Abby Melick graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University (2017) with a B.A. in English and minors in theater and American Studies. Her senior thesis on gender dynamics in utopian and dystopian fiction garnered both the Willard Thorp and Thomas H. Maren thesis prizes. Outside of the classroom, Abby participated in a number of theater productions and served as a Princeton Women’s Mentorship Pod Member and a Windows Project team member, which brought theater workshops to an LGBTQ safe house in Trenton, New Jersey. Growing up in Washington D.C., Abby attended a Spanish-English bilingual program at a public elementary school, which gave her the ability to speak and write Spanish and an immense appreciation for Latin American culture. In 2015, Abby participated in a Princeton Global Seminar in Santiago, Chile, studying Chilean literature, art and history for a semester. Abby also has studied and volunteered in the Sacred Valley of Peru and has worked at a wilderness adventure summer camp for several years, leading groups of young girls on extended backpacking and camping trips through remote parts of Northern Michigan, Ontario, Canada and Alaska. Abby is thrilled and honored to be joining the team at the Mariposa Foundation in the Dominican Republic!
Abigail began studying Spanish in kindergarten at her international school in Queens, New York, and has studied, worked, undertaken research, and traveled around Latin America. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (2015) with a B.A. in history and minors in Hispanic studies and urban education. She wrote a history honors thesis on challenges of inclusion in Ecuador’s indigenous education movements, edited the food section of Penn’s campus magazine, and worked in several Philadelphia public schools. In summer 2014, Abigail worked in Mexico City on Ashoka’s communications team, where she encountered the region’s quickly growing social entrepreneurship sector. She then traveled to Quito to conduct archival research for her thesis. She loves traveling, cooking, and talking about complicated issues. Abigail hopes to change the world in the most effective way she can, after figuring out what that might be.
Abyssinia Lissanu of Somerset, Kentucky is a recent graduate of Princeton University (class of 2016), with a major in Politics and a certificate in Spanish Language and Culture. At Princeton, Abyssinia focused on education and human rights in coursework and community service. She has volunteered extensively domestically, leading a mentorship group for Princeton middle school students and overseeing student education groups at the Pace Center for Civic Engagement. She also volunteered abroad as an English teacher during her study abroad program in Barcelona, Spain, where she later returned to conduct research on immigration for her senior thesis. During the summer of 2015, as the Frank C. Carlucci’52 SINSI Scholar, Abyssinia interned in the U.S. Department of Education at the Office of English Language Acquisition. This year, she is excited to embark on a new journey in Costa Rica with the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, where she will be working on projects related to human rights and vulnerable populations. Abyssinia is an avid reader and marathon runner, and hopes to fully enjoy the pura vida that Costa Rica has to offer!
Adam graduated from Georgetown University (2016) with a degree in Spanish & Portuguese Studies and Education, Inquiry, & Justice. While at Georgetown, Adam taught English and coordinated language tutoring and wraparound support services for recently arrived English language learners and their families. In the process, he discovered a passion for education and language access, which he brought to the interior of Southeastern Brazil as a volunteer English instructor in the summer after his freshman year. He returned to Brazil the following summer to conduct ethnographic research on best practices in early childhood community health education while coordinating the program through which he’d taught. Returning once more to his host community in Brazil as an independent-status study abroad student, Adam spent his junior year teaching English in a rural public middle school, conducting ethnographic research on educational purpose and promise as Georgetown’s David Andretta Fellow, and leading the re-founding of Learning Enterprises Brazil. Adam looks forward to marrying his passion for education and language planning with a deep interest in Latin America as an advocate and researcher with and for learners in the States and abroad.
Is an adventurous, enthusiastic, and caring young man who lives by his values. He seeks to listen and to better understand the world, and is particularly passionate about racial injustices and wealth inequality. He demonstrates initiative, perseverance, and the ability to think critically. Adam’s willingness to listen and his leadership qualities make him an effective collaborator on projects. His analytical skills and impact-driven approach to work have greatly increased the productivity and cohesion of teams he has worked with, both professionally and in school. Adam loves the outdoors, and spends a few days each summer backpacking on the Appalachian Trail with his family. Adam also highly values authentic friendships. He does not mind trying things that may embarrass him, whether that be participating in a dance performance, making silly jokes, or taking on challenges out of his comfort zone. Adam believes that it is when we drop our pretenses that we truly connect as humans. Adam is an energetic young man who adheres to his values and uses his abilities to make the world a better place.
Agnes graduated from Princeton (2014) with a B.A. in anthropology and a love for Latin America. She studied in Havana, and as an inaugural recruit to Princeton’s Bridge Year Program, worked with a Peruvian NGO to implement its youth education and community development projects. Agnes also has traveled to India to help a local clean cook-stove business improve its last-mile distribution strategy. Since September 2014, she has worked in Managua with the U.S.-based impact investor Global Partnerships, collaborating with its partners on its solar lighting and health initiatives. She is excited to remain with Global Partnerships for another year, where she can learn more about impact investment, perfect her salsa style, consume gallo pinto, and climb Nicaragua’s nine volcanoes.
Alec graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison (2018) with degrees in Political Science; International Studies; and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies. His academic interests center on the politics of poverty alleviation and Latin American economic development. Outside of his studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Alec worked to reduce food waste by leading the Food Recovery Network - UW Chapter, which takes excess food from campus dining halls and redistributes it to food-insecure members of the university and surrounding community. He spent his third year of college in Santiago, Chile where he took classes, interned at the Fulbright Commission, and lived with a Chilean host family. In his final year as an undergraduate, he conducted a thesis project, funded by the University of Wisconsin, which took him back to Chile to do archival research on the historical development of social work alongside social policy in the country. Alec hopes to continue engaging with issues of economic justice and learning more about economic development in his upcoming PiLA fellowship year at Endeavor in Mexico.
An Ohio native, Alex graduated with a B.S. in public health at The Ohio State University (2018) with a concentration in environmental health and a minor in development studies. Alex is interested in investigating health at molecular and macro scales, particularly in Latin America: he has researched HIV antiretroviral drug resistance at Ohio State, waterborne disease outbreaks at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and healthcare disparities in Ecuador. As a senior fellow at the non-profit The Pure Water Access Project, Alex collaborated as a water filter intern with Amos Health & Hope in Nicaragua. In Columbus, Alex has been a longstanding high school mentor through the Community Refugee and Immigration Services program. Alex is excited to work with Pueblo a Pueblo in Guatemala as a grants associate and monitoring and evaluation coordinator. After the fellowship, he aspires to become an infectious disease physician and plans to address the social and environmental determinants of health that affect the transmission of disease.
Alexis is a first-generation graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (2015) with a major in political economy and a minor in environmental design and urbanism. He emigrated with his family from Mexico at the age of three, so that he and his brother could have an opportunity to pursue higher education. Influenced by his border-town homes, Mexicali and San Diego, Alexis has focused his work on international development and poverty alleviation. He interned for the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego, where he contributed to their evaluation of the Tijuana municipal police. He also worked as a research assistant for the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, researching ways to spur economic growth in Richmond, California.
From the Boston area, Aliana is senior at Northwestern University studying American Studies, Environmental Policy and Culture, and Creative Writing. She is conducting an honors thesis on seed saving, focusing on the role of stories of time, place, and relationships encapsulated within a seed. Focusing her senior thesis on food studies links her interests in the environment, social justice, community relationships and development, public policy, and public health. At Northwestern, Aliana is on the leadership team for Campus Kitchens, a student-run group that recovers leftover food from campus dining halls to package and deliver to food-insecure Northwestern and Evanston community members. She also leads the student-run garden, building on agriculture skills she learned from a gap year in southern Ecuador. Aliana returned to Ecuador as a community-based research fellow investigating the impacts of oil related infrastructure on a Kichwa community in the Ecuadorian Amazon. A member of an inter-cultural team of two Americans, two Kichwa, and the Quiteña research lead, this project inspired further engagement with cross-cultural connections, research, and learning. She is excited to continuing engaging with the intersection of environmental fieldwork, food justice, public policy, and community organizing. Aliana also loves hiking, biking, and every intramural sport.
Alix graduated from Stanford University (2013) with a B.A. in political science, and earned an M.A. in Latin American studies there as well (2014). Has an undergraduate she studied in Madrid, worked for the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., and took part in varsity athletics. She also worked in the Postgraduate Fellowships division of Stanford’s Haas Center for Public Service, and was a student advisor for the Stanford in Madrid Overseas Studies Program. Alix’s interest in Latin America stems from a summer she spent volunteering in rural Panama with Learning Enterprises, an English-teaching and cultural exchange nonprofit, which inspired her to delve more deeply into the politics, history, and development of Latin America. She returned to Panama in summer 2013 to direct the program, and did so again in the summer of 2014. She plans to build upon her experiences and interests by working to augment access to quality education across socioeconomic classes in Latin America. Alix will continue to teach at Antigua International School for a second year in 2015–16.
Alyana graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2018) as a triple major in Spanish, Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian studies, and international studies with a certificate in educational policy and extensive study of the Arabic language. After an educational trip to Guatemala, Alyana fell in love with the Spanish language and its diverse cultures. She studied at the Universidad de Sevilla in Spain during her junior year of college, where she contributed to an ongoing project creating didactic materials to revitalize Tuun savi, an indigenous language of Oaxaca, Mexico. The following Summer, she received an internship grant to work as an English teacher and educational assistant at the Centro Ecuatoriano Norteamericano in Guayaquil, Ecuador. As a first-generation college graduate, Alyana knows both the value and the struggle of finding one’s place in the academic world. Inspired by her own experience, she spent four years tutoring for a college-pipeline program for low-income students and students of color. Alyana now hopes to continue uplifting and supporting students as a PiLA fellow at El Liceo Científico.
Amelia graduated Georgetown University with a B.A. in Spanish and a minor in Science, Technology & International Affairs, focusing on global health. She was a member of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honors Society, and won the Faculty of Language & Linguistics Award for Academic Excellence. As an undergraduate, Amelia served as an Emergency Medical Technician, gaining firsthand knowledge of the public health challenges that providers face. Passionate about global public health, Amelia joined Global Medical Brigades and traveled to Honduras, interned for Global Health Narratives for Change, blogged for Shatterproof and worked as a research assistant at Children’s National Medical Center. Amelia was named a McDonald Leadership Fellow in 2015 and co-authored a piece for The New York Times In Education on the value of cross-cultural immersion in high school curricula. Most recently, Amelia worked on family planning and polio eradication as an Advocacy & Communications Fellow at Global Health Strategies, a global consulting firm that leverages strategic advocacy and communications to fuel action on pressing global health issues worldwide. She firmly believes that investing in health, education and opportunity for young girls can change the world and is beyond excited to join Mariposa DR Foundation through Princeton in Latin America.
Is a senior at Elon University majoring in Human Service Studies with minors in Poverty and Social Justice, Peace and Conflict Studies, and Theater Arts. She believes in using an asset-based lens when working with communities and is passionate about fighting for human rights and helping people. Amy spent a semester in Ecuador studying Spanish and interning with organizations that work with people with intellectual disabilities. She’s passionate about advocating for immigrants and has done so through interning for the International Rescue Committee, volunteering with a humanitarian aid organization along the U.S.-Mexico border, serving as Director of Human Rights for Elon Volunteers, working for a theater company that advocates for immigrants rights, and co-founding Immigrant Realities. Immigrant Realities is an organization at Elon that works to empower immigrants, educate the community about immigration, advocate for immigrants rights, and eliminate the stigmas surrounding immigration. At Elon, Amy served as an Executive Director of Elon Volunteers, where she oversaw 140 student leaders and over 30 community partnerships. Amy has also worked with children at a sleepaway camp. In the future, Amy hopes to continue her work with immigrants and refugees by becoming an immigration lawyer.
Ana attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain Scholar and a Davis United World College Scholar. She graduated with highest distinction as a double major in economics and global studies (concentrations in Latin America and international politics), with a minor in philosophy, politics and economics. During her time at UNC, Ana worked at the local juvenile detention center and served as a financial coach for people experiencing poverty and homelessness, deepening her commitment to fighting for a more just world. Having grown up speaking Spanish with her Argentinian relatives, in her junior year Ana returned to Buenos Aires for a semester, researching the construction of Latin American identity during the 2015 Argentinian presidential elections. Ana's path has been shaped by her experiences learning about and working on entrepreneurial leadership education in South Africa, impact-investing in the South Caucasus, affordable housing in Argentina, and public defense in Washington, D.C. In the long-term, Ana hopes to work in international criminal law and human rights. This year, she is thrilled to be joining Global Partnerships in its mission to expand opportunity for people living in poverty.
Ana was born in Mexico but raised in Dallas, Texas by two immigrant parents from Panama and Honduras. She grew up spending her vacations in Panama and in Honduras. Ana graduated with a BA from Columbia University in 2016, and she double majored in Political Science and French. During her years at Columbia, Ana interned at various nonprofits in the Dallas area that aimed to help undocumented immigrants with legal representation and provide other critical services such as food and shelter. She has always had a personal and academic interest in Central America; as a child, Ana organized an annual school supplies drive for Panama. In college, she wrote many research papers about the interaction of political, social, and economic factors in Guatemala and Honduras, in particular. This long enduring passion for Central America led her to intern for a fair trade nonprofit in Brooklyn that sold indigenous women’s textile work from Panajachel, Guatemala. Thus, Ana decided to move to Guatemala to work at Cojolya Association of Maya Weavers in order to continue expanding fair trade opportunities and economic independence for women in the Lake Atitlán region. Ultimately, Ana plans to attend law school and specialize in immigration law.
Ana Teresa was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and graduated from Haverford College with a major in anthropology and a minor in environmental studies. Inspired by her parents’ lifelong commitment to public education, she worked as a camp counselor for seven summers at a local public school community initiative. During her time at Haverford, she served as a teaching fellow for Breakthrough Collaborative of Greater Philadelphia, where she led her own seventh grade math classroom and mentored high-achieving students from underperforming schools. During her Junior year, she discovered a passion for environmental activism and education through her work with an anti-mining organization in Intag, Ecuador. As a result, she spent the following summer working for Para La Naturaleza, a Puerto Rican nonprofit organization that integrates society into the protection of natural ecosystems. Through research and fieldwork, she developed a community outreach plan for this organization and continued to do so as part of her senior thesis. She believes that community access to environmental education is key to successful conservation practices, and wishes to continue to explore ways in which this can be done in political, economic and culturally sensitive ways. She is looking forward to learning from everyone at The Nature Conservancy during her PiLA year.
Ana Teresa Gutierrez earned a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences, with a master's certificate in Advanced International Affairs from Texas A&M University (2017). Born and raised in Venezuela, she witnessed economic instability and widespread corruption crumble the country's societal infrastructure, awakening a desire in her to protect her surrounding communities through a career in social justice. Through her affinity for the health sciences in college, she volunteered in a community clinic as a translator for Hispanic residents of low socioeconomic status and organized for medication to be delivered to pediatric oncology patients in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Additionally, her volunteering experience with victims of human trafficking in Nicaragua and India paved the way to an internship within the Harris County District Attorney's Human Trafficking Unit. These interactions with marginalized men and women have since narrowed her professional intentions to increasing access to health care, primarily within reproductive health services for women. Following recent experiences working at a Manhattan law firm and a political campaign in Houston, Ana looks forward to learning about the financial aspect of NGO development through her role as a Sustainability Fellow for The Nature Conservancy in Lima, Peru.
Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, Anant has spent much of his life navigating his American and Indian identities while feeling personally close to his home’s vibrant LatinX community. He had to brave the seemingly endless winters of the American northeast while at Harvard. He will graduate (2019) with a B.A. in Applied Mathematics and Sociology. His senior honors thesis uses Natural Language Processing to analyze the mission statements of advocacy NGOs in the United States. In the past, Anant has worked in international development from a variety of perspectives. At Human Connections, an NGO in Bucerías, Mexico, he worked to connect indigenous artisans with the local tourism sector. Through the Latin America and Caribbean region of the World Bank, he analyzed the effectiveness of health policies in Central America. As an intern for the US State Department, he worked on a team that was harnessing the data revolution for sustainable development by looking at indicators of mental health illness around the world. Most recently, Anant found himself at McKinsey and Company, learning about the private sector. Anant has been deeply committed to public service from a young age and in the future can see himself working in international development through a multinational agency like the UN or directly with communities. He hopes to use PiLA as an opportunity to learn about strategies to make an effective difference.
Andrew graduated from Boston College (2014), majoring in biology with an international studies minor, and was a member of the A&S Honors Program. He was selected to join the Emerging Leader Program during his freshman year and the Jenks Leadership Program in his senior year. In the latter, he planned and executed a service project promoting sustainable living on campus. During the fall of his junior year, he studied in Santiago, Chile, and volunteered at a daycare center in a low-income area of the city. Andrew is an Eagle Scout, and he hopes to go into sustainable development work, focusing on biodiversity conservation. He interned at the nonprofit Advocacy Project, which assists community organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America with grant writing and project planning, to connect with the international donor community. He also interned at the Department of State in the Office of Conservation and Water, where he worked on issues relating to tropical forest conservation.
Colorado native Angie Neslin graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University in 2016 with degrees in Hispanic studies and American studies. She believes everyone has a story and is committed to giving others the tools and spaces to share theirs. This commitment inspired her work with Youth for Debate, a nonprofit providing free debate and public speaking instruction at underserved schools in New York City, and with the Freedom and Citizenship program, which prepares high-achieving low-income high school seniors for engagement in American public life through a philosophy seminar taught by Columbia professors. During her semester abroad in Buenos Aires, she fell in love with Argentine rock music and wrote her honors thesis in Spanish on rock nacional as an emerging element of mass culture in post-dictatorship Argentina. She hopes to pursue a PhD in Latin American studies, but first she will remain as a PiLA senior fellow at Fundación Abriendo Camino in Santo Domingo.
Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, Anna Savage graduated from Wesleyan University (2017) with a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies and Comparative Politics. Having grown up amongst a vibrant Latinx immigrant community and tutoring in under-funded D.C. public schools, Anna recognizes unequal access to quality education as a significant obstacle affecting immigrant communities. At Wesleyan, Anna tutored and mentored at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School, a maximum security juvenile detention facility. She went on to study abroad in Costa Rica (2016) and Chile (2017), becoming a yoga instructor along the way. In 2018, Anna interned at CARECEN, the D.C. Central American Legal Resource Center, as the Citizenship and Civic Engagement coordinator. She is thrilled to now be joining the Mariposa Foundation team in the Dominican Republic as a yoga and music teacher. Her professional interests include holistic health, immigration law, and music and movement therapy.
Anne-Sophie grew up in a home where German and French were spoken daily, which instilled a prevailing desire to foster intercultural dialogue. She was a peer mentor for international studies majors at the College of New Jersey (TCNJ, 2014), where she double-majored in international studies (with a focus on Latin America) and Spanish. At TCNJ she honed creative communication and teaching skills for three years, leading oral proficiency tutorials for college-entry foreign language classes in French, German, and Spanish. Her passion for languages and cultures reflects an innate desire to expand her horizons, share her knowledge with others, and promote the universal human rights of education and freedom of speech through intercultural exchange. In 2014–15, Anne-Sophie was a PiLA fellow with El Centro Educativo Trilingüe Nuevo Amanecer, in Parramos, Guatemal; in 2015–16 she served with the World Food Programme in Haiti. She will be a senior fellow with Yspaniola in 2016–17.
Hailing from Littleton, Colorado, Annie Austin graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 2015. At Georgetown, she majored in culture and politics with a concentration in political economy in Latin America. Through a desire to promote social and economic development in Latin America, she studied, interned, and volunteered in the region. Annie paired those formative experiences with rigorous academic courses: she attained Spanish and Portuguese proficiency, while also taking courses such as “Drug Trafficking in Latin America” and “Poverty, Well Being, and Social Exclusion in Latin America.” Dedicated to returning to the region post-grad, Annie pursued the opportunity to work alongside an organization promoting sustainable development. At Endeavor Mexico City, she supports social entrepreneurs as they refine and pitch their business model to the Endeavor team, and remains for a second year with Endeavor Mexico as a PiLA senior fellow.
Antonia was raised in the Boston area. Her present and past work has fueled her passion for making a positive impact on the lives of youth internationally. She believes that communities across the world hold many commonalities despite their differences. Antonia’s interest in programming for children and families began in high school while teaching a dance program on a small island in Maine and volunteering with Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance. Her love of vibrant Latin America began while studying sustainable agricultural development in Costa Rica and continued as a comparative education student in Chile. Her degree from the University of Vermont in Community and International Development, with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies, provided her with skills relevant to agriculture, policy analysis and programming. She was an American Sign Language Club President, Campus Tour Guide, economics teaching assistant and a research assistant focused on childcare for women farmers. She is an AmeriCorps alumna who provided leadership for DREAM, a mentoring organization supporting youth in low-income housing. In this role she organized volunteers and engaged community leaders to address dynamic community needs. Antonia looks forward to learning from PiLA’s experienced partners already having an impact on their communities.
