Recent Luce Scholars
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Luce Scholar Bios
Jacob P. Bogart
Degree: B.A. in Globalization Studies and French, Ohio State University
Nominating Institution: Tulane University
Field of Professional Interest: Human Rights and the United Nations
Jacob Bogart will graduate summa cum laude, Phi Kappa Phi, and with honors research distinction with a B.A. in Globalization Studies and French, with a minor in Geography, from The Ohio State University in May 2014. He hopes to eventually pursue a degree in law, focusing on international human rights law, and work for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. While an undergraduate, Jacob was the president of Amnesty International at OSU, a delegate for his model United Nations team, a peer research mentor, a page at the Ohio State House, and resident advisor. His interest in human rights led him to spend a summer in Haiti, conducting independent research on how non-governmental organizations have affected tent camps after the 2010 earthquake. Jacob presented his research on NGOs at an international conference on sustainability in Hiroshima, Japan. While in Haiti, Jacob also worked for the Haitian American Caucus as a primary education intern, researching Haitian education policy and teaching English classes. During his junior year, he studied abroad in Geneva, Switzerland, where he worked for Human Rights Watch as an advocacy intern, attending the 21st session of the Human Rights Council. In addition to his internship, he had the fortune of working as a researcher for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on North Korea, co-authoring a report used as an annex in an United Nations resolution. Jacob spent last spring abroad in Paris where he lived with a host family, volunteered at a local non-profit, and studied French at the Sorbonne. After his year abroad, Jacob spent a summer at Princeton University as a Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute Fellow. This spring, Jacob will have the opportunity to represent the United States on multiple occasions. First, he is travelling with USA-Maghreb Youth Debates to Morocco to debate students in French on youth-related issues. After graduating, Jacob will leave for Munich, Germany, where, as a Head of State delegate, he will attend the G20 Youth Summit, authoring communiqués and interacting with youth from around the world. In his free time, Jacob loves to read, travel, rap at karaoke, and eat cheese.
Benjamin John Chin
Degree: B.A. in Public health and Linguistics, Rutgers University
Nominating Institution: Rutgers University
Field of Professional Interest: International Drug Policy and Addiction Treatment & Recovery
Ben Chin, now 25 years old, has been in recovery from addiction since age 19. He is currently a senior at Rutgers University majoring in Public Health and Linguistics, and plans to pursue a law degree with his sights set on influencing public health policy both in the United States and abroad. At Rutgers, Ben has been a resident and active member of the Rutgers Recovery House as well as a leader of the Rutgers Mountainview Project, an organization supporting ex-offenders as they make the transition from incarceration to higher education. In addition, Ben has participated in a number of leadership development activities on campus, including the Rising Leaders Institute, the Leadership Quest Summer Program, and the Cap and Skull Senior Honors Society. Beyond Rutgers, Ben is a founding member of the non-profit organization Young People in Recovery (YPR), a grassroots organization that mobilizes young people to advocate for improved recovery support services. Ben has also completed an internship at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services, where he worked in the Office of Planning, Policy, and Innovation. In January 2013, Ben and a colleague from YPR established PTR Associates, a consulting firm dedicated to creating recovery-oriented solutions in order to address disparities in the delivery of prevention, treatment, and recovery services. In its first year, PTR Associates has worked with both the federal government and multiple state governments as well as such nationally recognized organizations as Hazelden, the Treatment Research Institute, and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. This past spring Ben was selected as the New Jersey recipient of the 2013 Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Ben wishes to thank his family as well as his mentors and friends at Rutgers for supporting him throughout his journey.
