MDP Class of 2014

Renee Barron: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Renee is originally from Maryland and earned her Bachelor’s in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park. After graduation, she lived in Germany for four years. Traveling throughout Europe, the Middle East and Southwest Asia, Renee participated in Habitat for Humanity International trips and other service projects where she gained an appreciation and understanding of the challenges that developing nations face. Her specific interests lie in the areas of human rights and trafficking. She hopes to use the MDP degree to inspire teenagers and young adults to step out of their comfort zone and take action to solve these problems in their local communities and abroad. In her free time, Renee enjoys running, cooking, reading in the hammock and attending festivals, concerts and theater productions.

Samantha Collins: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

As a result of growing up in the Bermuda and England, Samantha began engaging in international issues at a young age. She attended Bowdoin College and received a BA in Romance Languages and East European/Eurasian Studies. During her time at Bowdoin, she became active in the immigrant/refugee non-profit community in Portland and was the Fellow for International Connections in Maine through Bowdoin. After graduating from Bowdoin, she moved to Chile as an English teacher, followed by a move back to Maine to continue working with the Portland refugee/immigrant communities. She had the experience to work as a grant-writer and language arts teacher at Portland Adult Education. In the future, Samantha is interested in researching the role of gender in refugee communities. Besides traveling, Samantha has a long list of interests that includes learning languages, meditating, and writing. 

Alexis Coppola: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Alexis is from Jamestown, Rhode Island. She received a B.A. in Political Science and Women’s Studies from the University of Rhode Island, with a minor in Peace and Nonviolence Studies. After graduating, she worked on a congressional political campaign in RI and then moved to sub-Saharan Africa, where she spent six years implementing a wide range of development projects. Working with organizations such as the Peace Corps, BeadforLife, and UNICEF, she was involved primarily in public health work and community-based entrepreneurial projects. She also spent time working with an NGO that helps resettle refugees to the United States. Her focus areas are global human health, gender issues, and human rights. Her personal interests include travel, cooking, running, and reading. 

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

Anna was born in Budapest, Hungary, but moved to Pittsburgh, PA as a child. She received her undergrad studies in International relations at George Washington University and then decided to move back to Europe. She first lived in France where she taught English in elementary schools and after which she moved to London, earning a degree in Politics and Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science. At LSE, she wrote her master thesis on Hungary's refugee policies. She worked for a progressive think-tank in Budapest, focusing on immigration issues. Her next position was at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN, operating projects in eight countries in Central Asia and south-eastern Europe. She had the opportunity to visit many countries in the region, including Albania, Belarus, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Kazakhstan and Turkey. She is interested in food security and nutrition as well as international migration, particularly as they affect children. She has been a leader at Hungarian scouts for over ten years, and also enjoys skiing, reading and cooking with her grandma.

Kate Jackson: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Kate grew up in Michigan, where she graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a double major in psychology and communication. Kate spent several years coordinating and managing capital campaigns for economic development entities in Colorado, including the Metro Denver EDC and the Grand Junction Economic Partnership. In between campaigns, Kate traveled extensively through Latin America volunteering with education programs in Sololá, Guatemala, and Quito, Ecuador. She most recently served as Development Director for Adelante Mujeres, a non-profit organization outside of Portland, Oregon. She has been an active member of various service organizations, including Alpha Phi Omega and Rotaract. Kate's professional interests include education, community development, social enterprise, and non-profit management. She plans to focus  on the role of technology in cultural preservation. In her free time, Kate enjoys hiking, cooking, and reading. 

Amihan Jones: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Amihan grew up in various parts of the U.S. including Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Texas before earning her B.A. at the College of Wooster in Ohio. While majoring in Philosophy and Religious Studies she had the opportunity to study the HIV/AIDS epidemic abroad in South Africa and Thailand and wrote her senior thesis on human rights and the practice of female genital cutting in The Gambia. After college she moved to Washington, DC as a young adult missionary through the United Methodist Church, working in a local congregation supporting social justice programs such as homeless missions, ESL classes for day laborers, and prison ministries. After two years in DC, she then moved to Thailand to volunteer at an HIV/AIDS orphanage where she has spent the last year learning about Thai culture. She enjoys Thai food, frisbee and friends.