Aron earned a B.A. in Latin American and Caribbean studies at Brown (2015), where he studied urban anthropology and focused on the formation of cultural spaces in Latin America and the United States. During college, Aron also authored Piecing Together São Paulo, a historical and cultural guide to the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Aron will continue to work with Aprender con Interés on education reform and policy in Mexico as a Senior Fellow.
Ava Scott graduated from the University of Virginia with degrees in Global Environments and Sustainability, and Spanish in 2019. Her passion for Latin American culture and love for Spanish language sparked the summer before her senior year of high school when she lived with a Peruvian family in Lima and volunteered with the organization Aprendo Contigo as a teaching aide at the Hospital del Niño. During a semester in Buenos Aires, she studied Argentine Literature at the Universidad del Salvador and Political Science at the Universidad Católica Argentina, and played on the USAL women’s soccer team. Ava brings a diverse understanding of the ways in which Environmental Science, conservation and sustainability intersect with today’s most pressing challenges in international development. She has worked with non-profits both in the U.S. and in the U.K on topics related to deforestation, water management and energy access. Her senior Capstone at UVA researched the potential for decentralized sustainable energy systems and community benefit sharing mechanisms in the Andean Amazon Basin. At UVA, she directed marketing activities for Greens to Grounds, a student-led community supported agriculture model. Ava is committed to working with local communities to advance environmental and social change in low-income settings. This year, Ava will join Tuik Ruch Lew (TRL) as a Program Developer.
Ava graduated from Harvard College (2015) with a major in psychology and a minor in government. In college, Ava served as Director of Content for the Harvard International Review, co-directed a peer counseling group focused on sexual and reproductive health, and interned for a summer in the Office of the Secretary General at the OECD. As a research assistant for the Harvard Humanitarian Institute, she helped to produce an impact evaluation report on UNICEF’s Peacebuilding, Education, and Advocacy Programme in Uganda. She spent the summer before junior year volunteering with a community development NGO in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and left determined to find her way back to Latin America after graduation. She is excited to learn about the role of entrepreneurship in spurring robust and sustainable development during her year with Endeavor Chile. Having grown up in Toronto and spent college in Boston, she is also looking forward to her first winter without snow.
Beatriz graduated from Columbia University (2018) with a B.A in psychology. Born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, Beatriz immigrated to the U.S with her mother and older brother when she was 12 years old. Living in the U.S as a low income-immigrant and with a mother who did not speak English, Beatriz quickly became aware of the inequalities in the U.S healthcare system. This motivated her to work towards improving the health services offered to immigrants. At Columbia she volunteered as a Spanish medical interpreter at a free clinic for immigrants and as a coordinator for a mentoring program for children at risk. In the summer of 2017, she conducted a needs assessment to identify the sexual and reproductive health needs of young men in La Romana, Dominican Republic. This experience further developed her interests in health disparities with a focus on the sexual and reproductive health of minorities in Latin America. Beatriz can’t wait to join the Mariposa Foundation in Cabarete this year! She ultimately plans to pursue a master’s in public health, enroll into medical school, and work to reduce health disparities in Latin America.
PiLA and Beatriz gratefully acknowledge the support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making her fellowship possible.
Bianca graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Latin American & Latino studies, a minor in mathematics, and a certificate in Portuguese. She is originally from Long Island, and hails from a Mexican-Argentinian household, which sparked her interest in Latin America early on. While at Penn, she was heavily involved in the Latino community, actively advocating for issues facing the community to university administration, such as financial aid, faculty diversity, and first-generation students. She studied abroad in São Paulo, Brazil the fall of her junior year, where her interest in Brazilian history and education was piqued. She returned to Brazil the following summer to intern at an educational NGO in Rio de Janeiro where she developed a six-month program to help high-achieving, low-income Brazilian high school students develop competitive applications for U.S. universities. This experience sparked her interest in combating educational disparities in Latin American communities. She is beyond thrilled to be returning to Brazil and joining Worldfund as a member of their STEM team over the next year!
Is passionate about promoting inclusive growth in developing countries through empowering social enterprises and strengthening the cooperation between various stakeholders. A graduate of Pomona College, Bob has developed competencies in organizational development, analytical research, and outreach marketing. He founded his college chapter of Project Pengyou, a national organization dedicated to mobilizing US-China bridge-builders. To broaden the chapter’s social impact, he launched community service initiatives, including organizing education projects at elementary schools and citizenship workshops at legal aid organizations. For his field work with UNAIDS in Panama, he served as a liaison and forged strategic relationships with civil society activists to build a consensus on global health issues. During his semester abroad in Buenos Aires, he examined the socioeconomic impacts of Chinese commerce and investment in Argentina for his research project. He continued to develop regional expertise through his internship with the Inter-American Dialogue, where he tracked China’s engagement in Latin America and researched extensively on corporate social responsibility. He currently works as an Outreach Coordinator at Jeenie, a startup that connects travelers to live interpreters via its mobile platform. A quadrilingual himself, Bob is excited about the prospect of furthering cross-cultural communications by highlighting the value of human element in translation.
Breanna is a Southern California native from Los Angeles County. The older of two siblings, she comes from a large extended Mexican-American family. Her grandmother lives in her home, the reason she learned to speak Spanish, and the living link to her family’s cultural heritage. With the support of her family, she gained admission to Yale University, majoring in environmental studies, developing a particular interest in biodiversity conservation law and policy in Brazil. On campus, she was extensively involved with the Latin dance, environmental, and club volleyball groups. While at Yale she also traveled to Peru, Turkey, Spain, Italy, and Mexico. She hopes to contribute to biodiversity conservation law and policy issues in Brazil before heading to graduate school to study environmental policy.
A second-generation Mexican-American, first-generation college student, and Chicagoland native, Brian Acosta graduated from Swarthmore College (2017), earning a B.A. in comparative literature and minors in educational and Latin American and Latino studies. At Swarthmore he was active with Swarthmore's Latinx affinity group, the Swarthmore Indigenous Student Association, Capoeira, and the college's Latinx Heritage Committee, as well as various green groups and the local Scott Arboretum. During his time there he also taught Mathematics in the rural highlands of Ecuador, worked for a local Citizens' Advisory Group back home, studied abroad in Cuba, and conducted research in North Carolina and Mexico City. Brian's academic interests include educational policy, multicultural and multilingual education, education outside of the classroom, national identity and literature, and alternative models of development. His extracurricular activities include running, reading, cooking, learning, and trying new things. He hopes to continue his career within the educational field, working to allow children from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed within academia, using local resources to better serve communities, and implementing multicultural and multilingual experiences into the classroom.
PiLA and Brian gratefully acknowledge the support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making his fellowship possible.
Brian graduated from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University (2014), focusing on international relations and security policy, with certificates in Latin American studies, Spanish language and culture, and French language and culture. Before matriculating at Princeton he was selected for the inaugural class of the university’s Bridge Year Program, spending a year at ProWorld Peru in Urubamba, as a construction projects portfolio volunteer. He and four other Princeton BYP participants created a green-space park in a poor urban community, complete with running water for public restrooms and environmentally friendly messaging and artwork. Other project work included installing ceramic clean-burning stoves, manufacturing and distributing portable water filters, and building a preschool. Subsequently Brian interned at Innovations for Successful Societies, a research group at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School that studies institution building and institutional reform in fragile states. He spent the summer of 2013 as a leadership development intern at the nonprofit Truman National Security Project in Washington, D.C.
Cailin Campbell, a Massachusetts native, graduated from the University of San Francisco (2018) with a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish Studies. Her interest in Latin America, passion for the Spanish language, and commitment to social justice began during the ten months she spent in Portoviejo, Ecuador as an exchange student, before beginning her undergraduate career at USF. Since living in Ecuador, Cailin has returned to Latin America on three occasions: first, as an Education Intern with ViviendasLeón in Goyena, Nicaragua, later, during a semester abroad at the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima, Peru, and, most recently, during a second semester abroad with the School for International Training in Cochabamba, Bolivia. While in Bolivia, she worked with the Proyecto Trabajo Digno, researching labor rights and exploitation and writing and publishing a trilingual children’s book. Upon returning to the United States, she received a Forest Foundation Fellowship and spent the summer interning for the North Shore Community Development Coalition. During her senior year in San Francisco, Cailin was busy writing her Honors Thesis, tutoring for the Spanish department, serving as the Treasurer for her University’s Best Buddies Chapter, volunteering with Mission Graduates, and interning at the Pachamama Alliance. Cailin is excited to apply her diverse research, work, and volunteer experiences at ADISA and learn more about Guatemala’s history and culture.
Growing up in Bolivia made Camila keenly aware of the deep educational disadvantage at-risk children face, and sparked a passion for education. Camila graduated from Carleton College with a degree in international relations-political science (2016). While at Carleton, Camila interned and taught at a Ugandan NGO that was contributing to rebuilding the war-torn country by providing quality education to hundreds of orphaned children. She also conducted research in rural Myanmar regarding the social value of education in a country that is recently going through the process of democratization. Her senior thesis, which analyzed Bolivia’s most recent education reform by exploring the question of the right use of history within a society burdened with the legacy of a colonial past, received distinctions. After graduating, Camila served as an Americorps volunteer at an elementary school dedicated to underserved communities in Boston. She enjoyed learning more about the hands-on aspect of education, and being challenged by her students to become a better communicator, instructor, and mentor. Camila is very grateful for the opportunity to join the team at Project Alianza in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. She hopes to pursue a Master’s in public administration with the aim of working in the field of education policy in Latin America.
Camila grew up in Quito, Ecuador. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2016 with Highest Honors in Anthropology. In addition to her academic coursework, Camila pursued her interests in education and research while at Kenyon. She served as a Spanish Teaching Assistant and a Writing Center Liaison and Tutor on campus and spent one summer in Quito as a full-time middle school teacher. For the past three summers, she has undertaken research opportunities nationally (with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and internationally (in Mexico in 2014 and in the Philippines in 2016). In the future, Camila hopes to combine these two strands of experience through a career in educational research.
Camille graduated from Columbia University (2015) with a double major in human rights (specializing in sociocultural anthropology) and Latin American and Iberian cultures. Her senior thesis analyzed the cultural responses to recent legal and policy changes concerning quilombola communities in the Brazilian Amazon, incorporating both research as well as case studies from her fieldwork in the area. Her strong interest in human rights and cultural studies has translated into several internships, including the Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris (Bogotá, Colombia, 2012), the European Roma Rights Centre (Budapest, Hungary, 2013), and the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi (Belém, Brazil, 2014). With support from the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, she directed a comprehensive group project (2012) in southeastern Louisiana, working with the Biloxi-Chitimacha indigenous community, which faces extensive land loss and relocation. She carried out two months of field research in Peru before beginning work as a resilience fellow for the World Food Programme in Port-au-Prince. She is excited to combine her interests in fieldwork, policy, and reporting in this role, as well as to learn Haitian Kreyol, building on her native French.
Casey grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. During high school, he took several service trips to Honduras with a group that works with marginalized youth outside the capital, Tegucigalpa; the experience sparked his passion for Latin America. Recruited by the Princeton men’s lightweight rowing team, he studied politics and earned certificates in Spanish and Portuguese. After his sophomore year, he took up a summer internship in Santiago, Chile, at the Ministry of Education via the Princeton International Internship Program. In summer 2014, Casey worked on the trading floor at a major bank in New York City and learned a lot about himself and the professional world, coming away with an even stronger desire to work in Latin America and serve others. As a senior, Casey was the captain of the lightweight rowing team and wrote his politics thesis on the connection between autocratic consolidation and urban design in Latin American megacities. Casey enjoys hiking, running, and driving Jeep Wranglers.
Chelsea graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in public policy analysis, and was awarded the Dole Kinney Prize in creative writing. She was elected captain of the Pomona College soccer team and awarded the Brine Distinction of Achievement Award from the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for her contributions on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. Her international experience includes studying at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, interning with the government of Buenos Aires, volunteering with a humanitarian aid group along the U.S.-Mexico border, leading an experiential education program in Costa Rica, and teaching English in Argentina and Indonesia. She taught ESL to dining hall workers at Pomona College, as well as to survivors of domestic abuse at the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center. She has conducted bilingual legal self-help clinics for migrant workers at Neighborhood Legal Services Los Angeles and she has done program development for a Bronx-based nonprofit that facilitates creative writing workshops for incarcerated and detained youth.
In high school while working with the Boston public schools (BPS), Moriah realized that students could not only change oppressive school policies, but also utilize schools to eradicate oppression itself. This fueled her work at Wellesley College, where she majored in peace and justice studies with a concentration in education, focusing on the connections between race and education in the lives of African Indians (Siddis) and Afro-Brazilians. After graduation, she edited a textbook on apartheid with Facing History and Ourselves, and support talented youth of BPS with the Steppingstone Foundation. In 2014, she was a Fulbright English-teaching assistant in Ilhéus, Bahia, Brazil. There she discovered an enchanting small town, Serra Grande, alive with social movements. She looks forward to furthering her passions by returning to Serra Grande to support the NGO Floresta Viva in its educational initiatives, involving locals who work intimately on environmental sustainability.
Christina grew up exploring the beaches and rivers of northern Florida. Her love of the outdoors motivated her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from the University of West Florida. Since then, she developed her GIS knowledge by completing remote sensing projects for NASA DEVELOP. Most recently, she completed her master’s degree in International Water Cooperation and Diplomacy, a joint international program which involved study in Costa Rica at the University for Peace, in the Netherlands at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education and in the U.S. at Oregon State University. She will apply her education to implement food and water security projects for The Nature Conservancy in Cali, Colombia this year. She will devote her free time to dancing Salsa and Cumbia.
A Miami native of Colombian heritage, Claudia's interest in international sustainable development began in the summer of 2013 when she traveled to the Dominican Republic and built an aqueduct in a remote village to provide accessible clean water to over 105 local families. Since then, Claudia has had extensive experience in the fields of environment and education in Latin America. In 2015, she moved to Porto Alegre, Brazil where she was a full-time student at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. Claudia also worked for a nonprofit called EduAction, hosting personal and professional development workshops to adolescents in different public schools throughout the city of Porto Alegre. In the summer of 2015, Claudia completed her minor in International Development and Humanitarian Assistance through a study abroad program in India, where she worked alongside multiple NGOs to see the direct impact they had on India's people. In 2016, Claudia graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunication and a focus in Latin American Studies and International Sustainable Development. A month after graduating, Claudia relocated to Washington, D.C., where she began her career as a public school teacher teaching 8th grade English Humanities at a bilingual school. Claudia is extremely excited to continue growing her passion for diversity and sustainable social change with The Nature Conservancy as a Content Marketing Fellow through the Princeton in Latin America program in Arlington, VA.
Claudia, a native of Washington Heights in New York City, graduated from Bowdoin College (2015), where she studied biology and Spanish literature. She is passionate about social and environmental justice issues, and is interested in exploring how the two intersect. She has conducted various ecological research projects, including studies of pelagic seabirds in the Bay of Fundy, of eel larvae in the Sargasso Sea, and of salamanders in western Massachusetts hemlock forests. She has participated in two study abroad semesters, the first with the Sea Education Association, where she sailed a tall ship from the Caribbean to New York City and conducted research while on board, and the second in Quito, Ecuador, where she was directly enrolled in an Ecuadorean university and volunteered at a local medical foundation. At Bowdoin Claudia has been very involved with Intersections: People, Planet and Power, a group of Bowdoin students and faculty who are committed to a holistic and inclusive discussion about injustice. In the future, Claudia hopes to participate in initiatives that use scientific data to inform public policy, environmental education, and community development projects, and to promote environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation as a means of achieving social justice.
Conor graduated from the University of Michigan (2013), triple-concentrating in history, Spanish, and Latin American and Caribbean studies. Conor became actively involved in a number of social justice organizations, coordinating support programs for the university’s LGBTQ resource center and serving on the executive board of The Quito Project, an education development partnership. Conor also had the privilege of interning with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York during his senior year, where he assisted U.S. ambassadors in the U.N. Security Council. These experiences have proven instrumental in developing his interest in U.S. diplomacy in the Western Hemisphere. Following graduation, Conor moved to Bogotá, where he was a Fulbright Scholar, teaching English at Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca and volunteering with Colombia Diversa, an LGBTQ political rights organization. After PiLA, Conor hopes to earn a Ph.D. in Latin American history and pursue an academic career. Conor looks forward to a fantastic year in Costa Rica working with Fundación Arias.
Courtney completed her B.A. with a double major in political science and Spanish, and a master’s in political science at Lehigh University (2014), where she also was a teaching assistant. She is originally from East Brunswick, New Jersey. During her time at Lehigh she took a particular interest in the study and promotion of political and creative expression among underserved populations. After a semester studying in Argentina, she completed a thesis on identity construction through independent media publications in the barrios of Buenos Aires. This past year she has gotten involved in local struggles for social and environmental justice, including the fight against an incinerator and an urban redevelopment project, both proposed in low-income, minority communities. She also initiated and co-facilitated a creative writing workshop at a nearby correctional facility, working with incarcerated women to produce powerful works of fiction. She also researched alternative waste management programs to determine the potential benefits and challenges of implementing a zero-waste program in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Danielle graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2016 with a major in political economy and a concentration in international development. Frequently traveling across world’s busiest border from her hometown in San Diego County, her interest in Latin American language and culture began at an early age. During her time as an undergraduate, she furthered that interest while studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, where she had the opportunity to conduct human rights-focused research regarding Chilean immigration law in association with the Human Rights Center and faculty at the Diego Portales University School of Law. Back in the Bay Area, Danielle held administrative positions at a workers’ rights advocacy organization and at the UC Berkeley School of Law; interned with the Center for Law, Energy and Environment; contributed to the Daily Californian as an avid sports reporter; and served as a tutor at Berkeley High School’s English Language Newcomers Program. She is excited to work with the DREAM Project in the Dominican Republic and learn more about nonprofit management before pursuing a career in immigration and refugee law, and remains at DREAM in 2017–18, this year as a PiLA senior fellow.
Danielle graduated from Harvard University (2017) with a B.A. in human evolutionary biology and a secondary in global health and health policy. Her interest in medicine and global health stems from her various trips throughout high school and college with Somos Amigos Medical Missions, a nonprofit that provides free medical and dental care to a small rural community in the Dominican Republic, where she served as a translator. These experiences combined with her volunteer work in the Boston area have exposed her to the health disparities that exist locally and abroad. Danielle is excited to spend the next year at Hospitalito Atitlán, building on her interests and experiences before starting medical school.
Debora graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (2011) with a B.S. in economics with a concentration in finance. She was born in Sweden to a Swedish father and Brazilian mother and grew up in Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, and Brazil. That experience informs a passion for and interest in the economic, social, and financial development of the Latin American region. Most recently she was an associate on the Debt Capital Markets—Latin America team at HSBC in New York, where she advised Brazilian sovereign, quasi-sovereign, corporate, and financial issuers on accessing the international capital markets. For the past two years, she originated, structured, and executed a variety of debt financing transactions, including loans, bond issues, and derivatives for the largest and most prominent companies and institutions in Brazil, including the National Treasury, BNDES, Banco do Brasil, Petrobras, and Vale, among many others. Her outside interests include travel, cooking, running, reading, and outdoor adventures such as Tough Mudder, bungee jumping, hiking, zip-lining, and skiing.
Deidre Beck graduated from South Dakota State University (SDSU) in May 2016 with a double major in civil engineering and Spanish. During her undergraduate studies at SDSU she was very involved in the SDSU chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), serving as president and project lead. The chapter is currently working to provide clean drinking water to the Unidad Academica Campesina (UAC), a rural university in Carmen Pampa, Bolivia, through the implementation of chlorination and slow sand filtration. Deidre is very excited to continue to work with the UAC and SDSU EWB as Director of External Relations in the coming year. When she returns to the US, Deidre plans to pursue a career in water/wastewater engineering with a focus on sustainability. She also hopes to continue her involvement with developmental engineering projects, through programs such as EWB.
Delaine is a native of Northampton, Massachusetts and a graduate of Wesleyan University (2016), where he majored in Latin American Studies and Biology. He spent the fall of 2014 studying in Havana, Cuba, where he was immersed in wonderful music and frequent reminders of his inability to salsa. Delaine’s professional interests stem from a commitment to socially and environmentally conscious community development as well as local and indigenous empowerment. He is thrilled to spend the year at Hospitalito Atitlán learning to put these values into practice in public health work. Delaine also can’t wait to hike Atitlán’s many volcanoes and get to know the Tz’utujil culture (and hopefully keep improving his salsa game while he’s at it) during his PiLA year.
