MDP Class of 2013

Sarah Brooks: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Sarah, from Richmond, Virginia, recently finished serving as a Community Development volunteer in Thailand with the Peace Corps. In Thailand, Sarah worked to strengthen youth groups, start a recycling center, and help create small businesses for those living with HIV/AIDS. Before Peace Corps, Sarah worked on a presidential campaign and for an advocacy group focusing on children and youth. Sarah received her B.A. in Religious Studies and Chinese from Rhodes College in 2008, where she enjoyed studying abroad in Namibia and China. Her development interests include youth development and empowerment and small business development targeted towards women and people living with HIV/AIDS. Sarah loves to travel, learn about different languages and cultures, sail and spend time with family and friends.

Myriam Van Dorp: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Myriam was born in Cameroon, West Africa and spent most of her younger years between Indiana and Massachusetts. She received her BA in Religious Studies at Indiana University where she completed her thesis on the religious culture of Brazil. While in Brazil, she became acutely aware of the importance of advocacy and empowerment. Since then, she has worked as a Curriculum Specialist for adults with Disabilities and as the Youth Programs Manager for the Oakhurst Community Garden Project. Through her work in the garden, she is able to interact with a diverse community of people teaching self-reliance, sustainability, and asset-based development. She enjoys spending time with her family, playing Capoeira Angola, crocheting, feeding people, and traveling.

Anna Ellis: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Anna is from Minnesota, where she received a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota with a concentration on the study of immigrant populations in the United States. After graduation, she tutored GED students in English and math; she also volunteered at a shelter for homeless youth. Her interest in travel and education led her to volunteer with WorldTeach as an English teacher on a remote atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. She continued her work with WorldTeach as the Field Director of their Bangladesh program in partnership with the Asian University for Women. In its inaugural year, she developed the pre-university education courses for underserved women from six different Asian countries. Anna’s development interests include maternal and child health, education and empowering communities to serve themselves. Anna enjoys reading, baking, hiking and gardening.

Nafisa Ferdous: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Nafisa received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College in political economy and ethnic studies in 2008. She has been an organizer and youth worker with CBOs and initiatives in NYC since being a youth herself. She has facilitated year-round social justice programs in public schools, youth spaces as well as in outdoor/environmental programs. In 2009 she accepted the AIF-William J. Clinton Fellowship to work for a grassroots women’s rights NGO in Calcutta, India. As a fellow she supported projects in sustainable rice cultivation, community-owned microfinance and farmer-led direct action campaigns. Nafisa has also worked on domestic workers rights campaigns in Bangladesh. Her research interests include participatory action research and gender and empowerment with a focus on Asian communities. In her free time she loves to karaoke and paint.

Trinity Findlay: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Trinity, from Durham, NC, received her B.A. in Spanish from Davidson College in 2006. She first became interested in development while writing her thesis about El Salvadoran refugee children. Upon graduating, she moved to Colombia, South America to volunteer with a non-profit organization that focuses on outreach to families displaced by the war. While in Colombia, she traveled to over fifteen pueblos working mostly with children and teenagers. The highlight of her travels was living with the indigenous Tikunas during a two month trip to the Brazilian Amazons. There, she experienced first-hand the great need for health and education-related development programs. After eighteen months abroad, Trinity returned to the States and served as a high school Spanish teacher for two years at a charter school in North Carolina. Her research interests lie in the role that political violence plays in poverty and development, especially in the lives of women and children. Trinity’s favorite pastime is speaking Spanish, but she also enjoys cooking with her husband, learning to play the guitar, and watching old M*A*S*H episodes.

Aliya Firozvi: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Born in Karachi, Pakistan and raised in various parts of the United States, Aliya received her B.A. in English Literature from Michigan State University. She owes her interest in development to her experiences and travels abroad as well as a plethora of post-colonial literature. While in college, she tutored in underserved schools in her community, and also served as a counselor in an English summer camp for the underprivileged in Karachi. After graduating from MSU, she went to Peru, where she volunteered as an English teacher and then to Bangladesh, where she was a field study intern at a major non-profit organization called Friends in Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB). Besides traveling, Aliya has a long list of interests that include music, reading, drawing, being outdoors, hiking, and observing the South Asian diaspora.  

Esther Joe: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

A California native, Esther graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2010 with a B.A. in International Development Studies. She is also a recipient of the 2011 Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship. An aspiring journalist, Esther spent her initial undergraduate years anchoring for and reporting for Daily Bruin Television. While covering a broad range of stories dealing with sensitive interethnic issues, she yearned to learn more about the world and went abroad to Ghana her freshman year summer to work for a local newspaper in Accra. During college, Esther served as an intern in South Korea, where she taught North Korean defectors English and spent one semester as an exchange student and Gilman Scholar in Brazil where she also volunteered in the favela of Vidigal. She also served as an intern with USAID in Washington DC and with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Esther loves traveling and learning languages (she speaks Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, and some Chinese). She also enjoys hiking, swimming, dancing, writing, and horror films.

