MDP Class of 2018

TOLUWALOPE ADE BABINGTON: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Toluwalope Ade Babington was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. She graduated with a BSc in Economics and Computer Science from Illinois College. Before joining MDP, she worked as a policy fellow in the Illinois state Office of the Governor where she was able to explore her interest in economic development policy. Her additional interests are how female empowerment, technology transfer, and intellectual property laws can promote economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. In her free time she likes to draw and read fantasy fiction novels.

TYLER BREEN: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Tyler Breen received his Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz, focusing on GIS analysis of forest dynamics and age stratification. After graduation, he left for the Peace Corps in Paraguay where he worked with biodigesters, reforestation, and trash management. For the last two years, he has been working in the Dominican Republic and Cuba leading eco-service and cultural exchange trips. Tyler’s research interests are broad but mostly focused on environmental conservation and resource management in rural areas. Aside from his research interests, he loves playing guitar, sitar, banjo, or ukulele and keeping up his Spanish and Guarani.

JESSICA DOANES: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Jessica is a native Atlantan. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree at Hampshire College where she concentrated in International Relations, Foreign Policy and Human Rights. A trip to The International Criminal Court for the trial of Charles Taylor, sparked Jessica’s initial interest in development work. Jessica has worked and volunteered with various agencies such as AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps managing government funds and Department of Homeland Security traveling to several U.S. states to brainstorm future disaster response plans. Jessica looks forward to learning how to use the role of technology/social media in developmental practice. She is also interested in how to apply restorative justice approaches to assist communities to cope with the social impacts of natural & man-made disasters. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys dancing, reading, watching movies and various athletic activities.

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

Sarah Durry is a first generation Ethiopian-American who grew up in Atlanta, Yemen, and Kenya. Her dedication to serving those living in need started from a young age witnessing her father’s life work eradicating polio globally. She graduated from Clayton State University with a Bachelor of Science degree. She has worked with several non-profit organizations with missions to empower women and girls including Cool Girls Inc, Women in Technology, Dining for Women, and One Billion Rising. She plans to focus her studies within the MDP program on access to information, education, and health for women and girls. Sarah also programs the wellness curriculum and manages community outreach at the Atlanta co-work start-up, the Elevator Factory. She is certified as an ashtanga yoga teacher and loves being a part of experimental communities focused on individual development and expression.

VALERIE ELKINS: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Valerie Elkins is a proud alumna of Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) where she completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in History. Valerie discovered her development interest by interning with Lake Oconee Community Church (LOCC) Youth Alliance, where she assisted and mentored underserved students in order to help them complete high school. She cultivated community partnerships through home visits and asking for support by donating their time. In Valerie’s spare time she enjoys hiking, painting, reading and spending time with friends.

JONATHAN EOLOFF: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Jonathan Eoloff holds an undergraduate degree as well as a law degree from the University of Minnesota. For more than ten years, Jonathan worked as an immigration attorney for non-profit advocacy agencies in Chicago and Atlanta, most recently serving as the Immigration Services Director at the Latin American Association. Jonathan also worked for the government of Mexico assisting Mexican nationals facing the death penalty in the United States. During law school, Jonathan spent a summer clerking for the Center for Justice and International Law in San Jose, Costa Rica, where he assisted in litigation before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Prior to law school, Jonathan worked for Witness for Peace in Guatemala and the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights in Mexico City and Oaxaca. Jonathan enjoys reading, cooking, playing tennis and international travel.

SAM FRIEDLANDER: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Sam Friedlander is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied linguistics, international development, and creative writing. During her time as a Penn student, she spent a year in Chile, Jordan, and Nepal, studying human rights, and then Ecuador, studying the history and challenges of the bilingual intercultural Kichwa education system. She has taught and mentored at university-assisted community schools in Tennessee and Philadelphia and has worked with refugee youth through the Nashville International Center for Empowerment. Her interest in education inspired her to research the right to intercultural, bilingual education in both Ecuador and Philadelphia. As a journalist, she has worked as the managing editor of a student-run, social justice-themed magazine and as a freelance writer for Huffington Post and Unity Magazine. Sam enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.

SYDNEY HERNDON: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Sydney Herndon graduated in 2013 from Auburn University with degrees in Anthropology and Art History and minors in Spanish and Sustainability. Throughout her undergraduate studies she spent time abroad including 7 months in Costa Rica conducting interviews with farmers and a summer in Fiji conducting a desk review and ethnographic research among the Mali tribal community. Most recently, she has spent three years working with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) based in Rome, Italy, also traveling to Africa and Asia to conduct operational reviews of WFP’s emergency responses. Through the MDP program, Sydney is interested in the role that social enterprise can play in sustainable international development. She enjoys rock climbing, leisure traveling and good food.

RAVEN HINSON: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Raven Hinson is an Atlanta native and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Georgia. Her interest in development began in high school with mission trips to Montana to assist on an Indian Reservation and Mobile, Alabama to provide support to hurricane victims. This led to her civil and human rights focus during college and to her commitment to further her studies to learn how to assist with women and minorities’ education and empowerment. Raven has spent the past year working at a professional development firm that works to advance women’s careers. In her free time she likes to watch documentaries and read any social science book she can get her hands on.

