequities in the communities which she was raised in, fed her desire to learn about critical global issues and become an effective intercultural leader in order to address them. While earning B.A. degrees in International Studies and French from the University of Wisconsin, she also worked with NGOs and coastal communities in Ghana and Vietnam. Her time was spent addressing the socio-economic needs of marginalized Ghanaian women within fishing communities, as well as advancing adaptation strategies that minimize the social impacts of climate change displacement in vulnerable Vietnamese villages. Prior to starting her MDP, she moved back to Madagascar to continue learning holistic sustainable natural resource management through a public health lens. She hopes to drive change in identifying the “best fit” social interventions of public health programs in the context of climate change and community displacement.

Field, Christina

Email Address: field324@umn.edu

I studied Comparative Cultures and Politics during my undergraduate experience at Michigan State University, and received a minor in Gender in a Global Context (GenCen) and African Studies. I worked for several journalist publications in Michigan regarding education, business, and gender issues. My main passion is working with refugee populations, which I have done the past six years in America and abroad, particularly through teaching ESL and Community Orientation (CO) courses and, most recently, case management for newly arrived refugees in Kansas City, Missouri.

Funkhouser, Sarah

Email Address: funkh058@umn.edu

I am a native Midwesterner, growing up in North Dakota and graduating from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota in May 2013. I studied Religion and Cultural Music as an undergrad and after graduating, spent a year as a volunteer in East Jerusalem working at a school for students with visual impairments and special needs. I returned to East Jerusalem in 2016 to work as the Program Assistant for the Lutheran World Federation. I provided support for programming in vocational education and specialized medicine and also managed donor relations, coordinated volunteers, and maintained the online presence of the organization. 

Gebru, Eliel


Eliel Gebru is native of Ethiopia; she has an MBA in business management from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota and a BS in management information systems from University of Northwestern in Saint Paul, Minnesota.\nMuch of her work experience in the area of international development has been in program management and administration for USAID funded projects. She has also worked in various Minnesota based higher learning institutions designing and providing transitional academic support services and interventions to students that come from historically under-served communities. This past summer she had the opportunity to be part of a University of Minnesota evaluation and monitoring research team that looked at youth education programs in sub-Saharan Africa.\nHer research interest primarily focus on social justice education. She is particularly interested in looking at the digital divide and how disparities in access to information communication technologies (ICTs) intersect with the quality of education.

Gering, Elizabeth


My name is Elizabeth Gering. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a degree in Rural Sociology with a focus in International Agriculture and Natural Resources in 2009. As an undergraduate, I became involved with a student organization that focused on sustainable agriculture initiatives, which sparked my interest in global food systems. After graduation, I got a position as an AmeriCorps VISTA working on a joint garden and nutrition education program for at risk youth in Madison with UW-Extension and a local non-profit. I continued to work for the non-profit as a garden educator, as well as a consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to create community based garden and Farm to School programs around the state. I was able to bring my knowledge of youth agriculture programs to Nepal in 2012 to work with a local organization in schools around the Kathmandu Valley. My interests remain in agriculture and education, and I am excited to continue to pursue a development career here in the MDP program. In my free time I enjoy yoga, cooking, good wine, the ocean, and playing with my yellow lab Sunny!

Getahun, Angélica


Angélica Getahun is entering her second year of the MDP program after working for five years as the Events and Outreach Coordinator at Peace Coffee, a Minneapolis-based fair trade and organic coffee company. Before Peace Coffee, Angelica was a social worker in Nevada, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Costa Rica. In the community of San Martin de Rivas, she worked with small-scale coffee growers on a marketing project, selling their organic fair trade coffee on the Pacific Coast. Additionally, she worked with a variety of community members on projects ranging from peace and conflict resolution to Junior Achievement. She has a strong interest in micro-enterprise development and value chain analysis, and will be working in the Oriente, Ecuador for her summer field experience. Angelica grew up in the border community of Douglas, AZ, and holds a B.A. in Spanish and Business Administration from the University of Redlands.

Ghebreamlack, Israel


A native of Eritrea, Israel Ghebreamlack is a Master of Development Practice (MDP) student, minoring in Public Policy and is interested in international development and immigration. Israel completed his undergraduate coursework in the year 2012 in Global Studies major and African/African American Studies minor at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. He did his Global Studies degree and joined the MDP program encouraged by his colleagues and friends while he was volunteering as a refugee paralegal in Nairobi Kenya. In his spare time, Israel enjoys helping newly arrived refugees get familiar with Minnesota. He also enjoys helping with homeless shelters as much as he can.

Girard, Michele

Email Address: marqu510@umn.edu

Michele Girard is from Maine and holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Maine Honors College in Political Science and International Affairs. Upon graduating, she was a Research Assistant for the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C., researching agricultural trade, food security, and the environment. She then worked for World Learning as a Program Associate designing and implementing international education programs for the U.S. Department of State for Vietnamese, Egyptian, and African delegations. Michele hopes to study food security as it relates to international trade.

Giron, Isaac

Email Address: giron019@umn.edu

Isaac is from Mountain View, CA and earned his Bachelors degree in International Development from UCLA. Upon graduation, he joined the Peace Corps where he served in Togo, West Africa as an English Teacher and Gender Equality extension agent. While in Togo, Isaac developed a great interest in strengthening existing organizations, and empowering locals to assume a greater role in the development of their communities. Following the Peace Corps, he interned for Kiva Microfunds and worked with teachers and students on informing their peers of microfinance and global poverty issues. Isaac's professional interests include capacity building/training, and the implementation of development projects with sustainable outcomes.

Glynn, Natalie


Natalie Glynn grew up exploring the woods of Fairburn and Fort Benning, GA (and a few other places across the country as the daughter of a military man). She went to college at Auburn University, where she studied anthropology, history, and biology. Combining her love of people and the environment with her voracious appetite for knowledge, she was involved in a variety of student organizations and volunteering opportunities throughout college including water testing in Alabama and Tennessee and compiling oral histories for the Clearfork Community Institute, TN. She also sought and received research fellowships in biological anthropology and community organization focusing on Alabama coal communities. In 2010, she earned her BA in Anthropology from Auburn University and joined Teach For America. For the past two years she has taught 6th grade science at Todd County Middle School on the Rosebud Reservation. Her studies and experiences up to this point have taught her the value of healthy sustainable communities, so she continues her education with the goal of becoming a resource to the communities she has had the privilege to know and love.

Golightly, Christian

Email Address: goli0025@umn.edu

Christian has a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota.  In 2015 he returned from 2 and a half years in Kyrgyzstan with the Peace Corps. He taught English, but also did many other side projects within the village and the surrounding areas. He would like to continue working in developing countries and hopes to find a good fit during this program.

Gonzalez, Susana


Susana Gonzalez is a candidate for the Masters of Development Practice (MDP) program 2014 at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. A native of Bolivia, she grew up in the culturally rich environment of Los Angeles. For 4 years Gonzalez worked in the documentary division of the public television station KCET-TV as researcher and administrative assistant, working on issues affecting marginalized communities. More recently, Gonzalez’s research on child labor in the mining sector of developing countries led to an internship at the United Nations’ International Labor Organization in the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor. Gonzalez received her B.A. degree in English from California State University, Northridge and, as an adult student, a second B.A. degree in International Studies with an emphasis on sustainable development from California State University, East Bay. As a member of the global network of Masters of Development Practice students, scholars, and practitioners, Susana is committed to advancing practical solutions to address global poverty and sustainable development.

Guachichulca, Zoila


My name is Zoila Guachichulca, I am originally from Ecuador.   I am pursuing a Masters of International Development and Practice at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.  I want to contribute to underdeveloped societies on emerging issues that cause poverty, inequality and injustice. I did my field experience in  the community of Junin, Peru where I  gained more knowledge on socially just solutions for the underprivileged groups  by designing a development project to promote an ecosystem protection and sustainable development in the Junin’s community. As undergraduate  my research has primarily focused on poverty alleviation within struggling marginalized communities. For example, while studying in Brazil in 2011, I completed an independent research study in which I analyzed Brazil’s anti-poverty programs:Family Grant and National Student Assistance. In summer 2010, I conducted an original research project titled, “The Driving Force Behind Latinos/as and Doctoral Degree Attainment.” Additionally, in summer 2011, I worked with a research team at the University of Texas Austin on “Project M.A.L.E.S:  Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success.” Both research projects enhanced my analytical reasoning skills by learning about the under-representation of Latinos in higher education.  As a student of Masters in Development and Practice I have gained substantive knowledge, tools, and guidance to analyze and address complex challenges to development.

Hadorn, Sean

Email Address: hado0003@umn.edu

My name is Sean Hadorn and I am a 2005 graduate of the University of Minnesta - Twin Cities with a degree in human geography and a focus on regional analysis and development. After graduation I spent time working in volunteer camps for Hurricane Katrina as a Team Leader with the National Civilian Community Corps. After that I drove a car from California to the southernmost tip of South America. Upon returning to the States I found myself working in Democratic electoral politics with stints in the Wisconsin Assembly, the Ohio House, and President Obama's reelection campaign and inauguration. I am particularly interested in how global disaster relief and recovery efforts are organized and executed, the global response to the growing climate crisis, and how to best create policies to address these problems that are acceptable to our political leaders.