Joshua A. Cole
Degree: B.A. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and French Studies, Boston University
Nominating Institution: Boston University
Field of Professional Interest: Global Health
Raised in a rich cultural environment in Atlanta, Georgia, Joshua Cole developed artistic and intellectual interests early on as a humanist and a scientist. At Boston University, Joshua pursued a dual degree in French studies and biochemistry and molecular biology. During summer 2013, he conducted research at the University of Pennsylvania where he characterized the effect of Flaxseeds on HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders and the modulation of cell receptors vital to HIV entry. His results showed a reduction in HIV entry and oxidative stress in the brain, which may influence therapies for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Joshua also interned with Act-up Paris in 2012, which is the leading HIV/AIDS advocacy group in France that seeks to reduce the hardship of the AIDS pandemic. That same year, Joshua investigated malarial infection via Plasmodium falciparum at Tufts University where he identified four novel parasite ligands, which may contribute to the basis of a multi-unit vaccine. In October 2012, he presented his research at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) where the American Physiological Society honored him with an award for his presentation. In addition to his research, Joshua also studied the mathematical modeling of HIV and influenza epidemics through the Outreach Conference created by the HSPH Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics. Through these experiences, Joshua has learned about the socio-cultural norms, local realities, and developmental factors that affect health around the world, which has inspired him to pursue a career in assessing traditional medical systems and addressing global issues of infectious diseases, malnutrition, and health disparity. He is committed to improving the health of populations through integrative practices and policies, such as the integration of traditional and allopathic medicine. As a humanist, Joshua has a natural inclination to learn languages. He enjoys speaking French, Spanish, and Portuguese and plans to learn Amharic and Arabic. He is a Gates Millennium Scholar as well as a Posse Scholar and mentor.
Matthew D. Cook
Degree: B.A. in Architecture, University of Notre Dame
Nominating Institution: University of Notre Dame
Field of Professional Interest: Architecture and Urban Planning
Matt is an architecture and Italian language student in his final semester at the University of Notre Dame. After a childhood spent drawing in and around the fantastic buildings of his native Chicago, Matt chose to study architecture and urban design in order to continue cultivating his creativity while working with and for others on a daily basis. While he loves the aesthetic puzzle of every design, it is really the human element of architecture that makes the profession so appealing for Matt. His studies have allowed him to travel extensively, and his enriching experiences both at home and abroad have greatly influenced his understanding of the role of tradition in architecture. From Rome (where he studied for a year) to China to the American South, Matt is most moved by traditional architecture and the story it tells about a people and their history. Most recently, Matt’s travels led him to Havana, Cuba, where he and his studio produced an urban masterplan for an abandoned waterfront site. In addition to planning several new blocks containing civic buildings, public space, and affordable housing, Matt also designed a 750 seat concert hall, faced in local stone, on a site adjacent to a primary public plaza. This semester, Matt will complete his thesis design for a winery in Vernazza, a coastal village in northwest Italy that was hit by catastrophic landslides in 2011. The winery will provide a link between the town and its natural setting, reinvigorating the traditional viticultural economy of Vernazza while making the land safer for human habitation by increasing cultivation. Matt has also been a lifelong student of languages; he started learning French at age five and began his study of Italian when he started college. He now has the pleasure of helping others pursue mastery of a language in his role as a French and Italian tutor at Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures. When he does (occasionally) leave his drafting desk, Matt can be found making music with his friends, either at the piano, which he has played since age five, or on the guitar his grandfather built. He also enjoys woodworking and is currently working on a wine cabinet to accompany his thesis design. Matt hopes that by looking to the past to generate design solutions for the future, his work will bring renewed awareness to the importance of tradition in architecture.
Joshua B. Freedman
Degree: B.A. in Public Policy, Stanford University
Nominating Institution: Stanford University
Field of Professional Interest: Public Policy and Journalism
Josh Freedman is a policy analyst in the Economic Growth Program at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, DC. In this role, he researches and writes about economic and social policy in the United States. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Reuters, Quartz, CNN.com, and a variety of other print and online publications. Josh is also a contributing writer for Forbes magazine online, covering the political economics of higher education. He is interested in the philosophical foundations of public policy decisions and institutions, the intersection of the government and the economy, and the design of social insurance programs. Josh graduated with a B.A. in Public Policy (concentration: Ethics) from Stanford University in 2011, where he received the Ann C. Seminara award for Outstanding Senior in Public Policy and the Outstanding Senior Practicum award for a project on high school graduation standards in California. While in school, he interned at National Journal magazine, conducted research on political corruption connected to the nonprofit sector, and worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant in the Public Policy Program. He served as editor-in-chief of The Unofficial Stanford Blog, the independent student blog, and wrote, acted, and produced comedy as part of Stanford’s sketch comedy troupe. When not thinking about the economy or philosophy, Josh enjoys making people laugh: He performs standup and improv comedy and is a frequent contributor to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, an online humor magazine. His satirical essay, “It’s Not You, It’s Quantitative Cost-Benefit Analysis” was selected for inclusion in the forthcoming book, “The Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.” Josh hails from the oft-maligned state of New Jersey.
