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Tyler Breen conducts fisheries management research

June 12: Over the past two years, Tyler Breen (MDP ’18) worked as a research associate with Dr. Tracy Yandle of the Environmental Sciences department, contributing to projects that look at social, political, and environmental factors playing a role in marine fisheries management. Tyler spent much of this time studying invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans and P. miles). Along with lionfish, Tyler worked on the administrative aspects of two other grants. The first is a pilot study of federal regulatory impacts on southeastern crews and processor employees. The second examines sustainable eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) farming in Georgia through evaluation of grow-out methodology, distribution, and marketing. “My experience working on the overlap between socio-environmental factors has been instrumental in forming my approach to other research projects I’m involved with in Kenya,” Tyler says.

Internship Spotlight: General Board of Global Ministries

June 5: This story was written by Xin Li, a 2018 MDP candidate currently serving as an intern with the General Board of Global Ministries. This year, I’ve been interning with the General Board of Global Ministries. My internship started with my 2017 practicum, when I went to Cambodia with their Community Health and Agricultural Development project. While in Cambodia, I designed an evaluation plan for the project and then carried out qualitative research with beneficiaries in six villages to inform a final evaluation report. I presented the report at their 2017 annual conference. This school year, I’ve continued working with Global Ministries. I’m now contributing to monitoring and evaluation projects across multiple sectors, including WASH, health, agriculture, and disaster relief. This includes creating logical frameworks, analyzing qualitative and quantitative data, and making recommendations for future implementation. Spending a year with Global Ministries has allowed me to gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of their programming.

MDP students present research at climate solutions symposium

May 29: Two MDP ’19 students, Marinangeles Gutierrez and Erendira Fortanel, recently presented at the second annual Emory Student Climate Analysis and Solutions Symposium, held on April 27th. Both represented the Climate Action Mapping Project (CAMP), developed by a climate policy seminar class. Marinangeles presented on the team’s process of tapping into Georgia’s local wealth of knowledge, in order to “develop new connections that further current understandings of the climate policy landscape,” she says. Erendira presented on a database created by the team that assembled an extensive toolbox of climate solutions (local policies and strategies, “smart” neighborhoods, and other initiatives) and the technological trends shaping such solutions. The team aims to lay the groundwork for Georgia residents to take effective, science-based action regarding climate change. Congratulations to both students on the opportunity to share the work they’ve completed this semester!

MDP Hosts Discussion with Dr. Helena Ribe

May 22: On April 12th, MDP and Emory’s Institute for Developing Nations co-hosted an open classroom and discussion with Dr. Helena Ribe, an international development economist who recently retired from the World Bank. Dr. Ribe’s career included work in Asia, Southern and West Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Much of her work with the World Bank focused on social protection and human development. During the talk, MDP students and the wider Emory community engaged in a lively discussion with Dr. Ribe about her experiences while working for the World Bank as well as advice that students could apply to their upcoming careers in the field. Dr. Ribe offered thoughts on areas of international development that need more attention from young professionals, including impact evaluations, and commented on the ways in which institutions can adjust from lessons learned over time.

MDP’s Sustainability Fellow creates sustainability posters

May 15: Dr. Hilary King, MDP’s Sustainability Fellow, is working with the Emory’s Sustainable Food Lexicon project to highlight Emory's commitment to providing locally and sustainably grown food on campus. Under an Office of Sustainability Incentives Fund Grant and in partnership with Project Localize, Dr. King helped create a series of posters to be displayed at the on-campus farmer’s market and at the Freedom Park Farmer’s Market. The posters enable students to locate where their food is produced, helping to make a more direct link between food production and consumption. The posters also help students develop a better understanding of sustainability-related concepts like fair trade. Check out the posters when you are back on campus next semester!

Internship Spotlight: Center for Civic Innovation

May 8: This story was written by Tim Rupnarain, a 2018 MDP candidate. This semester, I’m a Research and Policy Analyst intern with the Center for Civic Innovation (CCI). CCI is an Atlanta-based nonprofit focusing on improving the performance of public organizations, increasing civic participation, and supporting civic and social entrepreneurs. I’ve been researching best practices in open data innovations from other cities that are making data publicly accessible, which improves not only government transparency and accountability but also citizen engagement and civic innovation. Atlanta currently struggles to inclusively and systematically engage city residents and organizational partners due to gaps in communication across sectors. I hope this comprehensive open data initiative will improve collaboration between city staff, civic innovators, and residents, establishing an open data ecosystem fully reflective of the city’s gender, racial, and socioeconomic diversity. In turn, this will provide entrepreneurs with data to solve Atlanta’s social, cultural, and environmental challenges.