Kalie Lasitert: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Kalie had the wonderful opportunity of growing up in various areas, including Tennessee, Vancouver, Thailand, Singapore, Illinois, Georgia, Russia, and finally Indonesia where she graduated high school from the Jakarta International School. She then received a Bachelor's of Arts in Anthropology, with a minor in Political Science, at the University of Delaware in May 2010. After graduation, Kalie joined AmeriCorps Public Allies of Delaware - a 10 month long non-profit leadership development and apprenticeship program. She was placed at Wayfarers' House of Meeting Ground, Inc., a transitional homeless shelter for single women and women with children, where she did continuous case management with the residents there, as well as volunteer management and community development. Her MDP interests include gender and economic development, especially in Southeast Asia. She also enjoys cooking, reading and fishing.

Connor Radkey: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Connor comes to Emory from the Pacific Northwest, having been born in Spokane, Washington, and receiving his BA in International Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle. While at the UW, he had the opportunity to study development politics at Sussex University in Brighton, England through an exchange program. Upon graduation, Connor served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Swaziland where he worked to build awareness and support for HIV/AIDS issues and those affected within his community. He extended his experience in Swaziland with the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP), working to establish a safe water initiative with rural clinics. His interests in development include health structures, law, disaster relief and complex emergencies. Connor enjoys Seattle Mariners baseball and hip-hop.

Larissa Sanford: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Raised in Calhoun, Georgia, Larissa received her B.A. in Anthropology from Wake Forest University in 2008. She first became interested in development while studying abroad on Roatan Island, Honduras. While conducting ethnographic field research, Larissa became fascinated by the island's sudden tourism boom and its effect on the local Garifuna people. Upon graduation, Larissa accepted an internship position with the Shanti Trust, a community development project in rural Malawi that aims to improve local access to education, healthy living, and the sustainable use of resources. Larissa's role with the Trust was to coordinate the development of the Chikumbuso Museum and Culture Centre. Working with a committee from the local village, she gathered works from local artisans, traditional hunting and fishing tools, and even musical instruments for public display. Since her return to the states, Larissa has worked with a private local clinic devoted to providing health care and equipment to those who are uninsured. Larissa's research interests range from the effects of western tourism in developing countries to indigenous rights. In her free time, Larissa can be found playing team trivia, doing crossword puzzles, or experimenting in the kitchen.

Kristin Tanis: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Kristin moved to Atlanta from Michigan where she worked as an Art Director at an advertising agency. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Aquinas College, she joined Peace Corps Paraguay where she worked as an Agriculture Extension Volunteer. During her service she helped form a committee made up of local women. Together they designed a sustainable chicken project that increased meat and egg production and added an additional source of income for each family that participated. She also worked with the local agricultural committee to educate farmers about soil recuperation techniques and with PLAN Paraguay to repair the running water system. After completing her service, she returned to Michigan where she was involved in several local community development projects. Kristin intends to focus on social responsibility, human rights and community development. She enjoys running, cooking and working in her garden.

Anna Tarrant: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Anna received her Bachelor’s degree from NYU in politics and history with a minor in French. In college, she became interested in international development while studying abroad in Accra, Ghana. While there, she was part of a team that filmed and produced a documentary called “The Milk” about a free health clinic in the northern city of Tamale. After graduation, Anna interned at Amnesty International’s Southern Office where she was involved with grassroots organizing for Demand Dignity, a campaign that exposes the link between human rights abuses and poverty. Anna also interned for the ACLU’s LGBT/AIDS Project. Her personal interests include French cinema, cooking, traveling and gardening.

Jiabing Wang: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Jiabing Wang, was one of the first cohort graduates majoring in Development Studies of China. After graduating from China Agricultural University, Jiabing worked in the NGO field for over 8 years where he managed and co-managed dozens of projects, many of which focused on citizens’ capability-building and rights protection. Although these projects differed in specific topics and activities, all of them shared the similar goal that ordinary citizens could know more about their lawful rights and be able to protect them. Due to the nature of this work, Jiabing has become more and more familiar with such topics as China's political transformation, development process, historical development of Chinese NGOs, the situation of vulnerable groups' rights, and development of grassroots democracy. Jiabing’s current interests are in peoples' participation, the relationship between institutions and project sustainability, and the management of NGOs and his personal interests include photography and traveling.

Linling Zhong: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Linling graduated from University of Wisconsin Madison, majoring in International Relations, Economics and Asian Studies. Since 2010, Linling has worked as Assistant Program Coordinator for The Carter Center's China Program. During her time with the Carter Center, Linling went to China to observe village elections, where she helped supervise the election process and gave feedback to the local government. Linling also built the China Africa website for the Carter Center, a bilingual website that serves as a platform for scholars and officials to share comments and opinions on issues related to China-Africa relations. In addition, she served as volunteer for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and interned as an assistant to the vice mayor of Hangzhou City, China. Linling was born and raised in China and moved to San Diego when she was 17. She enjoys traveling, reading, eating good food and being with others.