Hamid, Khadeeja

Email Address: hamid051@umn.edu

I graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2011 and returned home, to the Maldives, where I have been working in the area of human rights for the past six years. I am joining the Humphrey School, after wrapping up almost four years of work with the UN Resident Coordinators Office in the Maldives, where I advised the UN Country Team on human rights issues and supported the incorporation of a human rights based approach into the UN’s development programs. This experience gave me an insight into the inadequacy of many development programs to truly empower rights holders and allowed me to understand the challenges of sustaining development gains, in the face of emerging issues such as radicalization and violent extremism. I am interested in further exploring the link between poverty and conflict, especially the factors that makes populations vulnerable to extremism. I also hope to do a minor in Human Rights and use the two years in Minneapolis to brush up my language skills.

Hamid, Saleema


I am from Islamabad, Pakistan but the U.S Midwest is my other home. I attended Northland College in Ashland, WI, which is where I began to explore the northwoods, discover the magic of Lake Superior and find myself amongst amazing individuals. I have journeyed much since then ~ in terms of cultural transitions, acceptance, evolving outlooks and of course, all the wonderful challenges in between. My travels have allowed me to understand the importance of cross-cultural dialogues and global exposure ~ something I am now active with, in the communities that I interact in. One of my favorite mediums for communication is using my photography and mixed-media-art to connect people and places. While my undergraduate background is in Environment, Biology and Sociology, I have worked in the educational sector of Pakistan and on the side pursued social work, especially in the times of the recent Monsoons Flash Flooding we experienced. With my commitment towards civic responsibility, the MDP program will give me just the right skill set to pursue my efforts more effectively—on a personal and professional level. I look forward to gaining the holistic approach this program has to offer (though Statistics and Economics scare me) and I am excited to meet everyone. Plus adventures await.

Hassan Wasarme, Amal

Email Address: wars0071@umn.edu

Amal received her bachelors across the street at Augsburg College in Political Science and Psychology.  At first, she wanted to study the effect war has on the psychology of those who have lived it but she moved on to add political science in order to understand how war happens and what could be done to prevent it. Now as a student doing my masters in International Development Amal is interested in the African continent and the effect war has on women and children, terrorism as well as understanding the reconstruction of a country after decades of war. Her interest in war comes from a history of living through civil war and being personally effected by it and she hope to learn more and understand more


Henderson Maanibe , Sydney

Email Address: hende769@umn.edu

Sydney is from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies from the College of St. Benedict. Upon graduating, she served as a Peace Corps Agriculture Extension Agent for 27 months in Lawra, Upper West Region, Ghana. She then extended her stay to serve as the Sustainability Coordinator for the Global Shea Alliance based in Accra, Ghana. There, she worked with women who process shea butter for the cosmetic and confectionary industries. Sydney is excited to continue growing her passion for sustainable agriculture and community development.

Her, Kia


Kia moved to Minnesota at a young age, where she grew to appreciate the state’s changing weather seasons. She is a first generation college student who earned her Bachelor’s degree from the College of Saint Benedict in Sociology. After graduation, she dedicated a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA to develop a sustainable racial equity tool and evaluation of a nonprofit’s workforce training programs as part of an ongoing effort and goal to reduce racial employment disparities in Minnesota. Her interest in continuing the work of racial equity led her to join the mission of Everybody In, a nonprofit focused on transformational racial equity systems change in workforce and business development. She is excited to pursue the Master of Development practice in order to expand her horizon and skills to drive her future endeavors in contributing to the sustainable development of healthy, thriving equitable communities.    

Hernandez Espinosa, Violeta

Email Address: herna414@umn.edu

At the age of 10, Violeta and her family were forced to leave their small farm in Michoacán, México when the deteriorating economy made their way of life impossible. Relocating in rural southern Minnesota, Violeta struggled with the language barrier, discrimination, and financial obstacles but graduated eight years later as the valedictorian of her high school class. At Gustavus Adolphus College, Violeta pioneered on-campus diversity efforts, co-founding and co-directing the Zeta Chi Phi Multicultural Sorority and Orgullo Latino Association; she graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in International Management and Spanish. Upon graduating, Violeta worked in the private sector for a large, multi-national agribusiness corporation, but seeing the damage done to small businesses by the decisions of these giant companies, she decided to join the non-profit sector in order to contribute to making our world ‘more just.' She returned to Gustavus Adolphus as the Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment, working to increase the admission percentage and aid packages of underrepresented students. In 2012, Violeta received a Princeton in Latin America fellowship, which allowed her to spend a year working in rural Mexican public schools as part of the Learning Communities Project, an innovative and radical approach to education reform. Violeta believes that the best way to strengthen and develop an economy and society is through education. After completing the Master of Development Practice, she plans to return to Mexico and devote her life to education reform, Indigenous people’s rights and development in her home country.

Herr-Hoyman, Rachel


My name is Rachel Herr-Hoyman. I grew up in Madison, WI where I developed a love of politics and social justice causes. While in high school I had the opportunity to take a trip to Australia which cemented my love for travel and exploring other cultures. I have a BA in political science from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. While there I studied abroad in Aberdeen Scotland and was able to travel around Europe. After graduating I worked as a contractor in the Scottish Affairs Office at the British Embassy in Washington, DC. My goal is to become a foreign service officer and I am very excited to be a part of the MDP program.

Hill, Joshua


I grew up in Minneapolis, and graduated from Hope College in Michigan with BAs in International Studies and History. After graduation, I worked in Minneapolis for an international consulting firm. Following a six-week leave of absence traveling in the Levant, the downsizing of my entire office provided an opportunity. I relocated to Damascus, and spent much of 2009-20011 teaching English, studying Arabic, and traveling. During the summers of 2009-2011, I returned to Morocco, where I had studied abroad, as the leader of an experiential learning and cultural exchange program for high school students. I returned from Syria to Minneapolis in 2011, and am involved with the East African youth population, working as a math and English tutor via the Somalia American Parent Association, and working to secure employment for refugees and asylees via World Relief – Minnesota.
I look forward to starting the MDP program at the Humphrey school. My professional areas of interest are the MENA region, refugee issues, and cross cultural exchange. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, reading, playing soccer, cooking, and spending time outdoors.

Hume, Meagan


Meagan Hume hails from Maryland. She did her undergraduate work at Bryn Mawr College, graduating with a BA in Anthropology and Peace & Conflict Studies. After three years doing events and conferences management, she became a Health Case Manager with refugee populations in Philadelphia through AmeriCorps. After AmeriCorps, Meagan worked with the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis. It was through these experiences that Meagan decided to enroll in the Masters of Development Practice program at the University of Minnesota. Through her affiliation with the Institute on the Environment at the UofM, Meagan has honed her research and career interests to understanding the impact of climate change on vulnerable human populations, especially in the human rights context.

Hussien, Sara

Email Address: hussi043@umn.edu

Sara Ragab obtained her bachelor’s degree from the faculty of economics and political science, Cairo university where she majored in economics and undertook statistics as a minor. On her third year, Sara received a fully funded scholarship to study economics at the University of Chicago. Following her graduation, Sara became a communications and visibility intern in a project conducted by GIZ, called Participatory development project in urban areas. During this project, Sara wrote articles and conducted field visits to various projects implemented in informal settlements, especially schools. This internship triggered Sara’s interest in education reform and sustainability of projects. Afterwards, Sara became a monitoring and evaluation voluntary assistant in the United Nations, world food programme, where she assisted in data analysis and producing reports. 

Hylton, Zachary


Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Zachary Hylton graduated from St. Olaf College in 2011, majoring in Sociology Anthropology and Political Science and concentrating in China Studies. As an undergrad, Zachary established an affinity for cultural development through his work with multicultural student organizations on campus. After graduation, he worked as a community organizer in East Cleveland, reifying social capital and establishing community driven institutions in a poverty stricken suburb. This experience not only exposed him the issues surrounding development but also to the urgency of poverty alleviation in post-industrial societies. For the last nine months, Zachary continued his collegiate study of Chinese language and culture at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei. Interested in poverty alleviation, capacity building, and institutional analysis, he has conducted research on a diversity of international systems and excited to learn more about global processes through the MDP program.

Jain, Amrita

Email Address: jainx227@umn.edu

Amrita Vijay Jain is a MDP candidate at Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. She has her undergraduate degree in literature and psychology. As an undergraduate she has researched and written on the issue of migrant labourers. Amrita pursued her postgraduate degree in journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune, India where she found a ground in newspaper writing. As a correspondent with India's leading daily, The Indian Express, Amrita reported extensively on issues of urban development, environment and heritage conservation. She also holds a diploma in international humanitarian law.