SIDRA KHALID: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Sidra Khalid is a Pakistani American who graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Sociology. Before starting at Emory, she worked as an English teacher in China for two years. Her interest in international development solidified when she was in college and volunteered abroad in Ghana with an NGO called the Ghana Health and Education Initiative (GHEI). Sidra helped run a girl’s empowerment camp with local teens, focusing on self-esteem, leadership, and family planning. After Ghana, she worked in Pakistan with an NGO called Roshni Helpline which seeks to combat child abductions and provides counseling services to exploited women and children. Sidra hopes to create gender-inclusive education policies and programs and to address gender-based violence in the Global South. In her free time she enjoys traveling, baking, and drinking chai while binge watching her favorite shows on Netflix.

XIN LI: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Xin Li studied international affairs at Fudan University in China. While in college, she went to Paris to attend the 9th UNESCO Youth Forum as a delegate of China, an experience that triggered her interest in sustainable development. In particular she is interested in improving NGO business development through brand marketing. She cultivated her marketing skills while working with Bosch Ltd. Co in China providing market research and analysis for three companies. Xin enjoys dancing and swimming.

RYAN MINTZ: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Ryan Mintz was born and raised just outside of Atlanta. He attended the University of Georgia (UGA) where he triple-majored in Economics, International Affairs, and Political Science. In college, Ryan traveled or studied abroad each summer and gained an interest in development from trips to Costa Rica, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Turkey. After graduation, Ryan moved to China and spent the next year and a half teaching English. Ryan’s time in China led him to join the Peace Corps, where he served for two years as a small business development volunteer in Nicaragua’s Autonomous Caribbean region. Ryan is interested improving development organizations through the process of selecting, implementing and monitoring projects. Ryan enjoys sports, board games, camping and reading.

MIA NIEVES: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Mia Nieves was born and raised in South Florida to parents from Puerto Rico and El Salvador. She is fluent in Spanish and French, and conversational in Mandarin Chinese. In 2014, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and in French and Francophone studies from the University of Florida. After graduation she worked with the UF Center of Arts and Medicine in Kampala, Uganda assisting in research on the use of arts in public health programs. She then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guizhou province, China, where she taught English as a foreign language. Daily observations in her host-community ignited her passion for sustainable development and promoting eco-friendly health practices in the Global South. Mia enjoys fitness, dancing, hiking, and reading.

KATIE OSWALD: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Katie Oswald grew up in Virginia and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Virginia. After graduation, Katie served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Habitat for Humanity International in Atlanta, Georgia, and in March 2013 she moved into a full-time position with the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. In her current role with the Affiliate Tithe program, Katie helps to support nearly 1,400 U.S. Habitat affiliates in their tithing of unrestricted funds to more than 50 country programs abroad, such as Habitat Nepal and Habitat Malawi. She plans to apply her MDP studies to strengthen her capacity to address issues with housing security. Katie also enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, taking photos and working in the garden.

Tim Rupnarain: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Tim Rupnarain was born in Paramaribo, Suriname but grew up in the United States. He graduated from Emory University where he studied Religion with a focus on ethics, community building and social change. During his first two years in Atlanta, Tim observed the food insecurity issues which motivated him to work with non-profits, local governments and resident leaders to address the needs in low-income Atlanta neighborhoods. These projects included pastoral care, community-food gardens, youth development and community activism. Tim plans to combine his passions to create two social enterprises that address development issues in Atlanta and the world at large including a non-profit for youth and a tea café.

BETHANY SIKES: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Bethany Sikes, a Bobby Jones Fellow, is from Edinburgh, Scotland and graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2016 with a MA (Hons) in International Relations and Modern History. Bethany’s interest in sustainable development practice has grown through experiences such as building vegetable gardens in South Africa and assessing the monsoon season disaster risk for the village of Montola with Tearfund in Bangladesh. Bethany is interested in learning about humanitarian response and long-term reconstruction in the context of natural disasters. Bethany looks forward to the opportunity to explore Atlanta and travel around the United States. Alongside her hobbies of cooking and reading, Bethany is a passionate life-long supporter of Leicester City Football Club.

JULIAN WYATT: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Julian Wyatt is a native of Los Angeles, California and graduated from Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. As an undergraduate student he interned as the curriculum facilitator with ForeverFamily, a non-profit organization that provides services to children with incarcerated parents. He now serves as a member on the organization’s Young Professionals Board. Julian's interest in international development was sparked while at Morehouse when he got the opportunity to spend a summer working on an assessment of community-based capacity to develop solar energy production in Ghana. After graduation, he served as a mental health specialist providing culturally tailored behavioral health interventions to the impoverished and elderly population in the Metro-Atlanta area and also worked to address mental health disparities among minorities. His areas of interest include conflict resolution and peace-building, global mental health, and disaster relief. In his leisure he enjoys spending time with friends and family, and taking walks with his adopted greyhound.