Apoltolos Kalantzis: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Apostolos is from Chicago and graduated from Wheaton College with a BA in International Relations in 2011. While at Wheaton College, he also obtained a Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) certificate, which included a six month internship in Cairo, Egypt with the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS), from May to December of 2010. While there, he researched the relationships and differences between Muslim and Christian NGOs. At Wheaton and after the Earthquakes in Haiti, he founded the Haiti/Wheaton Partnership which organized service trips to Haiti. After graduating from Wheaton, Apostolos spent a year in South Korea teaching English to Elementary and Middle School students. His research interests include peacemaking and reconciliation in post-conflict areas as well international development policy. In his free time, Apostolos enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee, following White Sox baseball, and watching Superhero movies.

Paul Kennedy: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Paul discovered his passion for development work during his time living in Jamaica as a Peace Corps Volunteer. There he worked on rural outreach with the Ministry of Health as an HIV/AIDS educator, and assisted with program development for the Jamaican Red Cross. He also conducted environmental advocacy with the Jamaican Caves Organization. Upon returning to the U.S., Paul completed his undergraduate education at Kennesaw State University with a B.S. in Nursing and became a Certified Nonprofit Professional. Paul continued working with development NGOs and became increasingly active politics, even running for state-wide public office in 2010. While his background is in health, Paul's primary interest is in addressing all the interconnected factors impacting socioeconomic disparity, both in the U.S. and abroad. Paul loves to experience new cultures, especially the food, and planning new adventures with friends and family.

Claudia Langford: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Claudia grew up in Calhoun, GA and completed her B. A. at the University of Georgia, with a major in Cultural Anthropology and a minor in Ecology. While attending UGA, Claudia pursued coursework that deepened her understanding of the unique relationships between environment, community and development. Her initial interest in development was sparked while traveling in Ecuador, where she assisted in the development of a biodiversity-friendly coffee label and worked with anthropologists to study market restrictions for cacao farmers in an Afro-Ecuadorian community. Claudia plans to use her experiences and background to continue work in development as a framework for conserving ecosystems and resources that serve as natural assets to poor communities. In her spare time, Claudia loves to cook, work in her garden and to escape to the North Georgia Mountains to hike, canoe and rock climb.

Caitlin McColloch: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Cait is from Texas where she received her B.S. in Environmental Geoscience from Texas A&M University in 2010.  At Texas A&M, Cait was an executive member of an environmental student organization focused on promoting environmental awareness on campus. She also studied sustainability and eco-tourism in a semester abroad in Fiji and Australia. After graduation, Cait worked in Kazakhstan as an education volunteer with the Peace Corps, where she taught English at a local school. Cait also participated in teacher trainings and workshops, ran ESL camps, managed women empowerment groups, and started an organization benefiting children with cancer.  After Kazakhstan, Cait traveled to Bolivia and volunteered at an orphanage, then to Nicaragua where she worked on a farm. Her interests include youth development, environmental education and awareness, and natural resource management. Cait loves traveling and practicing Russian and Spanish. 

Morgan Mercer: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Morgan was born and raised in Dayton, OH and graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BA in Political Science. While at USC, she received a university scholarship to study abroad in Tours, France to further her French language competence. Upon graduation, Morgan moved to Washington, DC where she began working with an international development organization, focusing on CDC-funded HIV prevention programs that aimed to scale out effective behavioral interventions. During her work in DC, Morgan gained invaluable insight into how critical community participation and partnerships are to the success of development initiatives. While at Emory, she hopes to continue deepening this learning, focusing particularly on social and structural determinants of HIV-AIDS impacts as well as on gender and empowerment. Morgan has traveled through India, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Colombia. When she's not daydreaming about where to travel next, Morgan can be found watching college sports, enjoying live music or spending time outdoors.

Kunal Patel: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Kunal grew up in Lowell, MA and in suburban Atlanta. He attended Emory University receiving his B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and B.A. in Economics in the summer of 2012. He also studied in Paris and traveled extensively throughout Europe and India. He is interested in sustainability and mental health, particularly the economic aspects. In his free time, he loves cooking, travel, photography, movies, and spending time with friends and family.

Jacob Wood: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Jacob, from the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, is a program manager for Emory University's Global Health Institute – China Tobacco Control Partnership. He received his M.A. at Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University where he spent three years in a small town in the mountains of Yunnan Province carrying out research on the culture of the Bai ethnic minority while working for the NGO, SIL International. Previously, Jacob served with the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention under the China CDC and before that as an intern for the global think tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Jacob enjoys mountain climbing, pick-up basketball or just relaxing with a book and fresh brewed cup o' Joe.