Jamkar, Vishal

Email Address: jamka003@umn.edu

Vishal Jamkar did his Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India. After a brief stint in the corporate sector, he joined an Indian nonprofit, PRADAN working in various capacities ranging from a community organizer to an advisor to the Government of India. For over a decade, he worked with Dalit and Adivasi communities in Central India on issues of livelihoods, governance, and social justice. He completed his Master’s in Development Practice and will be continuing his doctoral studies from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, USA. His research interests lie at the intersection of Public Policy Analysis, Caste Discrimination in India, and Critical Race studies. In his free time, Vishal likes to follow politics, cook and explore different cultures.

Karki, Bibhusha


My name is Bibhusha Karki. I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead, with International Studies as my major and economics as my minor. During my undergraduate years, I was involved in Student Senate by advocating issues about diversity. I also served in Moorhead Human Rights Commission as an international youth member. After graduation, I worked as an interpreter at a local NGO for Bhutanese New Americans refugees in the Fargo-Moorhead community. Volunteering in various NGOs during my schooling years got me interested in the field of development from early on. Getting into the MDP program at the Humphrey Institute is a dream coming true. During my visits to my home country Nepal, I have been actively taking part with Nepal’s movement for accountable leadership- Nepal Unites. I am interested in issues of Human Rights, gender equality, and sustainability development. I enjoy photography, reading, travelling, and watching movies, catching up with family-friends in my free time.

Karmacharya, Ankur

Email Address: karma023@umn.edu

I am from Kathmandu, Nepal. I graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from BMS College of Engineering. Post graduation, I have been working primarily as a software developer. I also worked as a project management consultant at Gham Power, a Nepal based solar installation company, for their Off Grid Bazaar platform, an online project development platform to scale up the implementation of off-grid solar in rural Nepal. Over the next two years in the MDP program, I wish to understand the role of technology in the broader scope of sustainable development. I am also interested in the application of resilience theory in Development Practice.

Kathirgamu, Kamaladevy

Email Address: kathi007@umn.edu

I am originally from San Francisco, California. I moved to Colombia in 2007 where I did my undergraduate studies in International Relations and volunteered in the non-profit sector in community empowerment projects over the last eight years. Out of college I worked for the UNDP for Latin America and the Caribbean as an Instructional Design Professional. I led the planning and implementation of projects to foment capacity building in Human Development for decision makers in the public sector, UN officials, and leaders of underrepresented groups.

Keech, Bior


My name is Bior Keech; I was born in Bor County, South Sudan, a place that had been devastated by 22 years of civil war and where people are struggling to rebuild their lives daily. I am very fortunate to be one of group known as the lost Boys of Sudan, and the desert of Tucson, Arizona is my second home. I graduated from the University of Arizona with degrees in Agriculture Economics & Management and Business Economics. Besides playing Basketball, I was very involved in the extracurricular activities such as the African Students Association, the Economic Society, and Blue Chip program - a leadership development program that combines academic and extracurricular activities to build leadership skills and community services. I work as a refugees’ case manager with International Rescue Committee and volunteered at the Carter Center in South Sudan; where I administered voter registration in Bor, Jonglei State during the country’s first ever election. In these positions, I work with population from “3rd world” which gave me the understanding the struggles, needs and challenges of the people. These diverse experiences have brought me to a place where I want a career in specializing in development economics & public finances of lower and middle income countries and in transition economies, including working as policy analysts and decision-makers in government, international organizations, and the private sector. I intend to explore specific problem areas such as the application of quantitative and financial analysis to prepare me to help contributes toward South Sudan’s sustained development, or in other part of the developing world particularly in Africa, where lives are being lost in wars and children suffer when developing and transition decisions cannot be make by leaders.

Khang, Pakou

Email Address: khan0395@umn.edu

After graduating from St. Olaf College with a BA in English and Asian Studies, I completed a year of AmeriCorps in Early Childhood Development work and then went on to serve two years as an English Teacher in Peace Corps Thailand. There, I not only helped develop the English curriculum, but I also facilitated leadership, life skills, and gender equity sessions with Thai youths. I am interested in gender development and education development work in Asia, in addition to immigrant and refugee aid on a global scale.

Khishigbat, Tsogtbilguundari (Bill)

Email Address: khish001@umn.edu

Tsogtbilguundari (Bill) is born and raised in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2018 with a major in Political Science and a minor in Digital Media Studies. Before returning back to the U after over a year as a Master of Development Practice candidate, Bill has gained experiences in both private and public fields. As part of his post-graduation practical training, he had contracted with one of the world's major law firms, Dorsey & Whitney LLP; assisted an immigration lawyer at Grell Feist PLC; and worked to help the City of Minneapolis be transparent and compliant with the Minnesota Data Practices Act. On the side, he also co-hosts a popular education and lifestyle podcast in Mongolia which has over 1.3 million downloads with listeners from all over the world.

Kirgis, Alison

Email Address: kirgi004@umn.edu

Alison Kirgis is a 2012 graduate of the University of Cincinnati where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs with concentrations in international human rights and environmental policy. In college she joined the student chapter of Amnesty International (AI) and discovered her passion for working to enhance human rights at home and abroad. She went on to become the AI volunteer Legislative Coordinator for Ohio and then Minnesota where she has focused extensively on international women’s rights legislation.  Since graduation she has also worked in international finance and underwriting in Cincinnati, OH and then became the community organizer/administrator for the Como Community Council in Saint Paul, MN. As a community organizer, Alison helped lead initiatives to promote and ultimately increase recycling, composting and overall environmental stewardship in the community. 

Alison is particularly interested in exploring how sound natural resources management and sustainable development can lead to the enhancement of human rights, and she is very excited to pursue these areas of interest in the interdisciplinary MDP program.

Laferriere, Elizabeth

Email Address: lafe0013@umn.edu

Elizabeth Laferriere has lived in Minnesota since she was born. After graduating from high school, she attended Luther College in Decorah, IA and pursued degrees in Biology and French. In order to complete her French degree, Elizabeth studied abroad in Madagascar for two months in 2012. This experience showed Elizabeth that she would like to work in the field of international development. After graduating from college, she lived and worked in Brest, France for two years, teaching English at a university. Elizabeth spent the last two years as a Minnesota Reading Corps tutor, which is affiliated with AmeriCorps. She would like to focus on developing public health and education, concentrating on the human rights associated with those two subjects.

Laouali, Rayanatou


Rayanatou is an international student from Niger. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Math & Statistics in 2012 from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is also a Davis Scholar upon graduating in 2008 from one of the United World Colleges, Lester B. Pearson College in Victoria BC, Canada. She is one of the winners of the 100 Davis Projects for Peace in 2011. With the Davis Grant, she established a cooperative of women processing peanuts into oil and butter in Maradi/Niger. These experiences sparked her interest in international development. She is particularly interested in Economic Development and Education issues. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with my family and friends, writing poetry, cooking and gardening.

Licari, Christina

Email Address: licar016@umn.edu

I am a born and raised Minnesota native. I studied International Studies and Modern Language French at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. After my undergraduate studies, I spent two years serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa, as an English teacher. While serving, I worked on various development projects such as starting micro-finance groups, gender equity programs and general hygiene and nutrition. I'm excited to return home and further develop my skills in this field!  

Loayza, Ariel

Email Address: loayz006@umn.edu

My name is Ariel Loayza, I am from Bolivia, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship with a minor in Finance. After working in three private companies, I worked for a non-governmental organization that provides health-related services, and for a university in Bolivia with educational development projects. I am interested in educational and health development. At the Humphrey School, I want to improve my ability to overcome social and cultural barriers and build successful alliances to address societal challenges, such as gender inequalities. 

Ly, Gary

Email Address: lyxxx046@umn.edu

1st year MDP student with years of experience in the non-profit world serving the underprivileged along with years of travel including destinations to 5 different continents, having lived in Thailand and Colombia where I worked as an English teacher. As an undergrad, I studied Sociology of Law, Crime and Deviance at the University of Minnesota. I am passionate about working with the youth, the underserved, and families in need to provide the best resources possible to help them better their lives. Some of my research interests center around agriculture, nutrition, and youth policy. I look forward to combining my interests as an MDP student and collaborating with some amazingly talented students.

Mahmoud, Esraa

Email Address: mahmo119@umn.edu

Mahmud, Alheen

Email Address: mahmu035@umn.edu

My name is Alheen Mahmud and I was born as an Iraqi refugee in Syria. At a young age, I arrived to the United States and grew up in Moorhead, MN. There, I attended Minnesota State University Moorhead and graduated with a double major in Economics and Political Science as well as a certificate in Geographic Information Sciences. I have done undergrad research projects- one on how flood aid measures affect perceived risk in floodplain development; another on observing if there is a correlation between gerrymandering and food insecurity in the US. I am passionate about financial security, civil rights (gender and race), access to education, development economics, and peace and conflict resolution in a global setting. It is my dream to work with international organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations- especially on economic development issues.