Eamon graduated from the University of Georgia in May, 2017, earning a Master’s Degree in International Policy as well as Bachelor’s Degrees in International Affairs and Spanish. While in school, Eamon was able to study Latin American literature and Cuban society and culture at the Instituto Juan Marinello in Havana, Cuba as well as visit the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales to better understand the scope and human impact of U.S. immigration policy. In Athens, he volunteered as a tutor for underserved children at Oasis Católico Santa Rafaela and assisted with adult ESL classes for immigrants in the community. Upon graduation, Eamon joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps to work in solidarity with marginalized communities and advocate for social justice. Through JVC, he was placed as a Tenant Organizer with Tenants & Neighbors, where he had the privilege of organizing and working with tenants across different affordable housing types in New York City to advocate for better building conditions, better tenant protections, and deeper affordability. These experiences helped foment a belief within Eamon that community-level action can spark human connection across sociocultural boundaries and create meaningful and positive change, all of which he hopes to achieve as a PiLA Fellow at Yspaniola in Batey Libertad this year.
Eduardo is a graduate the University of Florida (2015), majoring in international studies and economics, with a minor in French. Fluent in English, Spanish, and French, Eduardo is driven by interests in international relations, economic and social development, as well as his passion to see Latin America grow. Eduardo has twice interned with the Capacity Development Unit of the United Nations Development Program. His passions for travelling and learning about different cultures have led him to backpack through Southeast Asia, precursor to a planned one-year, round-the-world road trip; Eduardo also enjoys reading, playing and watching soccer, cooking, and travelling. He hopes to combine his love for travelling and different cultures with his passion for Latin America, to pursue a career in international development.
Eleanor learned to speak Spanish fluently and to love Mexican culture during the years she lived in Mexico as a child. She graduated from Vanderbilt University (2014) with a Bachelor of Music in violin performance, a second major in child development, and a minor in mathematics. She published a paper in the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal about the influence of Renaissance compositional techniques on the work of Johannes Brahms. During the summer, she taught private violin lessons, taught at music camps, and worked with Costa Rica’s national orchestra program, SiNEM. At Vanderbilt she served as both a team member and the Internal Affairs Chair of the Vanderbilt BhangraDores, the South Asian dance team, whose mission is to promote cultural awareness and aesthetic appreciation of the bhangra dance form. She also choreographed the Mexican folk dance section in a showcase of Latin American dance styles. She volunteered for Vanderbilt’s branch of Global Brigades, serving on a medical brigade in Nicaragua as a translator for English-speaking doctors and leading public health discussions. After her time in Costa Rica, she went on to pursue further study and a career in education.
Elena Bell graduated from Tufts University with a BA in international relations and a Latin America concentration. Elena grew up in Washington D.C. and Paris, France and speaks English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Elena’s passion for understanding different people’s languages and worldviews is the foundation of her interest in working with communications/marketing for social good. At Tufts, Elena was involved with Tufts’ Building Understanding Through International Learning and Development, and led a semester long, for-credit course on critically understanding development in Latin America engaging weekly speakers and readings. She also taught English every Saturday to Brazilian and Salvadoran immigrants in Somerville, Massachusetts, and for two summers while at Tufts was a communications intern in Guatemala, first with EcoComal, a partner factory of the UN Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and then with PASMO/PlanFam, a partner of USAID. Elena studied abroad for seven months in Niteroi, Brazil and after PiLA is excited to return to Brazil teaching English with Fulbright. Elena is thrilled to be working with the Nature Conservancy this year as a content marketing fellow for the Latin America region.
A Philadelphia native, Elizabeth earned her B.A. in government, a secondary field in Spanish, and a certificate in Latin American studies from Harvard College (2015). Her interest in Latin America began during the summer after her freshman year in Santiago, Chile, studying social transformation under two Harvard professors. In her junior year, she spent a semester in Buenos Aires, where she later returned with a grant from the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies to complete research on her senior thesis, which investigated political intervention into Argentina’s statistics institute. She has also studied Portuguese. At Harvard, Elizabeth was heavily involved with the student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, serving as an executive editor and leading the training of students joining the staff. Elizabeth is very excited to work at Endeavor in Mexico for a second year as PiLA senior fellow and Endeavor staffer.
Born in the border town of Nogales, Arizona, Elizabeth’s life has been marked by the dualities of the cultures she was born into and the culture of her parents. After living in Mexico, Ecuador, and Argentina, Elizabeth saw how children of immigrants deal with their identities and social positions. Motivated by this, Elizabeth’s interests focus on immigrant youth and children of immigrants. At Dickinson College, Elizabeth rebuilt a community service program that helped ESL middle school students advance their English skills in a nurturing after-school environment. Elizabeth also spent a summer at Church World Services, where she worked with newly arrived immigrants and refugees. In this position, Elizabeth understood how policy affects people’s lives, and this inspired her academic research on migration and cross-generational experiences. At Dickinson College, Elizabeth majored in Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies with a minor in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies. As a PiLA Fellow, Elizabeth will be working with Worldfund in Mexico City as an IAPE Program Assistant.
Elizabeth Prosser graduated from Davidson College in 2018 magna cum laude with a B.A. in Hispanic Studies and a minor in French and Francophone Studies. She wrote her thesis on the subject of Latina migrant and immigrant workers in the United States, and the role of narrative in their representation, earning high honors for her work and winning the Mundo Hispánico award for the Hispanic Studies Department. A lover of languages, she also studied Arabic and searched for ways to use her language skills outside of her course of study. During her time at Davidson, she worked as a Spanish and French Assistant Teacher, volunteered at the local elementary school teaching a Spanish class, and worked as a trip leader for Davidson Outdoors. She spent her junior year abroad, studying in Arequipa, Peru for one semester and Tours, France for the other semester. While in Arequipa, she looked for ways to get involved with the community and volunteered with the Rayo de Sol bakery and school and created a self-defense seminar for women who were survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault at the Hogar de María. As a PiLA fellow, Elizabeth is excited to work with Yspaniola and hopes to learn more about the community of Batey Libertad how this education-focused nonprofit works. After PiLA, Elizabeth will pursue a master’s degree in Latin American Studies at Stanford.
PiLA and Elizabeth gratefully acknowledge the support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making her fellowship possible.
Born and raised in New York City as a first-generation American, Emilia developed an affinity towards foreign cultures and languages at an early age. After taking Spanish classes in high school and college, she began developing a deep appreciation for Latin American culture during a summer volunteer program called DukeEngage in Guatemala, working with a social enterprise in microfinance and grassroots business consulting initiatives. She later completed an intensive study abroad program in Madrid, and a summer marketing internship in La Paz, Bolivia at a software company called Colosa. Upon graduating from Duke University (2013) with a B.A. in psychology and a certificate in markets and management studies, Emilia held various roles in marketing and ad tech, through which she honed her analytical skills and completed pro-bono digital media strategy work for an international children’s charity. In her spare time, Emilia enjoys eating ethnic foods, running, rock climbing, and embarking on adventure travel. She is looking forward to delving into high impact entrepreneurship at Endeavor, and won’t rest until she finds the best guacamole that Mexico City has to offer.
Emilia graduated from Georgetown University (2015), double-majoring in government and Portuguese. After playing two years on the Georgetown women’s varsity soccer team, she decided to try something new and study abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was during her junior year abroad when she became passionate about childhood and community development. Aside from studying at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), she spent time volunteering for a program called “Soccer Girls,” which offers free English classes and soccer training for the young women of the Vidigal favela. She returned to Georgetown for her senior year and wrote an honors thesis on the structure of NGOs in Rio de Janeiro and their potential impact on the women of the communities. She looks forward to continuing her work in Rio’s favelas with the support of PiLA and Developing Minds.
Is a senior at the George Washington University majoring in International Affairs with concentrations in Latin America and Conflict Resolution and a minor in Spanish. She is passionate about addressing gender and socioeconomic disparities in Latin America through community development and women’s and youth empowerment programs. Emily became interested in Latin America in 2015 while interning for a magazine in La Paz, Bolivia, where she learned about Bolivian culture and social issues through her research for several articles she authored. Since then, Emily has interned with the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, where she researched inequality and citizen security issues in Mexico and Central America. She has also interned with the Global Women’s Institute, a research and advocacy organization focused on reducing violence against women around the world. There she assisted with the research and evaluation of gender-focused violence prevention programs abroad. During her semester abroad in Argentina, Emily explored gender inequalities in the Southern Cone through her capstone thesis about the challenges facing female Paraguayan migrant workers living in Argentina. While at GWU, Emily has engaged with various social justice initiatives through community organizing and service-learning experiences in Puerto Rico and El Paso, TX.
After multiple chronic illnesses impacted both Morgan and her family while she was in high school, she began to fully comprehend how health can influence every aspect of a persons’ life. Her lifetime interest in social disparities and her new awareness of personal health converged at that time, an enthusiasm further fortified when she left Atlanta, where she was born and raised, and began her public health studies at the George Washington University. At age 19, after two years at GWU, she moved to Honduras to work on a public health project with a grassroots youth-led NGO that worked to empower its youth scholars through leadership development and capacity building. Her work in the field inspired her to focus both her academic and professional career on community development through strengthening women and adolescents’ access and rights to reproductive health services, community violence prevention, and promoting gender equality. Subsequently she completed her master’s in public health and has worked with a number of projects in both Washington, DC and Honduras. This work solidified her commitment to working in the areas of youth development and reproductive and sexual health.
Is graduating from Duke University with distinction in Global Health and highest distinction in Public Policy. Raised by a family of public servants, Emily always envisioned her own career in service. Through her time at Duke, she stumbled upon her passions for sexual and reproductive health and rights. She traveled to Ecuador to contribute to a peer-based sexual health education program for adolescents and now serves as president of Peer Advocacy for Sexual Health, through which she connects Duke students to sexual health resources. As an intern at the United Nations Foundation, Emily worked on high-level policy advocacy for funding for international reproductive health. She now interns at a local nonprofit, Curamericas, supporting their international work to improve maternal and child health. Whether in Ecuador or rural North Carolina, Emily is fascinated by the lives of those around her and always eager to strike up a casual conversation, or even a formal research interview. She is especially passionate about improving access to voluntary family planning, to the extent that her family now jokes that she’s majoring in “Birth Control.” In her free time, she enjoys dancing and choreographing for her student-run dance group and immersing herself in historical fiction.
Emily graduated from Middlebury College (2015), majoring in biology with a minor in global health. Her interests in health equity, global health, and the social determinants of disease inform her passion to become a physician. Her experience working with marginalized communities in the Dominican Republic led her to co-found Kids Connect (kidsconnect.org). She was co-director of development of GlobeMed at Middlebury for two years, where she wrote grant proposals to support its partner organization, Gardens for Health International in Rwanda. Studying with a School for International Training public health and traditional medicine program in Chile deepened her interest in Latin America, learning directly from indigenous leaders and health care workers about the health disparities in marginalized indigenous communities. Emily also volunteered as a medical interpreter for the Open Door Clinic in Middlebury, which provides free health care to uninsured adults in Addison County, Vermont, many of whom are migrant farm workers from Mexico. She enjoys running, swimming, playing soccer, and exploring the outdoors.
From Philadelphia, Emma graduated Phi Beta Kappa with high honors from Wesleyan University (2014), earning a B.A. in sociology and Hispanic literatures and cultures. She also worked as an ESL teacher for local immigrants, as a translator and interpreter for Spanish-speakers in the greater Middletown area, and as a policy and civic engagement intern for PICC, a Philadelphia-based immigration nonprofit. Emma also lived and studied for a year in Lima, where she also worked with Centro para el Desarrollo con Dignidad (CEDED) as a tutor and workshop leader and assisted on a research and policy project on Afro-Peruvian identity and equality with the Ministry of Culture. Her professional interests include anti-poverty policy development and reform work with respect to education, immigration, and criminal justice. After PiLA, she plans to pursue graduate studies and a career in policy development and advocacy. Emma also enjoys cooking, playing soccer and rugby, and looking after young children. She remained at Yspaniola in 2015-16 as a senior fellow.
Emma is a graduate of the George Washington University with a major in International Affairs with concentrations in Latin America and Security Policy and minors in Spanish. She spent her junior year in Latin America, studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Barranquilla, Colombia. She has focused on peace-building in post-settlement societies and the effects of illicit activity on Latin American economies and institutions. In Colombia, she conducted an independent study on the Colombian Transitional Justice System, which was published in the 2019 GW Undergraduate Review. This year, her internship at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, DC has piqued her interest in the incentives and deterrents for Latin American businesses to participate in the formal economy. Volunteering at a secondary school in Colombia, Emma experienced the impact of collaboration and problem-solving, working to reduce bullying through dynamic projects focused on students' values and family structures. After graduating, Emma seeks to focus on community-building in Latin America so as to gain further insight into the region, one that has given her so much. Apart from her academic interests, Emma loves to run half marathons and travel. She is currently learning Portuguese in order to expand her communicative reach.
Emma grew up in New York City and graduated from Wesleyan University in 2012. During her junior year, she studied for a semester at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán in Mérida, Mexico through the IFSA-Butler study abroad program. She returned to Mérida the next summer to intern with Brazos Abiertos, an HIV-AIDS awareness organization, where she developed a new curriculum for the organization’s education program. Emma wrote her senior thesis in philosophy on the role of language education in promoting intercultural understanding. While at Wesleyan, she also organized a contradance series through the Wesleyan Folk Revival Initiative, volunteered as an English instructor with WesESL, and tutored students at a local elementary school. Starting in the fall of 2012, Emma worked as a health educator and then program co-coordinator for the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families’ (CHCF) Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, based at a high school campus in the Bronx. At CHCF she facilitated sexual health education programs in English and Spanish and supervised a team of peer educators. Outside of work, Emma continues to be an avid dance leader and performer.
Emma graduated from Western Kentucky University with double major in International Affairs and Spanish, and a minor in International Business (2016). While at WKU Emma volunteered within two refugee resettlement organizations where she focused on job development and cultural orientation. Emma continued to explore the relationship between forced migration and economics as a project intern within the NGO Cives Mundi in Spain, where she collaborated on development projects to promote economic recuperation in Lebanese refugee camps. Emma spent her last semester studying Latin American culture and economics in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she focused on the relationship between economic growth and wealth inequality. This year, Emma is excited to work Mariposa Foundation where she will focus on developing job training and financial independence courses for girls as they prepare to enter the workforce.
A Portland, Maine native, Emma notes that “over half my public school classmates were recent immigrants, often refugees, hailing from everywhere from the former Yugoslavia to Somalia, from Vietnam to Afghanistan.” She graduated from Duke University (2014) with a B.A. in international comparative studies, a certificate in Latin American studies and a minor in English. There she won the William J. Griffith Award for Outstanding Service to the Durham community, and the Duke Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies Service Award. Studying in Argentina and Ecuador sparked her passion for Latin America and the study of development and globalization.
Emma Soglin is from Evanston, IL and graduated from Macalester College in 2016 with a degree in sociology and Hispanic studies. Her interest in Latin America, human rights and ethical volunteerism began early in her college career when she worked with a sustainable development organization in Guatemala that focused on health in indigenous communities. She developed an interest in immigration advocacy during her semester abroad in Santiago, Chile, where she served as an intern with a job forum and legal clinic for migrants from all over the world. She continued this interest in Minneapolis as an intern in the Immigrant and Refugee program at the Advocates for Human Rights and spent the year after college aiding lawyers in research for immigration cases and working in development at a children’s theater near her hometown. She is excited to work with the Arias Foundation and learn about human rights issues in Costa Rica and beyond.
Emma graduated from Princeton University in 2017 with a degree from the Woodrow Wilson School and certificates in Latin American Studies and Spanish Language and Culture. At Princeton, her academic work largely focused on human rights and social policy. Emma first visited Latin America on a volunteer trip to Peru with her high school Spanish class. After graduating high school, she took a gap year in the Dominican Republic and Spain where she volunteered at local elementary schools teaching English and Spanish. During college, Emma spent a semester abroad at the University of Havana with the Princeton in Cuba program. She has also interned at non-profit organizations in Chile and Argentina. Emma has spent the past year working at Mariposa DR Foundation, where she implemented a digital literacy and intro to STEM/Robotics program for girls and young women. She is excited to stay on for a second year at Mariposa DR Foundation, where she will be the Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation Fellow.
Erica graduated from American University (2015) with a double major in international relations and economics, and a minor in Spanish. Her interest in Latin America began after traveling to Nicaragua to examine the effects of globalization and U.S. foreign policy on farmers and labor unions, and studying international tourism’s impact on farming communities in El Salvador. Environmental issues such as agricultural sustainability and water accessibility have informed her passion for ecology (she also enjoys hiking, climbing, skiing, and exploring the outdoors). While studying in Chile, she volunteered with an environmental education organization. The experience inspired her to create a similar program for a Washington, D.C. arts-based mentorship program for African American males, Life Pieces to Masterpieces—whose youth and staff have shaped her perspective profoundly during four years of volunteering there. Erica is excited and honored to focus on community development and youth education at Yspaniola for an additional 6 months as a Senior Fellow.
From the small town of Bainbridge, Georgia, Erick graduated from Harvard University (2015) concentrating in neurobiology and earning a language citation in Italian. One of five children born to Mexican immigrant parents and field laborers, he encountered poverty early on, and consequently, developed a lifelong passion to give back and help the less fortunate. After graduating as his high school’s first Latino valedictorian, he enrolled at the United States Military Academy at West Point, but soon realized that his career interests lay elsewhere. At Harvard, Erick took part in Army ROTC, researched traumatic brain injury, and was very involved in shaping residential house life. He also studied in Italy (neuroscience) and in Colombia (public health), and did volunteer work in Costa Rica. His career goal is to become a surgeon, and he plans to maintain his interest in public health and the military. Beyond his professional and academic interests, he enjoys long-distance running, working out, watching and playing sports, and learning about other cultures. He is excited to return to Colombia as a Developing Minds fellow in Medellín, and hopes to make a profound impact on the lives of the former child soldiers with whom he will work.
Ethel is a first generation Guatemalan American who was born and raised in Iowa. She is a recent graduate from the University of Iowa where she earned a B.A. in journalism and mass communication and a B.A. in international studies with an emphasis on global health. During her undergraduate career Ethel spent a summer interning at a social justice magazine in Buenos Aires, Argentina as a Cultural Vistas Fellow. She also participated in the Fulbright Hays Group Project Award program in Rajasthan, India, where she learned about the health effects of wood burning stoves and deforestation on women and children in rural India. While at Iowa, Ethel engaged in the local food justice movement by working with a nonprofit organization to bridge the accessibility and education gap between organic, local produce and low-income communities. Ethel’s academic, professional, and personal interests lie at the intersections of food sovereignty, environmental justice, indigenous rights and multidisciplinary grassroots development.
Eve Woldemikael grew up in Irvine, California and graduated from Brown University in 2016 with a BA in Africana Studies. Eve is passionate about learning languages and is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and French and also studied Arabic. While at Brown, Eve became particularly interested in the subjects of race and identity, black feminism, migration, anti/postcolonialism, and community development. Through studying abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for six months, Eve developed an interest in Latin American cultural politics and antiracist feminist activism in the region. In the summer of 2015, Eve received a research award and returned to Rio to study the politics of forced labor in Brazil. She is committed to social justice and seeks to dismantle oppressive systems of all forms. Eve is excited to serve as the new Program Director at Building Dignity and learn about activism and community development in Villa El Salvador.
Gabriela Elena Weldon (Gabi) grew up in Boulder, Colorado and graduated from Harvard College (2016) with a degree in History and Literature of Latin America. Her mom is Brazilian, and her interest in Latin America was sparked at an early age through visits to her extended family in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She studied and interned in the region throughout her time in college, working in areas related to human rights and education. Gabi wrote her senior thesis about the evolution of contestation in favelas in Rio through music, literature and film. She is very excited to be working in São Paulo this year with Worldfund, a non-profit that works to improve public education in Latin America.
Gabrielle earned a B.A. in history and Spanish with a minor in Latin American studies from Cornell University (2015), graduating Phi Beta Kappa. Four summers of work at a nonprofit pre-K program in her Northern California hometown inspired her interest in social justice and Spanish. She has pursued these interests through coursework at Cornell and through interning with a French international law firm. As an undergraduate, Gabrielle served as a Cornell University Ambassador to prospective students, and as chapter president of her 160–member sorority. She also spent a semester of her junior year studying in Buenos Aires. Upon returning, she researched the effects of U.S. solidarity movements on government policy towards the Chilean refugees that fled the Pinochet regime, a project published by the Cornell Historical Society.
