MDP Class of 2017

GABRIELA ARTASANCHEZ: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Gabriela grew up in Puebla, a beautiful baroque city two hours away from Mexico City. She received a bachelor's degree in Accounting and Financial Strategies from Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla. After graduating, she worked at the Mexican branch of Citigroup in wealth management. She is interested in addressing global challenges facing many communities similar to the one she grew up in, including issues of poverty, migration, health, corruption and indigenous rights. She is interested to apply her MDP studies to the field of corporate social responsibility and facilitating access to education in marginalized areas of Mexico. In her free time, Gabriela enjoys cooking and reading.

ADZA BEDA: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Adza Beda is an Ivorian American student from Buffalo, New York. She graduated from Buffalo State University with a degree in Communication Studies. As a student, Adza interned as a Maya Mountain Research assistant in Belize, where she gained a passion for development practice. Adza also worked as an AmeriCorps employee for two terms, an experience that provided her with the opportunity to ground her global concerns into a US domestic context. While at Emory she intends to continue her learning process and one day start her own nonprofit organization aimed to restructure Fair Trade Practices in the Ivory Coast cacao agriculture industry.

RUOFEI CHEN: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Ruofei is Peruvian with Chinese roots born and raised in Lima. She graduated from Sun Yat-Sen University in China with a Bachelor’s in Biotechnology. Her first interest for international development started during her high school years when volunteering in Youth Mother Refugee Reina de la Paz in Lima. During college, Ruofei led the projects department in the Youth Volunteering Association and managed a continuous weekend tutoring program for children with limited access to quality education. Her first job with Colgate Palmolive enabled her to engage with several development efforts supported by the company, including Operation Smile, Water for People, and other local non-profits. Most recently Ruofei has been working at Teach for China, part of Teach for All’s network, as a Recruiting and University Relationship Manager. Her development interests include education, child protection, child nutrition and livelihoods. She enjoys trekking, swimming, riding a bicycle and traveling.

ANDREINA CORDOVA: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Andreina graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2014 with a major in International Development Studies along with a minor in Gender Studies. Her interest in development began at age 13 through her involvement with advocacy and education with Planned Parenthood Federation of America. At age 18, she became a National Board Director for Planned Parenthood Federation and is currently an active board member of Planned Parenthood Global.She has had the opportunity to work with various nonprofits focused on diverse issues such as education, healthcare, and community development, both domestically and abroad, and is particularly interested in issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the developing world. In her free time Andreina enjoys board games, trying new food, creating crafts and watching Korean dramas.

ALEXANDRA GORDON: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Hailing from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Alexandra graduated from Lehigh University May 2015 with an Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts, and Sciences and concentrated on general engineering and environmental sustainability. Staying true to her Hispanic roots, she traveled to Nicaragua twice with Engineers Without Borders to assess a possible community-level water system. She also spent a summer in Costa Rica studying national sustainability policies and participated in carrying capacity studies in Carara National Park. Her love of this beautiful planet (especially Latin America) has led to her interest in community-based natural resource management and to an appreciation for multi-sectoral approaches to development which integrate environmental concerns. Alexandra's athletic passion is horseback riding, which she has been doing since she was six years old. She also enjoys hiking, biking, camping, and skiing.

MARIA GUZMAN: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Maria was born in Caracas, Venezuela and moved to the United States in 2004. She obtained her bachelor's degree from Kennesaw State University in International Affairs with a concentration in Diplomatic and Human Services. She has worked for several non-profit organizations including the Latin American Association, the United Way, and Junior Achievement of Georgia. After spending a year teaching English in Quito, Ecuador, Maria decided to pursue her longtime interest in development. Her professional and personal experiences have cultivated her interest in sustainable development with the goal of empowering women to own their economic success. In her free time, she likes to spend time with family and friends, exercise and travel.

RACHEL LASTINGER: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Rachel is a graduate of Oklahoma State University where she studied Political Science minoring in International Studies, Economics and Leadership. During her time at OSU, she visited Ethiopia with Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) and worked at an after school program for international students’ children. After graduating, she returned to Ethiopia, where she worked for CRU for 2 years, to empower, mentor, and train female university students. Rachel is passionate about empowering the next generation of women and fighting for their rights to an education and rights to pursue their dreams. She is looking forward to learning more about how development practice can contribute to improving the lives of girls in the Global South as well as enhance every child learning abilities and opportunities. Rachel loves traveling and exploring, growing in her faith, dancing, baking and reading.

NICOLE MCCOY: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Nicole McCoy is pursuing a dual MDiv/MDP degree. She comes to Emory University with several years of experience as an educator, having taught children and adults on a wide range of subjects including science, history, liberal arts, and English as a Second Language. She lived and taught in South Korea and Morocco for three years, developing an interest in ethnographic research, particularly focused on gender issues and human rights. Upon returning to the US, she worked with the Settlement Department of the International Rescue Committee on a Women’s Empowerment project for refugee women, and later with the Refugee Ministries of All Saint’s Episcopal Church. Nicole enjoys historical non-fiction books and documentaries, swimming, traveling, and speaking French.