Maikuri, Antony

Email Address: maiku001@umn.edu

My name is Maikuri Bob Antony and I come from Nairobi Kenya. I am a transfer student from the Western Kentucky University having started off with masters in Organizational Leadership where I gained skills and knowledge about leadership in an organization. After studying half way in the program I realized my main passion is to do development, that’s why I transferred to the University of Minnesota. This passion of development did not start recently but after having an undergraduate in bachelors of Science in finance specialization on microfinance and after working in some financial organizations in Kenya I realized I needed to practically learn and have knowledge on development projects. This change of mind came when I started my training with the United Nations Industrial Development program on training women on entrepreneurships with collaborations with Hewlett Packard and gender for women entrepreneurship. This was a changing point in my life and it’s when I had to follow the path of development. In between, I have worked with Scopeinsight East Africa, a Dutch organization on agricultural development in East Africa. I am looking for a career line in development practices especially working back in Africa after gaining many skills from this great country of America.

Mansour, Yasmine

Email Address: manso125@umn.edu

I come from Egypt ,and I am so excited to join the university of Minnesota to study in the MDP program. I graduated with a major in Statistics and minor in Economics then joined the development sector in Egypt. I have worked with international and national entities that focus on the underprivileged groups in my society, for instance, UN- World food Program where we focused on food assistance to refugees and underprivileged Egyptians. I have also worked at Magdi Yacoub Heart foundation with the development team where our aim was to offer world-class free of charge cardiovascular treatment to the underprivileged. Joining the Development sector was the best thing I have done since my gradution as I can see my hard work benefiting others ,who life did not give them enough chances to survive. 

Marsh, Isabel

Email Address: posad009@umn.edu

Isabel is a Colombian economist, who has experienced firsthand the struggle to access the building blocks of development. Isabel is passionate about finding solutions for people battling poverty. She has a keen interest in economic development, gender studies, conflict resolution, rural and sustainable development. Isabel has worked in strategic communication for a public relations firm in Colombia, having as her main client the Colombian Government. There she deepened her knowledge on the Colombian conflict, the struggle of victims, the importance of peace, and the intricacies of international relations. She moved to Minnesota in 2014 looking to improve her English and explore the academic scene. She found here what is called home and a handful of great opportunities to become an active agent in the development process.

Masterpole, Zoe

Email Address: maste172@umn.edu

Zoe is from Rochester, Minnesota and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology with minors in Biochemistry and International Agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During her time in Lincoln, she worked for the United States Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Research Service completing field and lab research on beef and dairy cattle pests. For the past two years, she has served as a Peace Corps Agriculture Extension Agent in the northern most region of Togo, a small country in West Africa. Zoe’s professional interests include implementation of gender equitable practices and sustainable agricultural development. 

Mbaye , Seyni

Email Address: mbaye001@umn.edu

Seyni is from Senegal, West-Africa and left his country in 2014 to pursue an undergraduate degree in International Development at the University of Waterloo in Canada. As part of his undergraduate degree requirement, he spent 8 months in Mzuzu, Malawi as a Business Management and Entrepreneurship Officer. In Malawi, Seyni gave Business Management workshops and helped the youth of Mzuzu start their own businesses. Seyni is also running an organization that works towards providing education for all in Senegal as well as tackling other development related issues such as poverty through the implementation of a myriad of programs. In the future, Seyni hopes to work in Senegal with the local government or local NGOs on issues related to education and food security. 

Metwaly , Nayera

Email Address: metwa006@umn.edu

My name is Nayera. I am 26 years old, and I am from Cairo, Egypt. I studied political science at Cairo University. I did a year abroad at the University of Chicago to study political science (the Onsi Sawiris Scholarship Program). I graduated in 2014; I started working in the field of social development as a programs officer, mainly concentrating on educational projects in the poorest slums of Egypt. I am very passionate about education, history, literature, and music. Even though I grew up in the Middle East and was immersed in its culture, I also grew up listening to music and watching movies & TV series from all over the world. In my free time I love to play kickboxing and volunteer. My favourite volunteer experience was with TEDxCairo, where we organised an annual conference to highlight new ideas and methods of thinking. 

Moua, Chou


My name is Chou Moua, I was born and raised in Saint Paul. I graduated from the University of Minnesota majoring in Political Science and Asian Languages & Literatures with a concentration in International Relations. In 2006 I had the opportunity to study abroad at East China Normal University in Shanghai. Since then, I caught the travel bug and spent much time learning different languages and cultures in Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. I have also spent much of my time working with local nonprofits in refugee assistance, youth development, and teaching languages. This past year, I have been an active volunteer with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) forming a union for Minnesota Home Healthcare Workers advocating for employment benefits as well as collective bargaining. I know that coming to Humphrey will give me the skills to pursue both my personal and professional aspirations. In my spare time I enjoy rock picking, pottery, Starcraft II, and traveling. I look forward to being a part of the Humphrey family.

Mueller, Kayla


Kayla is a second year Masters of Development Practice student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, pursuing a minor in evaluation studies with interests in nonprofit management and gender disparity. During her undergraduate career at Arcadia University, she majored in International Studies and Spanish with a minor in Economics. She spent a semester in Ecuador studying micro-finance opportunities and interning with an indigenous organization as well as a micro-credit cooperative. Afterwards, she completed a semester in southern Spain studying the EU and travelling throughout Europe. Previous to that, she conducted research and work in Mexico and Costa Rica. This past summer Kayla travelled to Nepal where she worked in community-based forestry management and value-chain analysis of forestry products.

Kayla is involved with the student body as the Treasurer for Interdisciplinary Perspectives on International Development and was previously the MDP Representative within the Public Affairs Student Association. During her spare time she enjoys spending time by the lakes, watching hockey, and fostering animals.

Muench, David


My name is David Muench, and I am from San José, California. I graduated from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA in 2011, with a degree in Latin American Studies. My story, as it pertains to international development practice at the Humphrey school, started in 2005, on a summer night in Bemidji, MN. I was a student at a Spanish language and culture camp, and I participated in a simulation of the Cochabamba, Bolivia water riots of 2000. The simulation was creative and well-executed, and after seeing the interacting agents of a true crisis in development, I had discovered my passion. I couldn’t be happier to start studying International Development in Minnesota, the state that I love. The majority of my development experience comes from a semester abroad studying economic development and social justice in Managua, Nicaragua. On a theoretical level, I am most interested in ways to utilize cultural norms as agents of change in the political economy. In the future, I would like to work in the field of transportation infrastructure development, particularly to develop aviation infrastructural capacity around the world.

Muhire, Aimee

Email Address: carl3870@umn.edu

I'm a Minnesota native, who grew up in the suburbs of the Twin Cities and received a BS in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of Minnesota. However, I've long had my eyes set on working and living abroad, with the hopes of participating in and helping the world at large. I have been living in Rwanda for the past four years, where I served as a Maternal and Child Health Volunteer with Peace Corps and then became both the Gender Equity Coordinator and the Preparation Program Coordinator at Kepler. While I began my academic and professional career in the environmental field, my focus quickly switched to gender and women's issues, more specifically the prevention of gender-based violence. I'm also passionate about refugee issues, youth leadership, and education access. I'm looking forward to exploring ways to make development projects more sustainable and community driven.

Nkwenge, June

Email Address: nkwen004@umn.edu

June S. Nkwenge hails from Wakiso district in Uganda. She has worked as Operations Manager of Smart Oils and Smart Farm since November 2011 and August 2012 respectively. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in May 2012, and has most recently completed a Business and Entrepreneurship Institute at Northwestern University as a Mandela Washington Fellow. She is looking to pursue a Masters in Development Practice from the University of Minnesota, and is most keen to learn about Human Rights, social justice and sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ntalo, Erin

Email Address: ntalo002@umn.edu

Erin was born and raised in Minnesota, earned a B.A. from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, and lived on the west side of Chicago for several years after graduation where she worked in community development. What followed were a few months living in Uganda, where she met her now-husband. They married a year later, in 2014, and have been living in Minneapolis since. Erin now oversees the retail operations of Spyhouse Coffee Roasters, where she has honed a passion for entrepreneurship. She wants to explore further the power small business and sustainable practices can have in the lives of ordinary Africans.

Nurmatova, Nasiba

Email Address: nurma009@umn.edu

I was born in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Currently I live in Bishkek and work for the Deloitte Consulting, implementing the USAID Business Growth Initiative. As a Tourism Development Specialist my goals and tasks are to attract more tourists to the country. When I have free time I enjoy cooking, watching movies, hiking and spending time with my friends, even though that happens not so often, because I spend my free time volunteering and contributing to the community. When I was 16, I was accepted to the US Department Exchange Program Future Leaders Exchange. I spent 1 academic year living with American family in Minnesota. In 2015 I graduated from the American University of Central Asia, with major at Business Administration and minor at International Business Law.