Paulita Bennett-Martin organizes right whale event

May 1: Paulita Bennett-Martin (MDP ’16) is working hard to make sure the North Atlantic Right Whale survives. Considered the most endangered marine mammal, right whales live near the Eastern coast of the United States, including along the Georgia coast. Environmental changes and fishing net accidents contribute to the right whale’s struggle for survival. Paulita recently hosted an art exhibit and auction entitled “Lines and Strikes.” In addition to whale-inspired art, the event featured a spoken word performance and a presentation from naturalist Cathy Sakas. All proceeds were given to Tybee Island Marine Science Center to help create awareness of both the right whale and its current plight. Paulita also presented on this topic to the Southeastern Implementation Team for the Recovery of the North Atlantic Right Whale. She will soon begin work with the South Atlantic Fisheries Council’s Citizen Science Action team.


April 24: This story was written by Rebecca Spens, a 2019 MDP candidate. This year, I’ve worked in the Youth Futures team at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). We provide academic, vocational, and social support to refugee students at Clarkston High School, including social integration support, tutoring, academic counseling, and assistance with applications. Last semester, I focused on grant-maker research and grant writing to secure funding for the “Ready Set College!” program, a summer camp for refugee youth that aims to increase postsecondary enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. I also provided research to inform future grants supporting refugee youth in postsecondary education. This semester, I’m continuing to research grant-makers for Youth Futures. I’m also supporting preparations for “Ready Set College!” by launching acrowdfunding page and seeking out food donations. My experience at IRC has informed my career direction and improved my workplace skills. It’s fantastic to be surrounded by people working on such valuable and interesting projects!


April 17: Melania Croce (’19) knows the power of sports to overcome cultural boundaries. A distance runner and international student from Italy, Melania has been a track athlete for ten years, beginning with recreational cross-country races in middle school. She started running track seriously around age 17, specializing in the 1500 and 3000m steeplechase. Melania’s career highlight (so far) was running the 3000m steeplechase in the Italian National Championships in the summer of 2013! “I enjoy sports because they transcend cultural barriers and bring people together,” Melania explains. As a student in China, Melania experienced this firsthand: “Although the coach and most of my teammates only spoke Chinese, we were able to share unforgettable moments!” At Emory, Melania runs the 800m and 1500m events. She will spend her summer practicum in Kenya with Women Win, which empowers women and girls through sports.


April 10: Before MDP, Katie Grover Oswald (’18) worked at Habitat for Humanity International as a Tithe Specialist. Throughout the past two years, she has remained at Habitat, although her role has expanded as her skills have increased. The tithe program supports more than 1,400 U.S. Habitat affiliates in their tithing of funds to more than 50 Habitat organizations worldwide. Katie’s specific role is developing priority communications materials, including annual updates, quarterly letters, country program updates, and more. Katie’s practicum brought her toHabitat Uganda, where she provided communications support, including launching a quarterly letter. As a result of this experience, Katie now works with priority countries on best practices for communicating with supporters. “I’m looking forward to continued work with Habitat and continued incorporation of skills from MDP,” Katie says, adding that she’s grateful for so many opportunities to overlap school and work.


April 3: This semester, Mia Nieves (MDP ’18) is taking lessons she’s learning in class out into the world. Mia is enrolled in Chronic Disease Control and Prevention, taught by Dr. Lobelo and Dr. Farhat at Rollins School of Public Health. This course introduces students to global and local issues in chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which include cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, and cancer. These diseases account for 80 percent of deaths and disabilities worldwide. One of the greatest drivers of NCDs is physical inactivity. As way to combat sedentariness for commuters like herself, Mia has started a free weekly Zumba class on Thursday evenings for residents in her neighborhood in Stockbridge, GA. She hopes it will grow in popularity and get people moving! Feel free to contact Mia for more information on her class.