Gennifer was born in Seattle and lived in the northwest until moving to New Orleans to study and later graduate from Tulane University with a bachelors degree in Public Health (2014). She studied abroad in Chile where she completed an independent study project based on sexual education in secondary schools. She joined PiLA in summer 2014 as a fellow at Liceo Científico where she worked developing a health curriculum, assisted in English classes, and taught English at the local prison. She stayed at El Liceo for a second year as a PiLA senior fellow, working as an English teacher, continuing the health program, and helping the school's first class of graduating seniors apply to domestic and international universities as a college counselor. After El Liceo, Gennifer enrolled at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to pursue a master's degree.
Gina Morales-Taveras is a graduate from the College of the Holy Cross. She majored in History, with a thematic concentration in Race and Ethnicity while concentrating in Africana Studies and Latin American Latino Studies. She was raised by her mother in the small city of Lawrence, Massachusetts, and attended Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School. Gina is of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent. Her passion for studying race and ethnicity in Latin America has led her to engage in supervised research projects, the Latin American Student Organization, and inquiries on Afro-identity and the marginalization of Afro-descendent populations in the Caribbean. Inspired by her work at Holy Cross she became a Princeton in Latin America Fellow in 2018 will be staying on a Senior PiLA Fellow at Dream Project in Cabarete, Dominican Republic as the Marketing Coordinator. Gina is very excited to work as the new public relations and social media manager! Post-fellowship she hopes to continue her work in afro-descendent communities in the field of publicity.
Grace grew up on the high-mountain prairies of northeastern Oregon and graduated cum laude from Middlebury College with a degree in Political Science and a double minor in French and Global Health. Grace spent her 2014-15 PiLA year with the Endeavor Atacama’s Selection and Growth team in Antofagasta, Chile. She will stay on with Endeavor Atacama as a Key Account Manager to continue working with entrepreneurial ecosystems in Latin America and further Endeavor’s mission of supporting high-impact entrepreneurs to overcome the obstacles of operating in emerging or declining economies through high-profile mentorship. Endeavor’s entrepreneurs around the world are creating jobs and are role models who prove that game-changing ideas can come from anywhere, not just Silicon Valley. She remained at Endeavor as a PiLA senior fellow during 2015-16.
Grace is thrilled to call Antofagasta home for another year and loves to go geocaching on the weekends and explore the unexpected wonders and surprises that the desert has to offer, she also enjoys volleyball, swimming, singing at her local church, playing board games, and mastering los modismos chilenos.
Grace graduated from Northwestern University (2013) with a degree in psychology and minors in global health and English literature. After graduation, Grace moved to Panama City as a program associate for Global Brigades, a community health and development organization working in rural Panama. There she served as the link between North American volunteers and the local Panamanian staff, and planned, executed, and followed up with rural clinics and public health projects. In August 2015, Grace began her PiLA fellowship with Comunidad Connect in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, where she focused primarily on data management and a community garden project. She remained at Comunidad Connect as a PiLA senior fellow in 2016-17.
Growing up near West Philadelphia, Guy found himself wrestling with issues of social justice from an early age. Whether it was volunteering at homeless shelters or tutoring inner-city youth, he began dedicating time and energy to making a positive difference in the lives of those less fortunate than he. At Georgetown University (2014), his passion for service and philanthropy only grew. From tutoring and mentorship programs to representing Latin American refugees in immigration court, his search for justice at all levels of society came to shape his personal and professional aspirations. Perhaps no experience affected him as intensely as his semester in Ecuador, where he had the privilege of working in some of the countries most marginalized indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorean communities. Having been exposed to the community’s extreme poverty, he promised himself that he would one day return to the region that had captured his heart and that always left him wanting to be able to do more. Although he has been accepted to the Georgetown University Law Center, where he hopes to focus his studies on international human rights law, Guy has decided to defer in order to explore his burgeoning interest in international development work. As a PiLA fellow with the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice in Bogotá, Guy hopes to use the legal skills that he acquired as an undergraduate to advance local justice and bring lasting change to those who need it most.
Haley grew up in Burlington, Vermont, and graduated from Tufts University (2016) with a double major in biology and community health. In college she began exploring interests in the social determinants of health and health equity with GlobeMed at Tufts, where she led fundraising efforts for Nyaya Health, the chapter’s partner organization in Nepal. While at Tufts, she also worked as a research assistant for the Health Quality of Life Lab and taught English as a Second Language to Central American immigrants. In her junior year, she spent a semester studying public health and traditional medicine in Chile, and completed an independent study of women’s health in an indigenous Mapuche community. Haley is excited to spend the next year working at Hospitalito Atitlán, where she will be able to combine her interests in community development and public health before pursuing medical school. She enjoys painting, playing piano, and figure skating.
Hana graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in Psychology and a Certificate in Spanish. At Williams, she was captain of the varsity women’s soccer team in 2014 and helped her team reach the National Championship for the first time in the program’s history. Hana spent her junior semester studying in Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina, analyzing the educational systems of both countries in a comparative education and social change program. Since September of 2015, Hana has been an analyst on the Emerging Markets International and Local Sales teams at Goldman Sachs. In her free time, Hana is a mentor and soccer coach to a group of fifth- and sixth-grade girls through a female empowerment program called ZGiRLS, which teaches girls how to cultivate self-esteem, positive body image and confidence. Her hobbies include hiking, learning various Latin dances, and playing as well as coaching soccer. This year, she is looking forward to learning how to use finance as a tool to support scalable solutions to poverty with Global Partnerships.
Hilary Brumberg recently graduated from Wesleyan University (2017) with a double major in environmental science and Hispanic literatures & cultures, and certificate in environmental studies. An avid outdoorswoman and committed environmentalist, Hilary spent much of her undergraduate career working on Wesleyan’s student-run organic farm or on her honors thesis about the carbon dynamics in volcanic lakes. Hilary loves sharing her passion for nature, as she demonstrated through organizing Spanish hiking trips, leading volunteer trail maintenance crews on the Appalachian Trail, teaching a course on sustainable agriculture, studying plastic pollution in Puerto Rico, and serving as a co-captain of the Wesleyan climbing team. Through WesInterpreters, she partnered with local domestic abuse shelters, physicians and public schools to translate documents for Hispanic immigrants. Hilary spent her junior fall semester in Quito studying Ecuadorian culture and ecology, where she conducted research to predict the effects of ash from major volcanic eruptions on local populations. She plans to pursue a career as a climate scientist and environmental educator, focusing on underserved populations. Hilary is extremely excited to work as a PiLA research fellow at Osa Conservation in Costa Rica, where she will monitor river water quality, work closely with local communities, learn about rainforest management, hike and climb, and eat a lot of rice and beans.
Iara Guzman earned the B.A. in political science, with a certificate in Latin American studies from Princeton University (2014). Born and raised in Bolivia, she witnessed firsthand the many developmental challenges affecting Latin America, which encouraged her to begin volunteer and intern work with several international and grassroots organizations. From the age of fifteen, she had the opportunity to work with multiple organizations supporting education, development, and human rights advocacy programs. Working for Save the Children in Bolivia and Toronto, Iara designed didactic materials, facilitated workshops, and undertook research. Similarly, working with K’anchay, a local Bolivian NGO, she collaborated in grant writing and taught Quechua children in rural areas. As a volunteer with Terre des Hommes Germany, she attended the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 Summit. There she lobbied UN representatives and created a blog about the event. Her latest work experience has been with The Resource Foundation, a U.S. NGO that funds projects in Latin America, and Innovations for Successful Societies, a policy think tank.
Isaac Bloch is a Yale (2012) graduate interested in education and economic justice in Latin America. Through Yspaniola, he first visited the Dominican Republic during his sophomore year, and the relationships he formed with Haitian immigrants in the Batey Libertad community challenged his assumptions about development work and activism. Isaac soon returned to lead a group of fellow students to the same community. He has since supported Yspaniola’s mission as a development associate based in New York, learning about fundraising drives and benefit galas, and is extremely excited to return to Batey Libertad to help with literacy education and, hopefully, to learn Haitian Creole. Beyond Hispaniola, Isaac has lived and worked in La Paz, Bolivia, where he directly enrolled at la Universidad Mayor de San Andres. For his senior thesis, which analyzed indigenous influences on Bolivians’ sense of nationalism, he won Yale’s Latin American Senior Essay Prize. Most recently, Isaac was an instructor with Chess in the Schools, where he taught chess full-time in New York’s public schools. When not working on lesson plans, he could be found juggling in Central Park or playing jazz piano.
Isabel grew up in the New York City suburbs and graduated from Northwestern University (2015) with a double major in social policy and international studies, and a minor in global health. Her Mexican heritage and regular visits to Mexico inspired a particular interest in Latin America, which propelled her to study in Chile. During that time, she had the privilege of working with Educación Popular en Salud, a community health organization fostering local participation and empowerment. She immersed herself in the participatory model, and learned that the most direct way to teach and learn is to initiate dialogue. She views her engagement in both health and education as synergetic, and plans to pursue a master’s in public health and work in public policy to create structural change to reduce health disparities and foster health literacy. Along with academics, she has pursued theater, and during her senior year produced the 73rd Annual Dolphin Show, a longstanding Northwestern tradition, and the nation’s largest student-produced musical. She remained as a PiLA senior fellow with Aprender con Interés through December 2016.
Jacob graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Economics and certificates in Finance and Political Economy. Over the following four years at HSBC in New York City, Jacob analyzed the stocks and bonds of some of the largest Latin American corporations as well as the US Treasury and corporate bond markets. Jacob is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder.
Jacob has cultivated his passion for Latin America over many years through his volunteer service trip to rural Mexico, summer internship with Endeavor in Santiago, Chile, academic environmental research project in Panama, and backpacking through Peru, Argentina, and Costa Rica. Jacob is also a competitive Latin ballroom dancer and is looking forward to doing more of salsa and bachata dancing in Managua.
Jacob will be working as a Social Investment Programs Associate at the U.S. based impact investment fund, Global Partnerships, in its Nicaragua office. After the fellowship, he plans to pursue a MBA degree and a career that involves Latin America, finance, and economic development.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Jacob graduated from Macalester College with majors in International and Hispanic Studies and a concentration in Human Rights. A desire to promote regional integration and development in the Caribbean has long motivated Jacob. He has worked at the University of the West Indies’ Latin America Caribbean Centre (LACC)-dedicated to enhancing interconnectivity among Latin American and Caribbean Higher Education Institutions- as a research assistant, English tutor and interpreter. In 2015, Jacob interned at the Jamaican embassy in Washington, DC where his work with the mission to the OAS further sensitized him to the challenges facing citizens in Latin America and the Caribbean. He later created a database of educational opportunities in the US for Jamaican youth, which he shared with his government’s scholarship unit. Fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese, Jacob volunteered at the Jane Addams School for Democracy in St. Paul, MN, helping Latino/a immigrants navigate the resettlement process and prepare for their citizenship tests. In the future, he hopes to pursue a career in law, but is currently excited about returning to the Caribbean and joining Yspaniola’s team in the Dominican Republic.
Jaysel graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in December 2015 with a degree in International Economics. In college, he was involved in several student microfinance clubs, a student investment fund, and an Indian dance team. During a semester abroad at the University of Buenos Aires, he volunteered as a loan advisor at a local microfinance nonprofit. This year, Jaysel is returning to Buenos Aires to work with high-impact business ventures to learn about entrepreneurship on a much larger scale at Endeavor Argentina. Prior to starting the PiLA fellowship, Jaysel worked in transfer pricing at Deloitte in Washington, D.C. and spent a summer interning at Citi in Latin American finance. In his free time, Jaysel enjoys learning new languages, running, and hiking in his native York, Pennsylvania. As part of his latest challenge, Jaysel has dedicated himself to the lofty mission of finding the best piece of meat in Buenos Aires.
Jesse graduated from Occidental College (2017) with a B.A. in diplomacy and world affairs and a minor in Spanish. During his time there, Jesse worked four years for Occidental’s Office of Annual Giving, eventually becoming a student manager for the school’s Telefund program. He spent summers commercial fishing in Alaska and worked at the International Rescue Committee helping newly resettled refugees find employment in the Seattle area. During his senior year, Jesse studied abroad in Buenos Aires and received an independent research grant from Occidental that enabled him to travel to Bolivia and conduct research on the effects of remittances on local communities in Cochabamba province. He is excited to apply his diverse work and research experience in Guatemala and learn more about the region’s Maya heritage.
Having grown up in a predominantly white middle-class town in Central Oregon, Jessie moved to San Antonio, Texas upon graduation in search of a more diverse environment. While at Trinity University, she studied in Valparaiso, Chile for her junior year. Throughout her time at Trinity, she volunteered in community and academic programs that focused on practical approaches to promoting social justice. Working with low-income children in Chile, underserved populations in San Antonio, and community activists in Nicaragua cemented her commitment to a grassroots approach to development work. Since graduating with a B.A. in international relations and Spanish (2012), she has focused on public health, taking related courses in health care and earning certification as an English-Spanish medical interpreter in Washington State. She will be one of three PiLA fellows with the U.N. World Food Programme in Panama City.
A Fort Worth, Texas native, Jesús graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Science, Technology & Society, and a minor in Latin American studies (2013). While studying in Santiago de Chile, Jesús put his academic and entrepreneurial interest to work with the microfinance startup InVenture Fund. In addition to internships in nonprofits and corporate organizations during his undergraduate years, Jesús worked on his own startup TxtRoo, an SMS deals-and-reviews platform. Since graduating, Jesús worked for Deloitte as a management consultant on operations, strategy, healthcare, and divestiture projects. Other project work includes pro bono consulting for nonprofits in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Guatemala. Jesús spent his first PiLA fellowship year with Global Partnerships in their Managua office, serving as the first Social Investment Associate and will be expanding his role to Nairobi, Kenya as a PiLA senior fellow during 2016-17.
Is a senior at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, USA. She is majoring in Government and minoring in Public Health. She is passionate about international development and public health. She wants to see more community-led development programs as well as more rigorous monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in the development field. She has experience living and working in Panama, Nicaragua, Tanzania, and Argentina. Jioni is an experienced research assistant and has skills in youth engagement, project management, data management, and data analysis. Jioni is the Co-President of the VOX: Generation Action club at William and Mary, an organization affiliated with Planned Parenthood that leads education and advocacy related events on campus. She is also a research fellow on the MANOS research team that does community based participatory research with a rural community in Nicaragua. Last year she interned at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and worked on an RCT on mobile phone ownership and women’s empowerment. Over the summer she interned at DAI, a development consulting firm, in their global health department and worked on data management and learned about USAID contracting.
Johana Mata graduated with a B.A. in International Relations and French from Wellesley College (2017). A native of Mexico, Johana was raised in Houston, Texas with a strong emphasis on maintaining her cultural roots. While at Wellesley, Johana was a founding member of the Wellesley chapter of Nourish International and helped establish connections to an NGO based in Tamil Nadu, India focused on women's health initiatives in the community. She also participated actively in the Latinx student group on campus, and during her undergraduate studies interned with FIEL, an immigrant’s rights organization in her hometown of Houston dedicated to advancing the DACA act and improving the lives of its recipients. As a first generation college graduate, Johana is a strong believer in the power and value of education, further amplified by her work as an elementary school teacher her first year after Wellesley. She will be working with the Mariposa Foundation in Cabarete, Dominican Republic this year, and is excited for the opportunity to support an organization dedicated to advancing girls’ education and breaking the cycle of generational poverty. She hopes to continue working on behalf of girls’ education and immigrant’s rights in the future, and also pursue a graduate degree in international affairs one day.
A Boston area native, Jonah graduated from Bowdoin College with a degree in Latin American studies and a minor in earth and oceanographic science. At Bowdoin, Jonah conducted an honors thesis on the history of the Chilean student movement following a semester abroad in Valparaíso, Chile, where he studied at the Universidad de Playa Ancha and conducted an internship with an organization dedicated to science and technology education and outreach. While at Bowdoin, Jonah interned with the Maine Mobile Health Program, which provides mobile medical care to Maine's migrant and seasonal farmworkers, many of whom are from Latin America and the Caribbean. Jonah also led his campus’s climate action group for four years, where he combined his passion for community organizing with his commitment to climate justice. He is thrilled to spend the next year in Lima working with Building Dignity, and he looks forward to learning about social justice and community organizing in Peru.
Joscelyn is a Chicagoland native who graduated from Tufts University (2016) with a degree in international relations and minors in Latin American studies and Chinese. A Fulbright Scholar, she has spent the past year in Taiwan teaching English, and has had other previous international experiences through internships and study abroad in Nicaragua, Ecuador and China. Coming from a Mexican household, she has been passionate about Latin America from a young age and hopes to take part in its empowerment. As a first-generation college student, Joscelyn is a strong believer in the power of education. She’s also infinitely passionate for human rights and international affairs, and strongly believes that dialogue and collaboration are the vessels for positive change. Joscelyn is honored and excited to take on the role as Program Director at Building Dignity, in Villa El Salvador, Lima, Peru.
A Pacific Northwest native, Joe graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in international studies and a Spanish minor. His interest in Latin America started with travel and was furthered through Latin American political economic coursework and volunteer work with the Peruvian Consulate in Seattle as an undergrad. After graduation, Joe worked as a project management consultant for an IT consulting firm in the Seattle area. During this time, he also volunteered as a legal translator and teaching assistant at El Centro de la Raza, a Seattle-based organization that provides comprehensive services and programs aimed at empowering the Latino community to act as fully participating members of society. Joe plans to use the PiLA fellowship with the Nature Conservancy in Lima as a means to better-determine ways in which to make a positive impact in Latin America, as well as explore the natural landscape of Peru.
A Toledo, Ohio native, Joe graduated in 2018 from Princeton University with a degree in International Relations and Public Policy. He received certificates in Global Health Policy and Latin American Studies, and has spent much of his time at Princeton promoting better health policy in Latin America. With the Honduras-based non-profit Unite for Sight, he volunteered in 2015 with an eye clinic, focusing on rural outreach. The following summer, he interned with Wits University in rural northeastern South Africa, assisting with annual census recordings and various health research projects. For eight months during his third year of college, Joe studied at the University of Buenos Aires and interned in the city’s largest slum, with the intent of providing social services to vulnerable pregnant mothers and young families. For his independent work junior year, he also researched provincial health interventions to Chagas disease in the country’s north. For his senior thesis, Joe would return to Argentina to study the health and socioeconomics of the infants and their families in the slums he previously worked in, and his work provided the sponsoring NGO valuable data currently being used for future research grants. Joe also prides himself on his activism beyond this particular course of study. Back in New Jersey, for example, he researched the factors that influence tobacco use among Latino youth in Trenton, NJ. Traveling to Israel and Palestine twice during college, Joe also led two-state activism and education on campus. Joe is honored to be given the opportunity to work with Antigua International School in Guatemala, and is looking forward to working as the first service coordinator tasked with providing meaningful service learning opportunity to K-12 international youth.
Josephine’s family moved to Costa Rica during her 7th-grade school year to be near relatives. There, she was immersed in a new culture and learned Spanish. She graduated from Tufts University (2013), where she chaired the worker-student alliance, directed a program that provided college advising to low-income students, and majored in American studies. Josephine spent a semester in the Dominican Republic interning at a Santo Domingo fair-trade apparel factory, studying with Jesuit priests, and trying her best to dance bachata. The country’s relationship to the bordering nation of Haiti especially fascinated her and inspired her senior thesis on the U.S.-Mexican border, which won the Shapiro Prize for Outstanding American Studies Thesis. After graduating, Josephine worked as a union organizer and as AmeriCorps-VISTA volunteer at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago, advancing policies for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She also volunteered as a counselor with Rape Victim Advocates. Josephine was a PiLA fellow with Trócaire, whose mission is to counter gender-based violence in Central America.
PiLA and Josephine gratefully acknowledge the support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making her fellowship possible.
Julia graduated from Brown University (2016), concentrating in Economics with a focus on development in Latin America. Throughout college, Julia worked at the Capital Good Fund in Providence as a bilingual financial coach for low-income community members. During her junior year, she studied for a semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she conducted independent research on domestic workers in the informal sector. The following summer, Julia worked at Endeavor in NYC as an intern on the Insight research team. Julia is passionate about innovative, inclusive, and entrepreneurial solutions to sustainable development, and is thrilled to serve as a PiLA fellow at Pueblo a Pueblo this year!
Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, Julia Matteson grew up in a diverse community that prides itself on public service. Her interest in Latin America reaches back to her elementary school education, during which she attended a Spanish immersion program. In order to unite her Spanish skills and her growing interest in the environment, Julia pursued a degree in International Development and Sustainability, with Honors, at the George Washington University. She spent her junior year in Quito, Ecuador studying political trends, development paradigms and indigenous cosmovisions. After returning to D.C., Julia worked with the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture teaching low-income students, from Latino households, about food systems. With Arcadia, Julia also worked at farmers’ markets that accept food assistance benefits to provide fresh produce to local residents throughout the city. Currently, Julia works at Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), implementing USAID grants to improve agriculture in developing countries. Following graduation, Julia hopes to return to Latin America to improve the environmental conditions of communities in the region and gain valuable in-country experience that will inform her career in sustainable development.
Born and raised in New York City, Julia graduated from Amherst College (2018) with a degree in English and Latinx & Latin American Studies. From attending a social justice-oriented synagogue to hearing her abuelos’ stories about the free medical clinics they offered on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, public service has always been a cultural and familial part of her life. Julia’s concentrations in the English major were Creative Writing and Digital Humanities, and within the Digital Humanities, she looked comparatively at social movements developing on and offline such as Black Lives Matter and Ni Una Menos. Coming from a half-Argentine and half German-Jewish family drove her to study Latin American race relations and racialization in the United States, and, within the LLAS major, she also conducted research on Afro-Argentines and black space in Buenos Aires along with representations of Latina motherhood on North American television. At Amherst, she sought to fortify spaces for women on the Frisbee team and in the Arts House while seeking to make such communities more inclusive. She is also dedicated to immigration work and served as a hotline respondent for the Pioneer Valley Workers Center where volunteers offered immigration counseling and mutual aid for undocumented families in Western Massachusetts. While studying abroad at the Universidad de Buenos Aires – Facultad de Filosofía y Letras her junior year, she became interested in public memorials about the military dictatorship, and she hopes to think comparatively about memorializing histories of violence while working at Cojolya in Guatemala. As a communications liaison at Cojolya, Julia looks forward to learning more about traditional Mayan weaving, centering the stories of the artists working at the Association, and exploring the surrounding nature.
Santiago hails from Tulcán, Ecuador. A Dartmouth College alum, he pursued a major in cconomics, graduating in 2014. He then joined Endeavor Patagonia, where he extended his stay as a PiLA senior fellow in 2015-16. At Endeavor, Santiago helped provide strategic, financial, and operational advise to entrepreneurs in order to grow and scale their companies, with the goal of creating jobs and fostering economic development.
Santiago is also interested in social entrepreneurship and conflict resolution. In the summer of 2010, the Davis Projects for Peace Foundation sponsored his reconciliation project between Colombian refugees and Ecuadorian youth. In 2011, he started a collaboration between three NGOs in order to create a job skills training facility for under-resourced youth in Vermont and New Hampshire. During the summer of 2013, Santiago attended the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute at the Woodrow Wilson School, which reinforced his interest in public service. He has lived in six different countries: Ecuador, Costa Rica, France, South Korea, the United States and Chile.
Kaela graduated from the University of California, Berkeley (2015) with a B.A. in political science and international relations and a minor in environmental economics and policy. Kaela grew up interested in other cultures, with a mother from Poland and a father who worked in Latin America. Having lived in Mexico City for two years as a child, Kaela has a longstanding interest in the region and is excited to discover more while in Panama. She has long been interested in international development, but narrowed her interests to global health via various formative experiences at Berkeley. She interned at Child Family Health International, and served on a research team at University of California San Francisco called Global Health Decisions, helping to create a web-based tool to recommend HIV-AIDs prevention and treatment studies to policymakers in developing countries. She also worked on a UC Berkeley School of Public Health project investigating safe and reliable drinking water access in rural Panama. She spent a summer with TATA Projects in Hyderabad, India, where she evaluated the company’s social-responsibility initiative to install water purification plants in rural areas around India. After a semester studying in Madrid, she spent her senior year involved with the Patient Support Corps at UCSF. Kaela enjoys cooking and trying new cuisines, spending time in the sun, and becoming closely acquainted with new places. She is looking forward to working with the World Food Programme and exploring Panama City and its environs.
Kara graduated from the University of Texas with a dual degree in history and Latin American studies, and completed her certificate of Native American and indigenous studies during her time in Guatemala. In 2012 she moved to Washington, D.C. and began working for Tim Kaine for Senate in Virginia as a Latino Outreach Fellow, engaging Latino business leaders to help increase voter participation. She also interned with the international conflict resolution organization Search for Common Ground and helped launch their Congressional Conversation on Race website. Later, she was involved with the government watchdog Public Citizen’s Development department and their Democracy Is for People campaign. In 2013 she began work with New American Leaders Project (NALP), a non-partisan organization that trains first- and second-generation immigrants to run for office. NALP is instrumental in creating civic leaders and a network of elected officials with immigrant background throughout the United States. She intends to pursue a dual MBA and MS in environment and resources, focusing on international land and water conflicts and innovative, sustainable uses of national resources.Since joining Fundación Arias in mid–2014, Kara has traveled the isthmus to represent the organization, remaining there as a PiLA senior fellow through the end of 2015.
Karessa grew up in Brooklyn, and earned a Masters in Social Work at Smith College (2016). At Wheaton College she majored in African, African-American, and Diaspora Studies (2013) and took several Hispanic Studies courses. Karessa studied abroad in Puebla, Mexico and remembers asking herself, Where are the black people? This started her quest to learn about the African diaspora in Mexico. Karessa visited Afro-mestizo towns and learned that people of African descent have a rich cultural heritage in Mexico, despite being a marginalized group. Her experiences there were definitive in development of Spanish language skills, expansion in her worldview, and have motivated her to want to continue to travel and connect to the larger world. Karessa is proud of the mentoring programs she has been involved in, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters. She believes that it is her responsibility to give back to others. It is her life’s mission to help other people of color—particularly youth of color who come from urban, low-income neighborhoods. She served as an AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow at Sociedad Latina, a youth development organization in Boston. She developed the organization’s first alumni program providing opportunities for alumni to receive employment and college access opportunities.
Karessa and PiLA gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making her fellowship placement possible.
Hailing from Palmerton, Pennsylvania, Karl Pielmeier graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University (2016), majoring in culture and politics with a concentration on the spatiality of technology and globalization. For a semester of his junior year, Karl lived in Argentina, where he and his cohorts created and mapped social development indexes at the University of Buenos Aires. In 2016–17 he will be a fellow with Yspaniola. In his free time, Karl enjoys swimming, reading, and making pysanky eggs.
An El Paso, Texas native, Karla graduated from Columbia University (2014), studying sociocultural anthropology and comparative ethnicity and race studies. She grew up in the Southwest in a first-generation immigrant family, from a young age noticing differences in development, the gap in resources on both sides of the border for Latinos/as, and immigration issues. In New York City she got involved in issues of mass incarceration, interning with the Correctional Association of New York and the American Friends Service Committee. In January 2013, she led a public health brigade through the organization Global Brigades, aimed at improving infrastructure of the home to reduce potential health risks in rural Honduras. In spring 2013, she studied in Nicaragua, spending time in Managua, the countryside, the Caribbean coast, and an indigenous town in Nueva Segovia, doing ethnographic research on women in Chorotega through the School of International Training and the Columbia’s Ella Deloria Undergraduate Research Fellowship. She hopes eventually to work with an organization in Latin America, or on issues of mass incarceration and immigration in the United States, to ignite policy change that affects people on both sides of the border.
Kate Collins graduated from Tufts University (2014) with a double major in community health and child development. After a high school service trip to Guatemala, Kate fell in love with the history, culture and the people she met there. This encouraged her to co-found Technology Services Corps (TSC), a nonprofit that works with underserved communities around the world to integrate technology into schools. With TSC, she led and mentored trips to Guatemala, Chile, and Ecuador. Returning to Guatemala her junior year of high school, Kate studied at a bilingual school, which furthered her love for Latin America. At Tufts, she devoted her time to GlobeMed, a student-run nonprofit that partners with NGOs in developing countries to improve health outcomes. As a member of the executive board, she led students in educating, fundraising, and advocating for global health equity. To further her understanding of global health, Kate studied overseas with the International Honors Program, comparatively examining health systems and cultures in India, Argentina, and South Africa. Kate was also an intern at Partners in Health, evaluating and designing PIH Engage, a grassroots movement fighting for the human right to health. Originally from Seattle, Kate loves to hike, play soccer, and root for the Mariners and Seahawks. She is thrilled to join the Providencia team and experience the vibrant culture that Uruguay has to offer.
An Illinois native, Katharine graduated from Washington University in St. Louis (2013), where she double-majored in international studies and Spanish and minored in anthropology. She also planned internationally-themed programming and fundraisers as vice president of the international honors society, volunteered in the study abroad office, and learned to tango for a Latin American cultural show. She studied in Argentina, where she conducted anthropological research on culturally and economically sustainable tourism and artisan initiatives in two indigenous Mapuche communities. This research became the basis for Katharine’s senior thesis on the politics of the indigenous craft industries in Argentina and Ecuador, which won the 2013 Stone Prize for Excellence in International Studies Research and piqued her interest in grassroots economic development initiatives. Katharine has also interned as a writing tutor and educational advisor with EducationUSA and the International Black Sea University in the Republic of Georgia. Stateside, she has interned with the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative to advance housing rights for low-income individuals at the local and national levels. After her fellowship year, she plans to attend graduate school to study public policy and then embark upon a development or advocacy career in Latin America. She is excited to move to the beautiful shores of Lake Atitlán and to explore the lakeside pueblos and surrounding volcanoes.
Kathy Lui is a Hong Konger by birth, a Shanghainese by blood, and a Bostonian by nurture. She majored in international affairs and Latin American & hemispheric studies and minored in history and Spanish at the George Washington University. Kathy fell in love with Latin America when she volunteered in Nicaragua, and solidified her interest while abroad in Argentina. At GW, Kathy served alongside local communities through the GW Alternative Breaks Program, supported USAID-sponsored projects at the U.S. Department of the Interior, promoted travel at the Brand USA, and worked on World Bank development projects in Latin America at Development Finance International, Inc. Kathy is committed to building stronger international business relationships to promote economic development in Latin America. She is excited to support high-impact entrepreneurs at Endeavor Argentina this year. In her free time, she loves learning new languages, salsa dancing, and enjoying cuisines from all over the world.
A San Francisco Bay Area native, Kayla Tamara Lemus was raised by her single mother, who instilled in her a love for Spanish and the Mexican culture. As a child of a Mexican immigrant, Kayla became increasingly aware of discrimination towards Latino immigrants in the U.S. It was through this recognition of prejudice that she became interested in education and foreign language learning as a means of promoting equality and intercultural understanding. A Scripps College graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and French, Kayla has also pursued foreign language study outside of her major including Modern Standard Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, and Portuguese. During her time at Scripps College, Kayla studied abroad in Morocco and France, worked as a French and English teacher to both children and adults, and interned as a translator for Libraries Without Borders in Paris and l’AMSAT in Rabat. In addition, her growing interest in NGO work led her to intern as a grant writer for Claremont Heritage in Claremont, California. The intercultural exchanges she has had and the relationships she has developed within these communities has enriched her understanding of these regions’ histories and socio-political issues. As a Latina, these realizations have inspired her to return to her roots in Latin America, where she will be working for Yspaniola, an educational non-profit in the Dominican Republic that serves Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent.
Keara grew up in Houston, Texas where she attended high school at YES Prep, which in name and practice, stands for Youth Engaged in Service. At YES she planned service projects in partnership with community development organizations in Ghana and Ecuador. Keara went on to grtaduate from Harvard University (2012) where she studied sociology with a focus on the study of inequality. Through the Harvard College in Cuba program, she studied that nation’s tourist industry and its social impact on the island, and fell in love with the history and culture of the Caribbean. Since graduating, Keara has been an advocate for community-based initiatives that focus on the healthy development of children, especially those who are living in under-resourced communities through her work at KaBOOM!, the DC Social Innovation Project and the Bolivia Life Center. After her first PiLA year with Yspaniola, Keara remains in the Dominican Republic as a PiLA senior fellow, working with the young women served by the Mariposa DR Foundation.
Keara and PiLA gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making her fellowship possible. Keara is also a recipient of the Christianson Grant from InterExchange for her work with Mariposa.
Kelly is a native of Reading, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Ursinus College in 2017 with a BA in Spanish and Peace & Social Justice Studies. During her undergraduate career, she initially became interested in social justice issues in Latin American countries through participating in the Bonner Leader program, where she had the opportunity to mentor and tutor young Latino students as well as coordinate an ESL program for the Spanish-speaking cleaning staff at her college. After studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and conducting ethnographic research on discriminatory representations of Bolivian migrants living in Buenos Aires City, she knew that she found her academic passion and vocational call in Latin American Studies. For her senior honors thesis, Kelly conducted a comparative analysis between Bolivian migration to Argentina and Mexican migration to the United States, focusing on disparity between migration laws and lived experiences of migrants in these two countries. This past year, Kelly undertook a yearlong fellowship with Border Servant Corps in Las Cruces, NM. Through this program, she had the opportunity to facilitate educational programs and occupational workshops at La Casa, Inc., a domestic violence shelter, as well as provide hospitality for asylum seekers from Central America as they await relocation with a sponsor. Kelly looks forward to learn and grow in her role as an English teacher at Liceo Científico in La República Dominicana this coming year as a PiLA Fellow.
PiLA and Kelly gratefully acknowledge the support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making her fellowship possible.
Kim graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (2014, B.S. systems engineering and B.A. Hispanic studies). Her first exposure to international development was on a microfinance trip to San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala. She also studied literature, art, and film at two universities in Buenos Aires, where she lived with a host mother and got involved with several community service organizations. Upon returning to the U.S., she was determined to work in Argentina. She received a grant to carry out her own research project on Argentine waste collection programs at the environmental company TerraCycle. Her interest in public health motivated her to pursue an academic concentration in healthcare systems and several internships in the field. After graduation, Kim spent the summer in Huancayo, Peru, working with a team of students to implement a microloan program in three developing communities. Kim looks forward to combining her passion for Latin American culture with her academic and professional experience in the field of healthcare at the Comunidad Connect clinic in Los Robles this year.
Lake grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and graduated from the University of Puget Sound (2014) with a double major in biology and Spanish, reflecting a love for nature and a desire to understand the world from the perspective of others. As an undergraduate, she was an active backpacking leader with university orientation, member of the dance community, and editor for neuroscience and biology publications. During a semester in Costa Rica she investigated threats to tropical biodiversity and conducted research on the social behavior in butterflies. She has worked as a science teacher in youth nature camps and written science tests for a national research institute, in addition to serving as a community mediator and health clinic assistant. Lake feels most at home outdoors and is passionate about dance, food, community building, and literature. Her work with the Liceo Cientifico will allow her to share a love of science and promote sustainable development and conservation in the tropics.
Lauren graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University (2014) in ecology and evolutionary biology, with certificates in Latin American studies and environmental studies. There she studied tropical Latin American ecosystems and freelanced for newspapers in Central New Jersey. In 2014–15, Lauren was a PiLA fellow at the World Food Programme’s Regional Bureau in Panama, where she spearheaded urban programming initiatives and helped manage a fund that responds to food emergencies in Central America. During 2015-16 Lauren continued as a PiLA senior fellow in Bogotá with World Food Programme, focusing on climate change and humanitarian assistance in conflict‐affected areas. Subsequently she enrolled to pursue a master's at Yale University.
Lauri recently graduated from the American University with a major in international studies and a minor in Spanish. She was born in the Dominican Republic (DR) and was raised in a bi-cultural and bilingual home which sparked her passion for Latin America. Lauri recognizes the immense privileges afforded by her adoption and that has inspired her to help those who do not have the same opportunities as her. Throughout her youth, she traveled extensively in Central America and the Caribbean, and early on, developed a passion for culturally sensitive service work. Spring 2017, she studied abroad in Costa Rica where she interned at La Fundación de la Paz y Democracia and investigated peace and progress efforts throughout Central America. That summer she volunteered at the Mariposa Foundation in the DR where she taught a class on activism and feminism. She is excited to build on the fundraising skills she acquired while interning with the Washington Office of Latin America while working with FUNDAL this year in Guatemala!
Leah spent the last year representing the rights of migrant farmworkers and Spanish speaking survivors of domestic abuse as a paralegal for the Battered Immigrant Project and Farmworker Unit at Legal Aid of North Carolina. Before moving to North Carolina, she interned at Latin America Working Group in Washington, D.C. At Colorado College, she majored in the history and political science of Latin America (2013) and focused on the migration of marginalized communities. Outside the classroom she helped refugees adjust to life in Colorado Springs and led workshops for Hispanic youth. She is honored to serve as the Developing Minds fellow in Medellín and is looking forward to sharing time with the support team at Centro de Atención Especializada (CAE) and the former child soldiers served by CAE.
Leah graduated from the University of Texas at Austin (2015) with a B.A. in Latin American studies and a concentration in Spanish. She fell in love with Latin American culture in high school by volunteering at a local elementary school in a predominantly Latino neighborhood in Houston. During that time, she also fundraised for and volunteered with Amigos de las Américas, a nonprofit that sent her to the Dominican Republic to collaborate with local youth and facilitate educational camps. At UT Austin, she was involved with Workers Defense Project, an organization that provides legal services, organizes fair employment initiatives, and politically empowers Texas workers. In summer 2014, Leah traveled alone to Peru, where she took buses and boats, befriended locals, and a stayed with an indigenous Amazonian family. After PiLA, Leah plans to pursue graduate degree in public policy, to inform a career in nonprofit work focused on education. In her free time, Leah hangs out with family, does art, hikes, and participates in a local Brazilian percussion group.
Is a Guatemala native now residing in Southern California, but attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is a senior focusing her International and Comparative Studies major on political economies and development. She is also a Graham Sustainability Scholar and is pursuing a minor in Law, Justice, and Social Change. Lisa has been a research assistant since 2015 and her research interests include chronic conflict and resilience. She is interested in aiding the sustainable and equitable development of Latin American countries, as this is where she spent her childhood. Outside of academics, Lisa enjoys volunteering at the Ann Arbor District Library, where she teaches English as a Second Language to high school students. She also serves as the president on the executive board of the Alumni Association’s LEAD Scholars Program. Her passions include dancing, traveling, learning languages, issues of social justice, road trips, and museums. She hopes to continue working with underserved communities and human rights organizations before applying to graduate programs.
Lizabelt Avila was born in Cuba and moved to Miami with her family when she was twelve. She double-majored in international and area studies and political science — with a focus on human rights, at New College of Florida. She dedicated a year and a half to her honors thesis, which investigated the extent to which human rights education programs from international organizations, NGOs, and secondary schools are effective. Lizabelt has gained experience working and volunteering with non-profits and NGOs in the United States and in the Netherlands, especially those supporting immigrant, refugee, or Latin communities. In the United States she drafted student mentorship materials for UnidosNow, investigated and reported on violence against women and human rights violations in Mexico as a U.S Department of State VSFS intern, and facilitated access to legal services for the immigrant community in Sarasota, Florida. In the Netherlands she volunteered as an event planner with UnicefNL and worked with The Humanity Formula providing direct aid to refugee camps. Lizabelt is thrilled to gain more professional experience in the Latin America region and support NGO projects through The Nature Conservancy.
Born to Colombian parents, Lorena was empowered from a young age to establish her Colombian-American identity while also maintaining a strong connection to her Latin heritage. Growing up, Lorena traveled to Colombia often, allowing her the opportunity to draw parallels between the inequalities that exist in Colombia and in the United States. Thus inspired, she was determined to dedicate her life to increase access to healthcare and education for immigrant and minority populations in Latin America and the US. Lorena earned her bachelor’s in international affairs, with a dual concentration in Latin American studies and international development and a minor in sociocultural anthropology at The George Washington University (2013). There she participated in service-based programs focused on development, education and international fieldwork. Prior to her PiLA fellowship, Lorena worked for the global health and emergency response organization, AmeriCares. She served as associate and senior associate for the Middle East and Africa team, expanding her understanding of the global health landscape by collaborating with 14 NGOs and ministries of health, and facilitating the delivery of life-saving medicines and supplies to underserved populations. Lorena is thrilled to continue working with DREAM as the Deportes para La Vida monitoring and evaluation PiLA senior fellow.
Was born and raised in Siguatepeque, Honduras. Her upbringing instilled in her a desire to seek social justice and the protection of human and environmental rights. Now at Northwestern University, Lorna is completing her degree in Biology, with a concentration in Neurobiology and a minor in Global Health Studies. She has dedicated her college career to deepening her knowledge of and experience in community development, specifically in public health and education sectors. Currently, Lorna is an intern in the School Services Program at Lurie Children’s Hospital. Here she provides patients with school resources and lessons during their long-term hospitalizations, so that the student does not fall behind in school. She also works at Health Resource Desks in Evanston and Skokie Public Libraries to connect community members with appropriate and accessible health information and resources. Lorna’s eagerness to learn from and engage with different communities has taken her across the world. She worked at an NGO that focused on education equity in India and also completed a Public Health Program in Havana, Cuba. Lorna plans to attend medical school and return to her home country to serve her community as a pediatrician.