Osborne, Lillian

Email Address: osbor185@umn.edu

I have a strong interest in community building, and particularly programming that leverages partnerships between private enterprise and nonprofit organizations. Most recently I worked in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for Outerwall, the company behind Redbox and Coinstar kiosks. I earned a B.A. in Political Science from Gonzaga University and previously served as an AmeriCorps VISTA, as well as worked for several nonprofit organizations. Within the MDP program I am especially interested in learning more about micro-enterprise development and natural resource management.

Perra, Cameron

Email Address: perra050@umn.edu

Cameron's background is in Latin American history and economics, informed by his degrees in International and Latin American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as significant time abroad in Venezuela, Chile, and Honduras. Cameron is a certified healthcare interpreter and has worked as a freelance interpreter in various capacities since 2015, which has allowed him to travel often and to pursue side projects such as a financial literacy curriculum for a Honduran NGO. His interests lie in public health, financial literacy education, and program evaluation, and while at the Humphrey hopes to further develop his quantitative analysis skills as well as examine the relationship between health and education.

Raasch, Cody

Email Address: raas0046@umn.edu

Cody Raasch is from Milwaukee, WI and came to Minneapolis to complete his BA in Psychology at the University of Minnesota. In 2012 he participated in the University's MSID program in Kenya, researching behavioral modes of transmission in the Luo tribe. After graduating he worked as a program assistant for a Mental Health Non-profit called Touchstone Mental Health.

Ramos, Juliana

Email Address: ramos250@umn.edu

I was born and raised in Brasília, Brazil. After completing my Bachelor degree in Business Administration at Brasília Catholic University, I was sponsored by the Brazilian Government to participate in a leadership program at Arizona State University. I have always been interested in the development field and for 3 years I worked as a consultant at the Multilateral Investment Fund in the Inter-American Development Bank. I helped to manage technical cooperations in the Brazil region and our projects were focused in three strategic areas: knowledge economy, inclusive cities and climate smart agriculture. I’m currently perusing my Master in Development Practices at Humphrey School of Public affairs and my areas of interests include impact investing, sustainable growth and Income distribution.  

Rezkalla, Annasimon

Email Address: rizka005@umn.edu

A highly motivated Egyptian pharmacy student, who has graduated in July 2018 from the German University in Cairo, with a genuine interest in global health and development. My excellent communication and organizational skills together with my ability to work under stress and across multi-disciplinary professional networks have enabled me to combine my academic studies with practical work and structured volunteering activities. With my experience and proven ability to take part in many volunteering activities in different non-profit institutions, I have concluded that my passion and career lay in social development and more specifically in helping children and women who are less advantaged to overcome obstacles and making the most of themselves, which is a very rewarding and aspiring future career to me. Believing that a healthy environment helps in impacting overall societal development and poverty reduction, my aim is to gain knowledge and experience as well as develop the necessary tools to have an impact on the bettering of public health and lives of families in Egypt.

Roisen, Patrick

Email Address: roise010@umn.edu

Patrick Roisen is a 2011 graduate of St. Olaf College, majoring in Political Science and History. Before arriving to Humphrey, he served over 3 years in West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. There he worked as the National Program Coordinator, and later as the Development Officer, for an international NGO. He is originally from Argentina and spent a majority of his upbringing living internationally. Patrick's professional interests include exploring strategies to improve access to education in developing countries and promoting gender equality.

Sarode, Trupti

Email Address: sarod004@umn.edu

Trupti Sarode holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery from the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, India. Previously, she worked as a Researcher and Content Manager at Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations, an independent foreign policy think-tank in Mumbai, India. Her research interests include global health, development and international affairs.

Saxena, Shruti


My name is Shruti Saxena and I am a first year MDP student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. I am from India, and have grown up in several cities across the country, finally settling in Noida, adjacent to Delhi. My previous degree was in Economics, and I have worked in the area of education and community development for several years. My work was focused on improving the quality of and access to education at schools in North India. I also used to lead student teams at colleges in North India on community outreach projects to tackle local social and economic concerns. I was involved in managing programs and facilitating volunteering at local non-profits, disaster relief efforts and internal awareness raising.

Shepard, Katie


I grew up in Apple Valley, MN and went on to major in mathematics at Grinnell College in Iowa. While there, I ran cross country and track and participated in multiple musical ensembles. I spent one semester abroad in Milan, Italy, taking a break from math and instead studying language, art and music. After graduation, I taught high school math and physics in a rural village in Lesotho for two years through the Peace Corps. It was there I realized I wanted to pursue higher education in international development rather than mathematics. I don’t know where I’ll choose to focus my studies, but I fell in love with Africa and definitely see myself going back.

Shoemake, Janelle


Janelle Shoemake, a Minnesota native, grew up traveling and at an early age was exposed to other cultures, traditions and languages. Janelle attended Moorhead State University Moorhead for one year studying International Relations, but the city was too small for her! The following summer she studied Arabic in Jordan for 6 weeks, and went to Heredia, Costa Rica immediately after to continue studying International Relations at Universidad Naciónal. She transferred to the U of MN and finished her degree in Global Studies with an emphasis of Human Rights and the Middle East. During her time at the U of MN Janelle was involved in the Human Rights Program, the Arabic Language and Culture Association, Humanity Against Torture, Child Protection International, African Student Association, interned with the Advocates for Human Rights, and spent two summers organizing volunteer trips to Kenya. Following her undergrad Janelle got her LL.M. in International Human Rights at St. Thomas University in Miami, FL. Janelle's academic interests include the rights based approach to development and water resource management. Janelle enjoys salsa dancing, cooking, eating, enjoying a beer and sleeping in her free time!

Singh, Surabhi

Email Address: singh779@umn.edu

Growing up in a Least Developed Country like Nepal, I have always been aware about, and sensitive towards developmental concerns.  Having been immersed in the realities of a struggling nation, I have always wanted to contribute to achieving social justice. I finished my undergraduate studies pursuing Law and unlike most of my peers who started working as lawyers, I started working in an NGO called DidiBahini soon after I graduated. Working with social issues related to social injustice and gender inequality; I realized the development sector was my true calling. In 2016, I interned at a German INGO, vhs DVV International, in Lao PDR committed to promoting lifelong learning and supporting Youth and Adult Education in Laos.  All these experiences led to my transition from being a law graduate to joining the MDP program to return to academia.

Snyder Elsayad, Jamee

Email Address: snyde566@umn.edu

Jamee Snyder has a Bachelors Degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota and is currently pursuing a Masters of Development Practice at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She aims to design, implement, and/or assess livelihood programs around the world that integrate social justice, human welfare, and sustainable natural resource management. Her previous work ranged from teaching art and math to founding and being the sole proprietor of a gardening business. Currently, she works as the project coordinator and administrative assistance at the University of Minnesota Lion Center supporting graduate students, undergraduate students, and the director. She has worked abroad in South Africa and Mozambique helping coordinate and promote the Snapshot Safari project, and she studied abroad in Nepal during her undergraduate degree program where she studied biodiversity and community forestry. 

Sobraske, Katelynn

Email Address: sobr0004@umn.edu

My name is Katelynn Sobraske and I graduated from the College of St. Benedict with a B.A. in Psychology. After graduating I spent a year living abroad and Teaching English through an organization, which sparked my interest in international work. After living and working abroad, I returned to the US and worked in the health field for several years. My goal is to combine these two passions through MDP and increase my influence internationally through public service.

Stephan, Tai

Email Address: steph289@umn.edu

Tai Stephan is a Minnesota native with an undergraduate degree in finance from the Carlson School of Management. She has spent the last two years working in China with a sustainable consulting firm and as an economics teacher. As an MDP student, she is looking forward to earning a minor in natural resources science and management. After graduate school, Tai hopes to work internationally assisting conservation efforts through the development of sustainable livelihoods.

Stevenson, Soren

Email Address: stev0802@umn.edu

I am from the Pacific Northwest-- though I spent formative years in Kyrgyzstan-- where I studied applied human biology at Seattle Pacific University. I have been working as a medical assistant which has fueled my passion for striving toward the prevention of illness. I am interested in researching the connection of built and social environments with health outcomes.

Subba, Meghna

Email Address: subba019@umn.edu

Meghna was born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal. She holds a Bachelors in Business Administration and an Executive-MBA from Kathmandu University, Nepal. She also holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication from Symbiosis International University, India. For five years, she worked as a Communications Officer in the Inclusive Development of the Economy program implemented by German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in Nepal. Her expertise and interest lies in rural economic development, community development, natural resources management, gender and inclusion in the society among others. At the Humphrey School, she wants to gain a deeper understanding of sustainable development, rural and community development and climate resiliency from an international perspective.

Tatlow, Johanna

Email Address: tatlo003

I graduated from Columbia International University with my Bachelors in Humanities and a Masters in Theology, during which I studied both Christian and Islamic studies. My interest in development comes from growing up in Turkey, spending several years in the underdeveloped Southeastern region. I worked for the last two years as an employment specialist focusing on case management for ex-offenders through Goodwill in South Carolina. 

