2015 News

Emory MDP student Paulita Bennett-Martin still raising awareness abroad

December 29: For her summer field practicum Paulita Bennett-Martin deployed to the Caribbean to work for Oceana Belize studying marine debris & plastic pollution. During this time she  spent four weeks campaigning for a plastic free movement in the village of Caye Caulker, called Plastic Free Belize. Her work caught the attention of a Canadian sponsor, Deborah Hill, who pledged a donation to pay for the procurement and installation of several new trash receptacles for the village. Bennett-Martin says “I am excited and honored. The Hicaquenos (Caye Caulker locals) are the ones who impress people their unique island , and these bins will be an added benefit to their community”. You can follow Plastic Free Belize on Facebook to learn more.

Jimmy Carter discusses global development with a panel of Emory graduate students

December 22: On November 29th over 550 participants descended upon Atlanta for the People's Climate March Atlanta. The march, part of the Global Climate March led by the People's Climate Movement and Avaaz, is in anticipation of the COP21/CMP11 Climate Talks in Paris that begin November 30th. Demonstrators in the march are demanding action for climate change from local and world leaders. Lead Organizer, Lauren Reef (MDP ‘16) says “this event was possibly the largest climate mobilization in Atlanta's history to date”. Read More.

Jimmy Carter discusses global development with a panel of Emory graduate students

December 10: Emory MDP students had the opportunity to speak with former US President Jimmy Carter at a recent Institute of Developing Nations (IDN) event. The discussion explored opportunities and challenges of connecting scholarship and practice for sustainable development programming. An interdisciplinary panel of six students were selected, including Amelia Conrad (MDP ‘16), who is also a Graduate Assistant Intern for the Carter Center. The panel also included graduate students from Public Health, Anthropology, and Political Science. Read More.


December 8: Every year Emory MDP students help to organize a number of development-focused events across campus. This year included the inaugural Sustainability Case Competition (SCC). The event explores solutions for real world sustainability issues impacting the state of Georgia. Teams were tasked with creating a 5-year plan for the state of Georgia to reduce its GHG emissions. Helena Worrall, Katie Hiebert, and Victoria Chuong (all MDP ‘16), served on the SCC Leadership Team, and expressed excitement for a great turnout at the first year. About 40 students on 9 teams competed, including MDP students: Mario Corea, Tanya Witlen, Amelia Conrad, Kate Groenevelt, Barrett Smith, and Ruofei Chen. Visit GSG to learn more about SSC and how to get involved next year.

Emory MDP Students present at Global Health Scholars Symposium

December 1: Every Fall the Emory Global Health Institute (EGHI) hosts the Global Scholars Symposium. The event is an opportunity for students who conducted field research during the summer as part of an EGHI Field Scholars Team to showcase their work during a poster session. Attendees of the event include EGHI Advisory Board Members, including global health experts like the Director of Health programs at the Carter Center. This year, Emory MDP poster presenters included: Amelia Conrad (‘16), Mario Corea (‘16), and Tyrell Kahan (‘16), Joanna Galaris (’15) and Taylor Spicer (’15). The symposium also included a photo contest of images from the field. Kate Groenevelt (MDP ‘16) received an honorable mention. To more about the Global Scholars Symposium visit the EGHI site.

MDP Student selected to work on US Virgin Islands lionfish study

November 23: A new study at Emory is exploring the idea of eating an ecological threat. The project, led by Dr. Tracy Yandle, associate professor in Emory’s Department of Environmental Sciences, explores the viability of creating a commercial fishery in the US Virgin Islands to promote fishing and consumption of Lionfish, a non-native invasive species. Kate Groenevelt (MDP ‘16) has been selected as the Graduate Research Associate and will serve as the Project Manager. She explains “by encouraging and facilitating the capture and sale of Lionfish by fishermen, we are creating a win-win situation in which fishermen can earn an income, reduce the pressure on overfished species and decrease the population of a destructive fish”. Read more.

MDP Students Discuss Climate Change at France-Atlanta Roundtable

November 17: More than 3,500 attendees flock to Atlanta each fall for the annual France-Atlanta celebration, a series of events designed to foster cooperation between France and Atlanta. This year’s program centered on innovative approaches to science, business, culture, and humanitarian efforts. One of the key events was a roundtable discussion on “Climate Change and Humanitarian Aid” hosted at Emory and centered on expectations for the UN global conference on climate change (COP21) that will be held in Paris in December. The roundtable was structured in two parts, focused respectively on community-level adaptation and on global policy solutions. Read more.