MACKENZIE MOODY: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Mackenzie grew up in a small-town in North Carolina where she earned a degree in philosophy at Western Carolina University. While working on her degree, she also spent time with AmeriCorps VISTA, where she gained knowledge of sustainable food sources through the expansion and initiation of new and existing programs and community gardens. Her term as an AmeriCorps member opened new doors and led the way for work with other organizations, such as CARE USA. As a result, Mackenzie decided to devote her life to development and focus on food insecurity and human rights. She hopes that the knowledge and skills gained from MDP along with her background in philosophy will help her better serve communities worldwide and be a better advocate for environmental sustainability and social justice. In her free time, Mackenzie enjoys hiking, knitting and live music.

BILLY RICE: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Billy is a Coquille Native American born and raised in Los Angeles, California and has lived in and traveled to many U.S. and international destinations. For the last three years, he has served as a Board of Director on the Coquille Economic Development Corporation (CEDCO) and currently serves as a Board of Director – Secretary/ Treasurer or both CEDCO and the Mith-Ih-Kwuh Economic Development Corporation, overseeing $50M in revenue generated from a multitude of businesses. Some recent projects include: log exports to the Asian Market, the development of an additional Casino, and overseeing investments in Perpetua Technologies. Additionally, he served for over 13 years as a firefighter/EMT with Fire Departments in the Atlanta area. Billy graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology and a Master's in Public Administration, receiving honors recognition with election to the Pi Alpha Alpha Honors Society. He enjoys reading, traveling, and adventure sports.

DAVID SABINO: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

A native Atlantan, David completed a degree in biology with a minor in Portuguese at the University of Georgia (UGA). As an undergraduate, he interned with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, where he used genetic approaches to understand seed dispersal patterns of tropical trees. Upon graduation, David served four years in the Marine Corps as a logistics officer with two overseas deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his second overseas tour, David served as a military logistics advisor working directly with his Iraqi counterparts. After completion of his active duty obligations, David returned home to Atlanta and has spent the last seven years teaching high school biology and chemistry. His development interests include wildlife species and habitat conservation as well as post-conflict/disaster relief and redevelopment. In his leisure time, David's hobbies include trail running with his pit-bull, kayak fishing, camping, cooking, and gardening.

TARANGINI SAXENA: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Originally from Dehradun, India, Tarangini has been shaped by multiple cultural influences. Through her B.A. in Environmental Systems from the University of California and field-study in the Brazilian Amazon, Tarangini became aware of the disconnect between global production of food and energy and local rights of access to natural resources. In Brazil, Tarangini had the opportunity to work with the national chapter of Vía Campesina in their efforts to identify socio-political barriers to sustainable land reform and distribution. Interested in learning about community empowerment, Tarangini went to observe the work of various organizations across India, an experience that enabled her to learn skills in agriculture, handicraft and theater. She was especially inspired by the approaches and achievements of the Mazdoor Kisaan Shakti Sangathan (Farmer-Laborer Strength Association) and the Navdanya Seed Bank and Learning Center. Tarangini is interested in contributing to the establishment of decentralized economies that value ecology and human dignity. Tarangini loves identifying birds and plants, playing sitar and reading fiction.

ANDIE TUCKER: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Andie is an Atlanta native and received her degree in Global Studies from Azusa Pacific University. During undergraduate studies, she had the opportunity to work and study in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with community development and anti-domestic violence organizations. As part of this work, Andie authored a report documenting the Malaysian police force's response to domestic violence which was published in the Pennsylvania State University’s Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research. After graduation, Andie returned to Atlanta and began working with a local NGO focused on capacity building and community development among Atlanta's homeless women and children. She loves to play guitar, travel, and kayaking.

SARAH TURKALY: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Sarah’s interest in development began when she traveled with her church to Haiti in 2010. As a result of this experience, she pursued a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs and a minor in Global Sustainability at the University of Virginia (UVA). While in college, Sarah traveled to Bangladesh on a short-term study abroad program to study social entrepreneurship and development efforts. Following the trip, she and three other students secured a grant from the university to partner with BRAC, a large NGO based in Bangladesh, to conduct a needs and capabilities assessment for a community library system. This experience solidified Sarah's desire to pursue a career in international development. Through her MDP studies, Sarah plans to focus on climate change, disaster resilience, food systems, and the role of technology in development. In her free time she enjoys reading, cheering on UVA's sports teams, and being with friends.

DANIELLE VEAL: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Danielle was born and raised in the Stone Mountain/Lithonia area, outside of Atlanta. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. While at UNC, she spent a semester abroad studying globalization and nation-building in Southern Africa, an experience that ignited her interest in international development. As a Teach for America Corps Member in Houston, Texas, she learned the art of teaching, which she later applied to teaching English in South Korea. While in the MDP program, Danielle hopes to learn about social justice and women’s rights and empowerment. She enjoys music, cooking, and spending time with family.