Teleposky, Emily

Email Address: telep005@umn.edu

I graduated from NYU Stern School of Business in January 2016, with a degree in Business & Political Economy. During my time as an undergrad, some of my research interests were financial development and inclusion, specifically microfinance. I was lucky to study abroad in London and in Shanghai, and get to witness how different nations tackle the issue of poverty. Over the next two years, I hope to dive into micro banking, supply chain issues and worker's rights. 

Thompson, Joshua

Email Address: thom7120@umn.edu

Joshua is originally from Germany and lived there nine years before moving to Iowa. He received his Bachelor's degrees from Iowa State University in Agronomy and Environmental Science. Joshua has done extensive internship work in corporate environmental and agricultural sustainability for John Deere, Monsanto, and Dow Agrosciences. His interests are in corporate responsibility to global development in agribusiness with a strong focus on farmer's rights, climate responsible agriculture, responsible use of biotechnology, and fair trade with better commodity traceability. 

Traaseth, Amanda

Email Address: traas008@umn.edu

My name is Amanda Traaseth and I completed by Bachelors degrees at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in Political Science and Global Studies. My undergraduate studies contained a thematic focus of governance, peace, and justice with a regional focus in Eastern Africa. I previously held an internship at the Human Rights Center at the University of Minnesota, where I assisted in the implementation of a human rights curriculum for educators to address the expanding achievement gap in the Twin Cities area. During the last two years I have been working as a paralegal for an immigration law firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Venegas Swanson, Tatyana


My name is Tatyana Venegas Swanson. I graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in Sociology and Russian. My senior summer I had the opportunity to volunteer in Uganda with two HIV/AIDS organizations. This experience opened my eyes to the complexities of the developing world and after graduation I spent the next three years as a Peace Corps Basic Sanitation Volunteer in Bolivia. I worked with various NGO’s to enhance the educational training components of their water-system and bathroom projects, which included strengthening the capacities of both the community and NGO facilitators. I also worked with the Mayor’s office of my village and various NGO’s to implement a bathroom project in my village. Upon my return to the states I moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where I became an environmental specialist with OASIS-ERM consulting. My primary duties involved coordination of BP Alaska’s environmental studies program and I provided technical assistance in wildlife compliance and waste compliance. Although these past four years have been extremely different from my Peace Corps experience, I’ve gained an insight into the broader environmental implications of large-scale projects and working within a regulated context. As an MDP student I hope to build upon my professional experiences to increase my skill set and my ability to make a concrete contribution to alleviating poverty through development.

Villagra Mostaceros, Diego

Email Address: villa169@umn.edu

My name is Diego Antonio Villagra Mostaceros. I was born and raised in Lima, Peru, but moved to Minnesota in 2010 as an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota Duluth. There I graduated summa cum laude and received a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies with minors in Communication and French. Today, I am seeking a Master of Development Practice at the University of Minnesota, where I am expectant and eager to share my knowledge and passion, as well as to acquire the necessary skills and tools in order to help my country, Peru, one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America, bridge its wide economic divide and heal its deeply fractured society.

Villarraga, Maria

Email Address: villa374@umn.edu

I am Maria Camila Villarraga from Colombia. I am an Industrial Engineer graduated from Universidad de los Andes (Bogota, Colombia). I have almost three years of experience on financial planning. I am fluent in Spanish, English and French. I find very interesting the experiences that allow interaction with intercultural and multidisciplinary teams.

During my degree I took a course called “Public Systems” which focused on the critical analysis of public problems in Colombia; this topic attracted my attention and interest in researching about development issues within the country. As a result, I decided to investigate on inclusive businesses, elaborating a framework for a successful sustainable model in Colombia that contributes to the development of the base of the social pyramid..

I want to address social and economic development in my country. Colombia has a challenging environment to which I intend to contribute by proposing meaningful and optimal solutions to various development problems. I believe this program will contribute enormously to address real-world issues and approach them with creative solutions.


Vogel, Tyler

Email Address: vogel429@umn.edu

Tyler is from Oelwein, Iowa and a recent graduate from Wartburg College where he received a BA in Biology. He is a Resolution Project Fellow and cofounded a social venture located in the Loreto region of Peru helping combat malaria through the utilization of native bat species. Tyler has also done field research in Guyana and New Zealand. He is passionate about further understanding the intersection between traditional and industrial practices as it pertains to aiding health, development, and the environment. 

Voller, Vanessa

Email Address: voll0144@umn.edu

Vanessa Voller is a 2016 graduate of Colorado College where she obtained a Bachelor of Art’s degree in Sociology with concentrations in post development theory and international education. As an undergraduate, Vanessa served as a research fellow for the Bell Policy Center in Denver, Colorado and the World Policy Institute in New York. She has lived and worked in a variety of countries throughout Latin America including Argentina, Bolivia, Panama, and Costa Rica. Most recently Vanessa served as the Costa Rica Program Director for Amigos de las Americas, a cross-cultural youth leadership organization. Vanessa’s research interests include participatory action based research methodologies and the Vivir Bien/Buen Vivir paradigm. While at the University of Minnesota, Vanessa hopes to continue to build upon her qualitative research skills while answering the question: how do citizens of the 21st century use environmental and cultural conservation as a means for community development?

Von Qualen, Frieda

Email Address: vonqu001@umn.edu

I am a 2008 graduate of St. Olaf College with degrees in Religion and Political Science. Upon graduation, worked as a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Peru for two years and as the WASH Peace Corps Volunteer Coordinator in Lima for one year. Afterwards, I was a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fellow placed at the New Orleans Health Department, where I worked in strengthening family health programs and developing emergency response plans for the City. I am especially interested in learning about how addressing economic and social challenges can simultaneously impact public health in a community.

Waiswa, Moses

Email Address: waisw005@umn.edu

My name is Moses Waiswa and I immigrated to the U.S. in 2007. I am from Uganda but grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. I graduated last year with a double major in political science and global studies. I had previously worked at Bridging inc a non-profit that helps families in transition from 2008-2010. I am pursuing my MDP as I am interested in human rights, sustainable development and working with refugees. My passion would be to work with refugee populations in Sub Saharan Africa. 

Walsh, Amy


Amy Walsh grew up in Iowa, and received her degree in Biology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2004. She attended medical school at the University of Minnesota before returning to Iowa for residency training in Emergency Medicine. This Masters is part of further specialized training in International Emergency Medicine that I am pursuing at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where I will work as an attending physician in their Emergency Department over the next two years.\nShe spent almost year during medical school working in Tanzania, and has also worked in health care in Israel, Haiti, and Vietnam. Her areas of interest are international medical education and improving the metrics used to judge success in international field work.\nThis summer, she married her new husband, Joe, whom she met playing Ultimate Frisbee, an activity that they both continue to love. She also runs, bikes (road and mountain), and occasionally camps and hikes when she can get away.

Wiedenman, Erin

Email Address: wiede070@umn.edu

Erin Wiedenman graduated from Appalachian State University in 2013 with a B.S. in Geography. During her college years, she spent a semester studying abroad in Ireland, learning about urban planning and geography. She also spent a summer as an intern with the State Property Office in NC doing GIS work through the NC State Government Internship Program. She has had several jobs as well as done volunteer work focusing on children and education including working as an after school tutor for youth in poverty, a volunteer mentor for Western Youth Network, a camp counselor, an Alternative Spring Break trip participant and leader, and most recently, a nanny. She is particularly interested in international education and immigration, as well as gender studies.

Yamoah, Evans

Email Address: yamoa001@umn.edu

My name is Evans Yamoah and I am from Rosemount, Minnesota. I have a Bachelor’s degree in French and I completed the Pre-Medicine Program at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University. After undergrad, I volunteered with the Benedictine Volunteer Corps in Guatemala and Chicago.

Yelgezekova, Zhamin

Email Address: yelge001@umn.edu

Born and raised in Kazakhstan, Zhamin received her bachelor degree in Political Science and International Relations at Nazarbayev University, where she focused on Central Asian governance and politics of international organizations. She also participated in the Study Abroad program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduation, Zhamin worked for WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She was working as a research assistant in projects related to health care services delivery in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, as well as the process of primary health care monitoring tool development. She is excited to continue growing her passion for health care services delivery to underserved populations in developing countries.

Yodit, Tesfaye

Email Address: tesfa026@umn.edu

Yodit Tesfaye is a native Ethiopian who moved to Minnesota at a young age. She earned her B.A. in global studies with an emphasis on human rights as a first-generation student from the University of Minnesota:Twin Cities.Yodit's professional,research and volunteer experiences are centered around issues that impact immigrant and refugee populations by working with nonprofits and institutions that empower the communities through education, economic development and human rights advocacy,both locally and globally.Yodit currently works at Augsburg College in the East African Student to Teacher initiative - a program dedicated to diversifying the K-12 teaching workforce.Previously,she served as an AmeriCorps in Minnesota supporting low-income and underrepresented students gain admission to four-year institutions. Yodit's interests include social mobility of diaspora communities, sustainable development,culturally-appropriate policy implementation and ensuring the effectiveness of international policies that directly impact disadvantaged populations. The program’s multidisciplinary nature, distinguished faculty, location in a diverse community, revered research, practical fieldwork opportunities are what brought her back to pursue her Masters of Development Practice with a Public Policy minor at UMN.