Emory MDP Students work with Atlanta BeltLine

November 5: Emory MDP has partnered with many local Atlanta based nonprofits and NGOs since its inception so that MDP students could engage in field practicum experiences that connect local and global issues. One of these local organizations, Atlanta BeltLine Inc (ABI), has hired several MDP students as consultants and in fellowship positions over the past three years. ABI is the most comprehensive transportation and economic development effort ever undertaken in the City of Atlanta and the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment program underway in the United States. Read more.

Emory MDP represents strong at the 3rd Annual ICSD in New York City

October 20: In late September Columbia University hosted the 3rd Annual International Conference of Sustainable Development (ICSD) in New York City, and Emory MDP had a strong presence at this years events. The focus for this year’s conference was on the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs. Also referred to as the Global Goals, they are a set of targets to guide international development, following up on the Millennium Development Goals that were implemented during the last 15 years. Read more.

Emory MDP Students Receive Award to Map Social Sustainability Networks

October 5: Emory MDP students, Melanie Aleman (‘16), Lauren Reef (‘16), and Barrett Smith (‘16), are part of a campus wide mapping project “Mapping Emory’s Sustainability Social Network Project” which was awarded a $3,800 Sustainability Incentives Fund grant from Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives. The project is part of a comprehensive social network analysis being spearheaded by Emory's Graduate Sustainability Group (GSG). The team is mapping connections among programs, institutes, clubs, and individuals who are involved in sustainability efforts at Emory. The project aims to identify key actors who connect people across campus and to inform the development of activities to promote sustainability within the Emory student body. If you are interested in sharing your sustainability work, you can learn more about the project here.

MDP students discuss the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals

October 1: On September 21st people from across Atlanta gathered at the Center for Civil and Human Rights to celebrate the launching of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event featured speakers from many organizations including the Institute for Developing Nations (IDN), UNICEF, and the ONE campaign. IDN Director Dr. Sita Ranchod-Nilsson noted “ the problem is not lack of information, but the need for political will behind an inclusive holistic framework for development in which no one gets left out". The 17 SDGs were presented by students from metro-Atlanta schools and universities, including MDP'ers Andie Tucker (’17), Sarah Turkaly (’17), and Nicole Merino Tsui (’17).

GDSC celebrates their one year anniversary

September 22, 2015: In September a group of Emory MDP Students will celebrate their one year anniversary as the Global Development Student Council (GDSC). In its first year year the council has worked hard to launch a series of brown bag lunches featuring local non profit and NGO leaders such as Sam Jones of Heartland Initiatives, and the Senior Director of Market Development and Housing Finance for Habitat for Humanity International, Patrick Kelley. GDSC has also sponsored a panel on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in April, and organized volunteer work for Easter Seals and Freewheel Farm. To learn more about GDSC visit them here.

MDP student engages men in gender work

July 24, 2015: MDP student Mario Corea (MDP ’16) is working as part of an Emory Global Health Institute (EGHI) team with a program designed to engage men and boys in efforts to reframe ideologies and discourses of gender roles in Paraguay. Corea and his team are part of a larger study led by Prof Karen Andes (Global Health) and aimed to address teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in urban slums. A second MDP student, Lauren Reef (MDP ’16) is involved with another EGHI team doing research on similar themes in Nicaragua, which will provide data for comparative analysis for Prof Andes’ study. Prof Andes teaches courses on Qualitative Data Analysis for the MDP program. Read More.

Amihan Jones selected for hunger fellowship

July 6, 2015: MDP alumna Amihan Jones (MDP ’14) has been selected for a Leland International Hunger Fellowship. This highly competitive program is a unique two-year international fellowship administered by the Congressional Hunger Center (CHC) with the goal of developing leaders committed to finding sustainable and innovative solutions to global poverty. Prior to this appointment, Amihan was serving orking as a monitoring and evaluation consultant with Habitat for Humanity International and with Educate! in Uganda. As part of her fellowship, Amihan will work for one year in direct programming with Save the Children in Nepal, and then spend another year in a policy setting in the Global North.

Caitlin McColloch authorsblog for the Nature Conservency

June 30, 2015: MDP alumna Caitlin McColloch (MDP ’14) authored a blog for the Nature Conservancy, where she discusses how her work with the organization during the course of her studies at Emory helped define and promote her career interests in environmental justice. Caitlin spent last summer in Ecuador working with the TNC in Ecuador helping coastal communities adapt to climate change. During the previous academic year she served as a youth engagement coordinator with the Georgia chapter of the TNC. Caitlin is currently working with a human rights organization in Guatemala.