Lucy is passionate about systemic healthcare policy reform, including complete access to basic care. Simultaneously, she believes change requires grassroots mobilization beginning with youth empowerment and education. Lucy grounded her interests by studying Health: Science, Society & Policy, International & Global Studies, and Economics at Brandeis University. Throughout Spring 2018, Lucy lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina and learned about their intricate, public healthcare system and conducted an independent research project on the barriers in access to healthcare for Bolivian immigrants. As a World of Work fellow, Lucy helped individuals in low-income communities learn how to make sustainable behavioral changes. She worked directly in a re-entry housing community and in operations to recruit staff members, write a three-year strategic plan, and publicize their innovative model. Lucy’s knowledge extends beyond healthcare to include funding for international grassroots organizations and database management through her work in finance and administration. She also has three years of experience with career planning as an advisor at the Hiatt Career Center. Finally, she carried out her belief in youth mentorship and education as the lead program manager of the Brandeis Big Siblings Program through which she evaluated and reformed the university’s relationship with the local chapter.
Born in Pereira, Colombia, but raised in North Carolina, Luisa graduated from Harvard University (2017) with a bachelor’s in neurobiology and a minor in global health and health policy. She has always had a passion for health and education, and loves working with children. During her time in college she devoted three years to a student organization that works with Boston Children’s Hospital to help provide health and education resources to low-income, minority families with children with disabilities. Additionally, Luisa spent two summers in Peru, working with different nonprofit organizations. In Lima, at Fundades Nuevo Futuro, she helped lead life skills workshops for middle and high school students, and also volunteered at the nonprofit’s various orphanages. Her second summer, she served as a medical volunteer with Hands on Peru in Trujillo. Now, she is excited to join the Mariposa team in the Dominican Republic, where she will get to continue to pursue her interests in health, education, and youth development. As an aspiring pediatrician, Luisa hopes to enroll in medical school in fall 2019.
Mackenzie graduated from Swarthmore College (2015) with a B.A. in political science and minor in Latin American studies. She has taught in Guatemala, worked with families displaced by guerilla and paramilitary violence in Colombia, supported programs at the Ecuadorian Fulbright Commission, and spent eight months with an organization serving 30,000 indigenous clients in an environmental lawsuit in Ecuador. On the policy side, she has interned for the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. State Department in Peru, where she updated the human rights portfolio and screened potential recipients of U.S. funding for human rights violations. She spent the past year studying Portuguese and law in Rio de Janeiro as a Boren Scholar. Mackenzie hopes to more effectively support institution building and equitable economic development in the Americas.
An Austin, Texas native, Madeline graduated from Dartmouth College (2012), where she majored in government, focusing on international relations and comparative politics in Latin America, with a minor in Hispanic studies. She also was a four-year letter member and First-Team All-Ivy selection for the women’s varsity volleyball team, and an active participant in the Dartmouth Coalition for Global Health. During her junior winter, Madeline interned with the Río Beni Health Foundation in a rural clinic serving isolated indigenous populations in the Amazon region in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia. She applied this experience in on-the-ground public health, working as a research intern in the Gender, Diversity, and Human Rights Office of the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, D.C. during her junior summer. After graduating, Madeline developed a publication to profile eight indicators of gender equity with the World Health Organization-Pan American Health Organization country office in Bogotá, Colombia. Most recently she has been a community outreach worker with the City of Austin Health Department Communicable Diseases Unit, providing public health information and health care services to refugee, immigrant, and historically underserved populations in the Central Texas region. She remained as a senior fellow with DREAM in 2015–2016. Then she left for England to pursue a master's in infectious disease and epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Is defined by her commitment to community service and protecting the human rights and dignity of marginalized populations, with a focus on women, girls, and Latin American immigrants to the United States. She will receive her undergraduate degree in International Affairs and Spanish Language and Literature with a minor in the Honors Program from Skidmore College in May 2019. At Skidmore, Madeline works as a Peer Health Educator, creating and delivering workshops for first year students about consent, sexual health, alcohol and drug use, and bystander intervention, in addition to serving as an advocate for survivors of sexual or gender-based misconduct.
Born and raised in San Francisco, California, Madeline has also lived and studied in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Madrid, Spain. In Argentina, she studied human rights and social movements with the School of International Training in addition to working with and conducting research on Asociación Civil Mujeres 2000, an organization that provides microloans and entrepreneurship workshops to low-income women. In Spain, she studied Latin American and feminist literature, Latin American history, and taught English conversation courses at la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
Madison graduated from St. Olaf College (2015) with a B.A. in sociology and anthropology and concentrations in Latin American studies and management studies. A Colorado native, she had her first nonprofit experience as an intern at the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT) in Denver. Madison wanted to continue raising awareness about human trafficking, so she co-founded a student organization that provides the St. Olaf community with opportunities to volunteer with and learn more about the anti-trafficking movement. These experiences cultivated her passion for human rights advocacy. In order to continue learning about a broad range social justice issues, Madison spent a semester abroad in Quito working at Asylum Access Ecuador, interned at Minnesota AIDS Project, and wrote grants for the national education nonprofit, Adopt-A-Classroom. She enjoys jazz and tap dancing, exploring the outdoors, and eating chocolate ice cream. Madison served as a PiLA fellow at Unidad Académica Campesina-Carmen Pampa as director of external relations.
is currently a senior at University of Richmond who will graduate in May of 2019, with a double-major in LALIS (Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies) and Global Studies, with a concentration in Development and Change. Her love of Spanish began after growing up in Puerto Rico, an experience that has always led her to carry her learnings in the classroom to challenging opportunities beyond, including studying abroad for 6 months in Buenos Aires, Argentina, interning for the summer in Xela, Guatemala, and volunteering with Latinx immigrant high school students in the Richmond Area. Madison thrives in community settings and has loved serving as Class President during her freshman, sophomore, and senior years. Her passion for Spanish and Latin American Culture, combined with an enthusiasm for community and peoplefocused work, has contributed to her plans to pursue internationally-focused, non-profit work after graduation. During free time, Madison can be found happily showing off her love for University of Richmond as a campus ambassador in the office of admissions, training for her third half marathon, or attempting to cook in her apartment.
Mai Yer graduated from Wellesley College (2014), majoring in economics and Spanish, with a background in economic theory, statistics, and data analysis, and a focus on inequality, social policy, and feminism. She aspires to work in poverty alleviation and economic development through public policy and nonprofit work. Born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Mai Yer identifies as Hmong-American, and as an ethnic minority she is especially interested in working with marginalized communities. Her immigrant family’s experiences and dual identity have shaped her passion to work on poverty alleviation efforts and women’s rights. Her previous professional and academic experiences have involved domestic and global affairs, with experience working with small nonprofits, a law firm, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. She is fascinated with globalization and traveling, and has lived in rural Guatemala, Bolivia and Spain. Mai Yer has studied Spanish for 10 years and looks forward to living and working in Panama.
Malcolm Flynn graduated from Columbia University (2016) with a major in economics and minor in Latin American Studies. While there, he concentrated on the effects of crime and private enterprise on economic development in Latin America. His interest in the region came from a clichéd reading of One Hundred Years of Solitude; his interest in economic justice and criminality came from multiple trips to El Salvador, where he worked with U.S. manufacturers actively engaged in fighting gang-related poverty and violence. He’s excited to continue exploring the link between business and economic development with Endeavor Chile in Patagonia. In his free time, he enjoys skiing and surfing—two activities that, thanks to Chile’s unusual geography, are rarely more than a couple of hours apart.
Maria Jose graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2017 with a A.B. in anthropology, global health and environment, and a minor in biology. Originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Maria Jose immigrated to the United States as a teenager. The experience sparked in her an interest in human rights and health disparities in Latin American countries. During her undergraduate studies, Maria Jose devoted her time to the advancement of health for Latin American immigrants in St. Louis by volunteering as a medical interpreter at Casa de Salud, and by enhancing maternal and infant health services through the non-profit Nurses for Newborns. She has returned to Honduras numerous times to see family and to learn more about the country’s medical and public health systems. To pursue her passion in global health as an aspiring physician, Maria Jose is excited to work in Guatemala at Hospitalito Atitlán in the coming year.
An Indiana native and 10–year 4–H’er, Marianne graduated from Butler University (2014) with majors in international studies and Spanish and a minor in chemistry. Marianne subsequently worked at a pro-bono legal clinic in Indianapolis, researching human rights cases and studying the clinic’s outreach mechanisms so its clients could be better served. At Butler, Marianne was a resident assistant for 90 students and a Young Life leader in an Indianapolis urban high school. She also interpreted for immigration law firms, studied international religious conflict, and contributed to Butler’s creative writing circles. Marianne was first exposed to research during a semester in Brazil, where she studied alternative agriculture. Encounters there with Catholic liberation theologians and priests sparked her interest in liberation theology, and she went on to write her thesis about liberation theology in Brazil’s struggle for democracy. Travels in Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru have taught her a great deal about Latin America’s complex history and social fabric, and she is delighted to join Providencia to continue investing in youth and work in institutional development. After her year in Uruguay, Marianne plans to pursue a master’s in peace and conflict studies.
Melanie graduated from Washington University in St. Louis (2015) with a major in urban studies and minors in architecture and Spanish. During her time there, she helped create—and was elected president of—the student group City Faces, whose mission is to support and enrich the lives of youth in a struggling St. Louis community by developing mentoring, tutoring, nutritional, and arts-based programming. Her time at City Faces inspired her to work with underserved youth and families and to promote positive and sustainable growth in developing communities. Interested in helping vulnerable communities develop through grassroots initiatives, she has interned with Children’s Defense Fund, a leading child advocacy organization; with Arch Development Corporation (Washington, D.C.); and with Community Arts and Movement Project (St. Louis). Melanie spent a semester in Argentina where she worked in Buenos Aires Villas, teaching music and English classes, while researching grassroots development strategies. She hopes to continue to learn from such communities, and eventually to pursue a masters in urban planning to help promote sustainable development.
Mia graduated from Georgetown University (2018) with a major in Government and minors in Sociology and Justice and Peace Studies. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she became exposed to social justice through her family and Spanish-immersion school program. Once at Georgetown, her commitment to this work grew as she became involved in her university's Alternative Breaks Program (ABP) and several on-campus organizations that work to further reproductive and educational equity. Through ABP, Mia participated in and lead several trips that traveled throughout the United States to study the historical evolution of organizations and movements that fight for housing and racial justice. While at school, Mia also had the opportunity to study abroad in Buenos Aires, where she explored her Latinx heritage and solidified her interest in returning to Latin America. During her final year at Georgetown, Mia interned for a health justice organization that partners with grassroots organizers to build power for health in marginalized communities. She hopes to utilize the experiences and skills she has acquired over the past four years to maximize her impact in the Dominican Republic.
PiLA and Mia gratefully acknowledge the support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making her fellowship possible.
A first-generation college student, Michael is a proud Trojan alumnus of the University of Southern California, where he earned a B.A. in American studies and a B.S. in health promotion, with a minor in nonprofits. While at USC, Michael was heavily involved in activities emphasizing college readiness and retention; he was a resident advisor for first-year students and mentored and tutored children through Troy Camp, USC’s oldest philanthropic cause. These experiences inspired his passion for education and motivated him to join Teach for America, devoting the past two years to teaching science at Northwest High School in the Navajo Nation. Michael’s students taught him the value of a culturally responsive education, and he is excited to move to Peru where he can learn about cultural values regarding education in indigenous language and Spanish-speaking classrooms. Ultimately, he aims to build on these experiences as he pursues a career as a school principal on the México-California border.
Michael majored in human developmental and regenerative biology at Harvard College (2014), along with a minor in global health and health policy, and a citation in Spanish. Michael served for four years as a program coordinator and volunteer for Health Leads, an organization that connects low-income patients in the Boston area to basic resources such as food, shelter, and housing. Michael also served as co-president of the Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum, an umbrella organization that seeks to empower students through domestic and international service projects. During his spare time, Michael played oboe in the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra. As he sees it, the most formative experience of his life was a summer internship with Partners in Health in Lima, Peru, where he served the local community by investigating the detection and treatment of tuberculosis. Passionate about how disease biology can interact with the social context and environment, Michael hopes to gain a better understanding of what social factors contribute to disease outbreaks in urban environments, and he intends to dedicate his career to overcoming these barriers to health.
Michelle earned a B.S. in environmental science and Spanish, with a minor in business from Villanova University (2014). As an intern for the New York City Parks Department’s Green Thumb community garden program and a Spanish interpreter intern at the Villanova Law Clinic in Philadelphia, Michelle saw the benefit of community empowerment and outreach among Spanish-speaking communities first hand. At Villanova she also founded the Villanova Community Garden student group to promote eating locally and sustainably. She was able to combine her interests in sustainability and Spanish language during her overseas study experience, where she conducted independent research on the process of organic certification in rural Panama. The relationships Michelle developed from this eye-opening experience encouraged her to seek other opportunities to meet innovative leaders on a global scale. This led her to Endeavor Mexico, where she is thrilled to support new initiatives, hone her business and language skills, and meet the amazing entrepreneurs of Mexico who are making a positive impact through their innovations. She anticipates applying her PiLA experience in a career in international policy or sustainable enterprise.
Is a senior from Bloomington, Indiana. She is working on the ethics of belief for her senior thesis in the Department of Philosophy. During her time at Princeton, Miranda has worked as a teaching assistant, studied with Princeton in Argentina, volunteered for primary care clinics, and pursued biochemistry research. She has also acted with Princeton’s Spanish theatre group and served as music director and co-president of Princeton’s African singing ensemble. Before the start of each academic year, Miranda leads first-year students on community service trips through Community Action. She is also an officer of the Human Values Forum, a weekly philosophy discussion group. After graduation, Miranda hopes to serve Latin American immigrant populations in the U.S. as a primary care doctor.
A native of Ecuador, Mónica is the daughter of a fast-talking, brash, loving woman from the coast and an intelligent, dedicated and reserved man born and raised in the highlands. At the age of eight, in the midst of Ecuador’s dollarization, her family moved to Caracas during the Chavez era. Two years later she was back in Quito witnessing more political instability. Eight years, three presidents and four presidential terms later, Mónica graduated from high school as a self-proclaimed dreamer. In 2010 she moved to Lancaster, PA, to study political science at Franklin & Marshall College (2014) and get a taste of life in the exurban United States. She has been dedicated to a life of service in the field of international development ever since. At CEPLAES she worked with the Programa Derechos, Cambio Climático y Bosques, a joint project of CEPLAES and Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN).
A Massachusetts native, Morris graduated from Cornell University (2015) with majors in government and Spanish and minors in Latin American studies and law and society. Volunteering with the Cornell Farmworker Program, he taught English, researched employer-employee relationships on farms, staffed legal clinics, and supported Mexican and Guatemalan consular visits to upstate New York. He also managed the weekly seminar series at Cornell’s Latin American Studies Program. Working for an education- and human rights-focused NGO in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, studying in Buenos Aires, and traveling in Ecuador and Brazil compelled him to return to Latin America. Morris enjoys learning languages and studied Portuguese and French in addition to his degree in Spanish. He is also an avid outdoorsman who enjoys backpacking and running. After PiLA, he plans to pursue a graduate degree in law and diplomacy.
Nami graduated from New York University (2011) with a B.A. in politics with a concentration in international development and a double minor in Spanish and gender studies. After her freshman year, she interned at Ixchen—a women’s rights organization in Granada, Nicaragua—where she conducted rural workshops on reproductive rights and helped organized a nationwide march for gender equality. Throughout college, she continued to work and volunteer with mission-aligned organizations such as MADRE, the International Rescue Committee, and Girl Rising. After graduating, Nami joined an immigration law firm where she was able to work on pro bono cases assisting victims of domestic abuse in Latin America. Eager to return to her nonprofit roots, she then began working with New Women New Yorkers—a startup nonprofit providing leadership training and development to young immigrant women. Most recently, she managed communications at Hudson Guild, a social services nonprofit organization serving the low-income public housing population on the West Side of Manhattan. These experiences have all informed a passion for and interest in social justice and community development, and Nami is thrilled to join Starfish as its Communications Coordinator.
Natassja graduated cum laude from Pepperdine University with a B.A. in international studies and management, and a minor in nonprofit management. Originally from Quito, Ecuador, she grew up in five developing countries throughout Africa and Latin America. Her childhood gave her a deep understanding of the harsh realities most people in the world face, and a desire to work hard to find solutions to those problems. As a recent graduate, Natassja moved to Australia and worked at YGAP, an international development organization. A year later, she is ready to begin the journey of which she has always dreamed: Returning home to Latin America and starting to make a difference, a lasting and sustainable one. Natassja is extremely excited to start this journey in the Dominican Republic, working for Yspaniola in educational development and defending the human rights of Haitian-descent Dominicans.
Nathalia graduated from Haverford College (2015) where she earned a bachelor’s in sociology with a concentration in Latin American studies and a Spanish minor. After college, Nathalia joined Teach for America in New York. There she taught 5th-grade bilingual education for two years. She graduated from Hunter College (2017) with a Master’s in Childhood Education Grades 1–6 with an extension in bilingual education. Nathalia hopes to continue developing her passion for education equity at DREAM in the Dominican Republic.
Nicki is an Atlanta, Georgia native, and graduated from the University of Georgia Honors College (2014) with a double major in environmental economics and management and Spanish, and a certificate in environmental ethics. Throughout, she pursued her interests in athletics, the environment, and language. For four years, Nicki rode on the Division I Equestrian Team, which won the National Championship title in 2014. She worked within the community to reduce plastic bag use, volunteered on an organic farm, and tutored English as a Second Language and GRE math and language at a Latino center for education. To further her environmental and language studies, Nicki studied for a semester in Buenos Aires, where she interned with Greenpeace Argentina, and fell in love with Latin America. In August, Nicki will be leaving her job as an energy efficiency consultant to move to the Dominican Republic. She is very excited to share her passion for the environment with her students, and learn more about environmental issues affecting the Caribbean through her work at El Liceo Científico.
Is a senior at Yale double-majoring in Global Affairs and Economics. A first-generation American from Los Angeles, he is interested in the fields of development, economic policy, and international security. He had the unique opportunity to complete pre-professional programs at Harvard Business School and Stanford University, as well as coursework in international relations at the London School of Economics. Outside of the classroom, Nick has been primarily involved with student government and nonprofit organizations. He has served as Student Life Policy Director of the Yale College Council, a Community and Consent Educator, New Haven Outreach Chair of his residence hall, Treasurer of the Freshman Class Council, counselor at Camp Kesem, and Chair of the New Ideas Fund—a student government initiative he created to allocate money towards innovative student projects that emphasize community building. Additionally, he’s worked at multiple nonprofits, first helping clean water social enterprises in Haiti, Rwanda, and Kenya with the Archimedes Project and later creating a strategic plan for a large, health care-focused nonprofit as an Associate Consultant Intern at Bridgespan. He is passionate about the social impact sector and is excited to pursue a career in international development.
As a first-generation Dominican-American, Nicole is an Atlanta native and a proud alumna of Princeton University (2017) with a B.S.E in operations research and financial engineering and certificates in engineering and management science. As a Dominican-American, she is extremely interested in Caribbean culture, dialects, and political systems and frequently travels back to where her family is from in Higüey and Santo Domingo. She is also curious about the intersection between quantitative methods and volunteer work and how the existing mathematical techniques we have can be used to predict and maximize the performance of a non-profit organization. Nicole has worked in many places, from a food bank to BlackRock, and has had a wide array of experiences that give her a unique perspective and that have made her interested in providing targeted solutions to the problems that nonprofit organizations can face. Lastly, her extracurricular interests include, ballet, yoga, and violin and she actively intends to try and pursue them while abroad.
PiLA and Nicole gratefully acknowledge the support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making her fellowship possible.
A Colorado native, Nicole is a graduate of Elon University. Throughout her undergraduate studies, she pursued double majors in Spanish and International Studies with a Latin American concentration, as well as minors in Human Services and Peace and Conflict Studies. She is passionate about national and international development, with particular focus on early education and language development. During her collegiate career, she explored these interests domestically through several positions as a teaching assistant at programs and schools in Colorado and North Carolina, various tutoring and mentoring opportunities, as well as an internship for a Colorado nonprofit. While at Elon, Nicole conducted undergraduate research over the course of two years in order to examine older sibling perceptions of family roles in bilingual households. Though the majority of her time in college was spent at Elon University, Nicole also studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina in Spring of 2018. It was during this time that she further pursued human rights work, while continuing to develop her Spanish language skills, as she interned for the organization Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo. Nicole is excited to continue her learning and engagement in these fields, as she works with the libraries and literacy programs at the DREAM Project.