March 27: Rachel Lastinger (MDP ‘17) recently served as the Mission Assistant on a Carter Center Election Observation Mission (EOM). Rachel traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal for the country's second phase of parliamentary and provincial assembly elections, which took place on December 7, 2017. From the day before the elections through the counting of the ballots, Rachel served as a reporting officer. As Nepali citizens were exercising the right to vote, Rachel received real-time calls from field observers detailing the processes and conditions they were witnessing on the ground. Rachel has a political science background and gained a certificate in human rights while in the MDP program. She enjoyed having this opportunity to utilize her MDP skills as she worked on a mission seeking to promote citizens’ rights to participate in governance. Rachel is now a Program Associate for the Democracy Program at The Carter Center, working on a project that manages citizen observation and women’s electoral participation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

MDPers tutor Ethiopian children

March 20: Rather than spending their Saturday mornings sleeping in, Katie Pons and Marc Anthony Branch (MDP ’19) have been tutoring children at the United Oromo Community Center of Georgia. The community center hosts events for the Oromo community of Atlanta, including tutoring for elementary, middle, and high school students in need of help with their homework or their English. The Oromo people are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, traditionally tracing their roots back to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. To find out more information about their tutoring program, contact Katie or Marc Anthony or check out the center’sFacebook page!


March 13: This semester, Sam Friedlander (MDP ’18) has taken on the task of helping the adult education team at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) redesign their student needs assessments and student satisfaction surveys. For the past two years, Sam has interned for IRC’s Atlanta office. She first worked for the economic empowerment division, helping refugees find their first or second jobs. She then worked with the adult education team, helping to teach English and civics classes to refugees who were preparing for the citizenship exam. “Using frameworks that I learned in school to design surveys for a program I’ve helped teach for the past year is really rewarding. It’s great to see qualitative skills I picked up in a classroom actually having an impact on students I teach and know,” Sam said.


March 6: This year, Sidra Khalid (MDP ’18) is working as the School Health and Nutrition Gender Fellow for Save the Children. Specifically, Sidra is working on a menstrual health and gender equality programming project based in Kyrgyzstan. Last summer, Sidra worked on a qualitative research project that examined gender norms and attitudes of very young adolescents and teachers in Kyrgyzstan in order to inform the adaptation of a gender norm curriculum to the specific Kyrgyz context. This year, she is coding the information gathered and working to analyze the data. Based on these insights, she will then help to design activities for the curriculum. Next summer, Sidra will continue to work on the project, this time conducting focus group discussions with boys in order to help inform boys’ puberty materials.


February 27: Raven Hinson (MDP ’18) is too excited about the future to wait until graduation to get started; she recently launched a website,, to promote her consultancy skills to local organizations. Last summer, Raven’s field practicum consisted of a monitoring and evaluation consulting project forNyumbani, an organization that supports children with HIV/AIDS in Kenya. Raven supported Nyumbani through an M&E project that focused on the impact of the Lea Toto Adolescent Program. She realized during the summer that she had a passion for evaluation, and that she wanted to translate that passion into a career. Since then, she has continued to gain skills and experience in M&E consulting work through classes, personal research, and conferences. Raven’s goal is to connect with those in need of consultancy work in the field of community development evaluation.


February 20: This story was written by Ryan Mintz, a 2018 MDP candidate currently serving as an intern with CARE. This semester, I am working as an intern for CARE’s Water+ team. I mainly assist the grants and finance manager of the team in tracking how grant money is spent on program activities. I also read requests for funding proposals and make suggestions for how CARE can best position itself for grant proposals. I am currently working on a project in which I research the benefits and potential expansion of CARE’s Water Smart Agriculture programs in West Africa. Through working at CARE, I’ve gained a better understanding of the organizational structure of a large international NGO, as well as the complexities of grant management and requests. I’ve also gained insights into organizational efficiency.


February 13: From January 19th to January 21, four MDP students attended the Goizueta Business School bootcamp to launch this semester’s IMPACT 360program. Goizueta IMPACT is an experience in which Goizueta students, along with a small group of other Emory graduate students, work as consultants for organizations around Atlanta, embodying the MDP emphasis on experiential learning. Students take a course and participate in modules and workshops to provide them with useful consulting tools that they can then apply directly to their projects. Past IMPACT clients have included Delta, Home Depot, and United Way. This semester, MDP students Xin Li (’18), Sam Friedlander (’18), Andrew Harrison (’19), and Racquel Figueroa (’19) will participate in teams with MBA and law students in the “Catalyzing Social Impact” section of the program, working to find innovative solutions to problems faced by four nonprofits in the Atlanta area.