Paulita Bennett-Martin (MDP ‘16) Publishes Participatory Mapping Research

June 10, 2015: Paulita Bennett-Martin (MDP ‘16) published an article on participatory mapping research in the peer-reviewed journal, Applied Geography. The article, “Mapping non-native invasive species and accessibility in an urban forest: A case study of participatory mapping and citizen science in Atlanta, Georgia,” shares new approaches to using participatory mapping for forest conservation in Southwest Atlanta, and describes research supported by the National Science Foundation. The full article is available on Science Direct.

Lauren Godfrey publishes article on SDGs

June 9, 2015: Lauren Godfrey (MDP ‘15) published an article on the United Nations special summit on sustainable development to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will establish the global development agenda following the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The article was featured in the Emory's Institute for Developing Nations' spring newsletter and focuses on two Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) students who have worked on programs that specifically targeted the MDGs and their thoughts on the transition from the MDGs to the SDGs. Read More.

Paulita Bennett-Martin (MDP ‘16) presents on marine debris mapping project

June 1, 2015: Paulita Bennett-Martin (MDP ‘16) presented on the “People and Environment” panel at the Annual Kent State Applied Geography Conference in Atlanta. She discussed “Plastics, Pollution, and People: Mapping Marine Debris In Coastal Communities Across Belize,” an ongoing research project. While most of the panelists brought insights from tech-heavy modeling and projections, Bennett-Martin’s paper focused on insights rooted in “practical applications, and the need for understanding people’s relationships to place and to natural resources.” After her session, she met with other conference participants, including Census representatives and Coastal NGO workers, to discuss how to prepare for changes in landforms along coasts, and how to prepare for population migrations that will result from rising waters levels due to climate change.

Tsewang Rigzin (MDP ‘15) publishes research on Development in Kerala

May 25, 2015: Tsewang Rigzin (MDP ‘15) authored an article on social and economic development in the Indian state of Kerala for the peer reviewed International Journal of Peace, Education and Development. The article, “Kerala: An Anomalous Case of Development,” discusses the history of development in Kerala, and draws lessons from the “Kerala Model” of development. The full article is available online here.

Jacob Wood MDP (‘14) coauthors article in Tobacco Control journal

May 15, 2015: Emory MDP graduate Jacob Wood (MDP ‘14) co-authored an article published in the journal Tobacco Control on “Challenges For Philanthropy and Tobacco Control in China (1986 - 2012).” The research worked to identify the contributions of international philanthropies that have invested in tobacco control in China, describing their roles, the strategies they adopted, and the outcomes of their work. China faces some of the greatest challenges in smoking impacts on public health, globally. You can read the article here.

Emory MDP Partner Sagal Radio reopens after fire

April 30, 2015: Since it’s inception, the Emory MDP program has partnered with local as well as international partner orgnaizations, giving students the chance to apply their skills in a range of grassroots and non-profit organizations in the Atlanta area as they prepare for field experiences overseas. Sagal Radio, which broadcasts in 6 of the languages common in Clarkston, Georgia’s diverse refugee communities, is one of the MDP program’s longstanding local partners. Emory MDP interns have helped with assessment of on-air content, interviewing listeners around Clarkston about what they've enjoy about the programming. Other MDP interns have assisted with new technology development and grantwriting to support the station. Read More.

Kate Reyes (MDP ‘14) Presents at AERA Conference

April 23, 2015: Emory MDP graduate Kate (Jackson) Reyes (MDP ‘14) presented a paper on the globally acclaimed Escuela Nueva model of education at the American Education Research Association annual conference in Chicago in April. She gained insight into Escuela Nueva during her second MDP International Field Placement, when she worked with Fundación Escuela Nueva in Bogotá, Colombia. At the AERA, Reyes participated in a roundtable discussion on “Expanding Methodological Possibility Through Transnational Perspectives.” She presented her research on the constructs embedded in the Escuela Nueva model that are vital to improved academic success, particularly in post-conflict environments and developing countries. Reyes has joined the MDP staff in early 2015. Her full paper can be downloaded from the online repository at www.AERA.net.