Is driven to promote human rights through building upon economic, political and communal agency and leadership. She believes that human rights advocacy that is consistent, multilateral and diverse can foster positive change throughout the world. As a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in International Relations with a concentration in ‘Social Development and Human Well-Being’ she is passionate about ethical, community-led growth throughout Latin America. She has developed competencies in policy research and analysis, project management, communications, and English literacy instruction. In her work in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the Government Subsecretary for Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism, she managed multiple projects including a report exploring the needs of migrant women that will serve as the basis for a larger forum to be launched next year. In her role at the Fundación Mujeres por Africa in Spain she conducted extensive policy research on education equity disparities by gender in sub-Saharan Africa. This research was combined into a final report to serve as a reference for multiple departments within the foundation. In her role as an Education Partnership Fellow at Stanford University, she organizes and leads an early literacy program for thirty low income, immigrant youth.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Nicole attends the University of Notre Dame, where she studies Political Science and International Development. She discovered a love for Latin American culture and the Spanish language early in her undergraduate career, electing to study Spanish beginning in her sophomore year of college and pursue courses, research and study abroad opportunities in the Latin American region. This decision has greatly enhanced her undergraduate experience, through which she engaged in summers of independent research on the Dominican-Haitian experience in the Dominican Republic and a semester studying abroad in Mexico. Through conversations and relationships with Dominicans of Haitian descent, Haitian migrants, and Mexican migrants, she found her passion for understanding the structural inequalities impacting migration processes, particularly in Latin America. On campus at Notre Dame, she serves as Co-President of GlobeMed, where she coordinates a partnership with PEDA, a health-focused NGO based in Laos, and leads forums for discussions on the importance of community driven development and partnership. The combination of her experiences abroad and her on-campus activities have driven her desire to be engaged in partnership driven development that aims to address the structural inequalities she witnessed through her own research.
Niki understood from a very young age the importance of education as a means of creating opportunities in a person’s life, especially in the developing world. A dual Honduran/USA citizen Niki grew up in an agricultural town in southern Honduras before moving to the capital city of Tegucigalpa as a 16 year old to live with family friends in her strive to attain a quality education. She found leaving her family difficult, but she felt it was worth it, and she was accepted at Vassar College right out of high school. At Vassar, Niki majored in International Studies with an emphasis on Political Science and Education and a regional concentration on Latin American. She was also an involved member of the student body at Vassar, working for the Office of International Services in support of the college’s international student community. After spending a semester abroad in São Paulo, Brazil Niki began to realize that her wish to help Latin America through education was becoming a passion. Niki will be testing her passion with Project Alianza in Nicaragua, where she will be helping sustain schools in rural coffee plantations.
Nina recently graduated from Brandeis University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Hispanic Studies. Throughout Spring 2018, Nina studied in a direct enrollment program in Mérida, México, taking project-based psychology courses while volunteering in an after-school program for children whose families worked in the marketplace. She coordinated a student-run volunteer organization, SPECTRUM, where she created and implemented curriculum for weekly programming with children with Autism and their siblings. She has spent two summers living alongside incoming Chinese students at Brandeis, helping them navigate academic and social environments, and works as an Analytical English Tutor for some of them during the school year. For three years, she worked in a cognitive psychology lab investigating anxiety and depression in college students and completed her senior thesis on maladaptive and adaptive stress coping strategies in the face of depression. In her senior year, she interned at a domestic violence agency, creating the first ESOL course specifically for immigrant survivors in the state of Massachusetts. She is interested in pursuing a career that supports the mental health of immigrant families, especially those living along the U.S.-México border. She hopes to help migrant children and families work within the system through direct services and work to change system itself through policy advocacy.
Elizabeth “Nora” Harless graduated with honors from New York University in 2016, having studied Spanish and drama, with a focus in international literature. During her time at NYU, Nora taught theatre arts to students in coastal Ecuador. During her senior year Nora studied in Havana, Cuba, taking classes with the Ludwig Foundation and researching the Chino-Cubano community and its immigration history. In April 2016, she returned to Ecuador, collaborating with a team of locals to provide crisis-relief to earthquake victims in the region. She thereafter continued to work with an Ecuador-based aid organization active in the rehabilitation of the town of San José de Chamanga. Since graduating, Nora has spent a year in Somaliland, an autonomous region in Northeast Somalia, teaching pre-algebra and working as a supervisor of the local orphanage program. Over the past year, she has enjoyed her taste of the Semitic languages of aaf-somali and العربية, but has missed speaking castellaño. She is looking forward to serving as the External Relations Director at UAC-Carmen Pampa in Nor Yungas, Bolivia.
Pranayeta "Shonty" Shroff graduated from Smith College (2014) with a sociology major and a Spanish minor. Her interest in the economic, social, and cultural development of marginalized communities in Latin America stems from a summer learning from activists and community organizations in Costa Rica. After spending 4 months in Spain solidifying her Spanish, Shonty worked with Latin@ communities in the US through education based internships. At a GED training center for Puerto Rican populations in Western Massachussets, she executed an independent research project on how identifying and deploying already existing community assets in the classroom motivates students. She was subsequently able to practice the pedagogical strategies she researched while teaching English in Cali, Colombia, as part of a government program aimed at job creation. In her free time, she likes to run, read, dance bachata, and be an overly enthusiastic fan of Cali's football teams.
A San Francisco Bay Area native, Rachel Ozer-Bearson graduated from Macalester College in 2016 with a major in international studies and minors in Hispanic studies and Latin American studies. While at Macalester, Rachel developed her passion for social justice and education. She collaborated with community partners while working for the Civic Engagement Center, completed an intensive teaching fellowship with Breakthrough Twin Cities, and taught English classes for adult English-language learners at the Minnesota Literacy Council. During her senior year, Rachel expanded upon research from a semester abroad in Buenos Aires to write her senior capstone which explored the relationship between contemporary Senegalese immigration to Argentina and the historical invisibility of Afro-Argentines. Rachel joined Antigua International School as a PiLA fellow, to teach middle-school social studies. She remains there as a PiLA senior fellow in 2017–18.
Rachel graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park (2016) with a B.A. in Government and Politics and dual minors in Spanish and Law & Society. Rachel’s interest in Latin America first developed in high school, when she volunteered annually at Academia Natanael to help with educational development in the Yucatan peninsula, later completing a three-month internship onsite in 2012. In 2015, she spent time traveling and studying political science in a Spanish immersion program in Argentina. Rachel’s personal and professional interests lie in gender development and she has demonstrated her commitment to combatting violence against women and girls through her work experiences. While at UMD, she completed her Honors Citation capstone project on sex trafficking policy in the U.S. and interned with nonprofits such as Restoration Ministries and the Tahirih Justice Center in the Washington, D.C. area. In the future, Rachel plans to enroll in law school, pursuing a career of public service providing humanitarian legal aid to refugee women and girls, especially within Latin American populations.
Rachel is a graduate of Tufts University (2015), where she majored in anthropology and community health. She pursued pre‐med coursework at Tufts with a special interest in primary care. She has focused her academic pursuits primarily on global health equity and community empowerment. Rachel also served as co‐President of GlobeMed, a student group partnered with an NGO working on poverty alleviation in rural Nepal, where she coordinated various fundraising and advocacy projects. Locally she volunteered as a peer health educator in Boston high schools with Peer Health Exchange. Rachel spent a semester studying in Chile, on a program that allowed her to complete independent research on the cultural relevancy of rights‐based health care in indigenous communities. Back in Boston, she interned with a planning project in the Dominican community. She developed an allied project examining the US medical system’s impact on Dominican transnational immigrants’ lives. She also worked as a clinical researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, where a project on patient‐centered prevention of hospital readmissions reinforced her understanding of sociocultural and political causes of serious health outcomes. She is excited to be working at El Liceo Científico teaching health and biology, and she looks forward to learning about the links between education, health, and community development.
Rafa graduated from Princeton University (2015) with a B.A. in public and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School and certificates in Latin American studies and Portuguese language and cultures. He also was a residential college advisor and captain of the men’s club soccer team. Rafa has cultivated a strong interest in international relations and a passion for diplomacy and foreign service, a career path he will pursue after PiLA. He has a deep interest in Latin America, with experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors; he interned at Citigroup’s finance division in summer 2014, and was co-founder and president of an educational nonprofit (Ivy Spain). These entrepreneurial and private sector activities and his passion for and experience in Latin America will allow Rafa to make the most of joining Endeavor Buenos Aires. In his free time, he enjoys running, playing soccer, traveling, reading, and playing chess.
Rebecca graduated magna cum laude from Elon University (2013), where she had the opportunity to study and intern in Latin America. She primarily focused her academic studies on the region and wrote her thesis exploring the interrelated role of geography and politics in Costa Rican food security. She also worked with Sustainable Alamance, an organization dedicated to achieving meaningful employment for former convicted felons. There she developed a passion for the intersection of practicality (growing food) and the broader socioeconomic context (producing food in a food desert by and for a disenfranchised population). Traveling has heightened her cultural awareness and pushed her to focus on applying the tools she has acquired in growing gardens and communities alike. Since graduation, she managed the Elon Community Garden and worked in Washington, D.C. installing and maintaining vegetable gardens. When she’s not digging in the dirt, Rebecca enjoys experimenting with new recipes and exploring the cobbled streets of old towns, whether at home or abroad.
Ricardo grew up in Brownsville, Texas, along the U.S.-Mexican border at the center of coexisting cultures and traditions. He began engaging with issues of Latino leadership and education in high school with the National Hispanic Institute. He graduated from Southwestern University with a B.A. in Political Science in 2015. During his time at Southwestern he participated in the Paideia Program dedicated to civic engagement and intercultural learning. In 2014 Ricardo studied abroad in Buenos Aires where he was able to travel across the region including Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru. The following semester he interned at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a Washington D.C.-based think tank where he was able to research and publish several articles reporting on hemispheric relations. After graduating Ricardo returned to South Texas to work at International Trading Services, Inc. an import-export house business.
Robert Shepherd graduated from Georgetown University (2015) with a double major in finance and international business. There he was a teaching assistant for a business strategy seminar, and chaired a student government committee overseeing an annual budget over $1M; he also worked as a barista at the Georgetown library coffee shop. His professional experiences include an internship in financial services advisory at Ernst and Young and an internship in corporate development at EverBank. His interest in Latin America traces back to his native Florida, where he began learning Spanish a decade ago. He explored this interest through a student exchange program in Spain and volunteer work at a Dominican Republic orphanage. Robert looks forward to merging his interests in business development, emerging markets, and Latin American culture and politics while working with Endeavor in Santiago.
Roberto graduated from the Claremont Colleges (Pitzer College) with a bachelor's in political science and Spanish and Portuguese. Roberto was previously a summer analyst at Morgan Stanley and is currently working in private equity in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a first-generation American and the first college graduate in his family, Roberto was an active campus community member, serving as an orientation leader for minority students and co-founding his campus’s finance club. Roberto was raised in New York City and cultivated his passion for Latin America via years of travel to Ecuador, Uruguay and Mexico, interning for the Cabinet of Economic Development in Brazil, and undertaking academic research on Latin American regime change and immigration.
During his PiLA fellowship, Roberto will work at Endeavor in Santiago, Chile, identifying and cultivating the businesses of high-impact entrepreneurs in the region. An avid consumer of chicken and rice, Roberto also looks forward to eating Chilean empanadas.
Robin graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (2015) with a B.S. in culture and politics. She focused on Latin American international development, and earned a certificate in Spanish. She grew up in Chicago and London, and undertook formative service trips to Angola and Haiti. In 2012, after studying at Universidad San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador, she volunteered on a coffee cooperative in a rural Andean community. She later worked with Amigos de las Americas, supervising twelve youth volunteers and four sustainable development projects in Panama. As a community education volunteer in the Sacred Valley of Peru, Robin worked with an indigenous women’s textile cooperative and led environmental awareness activities in local schools. She broadened her experience during a semester in Copenhagen, where she worked with the Danish Red Cross and managed the public relations of an asylum-seeker resource center. In her final year at Georgetown, she interned in the Office of Government and External Affairs of the Inter-American Foundation, assisting the federal agency with channeling development assistance to communities across Latin America. Robin became a PiLA fellow in 2015 with Pueblo a Pueblo in Guatemala where she worked as a Grants Associate and a Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator. She was so inspired by the community that she is continuing with Pueblo a Pueblo for a second year as a senior PiLA fellow.
Robyn graduated from the University of Vermont (UVM, 2014) with a B.S. in environmental studies and a minor in community and international development. Robyn speaks fluent Spanish, having studied and worked in Ecuador, and she is conversant in French. She is well traveled, having lived, worked, and studied in Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. Her love of cooking reflects this diverse background. Robyn conducted independent research in Ecuador for her senior thesis on the effectiveness of volunteer-based international ecotourism. She also undertook internships in Ecuador, focusing on ecotourism and sustainability workshops for small communities in the Andes. At UVM, Robyn was a lead eco-rep for student life, and a steward for her college; both positions required extensive community based event planning, marketing campaigns, and outreach. She was a member of UVM’s Tower Society, one of ten select women recognized annually for their dedication to leadership and female empowerment on campus. Through UVM’s Outing Club, Robyn organized excursions for her peers, backpacking and ice climbing through Vermont, sharing her love of the outdoors while seeking new adventures.
Roald Quintero graduated from Harvard University (2016), majoring in economics with a minor in statistics. He was born in Colombia, and moved to Los Angeles as a teen. He took off two years between high school and college to help start up a business in Colombia, the basis for his interest in economics and economic development. During 2016–17 he will serve as a social investment programs associate with Global Partnerships in Managua.
Sara graduated from Yale University (2015) with a B.S. in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. She aspires to become a pediatrician and a future owner of a free healthcare clinic. As the daughter of Portuguese immigrants, she grew up speaking Portuguese and learned Spanish at Yale and in Quito, Ecuador through a Yale summer study abroad program. Growing up, she witnessed first-hand how health and education disparities affected her hometown of Newark, New Jersey. Wanting to implement service and change as a high school student, she organized soup kitchen trips, participated in education advocacy, taught catechism, and began a toy drive at a children’s hospital. At Yale, she continued to implement her passion for community service by tutoring New Haven youth, interpreting for Latino patients at a free health clinic, and by serving as a mentor for Yale minority students interested in STEM. She participated in education-related volunteer projects with disadvantaged youth in Morocco and China. She also conducted research at the Yale School of Medicine in a lab that focuses on developing future therapeutic targets of metabolic diseases, like diabetes. In her free time, Sara enjoys dancing, gastronomic photography, and traveling.
Sarah graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (2014), majoring in health and societies and completing the pre-med curriculum. She also volunteered as an EMT and at Puentes de Salud, a clinic serving a predominantly Hispanic clientele in South Philadelphia. There she served as a translator, tutored at the clinic’s after-school program, worked as a recruiter for the diabetes prevention program, participated in the Puentes future health professionals’ education course, and researched rising obesity rates in the clinic’s patient population for her honors thesis. Her career goal is to become a physician, while maintaining her interest in public health and community action, and she plans to focus on these disciplines in her future profession. She studied in Cuba and conducted her honors thesis research entirely in Spanish. She enjoys playing tennis, running half marathons and exploring the outdoors.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sarah grew up just north of the city on the shores of Lake Michigan. While pursuing her undergraduate degree in Spanish and Italian at Georgetown University (2012), she worked as a research assistant for the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, volunteered for the DC Schools Project as an ESL tutor, and co-hosted a radio show on Georgetown’s student station. She spent the first semester of her junior year studying in Valparaíso, Chile, where she participated in a homeless outreach program run by a national nonprofit organization and volunteered at a local day care center. During the second semester of her junior year, she studied in Ferrara, Italy and interned at IBO Italia, a small nonprofit that works closely with the European Voluntary Service. After Georgetown, she moved to San Francisco for a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps as a legal fellow at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN). There she assisted clients in applying for legal status, served as a translator and interpreter, and advocated for immigrant rights in the Bay Area. Sarah is looking forward to learning more about the intersection of food security, immigration, and economic development at the UN World Food Programme in Ecuador.
Sarah’s passion for social justice stemmed from watching her parents work with private foundations supporting nonprofits to reduce social, health, and educational disparities. However, her Virginia suburb was a different world from what her parents knew through their work in Washington, D.C. For a long time, Sarah knew these differences existed but didn’t understand them. It wasn’t until she began volunteering in Washington that she confronted the hidden world across the Potomac, coming to understand the racial and socioeconomic undertones manifest everywhere she went in the city. Through service, teaching, and research at Duke University and elsewhere, she has learned about the underlying causes of the disparities she encountered in the nation’s capital. These experiences also taught her how to confront inequality through social action. Sarah wants to pursue a career that allows her to understand and change the mechanisms underlying inequality, and to find effective ways to empower those most affected by unequal conditions.
Sarah graduated from Middlebury College in 2013 where she earned a B.A. in Spanish with highest honors for her thesis work on a feminist movement in Bolivia. She spent her junior year studying abroad in Argentina and Spain. After graduation she joined the team at the Mariposa DR Foundation in the Dominican Republic, working to end the cycle of generational poverty by educating and empowering girls. Sarah then spent 10 months in Brazil as an English Teaching Assistant on a Fulbright grant. Following her time in Brazil, she rejoined the team at Mariposa as the administrative director. After more than two years in this position, she is thrilled to expand her experience at non-profits as the grants associate and monitoring & evaluation coordinator at Pueblo a Pueblo. Sarah hopes to use her passion for feminism and social justice to work towards positive change in Guatemala and beyond.
Sarah earned her B.A. in international studies and Spanish from Johns Hopkins University. She first became interested in Spanish while doing immigrant advocacy work in her hometown of Princeton, New Jersey. She further developed her interest in Latin America through internships with the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and the Organization of American States. As a Woodrow Wilson Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins University, she studied in Lima, Peru and conducted research about the relationship between urban governance and city development. Sarah was originally attracted to Medellín, Colombia after learning about the innovations of social urbanism projects. She arrived to Medellín in June 2014 to work with Instiglio, a social enterprise that aims to make social programs in developing countries more effective by tying funding to results. Sarah is excited to work in Instiglio’s fast-paced start-up environment and contribute to innovation in development aid.
Sarah was born and raised in the woods of Connecticut, but always desired to leave the bubble of her hometown. She moved to Washington, D.C., aiming to study international affairs at George Washington University (2015), but ultimately her interest in Latin America guided her. She is a passionate and fun-loving person who always enjoys meeting new people and traveling. Ultimately, she seeks work that will have an impact and enact constructive change in the world.
Serena graduated from Princeton University (2014) with a B.A. in economics and a certificate in political economy. Through high school community service and research projects, she realized her interest in economic development and love of Latin America. She continued to pursue these passions at Princeton; beyond her coursework, she spent two summers working with overseas organizations supporting entrepreneurs. In summer 2012 she interned with Acción Emprendedora, a nonprofit based in Santiago, Chile, which provides courses and consulting services to small business entrepreneurs. In summer 2013 she interned in Cordoba, Argentina at Endeavor, conducting U.S.-focused market research for two entrepreneurs in Endeavor’s network. At Princeton, Serena developed her expertise in economics and its applications via coursework, independent projects during her junior and senior years, and positions as a research assistant for three different professors. She also held leadership positions in multiple student organizations, including Chabad and a group addressing sexual assault on campus. In addition, Serena led an extended outdoor orientation backpacking program for new students. After PiLA she hopes to pursue graduate studies in economics and a career in economic development. In her free time, Serena enjoys running, cooking, doing art, and finding the best restaurants in Argentina’s culinary capital.
Shawon graduated from Princeton University (2015), majoring in public and international affairs, with a concentration in education policy, with minors in African American studies, Latino studies, and Spanish. His senior thesis addressed the impact of strict school discipline policies on students of color. Outside the classroom, Shawon served two terms as student body president, co-led a civic engagement trip on juvenile justice, worked as a residential adviser, and was a hip-hop dancer. During summers, Shawon served as an international intern with an NGO in Honduras, an education policy intern with the Children’s Defense Fund, and a White House intern with the Office of Cabinet Affairs. At DREAM, Shawon looks forward to applying his passion for advancing educational equity and promoting social justice. After completing his fellowship with DREAM, Shawon will join Deloitte in Washington, D.C. as a business analyst, consulting for the federal government. Afterwards, he plans to join the federal government or a nonprofit and work on improving federal education policy.