Zaghloul, Sara

Email Address: zaghl007@umn.edu

I was born and raised in Egypt. I received my Bachelor's degree from Cairo University in Architecture Engineering. After graduation, I joined a sustainable development project, Cleaner Energy Saving Med. Cities, funded by the European Union, its aim was to promote urban development and sustainable energy in the Southern Mediterranean countries. It focused on developing Action plans for cities to reduce their energy use, promote economic development and adapt to climate change. After that, I joined the German International Cooperation (GIZ) in a Water Management program which promotes for efficient water use in agriculture. Additionally, I was able to speak in an energy symposium in University of Incheon, South Korea and publish an Abstract regarding architecture, technology and sustainability. I also volunteered in my University to facilitate multiple sessions focusing on politics, cultures, and human rights.

Zumba-Deleg, Franklin

Email Address: zumb0025@umn.edu

Franklin is 26 and moved from Ecuador to Minneapolis in 2005. He graduated from St. Cloud State University last year, with two BA's one in International Relations and the other in Political Science. During his years at St Cloud State, he worked with non-profits in the Minnetonka area, helping those less fortunate get the help they needed. During this time he learned that he wanted to take this experience a little step farther and got at internship and a job at the Ecuadorian Consulate of Minnesota, where he worked with the Ecuadorian community and different international organizations. After this experience he thought that he can do much more to improve the quality of life standards in back home and in other poor countries in South America. He decided that the best way to help achieve this goal was to focus in his career and gain the knowledge he needs in order for him to change the world.

Agyei Boakye, Oforiwaa Pee Geography, Environment & Society
Bokun, Anna Sociology
Chatterjee, Anindita Geography India
Cohen-Rencountre, Agléška American Studies USA
Espósto, Isaac Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies
Fajardo Sotelo, Guillermo Spanish & Portuguese Mexico
Farrell, Jessica History USA
Ji, Seung-Gyeong Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Seoul, South Korea
Marzec, Julie Public Policy
McFadden, Keavy Geography, Environment, and Society
Nairang, Arif Anthropology India
Nelson, Tayler Sociology
Nguyen, Khoi American Studies
Nguyen, Oanh Political Science USA
Payne, Gabriale History USA
Santella, Julie Geography, Environment, and Society
Schaedel, Marie Applied Plant Sciences
Tun, Heider History Mexico
Wares, Heather History South Africa
Wedajo, Hanna OLPD
Ye, Wei Anthropology

Ghosh, Samarjit Political Science India

Recent Global Food Security Fellows

Badger, Sabrina

Applied Plant Sciences
Email Address: badge022@umn.edu

Sabrina is originally from Carson City, NV, and received a BA in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame, and an MPhil in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Oxford.  After working in Washington, DC, and the former Soviet Union in various capacities, she returned to the US to begin a PhD in Applied Plant Sciences at the University of Minnesota.  Her current research aims to improve the use of cover crops in Minnesota by measuring their effects on nitrogen cycling in local corn-soybean systems.  Her broader interests involve agronomic practices and systems which are environmentally sustainable and which improve the economic and social wellbeing of the food insecure, especially small-holder farmers around the world.  During the 2017-2018 academic year, she will conduct research in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia focused on understanding information flows, decision-making, and current practices related to nutrient (fertilizer and manure) management in two of the country’s agricultural regions.

Bowman, Melanie

Email Address: bowma271@umn.edu

Melanie isa PhD candidate in philosophy working in the area of feminist epistemology. Her dissertation addresses the relationship between knowledge and solidarity by examining how the privileged respond to recognition of their ignorance-- especially when that response involves extracting knowledge from the people they want to help. caution against the assumption that, since ignorance plays a central role in sustaining systems of oppression, more knowledge will be the solution. This is because I am concerned that cultural and institutional tendencies to treat knowledge like a commodity generate unreliable knowledge about the world and our places in it at the same time as they reinforce oppressive systems. My current focus is on the assumptions about knowledge at stake in attempts to repair the harm caused by wild rice research and crop development at the University of Minnesota (https://www.cfans.umn.edu/wildrice).

Boyer, Dana

Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy
Email Address: boyer120@umn.edu

Dana Boyer holds a Masters degree in Engineering (MPhil) from the University of Cambridge and Bachelors degrees in Environmental Engineering (BS) and German Studies (BA) from the University of Connecticut. She is currently a PhD student in the Sustainable Cities Group in the Center for Science Technology and Environmental Policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Pursuing an interdisciplinary degree combining policy, engineering, and industrial ecology, her work explores food provisioning in the context of urban development in India, China, and the United States. Her research analyzes urban food flows and the associated system-wide water and energy/greenhouse gas impacts from production all the way to consumption and waste management. The objective is to help cities ensure a sufficient supply of food, while minimizing environmental impact in the face of water and energy resource scarcity and concerns of greenhouse gas mitigation. Prior to Minnesota, Dana spent time working in India, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.

Cira, Theresa

Email Address: cirax002@umn.edu
Country: USA

Theresa Cira grew up in Cedarburg, Wisconsin before getting a B.S. in Entomology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  Now a PhD candidate in the Department of Entomology, she sees the beauty, complexity, and abundance of insects as a source of endless wonder and exploration. Her dissertation research works to achieve more sustainable pest management through increased understanding of pest biology, surveys of all arthropods in agricultural systems, and exploration of alternative management tools. Through a minor in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Theresa is also exploring questions about how scientific research is applied to social and environmental problems via policy. Additionally, Theresa is passionate about communicating science to non-scientists and promoting interdisciplinary thinking and learning in higher education.

Eddens, Aaron

American Studies
Email Address: edden001@umn.edu
Country: USA

Department of American Studies

Research: “Climate-Smart” Seeds: Science, Property, and the Changing Landscape of International Agriculture (Sub-Saharan Africa)

Gray, Hannah

Email Address: grayx379@umn.edu
Country: USA

Hannah Gray grew in in Ann Arbor, Michigan and took a gap year to study and live in Mönchengladbach, Germany through the Congress-Bundesstag Youth Exchange Program. She returned to the U.S. and obtained her B.A. in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Studies from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. A six-month study abroad program based out of Chiang Mai, Thailand opened her eyes to the abundance of interdisciplinary work to be done in the fields of agroecology and natural resource management. Currently as a PhD candidate in the Department of Entomology, Hannah conducts research on insect predation in agrocological settings both in Minnesota and Brasília, Brazil. Her interests encompass alternative pest management practices, solutions for smallholder growers, and knowledge transfer between diverse stakeholders.

Gunther, Matt

Email Address: gunth031@umn.edu

Matt hails from eastern Nebraska, where his previous work spanned the areas of community agriculture systems, plant pathology, and equitable rural development. He is now a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology studying efforts made by the USDA and regional NGOs to increase diversity in agriculture. His dissertation traces the parameters of rural community set by organizations that advocate for local governance over farming, agroecology, and food distribution. It asks whether food security can be made compatible with the notion of food sovereignty, and what kind of citizen-subjects might be cultivated in the process. 

Jung, Suhyun

Applied Economics

Department of Applied Economics

Research: To help us better understand the links between agricultural production, increasing global food demand, and carbon sequestration - the latter being a major consideration in tackling global warming.


Kang, Simrat

Gender, Woman, and Sexuality Studies
Email Address: kangx137@umn.edu
Country: USA

Simi is an Indian-American feminist scholar and anthropologist from the Twin Cities. She received her B.A. in cultural anthropology and creative writing from the University of St. Thomas in 2011. Simi's work asks how Vietnamese-American foodways and food practices directly impact the relationship between refugeeism and disaster in New Orleans, emphasizing the significance of racial, social, and economic discourses that constitute citizenship through the exclusion of Vietnamese New Orlineans. Further, she asks how Vietnamese New Orleanians rearticulate the term “refugee” post-Katrina, Rita, and BP oil disaster, positioning it not as a transitory identity, but as an everyday experience that is centrally and repeatedly remade through the production, consumption, visibility, and distribution of Vietnamese New Orleanian food.

Karnik, Harshada

Applied Economics
Email Address: karni032@umn.edu

Harshada is a doctoral student at the Applied Economics department of the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include community development and access driven development. Harshada has a Master's in Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. She has a background in journalism. When she is not working on her research she enjoys hiking, trying out new recipes, writing poetry, and catching up with friends & family. She is from Mumbai, India.