Lauren Godfrey meets President Jimmy Carter

April 22, 2015: MDP student Lauren Godfrey (MDP ‘15) met President Jimmy Carter before his recent lecture on “Ebola, Democracy, Human Rights, and Public Health.” Lauren helped to organize the event as part of her work as a graduate intern at Emory University’s Institute for Developing Nations (IDN). The IDN helps to build bridges between research and academic programs at Emory and The Carter Center’s Peace and Health programs. President Carter’s lecture was part of Emory’s Ebola Faculty and Community Discussion Forum, sponsored by IDN, the Institute of African Studies, and Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. The entire Forum series, including a video archive of President Carter’s lecture, is available on IDN’s website.

The Plastic Gyre Symposium: Artists, Scientists, and Activists Respond

April 15, 2015: In March, Georgia State University and the CDC’s David J. Sencer Museum hosted the first ever interdisciplinary symposium on plastic pollution “The Plastic Gyre: Artists, Scientists, and Activists Respond.”  The conference brought together scientists, artists and activists to focus on an issue that is a threat to natural environments and quality of life globally. Emory MDP student Paulita Bennett-Martin (MDP ‘16) worked closely with symposium organizer Pam Longobardi to plan the event. Longobardi is a Georgia State University (GSU) Distinguished University Professor, Professor of Art and founder of the Drifters Project. Read More.

MDP students present during Emory Tibet Week 2015

April 10, 2015: Emory hosted its 14th annual Tibet Week in March. Emory’s Tibet Week, which includes cultural and arts events, academic conversations and community gatherings, was created in 2001 to contribute to conversations about Tibet at Emory University and strengthen the Emory-Tibet Partnership. Emory MDP students Tsewang Rigzen and Lhamo Lhamaocuo (both MDP ‘15) participated in the event. Read more about Tibet Week here. in an article by Emory MDP Student and Tibetan Fulbright Scholar Tsewang Rigzin.

Emory MDP student studies women’s perspectives on HIV/AIDS

March 31, 2015: Emory MDP Student Hayley Robinett (MDP ‘16) has joined a team of researchers working on a project entitled, “Positive Influences: Multilevel Factors Contributing to Women's Entry, Engagement, and Adherence to HIV Treatment and Care.” The research project is being led by Dr. Paula Frew, and is a collaboration between Emory University and the Grady Health System. The project is funded by the National Institutes of Health. The purpose of this study is to better understand, from the perspective of women living with HIV, the unique barriers encountered when seeking HIV treatment, and thus affecting ability to reach a sustained level of continued care. Read More.

Emory MDP Students Coordinate Mapathon

March 21, 2015: Emory MDP student Jillian Kenny (MDP ‘15) chaired the planning committee for a university-wide map-a-thon which took place on Saturday, March 21st. The map-a-thon was a one day crowdsourcing effort to link volunteered geographic information (VGI), satellite imagery, and open-source map data. Over 30 volunteers attended the event to help geocode buildings in various developing countries impacted by infectious diseases, such as Ebola. Teams utilized OpenStreetMap software, which is integrated with other platforms such as Google Maps. The data editing effort adds to the growing body of geo-referenced data used in outbreaks and emergencies. The event featured various speakers from the CDC and included a mid-afternoon scavenger hunt exploring the role of GPS in tracking communicable disease transmission.

Emory MDP Student Joins Atlanta Regional Commission Millennials Committee

March 16, 2015: Taylor Spicer (MDP ‘15) has been selected to join the Millennial Advisory Committee of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). The committee, which includes 125 young leaders from across the Atlanta region, will bring a new generation of ideas to the ARC Board. Members of the committee will meet with aspiring young leaders from around the Atlanta metro region and will be invited to ARC and other events that will provide unique opportunities to engage with the region’s elected officials. Taylor will join joining the Healthy Livable Communities sub-committee, where she will bring continue to work at the intersection of race, ethnicity and health disparities and environmental determinants of disease. She hopes to deepen her understanding of current and future planning priorities in the Atlanta area, and to advocate for a regional vision that prioritizes social justice and sustainability.

Dr. Roncoli presents on Climate Change Research in Paris

February 25, 2015: MDP Associate Director Dr Carla Roncoli was an invited participant in a conference on Rural Societies Confronting Environmental Change in West Africa held at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France on January 29-30th. The conference presented findings from the a four-year research project ESCAPE, funded by France’s National Research Agency and focused on understanding past trends, current impacts, and potential adaptations to climate change from a multidisciplinary perspective.  Dr. Roncoli has conducted research on climate vulnerability and adaptive strategies in African farming communities for over 20 years. She is currently involved in a USAID funded study on Climate Change Resilient Development in Africa in collaboration with the Climate Change, Food Security, and Agriculture program. MDP students Taylor Spicer and Hannah Cox are also working with this project.