Sidney is a 2013 graduate of Cornell University, where she double-majored in international agriculture and rural development, and biology and society. At Cornell she pursued research and work opportunities in international development in Latin America and Africa. A Davis Projects for Peace grant and McKinley Family grant supported her research on food security with the NGO CEDICAM in Oaxaca, Mexico. After graduation, she continued to focus on smallholder food security and agro-ecology, performing research for Cornell in South Africa and Malawi, and undertook an internship with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Cuba. Through her education and experiences, she realized the potential and prominent role of smallholders in the international food system as well as the obstacles they face within it. She seeks a career in sustainable international development to effect positive change in the environment and farming communities around the world. After PiLA, she will travel to Guatemala on a Fulbright study and research grant to investigate the conservation and food security potential of traditional crops of the Q’eqchi’ Maya.
Sophia’s passion for culture and service reflects her own multicultural heritage and international upbringing, cultivated through her educational experiences. During her senior year at Princeton University (2012), she completed an AmeriCorps Term of Service as K–12 Education Project Coordinator for Energy Service Corps, leading a group of volunteers to teach in the public schools of Trenton, New Jersey. She also completed a semester in Santiago de los Caballeros, the Dominican Republic’s second largest city, where she returned to write her thesis on Dominican-Haitian relations and the portrayal of Afro-Latino racial perspectives in popular culture. After graduating, with a bachelor’s in Spanish literature and culture, and certificates in urban, Latin American, and African American studies, Sophia moved back to the DR. She began her teaching career at the university level in the English department at the Pontificía Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, and then accepted a job teaching middle-school math and geography at Saint David School. There, she successfully implemented methods of in-class differentiation, significantly increased student success rates in mathematics, and formed the school’s first ever soccer program. Sophia is an avid soccer player, traveler, and adventurer.
From Northampton, Massachusetts, Sophia graduated from Wesleyan University (2011), with a double major in the interdisciplinary Science in Society Program, concentrating in psychology and feminist, gender, and sexuality studies, and French Studies. With Davenport Study Grant support, she undertook her senior thesis research in Windhoek, Namibia, where she studied the relationship between gender norms and reproductive health practices. At Wesleyan, Sophia was an editor of Mind Matters: the Wesleyan Journal of Psychology, and a leader of Wesleyan Clinic Escorts, a student group whose members provide support to people seeking abortion care. Her primary academic and professional interests are in human rights-based approaches to public health, specifically with regard to reproductive and sexual health and rights. Sophia has worked with several nonprofit human rights and public policy organizations, including MADRE, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, and the Center for HIV Law and Policy. For the past two years, she has lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she was working with Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer (FEIM), an NGO that promotes gender justice, prior to beginning her PiLA fellowship.
Sophie graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (2017) with a double major in Psychology and Hispanic Studies and a minor in Urban Education. She enjoyed teaching art classes in Philadelphia public schools as the Community Outreach Director of the Penn Art Club. Sophie was an Education Policy intern at Ashoka in Mexico City through the Penn International Internship Program and she led a psycho-educational art workshop in Morelia, Michoacán. She studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and completed two honors theses. Her psychology thesis, a collaboration with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, was on the impact of visual art on the well-being and cognition of youth, and her Hispanic Studies thesis was on the role of muralism in promoting the well-being of the Hispanic community. After graduation she spent a year in Mexico as an English Teaching Assistant through the Fulbright-García Robles program. She is looking forward to leading art therapy sessions and learning from the social worker and psychologist at Hospitalito Atitlán. Afterwards she plans to pursue a PhD in psychology.
Susi Martinez graduated from The Ohio State University (2017) with a B.A. in international studies and minors in global public health and Spanish. Susi’s passion for learning more about Latin America, social justice, and global inequalities stems from her family’s Colombian roots and travels to Central and South America. Susi studied in Ecuador, where she researched physicians’ and indigenous patients’ perceptions of nutrition in relation to health behaviors. She has also worked with the education nonprofit Faith Seeds-Semillas de Fé in Guatemala, where she tutored children from families that work in garbage dumps. At home, Susi has supported the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Campaign to improve the living conditions of migrant farm workers. She also volunteered as a L.A.S.E.R. mentor helping Latino high school students apply to college and as an English teaching assistant at Community Refugee and Immigration Services in Columbus. Susi is excited to work on public health initiatives with Comunidad Connect in Nicaragua and continue learning about the history and cultures of Latin America. After her fellowship, Susi plans to attend graduate school to pursue her interests in food security, environmental health, and human rights advocacy. Susi loves to hike, try new recipes, play guitar, and is working on increasing her tolerance for spicy food.
Sybil Lewis graduated from UC Berkeley (2015) with a B.A. in political economy. Prior to PiLA, Sybil worked as a legal assistant for the Immigration Center for Women and Children in Oakland, CA. Passionate about many aspects of social justice, particularly regarding migration issues and racial discrimination, she has interned at various organizations. Sybil interned at the International Rescue Committee in Oakland, where she taught financial literacy courses to newly arrived refugees. She also spent a summer in India researching the affirmative action programs of four major Tata companies. In addition, Sybil has a strong passion for journalism and communications and interned with the public affairs section of the U.S. Department of State in Jamaica. Sybil’s interest in Latin America and international development stem from her upbringing where she lived in different countries, including Bolivia.
Born and raised in Marblehead, Massachusetts, Tatiana is a recent graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied theatre, global health, and civic engagement. Her interests lie at the intersection of ethical storytelling and collaborative action, particularly through the use of theatre as a tool for psychological healing and sociopolitical change. Prior to her studies at Northwestern, Tatiana spent a year on the educational staff at St. Innocent Orphanage in Rosarito, Mexico and has maintained a close relationship with that organization during the years since. During her junior year at Northwestern, Tatiana completed a capstone project in civic engagement to define best practices, assess community interest, and develop programming for a teaching garden on Chicago’s North Side. She spent the summer of 2017 in Havana, Cuba, studying forms of Cuban healthcare and healing both formal and informal and completing a workshop in Afro-Cuban theatrical forms with Havana-based Teatro Buendía. She looks forward to joining the team at Pueblo a Pueblo for this upcoming year.
Theresa graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Spanish (2014). It has long been her goal to work in every Spanish-speaking country. Theresa’s passion for Latin America and the Spanish language has taken her to Argentina to study health care and public health policy. In spring 2013, she studied Hispanic literature in Sevilla. That summer she interned with Médicos del Mundo in Madrid and helped to evaluate the organization’s endeavors in Africa and Latin America. Her main interests lie in global health, community outreach, masculinity and how perceptions of masculinity impact health outcomes and health-seeking behavior. In 2014, Theresa won the Parker Huang Undergraduate Travel Fellowship to conduct a yearlong investigation of the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents in rural Mexican communities. With Comunidad Connect, Theresa is excited to augment her appreciation of Latin America while deepening her understanding of the health needs of rural communities. She will continue for a second year with Comunidad Connect as a PiLA senior fellow.
Tess graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2014 with a major in Spanish and minor in Latin American Studies. As an undergraduate she studied abroad in Cuzco, Peru, an experience that launched her interest in Andean literatures and cultures, particularly the experiences of Andean youth. While there she researched the impact of Peruvian reality TV programing on youth identity formation, and upon returning home completed a senior honors thesis on discrimination against Peruvian Quechua-speakers. Tess recently completed an M.A. in Spanish at UNH, where she continued her study of Andean youth culture and the performance of cultural identities. Tess is excited to return to South America and continue her exploration of Andean cultures, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with CENIT. In her spare time Tess enjoys reading, trail running, and taking care of the animals on her family’s small farm.
Originally from Warner Robins, Georgia, Tiffany graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish (2014). As a UGA student, in addition to studying educational methodology and pedagogy, Tiffany became involved in the local Hispanic community and developed a passion for addressing concerns affecting the community. After studying abroad and interning at an international school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tiffany developed an interest in narrative creation and popular portrayals of minority experiences. She received a research fellowship to return to Argentina and study the Afro-Argentine consciousness movement, there she interviewed grassroots organizations about their efforts to increase their visibility in the national Argentine narrative. Following graduation, Tiffany moved to Medellin, Colombia and started working as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at Universidad de Antioquia. There, she continued to nurture her interests in language and community narrative creation through her student and wider community interactions. She hopes to one day found a comprehensive Family Literacy Center and offer study abroad scholarships to students from underrepresented backgrounds. Tiffany is thrilled for the opportunity to bridge her interests in Latin America and community education through her work with Yspaniola, where she remains for a second year as a senior PiLA fellow.
PiLA and Tiffany gratefully acknowledge the support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making her fellowship possible. Tiffany is also a recipient of the Christianson Grant from InterExchange to support her work with Yspaniola.
Born in Peru, Valerie graduated from New York University (2014) with a degree in international politics. While at NYU, she also studied in Spain with concentrations in European politics and Spanish literature. An avid traveler, Valerie recently completed a Junior Fellowship for the United Nations University in Tokyo. She was a consultant in an impact-evaluation field study for FAIRTRASA farmer associations in northern Peru, work that informed her interest in monitoring and evaluation work. She has supported Ebola emergency preparedness at Médecins Sans Frontières USA (Doctors without Borders), developed capacity building workshops for Amazonian indigenous communities at Land Is Life, and produced performance reports for UNICEF USA. Valerie is very excited to join the WFP food-security analysis team, and looks forward to a rewarding experience living and working in Panama.
Vanessa graduated from Princeton in 2017 with a degree in anthropology and certificates in Spanish as well as Latin American studies. During the course of her time at Princeton, in addition to playing on the women’s varsity basketball team, which she captained, Vanessa studied in Spain at the Universidad de Navarra, and in Chile at the Universidad Diego Portales. In Chile, she also worked for a summer with the nonprofit Fundación La Fuente, which promotes literacy and funded underprivileged libraries throughout the country. She is excited to be a part of the Mariposa team and continue to learn and contribute to its goals.
PiLA and Vanessa gratefully acknowledge the support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making her fellowship possible.
Victor graduated from Middlebury College in 2016 with a concentration in Japanese and minors in Portuguese and Education Studies. At Middlebury, he co-founded a dance team, worked closely with residential life, and took an active part in many affinity clubs. His love for Middlebury encouraged him to stay an additional two years at his alma matter, where he worked as an Admissions Counselor who recruited and helped select each incoming class. Outside of the classroom and office, Victor loves to train in martial arts--which he has been practicing for over ten years--and dance to Latin American/Hip-hop music. Although a proud New Yorker from Manhattan and The Bronx, he has also lived in Dominican Republic, Florida, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and Vermont. Victor looks forward to his work at the Mariposa Foundation as a martial arts and dance instructor (and to new adventures in the Dominican Republic!).
Victoria is a global health activist devoted to grounding health policy in the grassroots efforts of communities, health practitioners, and care recipients. She has a special interest in and experience with migrant health. She is a graduate of Pomona College in Claremont, California (2018) with a B.A. in Public Policy Analysis concentrating in Biology and a minor in Cognitive Science. Her senior thesis was entitled: “No Mandate Without Acceptance: Lessons and Recommendations for HPV Vaccination Legislation in California,” and provided an extensive overview of the barriers to Human Papillomavirus vaccine acceptance and use nationally and practical policy recommendations to increase vaccine use for various stakeholder groups. She has interned in various domestic and international governmental and private organizations. She worked on reproductive rights and children’s health programs in the office of US Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT); translated for and provided short-term insurance registration services to limited English speaking immigrants at the major hospital in Pomona, California; carried out research on migrant health service provision in Central Asia while interning for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Vienna, Austria; and helped develop policy to prevent intimate partner violence and promote HPV vaccination at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Victoria has also carried out extensive ethnographic and qualitative research, including on primarily Sub-Saharan migrant access to healthcare in Morocco and the importance of peer health educators while studying abroad in Rabat in 2016, and most recently for her senior thesis. She is fluent in Spanish and German, and has studied Mandarin Chinese and Arabic. Originally from Washington, DC, she lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina as a child. She is thrilled to return to Latin America and join the DREAM Project’s team in Cabarete to work in support of several of their programs, focusing on youth health education and documentation issues.
A proud native of the Chicagoland area, Vidya holds a B.A. in Spanish and sociology from Fordham University (2013). Through courses that centered on indigenous rights, dictatorships, and grassroots revolutions, she quickly became fascinated by Latin American culture, politics, and resilience, and decided to study in Lima for her junior year. There she conducted research on Peruvian health and social relations, which inspired her undergraduate research on the social dimensions of epidemiology. Since graduation, Vidya has furthered her interest in health and immigration. She worked as a legal assistant at an immigration law firm, where she confronted the gaping inequalities and bureaucratic nature of U.S. immigration policy. She also worked at a physician’s office and translated medical inquiries and concerns for Spanish-speaking patients. Vidya is an avid Bharatanatyam South Indian Classical dancer and fitness enthusiast. She is grateful to have performed with Natya Dance Theatre, a Chicago-based nonprofit that fosters cultural exchange through dance and spiritually aesthetic experience. Vidya is eager to start working as a program assistant at Impacta-Perú, where she will help coordinate outreach programs and research investigations. She will pursue a master’s in public health next year at the University of Illinois-Chicago, using her PiLA experience to advance the objectives of public service, community development, and positive social change.
PiLA and Vidya gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making her Impacta placement possible.
Vivian was born in Manila, Philippines and grew up in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She studied history, international studies, and Spanish at Wittenberg University (2017), where she fostered her love of intercultural exchange and dialogue through her work at the Office of International Education and as the president of the American International Association on campus. She first traveled to Mexico to study Spanish the summer of 2015, where she then volunteered with an organization promoting food sovereignty in Oaxaca. She then returned as an exchange student to Puebla where she also taught English to preschoolers. Vivian recently completed the two-summer US Foreign Service Internship Program which took her to Washington, DC and Lisbon, Portugal to work primarily on program management (highlights were helping with the Mandela Washington Fellowship Presidential Summit and the Women in Leadership Seminar by the Association of Women Ambassadors in Portugal). Most recently she has found herself in the classroom again working for her local Head Start program. In the future Vivian seeks to combine her varied interests by pursuing a degree in education or law with the hope of a career in helping others.
Viviana majored in sociology at Princeton University (2014). A native Spanish speaker who has also studied French and Portuguese, she has traveled often to Chile to visit extended family, while also working in Honduras and Bulgaria, and studying in Cape Town, South Africa. Viviana is interested in working in development; she has undertaken three extended internships with nonprofit NGOs. The first was with El Centro in Trenton, New Jersey, which provides legal counsel, clothing, and food to low-income Hispanic families. The second was with OYE Honduras, an NGO in El Progreso, Yoro, Honduras that provides scholarships and activities to ambitious disadvantaged youth. The third was with at the Bread Houses Network, a program under the I3C NGO that brings people together over bread-making workshops. On campus, she was involved in tango and salsa classes, was co-president of the International Food Co-op, wrote and copy edited for the Daily Princetonian student newspaper, and served on the board of the Hispanic cultural group.
Since Watson can remember, he has been playing soccer, and with all three boys in his family playing competitively, it seemed that nearly every weekend he was at a soccer tournament somewhere with his two younger brothers, who became his close friends. The family moved from Knoxville to the small town of Maryville when he was in the sixth grade so the boys could go to “better” public schools, but because Maryville did not have the same enrichment program, he basically ended up having to repeat a year of school. While he continued to get good grades, he became very disengaged and focused on matters outside of school, mostly soccer, but also swimming and hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains. He chose Sewanee (2013) because it recruited him for soccer and it was close to home. While he planned to study hard sciences, he got wrapped up in the social sciences via an anthropology of education course that entailed working in an after-school program. From there he hasn’t looked back, diving into this world and the opportunities he has found. Watson won a postgraduate Fulbright scholarship that took him to work in San Pedro Sula, Honduras to carry out research on NGOs and youth development efforts there.
Prior to becoming a PiLA fellow, Will worked as Special Assistant to the President at InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs. In three years at InterAction, he coordinated high-level advocacy to reform U.S. foreign assistance and build partnerships between U.S. NGOs and the U.S. government, and assisted the CEO with writing and talking points. Will earned his bachelor’s in international relations from Tufts University (2011), graduating Phi Beta Kappa. At Tufts he helped implement agricultural development projects in Guatemala and studied in Bolivia, where he conducted field research on political division and development. He has interned with the Inter-American Dialogue and on the Hill. Will joined DREAM as its Monitoring, Evaluation, and Research Fellow, while also immersing himself in Dominican culture and playing pickup fútbol.
Xavier is an Atlanta native and credits the extensive Mexican-American population there for sparking his interest in Latin America. He graduated from Temple University (2015) with a B.A. in Spanish and a minor in Portuguese. Throughout, Xavier was involved in various activities that developed his interest in helping to better the North Philadelphia community. He was a mentor at Big Brother Big Sister of Southeastern Pennsylvania, which led to a position at Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia. Xavier studied in Havana (Universidad de La Habana) and in Barranquilla at Universidad del Norte, and traveled extensively throughout Colombia. A trip to Quibdó, Chocó Department, was a defining experience that caused him to shift his academic interest from Spanish language to human rights. Xavier subsequently undertook two internships in the Dominican Republic, as a U.S. acculturation teacher with the Dominican Summer League of Major League Baseball, and as a general operations intern at TECHO-República Dominicana. Xavier is ecstatic to work with Developing Minds and return to Colombia. After PiLA, Xavier will serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique, after which he anticipates graduate in study human rights and international relations.
An American University alumna who left her native Jamaica in pursuit of economic opportunities, Yanique’s research interests concern the economic, political, and socio-cultural factors that lead people from Latin America and the Caribbean to migrate, and the cultural and political strategies they employ to create structures and entities to ensure their livelihoods in the U.S. and Western Europe. Yanique’s interests include addressing the endemic poverty, inequality, and extreme violence that fuels migration. In the long-term, she wishes to contribute to restructuring the social and economic order in the Caribbean and Latin America by shaping U.S. foreign policy to promote social inclusion of marginalized communities. Yanique worked with Latino immigrant communities as a citizenship and English tutor for Spanish-speaking clients at the Central American Resource Advocacy Center (CARECEN) in Washington, D.C. As president of American University’s Caribbean Students Association, she cultivated cultural and political awareness through policy roundtables and conferences with economists, development experts, and members of the region’s diplomatic corps. Yanique also helped create platforms for youth to voice concerns over U.S. foreign policy, development strategy, and immigration reform to White House officials, members of Congress, and youth coordinators at the Inter-American Development Bank. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to design and implement the Government of Cantabria-Botín Foundation’s curriculum-based Global Classrooms program at a bilingual high school in northern Spain, before heading to Panama City as a PiLA fellow with the United Nations World Food Programme regional office.
Yesenia Ortiz was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from Harvard University, majoring in the studies of women, gender and sexuality, with a minor in Latino studies. Her passion for social issues informed her involvement outside of the classroom as well. She participated in a mentoring program geared towards gender issues, and was a member of a traditional Mexican folk dance troupe. She also served as a student coordinator for the First Generation Program in the Admissions Office, focusing on outreach to other prospective first-generation college students. As an undergrad, she spent two summers interning with a gender and justice organization in Buenos Aires. Yesenia is eager to continue pursuing opportunities that will allow her to engage with social justice work in communities she cares about, working with Worldfund Mexico in 2017–18.
Yihemba graduated from Princeton University (2017) with a Bachelor’s in politics and certificates in Spanish and Latin American studies. As an undergraduate, she studied abroad in Spain and Chile. She has conducted field research for independent projects on the legacy of military dictatorship in Santiago, Chile and experience of Afro-descendants in the Colombian peace process. Her professional experiences include work as an academic instructor for young students, public policy intern in the U.S. House of Representatives, and communications and reporting intern at The Resource Foundation, a nonprofit that connects donors and development organizations in Latin America. Driven by a passion for service to others and cross-cultural engagement, Yihemba plans to pursue a career in global development. She is very excited about the opportunity to work in Guatemala and learn more about young women’s empowerment through education.
Zach graduated from American University (2014) with a BA in international studies and Spanish and Latin America language and area studies. Subsequently he studied at the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, and carried out research at the Mexico Solidarity Network in Tlaxcala, Chiapas, and Mexico City, researching international development, grassroots community organizing, and the monitoring and evaluation of social change. He has interned at the US Agency for International Development in the Office of the Inspector General, Global Kids, Inc., and Sister Cities International (all in Washington, DC). Zachary also has volunteered with Smiles with Hope/Sonrisas con Esperanza (Costa Rica), Hope for the Children Foundation (Nicaragua), and DC Reads and Big Brothers, Big Sisters (Washington, DC). During his 2014-2015 PiLA fellowship, Zachary worked as the Volunteer Coordinator at the Centro de la Niña Trabajadora in Quito, Ecuador. Continuing as a PiLA senior fellow, he worked with the World Food Programme in Quito.