Liebman, Alex

Department of Horticultural Sciences, Applied Plant Science
Email Address: aliebman@umn.edu
Country: USA

Alex Liebman is pursing a PhD in agroecology in the Applied Plant Sciences program within the Department of Horticultural Sciences. He received a B.A. in biology from Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2012. He uses the lens of agroecology – in its biological, political, and economic dimensions – to explore nutrient cycling in agroecosystems and its relation to food sovereignty and ecological conservation. By employing a variety of laboratory and conceptual methods, he researches aboveground-belowground relationships in agroecosystems and their implications for nutrient cycling. He is currently working on a project quantifying the contribution of leguminous cover crops to soil organic matter pool. In fall 2016 he will be researching the effects of pasture diversification in grazed agroforestry systems on soil carbon in Colombia as a U.S. Borlaug Global Food Security Fellow. Lastly, he is developing an interdisciplinary component to his work that studies how agro-ecological processes and farmer livelihoods are linked to the political ecology of land-use. He specifically wants to explore the ways in which agronomic research is practiced, how scientific knowledge about agriculture is disseminated, and how historical and ideological trends shape the questions agronomic research asks today.

Lohese, Al

Soil Science
Email Address: lohes003@umn.edu

I am originally from D.R. Congo (DRC) and currently a second year Ph.D. student in Soil Science at the UoM St Paul Campus. My research is about the study of the “impact of climate, topography, and farming system on the dynamic soil properties in Central DRC” for possible regional agricultural sustainability. After my B.S. in Soil Science in DRC, I worked as an extension agent for 10 years in DRC before my M.Sc. degree in farm management at the OSU in Columbus/Ohio. I am married and father of 4 children.

McElroy, James

Email Address: mcelr057@umn.edu

James is originally from Elizabeth, New Jersey and tries to return to visit family as much as possible. As an undergraduate, he received his BA from Rutgers University and returned to Rutgers to complete an MA in history in 2016.  In between those degree, he worked full-time for more than six years at a supermarket in suburban NJ where he helped to manage a produce department.  He is currently pursuing a PhD in modern US history and working on a dissertation that explores the history of supermarkets in American cities beginning in the 1960s.     

Nicklay, Jennifer

Land & Atmospheric Science
Email Address: nick0135@umn.edu

I am a third-year Ph.D. student in the Land and Atmospheric Science program. Previously, I also received my B.S. in Biology, with minors in Social Justice and Global Studies, from UMN in 2012. It was during my undergraduate time - and specifically in HECUA and environmental justice courses. I am passionate about conducting research that creates knowledge to support the development of equitable and sustainable food systems. My current research focuses on how urban agriculture interacts with the physical and cultural environment in which it is located. This project is embedded in Minneapolis/St. Paul and utilizes participatory research to explore ecosystem services (such as soil health, biodiversity, crop production, etc.) and develop long-term community-university collaboration networks.  I'm also involved in urban agriculture outside of school; I help coordinate the FairShare Farm Community Garden in Southeast Como and am on the board of the Twin Cities Agricultural Land Trust. When I'm not enjoying time in gardens or digging in the soil, I'm enjoying time with my family - especially helping my parents around the house - and biking, cooking, and going to wayyyyyy to many theater productions.

Oesterle, Justine

Natural Resource Science
Email Address: oeste023@umn.edu

Justine Oesterle usually goes by JJ. She received her B.A in Environmental Science and Minor in Spanish at Pitzer College, Claremont, CA. At Pitzer, she managed The Grove House; a student run locally sourced café and meeting place for a variety of student groups.  Her academic work at Pitzer focused on soils and sustainable agriculture, including ecological and social issues. After graduation, Justine worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where she wrote programs to analyze and validate OCO-2 satellite data. Justine moved back to Minnesota in the summer of 2015 to pursue her interests in urban agriculture and work at Urban Organics, an aquaponics facility, and Urban Oasis, a non-profit in St. Paul. In the spring, she started as a full time Masters student in the UMN’s Natural Resource Science and Management Program. Justine is involved in projects at the UMN focused on innovative urban farming techniques and measuring the larger scale impact of local producers and vendors in the Twin Cities. She is currently working on developing a verification system for regenerative poultry production in Northfield, MN, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, as well as, conducting surveys at farmers markets city wide with a group she helped start called the Data Harvest. In addition to getting her Masters, Justine teaches high school life sciences at a charter school with Spark-Y, a non-profit that empowers youth through science education and aquaponics.

Shanahan, Maggie

Email Address: mshanaha@umn.edu

Maggie is a PhD student in the Department of Entomology studying resin use in honey bees and stingless bees. Before coming to the University of Minnesota, Maggie graduated with a BS in biology from the University of Puget Sound, and then spent four years working as an extension educator at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) in Chiapas, Mexico. In her doctoral research, Maggie studies the role of antimicrobial resins in supporting honey bee and stingless bee health. Drawing from her own background in beekeeping and building on collaborations established through her time at ECOSUR, Maggie's goal is to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration between the honey bee and stingless bee research communities to address shared bee health issues. 

Strombom, Evelyn

Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
Email Address: strom522@umn.edu
Evelyn Strombom just started the third year in her PhD in the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior (EEB) department co-advised by Dr. Dave Tilman and Dr. Steve Polasky. She received her bachelor's in Biology and Latin American Studies from Swarthmore College in 2012. After graduating she worked studying collective behavior (fish schooling) at Uppsala University, and modeled fisher cooperation to manage risk and avoid bycatch at the Beijer Institute for Ecological Economics in SwedenCurrently, Evelyn is in Sweden at the Stockholm Resilience Centre learning about dynamical systems modeling of marine fisheries, how to incorporate social information into models, and how to design surveys and conduct interviews. From there she will travel to Norway to collect data about the cooperative responses to climate change in the northeast arctic cod fisheries off Norway. Using the cod fisheries as a case study, Evelyn is examining how human behavior is a driver of control and change in social-ecological systems. Eventually, she will compare this case study to others in Colombian, Mexican, and Baltic fisheries. Evelyn captures the complexities of conservation, economics, culture, and community in her work and is able to explain it in an engaging and interesting way. She will be abroad for the greater part of a year, but is excited to have a chance to become more involved with ICGC when she returns.

Wilson, Brian

Email Address: wils1207@umn.edu
Country: USA

Department of Philosophy

Research: Food security is a right for all individuals. An individual’s well-being should not be barred by food insecurity.

My dissertation makes a theoretical argument for the above statements and goes on to provide a guide to action informed by that theory.  My food accessibility research in Bolivia is a practical case study of the implementation of this philosophical theory.

Asante-Wusu, Isaac

Geography, Environment & Society
Email Address: asant017@umn.edu
Country: Ghana

I grew up in Awutu-Bawjiase, a farming locality in the Central Region of Ghana.  I have a bachelor’s degree in Development Planning from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. I also hold a master’s degree in Geography from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I am currently enrolled in the PhD program in Geography, Environment and Society at the University of Minnesota. My main academic interests lie in urban and development geography. In terms of urban geography, I am interested in the urban political economy of African cities, urban planning, sustainable urban development, and the politics of urban services provision. With respect to development geography, my interests lie in inequality in access to potable water supply, poverty, and economic globalization and its impacts on the demographic and spatial growth of cities in Africa. My PhD dissertation project is focused on urbanization and inequality in access to municipal water supply in the Accra-Tema City-Region of Ghana.

Fok, Beverly

Email Address: fokxx008@umn.edu
Country: Singapore

Beverly Fok is pursuing a PhD in sociocultural anthropology. Her interests are in the state, anthropologies of infrastructure and space, and cultural politics of nature. She received her BA in political science and economics from Vassar College.

Springer, Emily

Email Address: spri0075@umn.edu
Country: USA

Emily Springer is a PhD hopeful in Sociology. She is interested in the intersection of evaluation, organizations, and women's empowerment in international development contexts. Emily holds a masters in International Education Policy from Harvard University and a bachelors degree in African Studies and International Studies from Ohio State University. She has experience in monitoring and evaluation, strategic planning, development research, and program management in the US, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone. 

Wares, Heather

Email Address: wares001@umn.edu
Country: South Africa

Heather Wares is from Cape Town South Africa and graduated from the University of Cape Town with a BA degree, majoring in Politics, History and English in 2007. After teaching English in Korea, she continued her studies in 2010, completing a postgraduate diploma with the African Programme for Museum and Heritage Studies at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Directly following this, she completed a Masters under the history department at UWC focusing on the representation of Maritime Archaeology in a Post Apartheid South Africa.

In addition, Heather has worked in the field of maritime and underwater cultural heritage since 2010. She has gathered her experience through various projects both in South Africa and abroad, having worked for Iziko Museums, SAHRA, the African Centre for Heritage Activities and the African Slave Wrecks Project. She leaves a position as a Heritage Officer for SAHRA in the Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit to enter into the PhD program with the African History Department. Her research interests address questions about Southern African peoples’ historical relationship to and understanding of (bodies) of water, including oceans, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. This interest lies in conjunction with questions of community, knowledge production and the creation of publics.