 Emory Tibetan community celebrates Losar, Tibetan New Year

February 25, 2015: For Tibetans, or Losar (New Year), is the most anticipated celebration of the year — like a cross between Christmas and Thanksgiving. Tibetan students and staff in the Emory community celebrated Losar this month with prayers at the Tibetan monastery and a gathering for food, dance and music. Emory has a strong community of Tibetans students, including six monks who are studying science and two MDP students in the Class of 2015, Tsewang Rigzin and Lhamotso (Lhamo) Lamaocuo. “Usually in Tibet we celebrate Losar for about a month in rural areas and two weeks in urban areas,” said Rigzin. “However, in the exile community we celebrate it only for three days.” After offering prayers at the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta, Tibetan students and faculty gathered in a Tibetan family’s home. The Emory MDP program is delighted to have ties to such a rich culture and we wish many more fruitful Losars to our Tibetan students and colleagues.

Borgen Magazine

February 20, 2015: Emory MDP student Brady Mott (MDP ‘16) is working as an Atlanta-based reporter for the developmental publication BORGEN Magazine. The magazine, an initiative of The Borgen Project, seeks to shed light on poverty alleviation efforts around the world. Mott has published three articles in recent months: “Prawns Pave the Way for Disease Prevention,” “World’s Warmest Year Threatens Island Nations,” and “Crowdsourcing: Future of Water Development.” Mott has experience working on Water, Sanitation and Hygeine (WASH) projects in South America, and a passion for innovative approaches to addressing neglected tropical diseases. Mott is an avid writer as well as a development activist, and writing popular articles for a progressive development magazine is helping him to sharpen his communication skills, he said. Now in is his second semester at Emory, Mott hopes to work after graduation with a project like the one he reported on in Prawns Pave the Way for Disease Prevention, applying natural biotechnologies to prevent the spread of tropical diseases.

MDP Student Participates in Microinsurance Conference

February 1, 2015: Emory MDP student, Charlotte Newman (MDP ‘15) was selected as one of four rapporteurs covering the the 3-day International Microinsurance Conference hosted by Germany’s Munich Re Foundation in Mexico City. Newman was selected because of her background in microfinance and her work as the Assistant Editor for Microfinance and Financial Inclusion for the publication MicroCapital. Before beginning the MDP program, Newman spent two years as a Program Coordinator for Fundacion En Via, a nonprofit microfinance & ecotourism organization in Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico. Read More

MDP students participate in Global Health Competition

February 1, 2015: The 2015 Emory Global Health Institute Intramural Case Competition took place on Saturday, January 31. Twelve teams of Emory students from across the university came together to develop innovative solutions for 21st century global health issues. This year the teams were charged with developing an intervention to address health and economic issues for a former Soviet-bloc country. The Emory MDP program was well represented. Five students from the MDP Class of 2016 competed: Melanie Aleman, Amelia Conrad, Jessica Frye, Tanya Witlen, and Helena Worrall. Second-year MDP students Lauren Godfrey, and Charlotte Newman were on the student advisory committee for the event, and Emory MDP Director Dr. David Nugent served as a judge. Congratulations to these Emory MDP students on all their hard work!

MDP student helps plan symposium on ocean debris

February 1, 2015: The David J. Sencer CDC Museum is now hosting GYRE: The Plastic Ocean, an exhibit exploring the complex relationship between humans and the ocean in a contemporary culture of consumption. The museum is on the CDC’s main campus, adjacent to Emory University. Emory MDP student Paulita Bennett-Martin (MDP ‘16) is helping to plan an upcoming symposium, March 26-27, which will feature panel discussions, poster sessions, film screenings, artist talks, and a museum reception on the exhibit's theme. The exhibit is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. Find more information online or email museum@cdc.gov.

Dr. Roncoli honored by climate science journal

January 5, 2015: MDP Associate Director Dr. Carla Roncoli was honored at the 95th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Phoenix, AZ with an Editor Award, recognizing her work as peer reviewer for the AMS interdisciplinary journal Weather, Climate, and Society (WCAS). WCAS publishes articles on policy, institutional, economic, and social aspects of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Dr. Roncoli has published articles in WCAS and in other journals on her research on agricultural decision making and climate risk management in Africa and in the Southeast US.