Mia Nieves wins merit scholarship

February 6: Congratulations to Mia Nieves (MDP ’18), who has been selected for a scholarship by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) for the second consecutive year. For the 2017-2018 academic year, Mia will receive $5,000 from Wells Fargo; last academic year her scholarship was sponsored by the Walmart Foundation. Founded in 1975, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s goal is to provide Latino and Latina students with the resources necessary to access higher education, including scholarships, application assistance, and support for those navigating new and unfamiliar living and learning settings. HSF scholarships are funded by corporations, foundations, and individuals. Scholarships are available for community college, 4-year college, and graduate studies.

Intern Spotlight: Habitat for Humanity

January 30: This story was written by Mallory St. Claire, a 2019 MDP candidate currently serving as an intern with Habitat for Humanity. This semester, I’m working for Habitat for Humanitys Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter. I help support their Market Systems (MS) Team, which is a global team piloting approaches to strengthen market systems to support adequate housing and shelter in the developing world. Specifically, the MS team works with private firms interested in providing housing products to low-income families, such as affordable water filters or storm-resistant roofing. This semester, I helped build a project plan for our global team using Basecamp, a collaborative working tool. Working with the MS team is exciting because it’s a new team and we are iteratively piloting a new concept for system-wide market-based impact. Our teams across the globe—including Liberia, India, Mexico, and Peru—are working on an innovative range of projects, such as collaborating with national housing authorities and working on climate-resilient buildings.

Andrew Harrison has baby girl

January 23: MDP student Andrew Harrison (MDP ’19) and his wife Lauren recently welcomed a baby girl into their family. Hattie Elizabeth Harrison was born in Atlanta on September 17th, 2017 at 6.6 pounds. Since her birth, Hattie has continued to thrive and get chubbier and chubbier—and recently learned how to smile! We’re so happy to welcome Hattie into the MDP family. Congrats to Andrew and Lauren!

Carla Roncoli appointed editor of journal

January 16: MDP Associate Director Carla Roncoli was appointed Editor of Weather, Climate, and Society (WCAS), one of the journals of the American Meteorological Society. WCAS is an impactful journal that publishes rigorous social science research on the human dimension of climate change, including economic, political, institutional, and communication aspects of climate change adaptation and mitigation. The journal’s editors coordinate peer reviews of submitted manuscripts and make publication decisions. They are selected among recognized scientists in relevant fields, and function on a voluntary basis as part of their academic service. For the last 20 years, Dr. Roncoli has been involved in interdisciplinary research on the role of climate information in agricultural decision-making among smallholder farmers in Africa.

Intern Spotlight: Global Ministries

January 9: This story was written by Marc Anthony Branch, a 2019 MDP candidate currently serving as a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) intern with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), which is part the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. "My work was split between resource development and monitoring & evaluation for the program. With WASH grants being implemented in more than 13 countries, there was a need for guidance on project design and implementation. Therefore, over the course of the semester, I designed a technical support manual for WASH grantees in the field that outlined: 1) the project framework and activities funded in the WASH portfolio, 2) proper monitoring & evaluation practices, 3) project resources detailing designs, best practices, etc. for each activity we fund, 4) how to adopt WASH projects culturally and contextually, and 5) additional sourcing of funding for further projects. Overall, the manual seeks to answer our partners’ questions and foster creative WASH in the field.

Intern Spotlight: CARE

January 2: This story was written by Katie Pons, a 2019 MDP candidate currently serving as a Knowledge Management and Learning Intern with CARE. "In this position, I help build and maintain key knowledge management platforms, create project briefs based on program evaluations and existing technical content, assist in the creation of key knowledge products (such as reports and position papers), and contribute to fundraising efforts. I aim to synthesize CARE’s learning and program work to improve future programming, impact, and advocacy. CARE supports a wide range of initiatives globally and, through this position, I have gained exposure to a variety of programs in terms of both technical capacity and geographic location. This internship has been an incredibly valuable contribution to my MDP experience. The exposure helps ground the theoretical concepts from the classroom in real world examples and contributes to my vision of where I best fit as a development practitioner.