MDP Class of 2019


ALYSSA BOVELL: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Alyssa Bovell is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Political Science. She is a recipient of the Dr. Margaret P. Karns Award for Academic Excellence and Service in Global and Local Issues. As an undergraduate, she spent a summer in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala for a cross-cultural immersion experience, participated in a summer practicum on rights-based development in Malawi with Determined to Develop, and interned with the anti-human trafficking organization Abolition Ohio. Following graduation, Alyssa worked with International Partners in Mission, a non-profit that provides funding and technical assistance to community-based projects in over 20 countries. Alyssa’s research interests focus on women's empowerment. In her free time, she enjoys tennis, watercolor painting, reading, and travel.

MARC ANTHONY BRANCH: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Marc Anthony Branch holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Richmond. While studying social movements and human rights in Argentina, he acquired an interest in development, and from 2013 -2017 served in the Peace Corps in Peru. During his tenure as a health volunteer, Marc Anthony worked with families and youth teaching child, maternal, and sexual health and life skills. As a Volunteer Coordinator, Marc Anthony trained health volunteers and assured accurate reporting and proper M&E practices. He also worked with a local HIV prevention and policy NGO and Peru’s Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion’s Juntos Program. His professional interests focus on partnerships between civil society and government agencies. Marc Anthony enjoys traveling, fitness, outdoor activities, photography, movies, and music.

MELANIA CROCE: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Melania Croce, a native Italian, was raised in Mozambique before returning to Italy as a four-year-old. She graduated with a dual master’s degree in Engineering Management from Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy, and Economics and Management from Tongji University in Shanghai, China. Before joining Emory, she worked as a business analyst for the Digital Innovation Observatories, consulting with European companies on human resources and digital transformation. Her current research interests are gender equality, women’s empowerment, and socially and environmentally responsible business practices to improve local and global communities. In her free time, Melania enjoys running, yoga, outdoor activities, and a good book.

KEANDRA DIAMOND: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Keandra Diamond was raised in Fayetteville, Georgia and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in 2017 in Psychology from George Mason University where she concentrated in Human Factors/Cognition and Developmental Psychology. During her time at Mason, she served as a Clinical Research Intern with Emory University's School of Medicine working in the Department of Neurology. As an intern, she recruited patients for Emory's Healthy Aging Study and assessed how age-related illnesses are crucial in understanding human development. Keandra has dedicated many hours of volunteer work with the National Epilepsy Foundation where she aims to combat stigma surrounding neurological disorders. Keandra is interested in the education and provision of mental health resources for families. Keandra enjoys cooking, traveling, coding and thrifting.

 RACQUEL FIGUEROA: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Racquel Figueroa received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Skidmore College. During her program she studied abroad in Panama focusing on tropical ecology as well as the intersection between the arts and environmentalism. Her senior capstone research examined communications between the environmental scientific community and the public, studying the efficacy of different PSA framing on transforming consumer behavior. She is passionate about sustainable development, nationally as well as internationally. She hopes to catalyze social and behavioral change through social enterprise and public-private partnerships. Racquel is also a performer and loves creating art and speaking Spanish.

ERÉNDIRA FORTANEL: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Eréndira Fortanel H. is a Mexican professional with more than ten years of work experience. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and holds a diploma in International Conflicts and Resolution Processes, issued by the Ibero-American University in Mexico City. Before joining the MDP, she worked for several years as Regional Human Resources and Regional Health and Safety and Security Lead at Oxfam Great Britain’s Regional Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean. Through her experience at Oxfam, she managed multi-country business processes and participated in humanitarian emergency responses in the region. Her professional interests focus on nutrition, food security, and sustainable livelihoods, particularly for displaced women and children. In her free time, Eréndira is a passionate reader with a special interest in astrophysics; and she loves traveling to practice free-diving or scuba-diving, and to get to know new cultures and people.

MARINANGELES GUTIERREZ: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Marinangeles Gutierrez Rivera is the daughter of Nicaraguan parents and the first to go to college in her family. She graduated with a bachelor's in Business Administration and Management from Florida State University, with a focus in Hospitality Management and Human Resources. Landing in the advertising industry, Marinangeles worked for five years creating targeted multimedia marketing solutions, from research and strategy to implementation and analysis. She has also been a community organizer for various social causes and campaigns, such as Sierra Club and Amnesty International. Over the last year, she has transitioned to be a consultant working on sustainability strategy and planning, and facilitating partnerships. Through her participation in city development projects, like the 100 Resilient Cities program, she has become interested in cultivating resilient communities internationally.

ANDREW HARRISON: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Andrew Harrison is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from the University of Georgia in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations, specializing in Comparative Politics & Political Economy. During his undergraduate study, he was afforded the opportunity to work with a social enterprise organization, which sparked his initial interest in sustainable development. Upon graduating he began working as a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley’s Wealth Management division within a group specializing in the Impact Investing platform and later on transitioning to Emory’s Department of Medicine, where he served as a financial analyst in grant management. His predominant academic interest is leveraging private enterprise to address the various social, environmental & development issues on a local and international level. In his free time, Andrew enjoys playing soccer and spending time with his family.

KATHERINE PONS: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Katherine Pons is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she studied psychology, sociology, and French. During her time at Vanderbilt, she discovered a love of international affairs, traveling during breaks from school. Additionally, she studied abroad for a year, spending one semester in South Africa, working in a prison to promote literacy development. Following graduation, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana. There she focused her efforts on nutrition promotion, as well as water and sanitation. Through the MDP program, Katherine is interested in learning more about the role of women in sustainable development. In her free time, she enjoys reading, going to trivia nights, binge watching Netflix documentaries, and drinking coffee.

REBECCA SPENS: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Rebecca Spens, a Bobby Jones Fellow and native Londoner, graduated from the University of St. Andrews in 2017 with a MA (Hons) in History and French. In the third year of her degree, she studied abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris. Rebecca has always been fascinated by international politics, languages and cultures. Rebecca initially encountered development work while interning for a London-based NGO - Forum for the Future - that advises businesses and governments on sustainable development. This interest grew even stronger while she was taking a course about contemporary India at the University of Hyderabad. Rebecca is interested in learning more about women’s literacy and education projects in the developing world. In her spare time, she is a keen artist, long-distance runner and windsurfer.

MALLORY ST. CLAIRE: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Mallory St. Claire is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, and earned her bachelor’s degree in international business from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. She was first introduced to economic and sustainable development through programs and internships at her business school, where she worked on microfinance projects in East Africa throughout her undergraduate career. In 2015, she was accepted into the IDEX Accelerator Fellowship, and worked in Bangalore, India with a nascent education-technology social enterprise. Before coming to Emory, she worked at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy as a research associate and managing editor of a major research publication. Mallory is interested in impact assessment and program design. Mallory loves travel, whitewater rafting, hiking, and trying new food.

 YACOB ZURIAW: Master's in Development Practice: Emory University

Yacob Zuriaw grew up in Los Angeles, the first-born son of a single mother fleeing a war-torn nation. He initially intended to study astrophysics, but a trip to Ethiopia inspired a complete redirect in life. Upon returning home, he turned his focus towards economics, enrolling at Santa Monica Community College, where he was also actively engaged in student politics. As an activist, he advocated for equal access to public higher education, against massive state budget cuts. After completing his associate’s degree at SMC, Yacob transferred to the University of California, Davis where he majored in Internal Relations with a minor in Agricultural & Resource Economics. While at Davis, he conducted research into remittances and their impact on household welfare in rural Ethiopia. In his free time Yacob enjoys playing and writing music, backpacking, and is an avid fútbol fan.