Nicole S. Gunawansa
Degree: B.S. in Neuroscience, Washington & Lee University
Nominating Institution: Washington & Lee University
Field of Professional Interest: Medicine and Public Health
Nicole Gunawansa grew up in a lively Sri Lankan household in Portsmouth, Virginia. After spending a significant amount of time volunteering at hospitals and homeless shelters in and around Portsmouth, Nicole developed a deep-seeded interest in medicine and the role that poverty plays in equal access to medical treatment. In May 2014 Nicole will graduate from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia with a B.S. in neuroscience and an added emphasis in Poverty and Human Capability Studies. As a Washington and Lee University Robert E. Lee Research Scholar, Nicole has spent four years participating in behavioral neurological research that focuses on the impact of obesity and gonadal hormones on spatial and episodic cognition. Her research was well received at the National Society of Neuroscience conference in November of 2013, and a paper on this topic is slated for submission to the Journal of Physiology and Behavior in the spring of 2014. Nicole is a Bonner Scholar and AmeriCorps member and has dedicated over 900 hours to both domestic and international community service. She has worked with various organizations throughout the Lexington community, including the Rockbridge Area Health Center, the Leadership Team of W&L Campus Kitchens, and several local afterschool programs. She also spent time volunteering in Birmingham, Alabama, where she worked with programs such as Alabama A+ and Focus First to promote the welfare of Birmingham youth. In an attempt to further explore the relationship between medicine and poverty, Nicole became involved with the Rockbridge Community Health Needs Assessment via the MAPP Project (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnership) in 2012. She also spent a semester abroad in Denmark studying the impact of the Scandinavian Healthcare Model on different sectors of European society. In the summer of 2013, Nicole was awarded both a Johnson Opportunity Grant and a Shepherd Consortium International Internship, enabling her to spend two months in Ghana teaching English at Ashaiman Apostolic Academy and volunteering at Kaneshie Polyclinic. Nicole’s record of domestic and international service, in conjunction with her background in science, motivates her to pursue her dream of becoming a physician capable of catering to the underprivileged populations of the world.
Joël J. Hage
Degree: B.A., Global Studies, International Politics and
Middle East Area Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Nominating Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Field of Professional Interest: International Development and Urban Planning
Joël Hage is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), where he majors in global studies and minors in the Arabic language. A Morehead-Cain Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Joël has conducted ethnographic research across the Mediterranean interned with a community development organization in South Africa and a global impact-investing firm in Washington, D.C. Committed to a community-based approach to international development, Joël has had opportunities to immerse himself in rural and urban communities in Guatemala, Lebanon, Italy, Mexico, and South Africa. In addition to co-authoring a textbook chapter comparing immigration policy in the U.S. and Europe, Joël is currently writing an honors thesis focusing on public opinion surrounding electoral reform in multi-confessional Lebanon. Back at UNC, as a member of the executive board of the Campus Y—the university's center for social justice—Joël has worked closely with passionate students and community organizations on issues ranging from immigration inequality, access to education, and youth empowerment. Also at UNC, Joël has organized workshops and orientations on global engagement, founded an organization to provide scholarships for South African children of color, and is currently teaching a seminar course on Lebanon. Joël hopes to assist marginalized communities both domestically and internationally through a career at the crossroads of urban planning and international development.
Degree: B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University
Nominating Institution: Cornell University
Field of Professional Interest:International Labor Law
Michelle Huang will graduate from Cornell University in May of 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations and a minor in Law and Society. She began her undergraduate education at Wellesley College, where she discovered her interest in economics, law and policy. Outside of class, she found a mouthpiece for her interest at the college radio station, WZLY, where she was appointed News Director in her first year. Inspired by her experiences at a women’s college, Michelle worked at the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, where she analyzed progress and drafted grants for programs supporting UN Security Council Resolutions on women and peace and security. After transferring to Cornell, these interests culminated in an interdisciplinary study of labor and employment law. Her junior year, she worked at the New York City Commission on Human Rights where she aided in the successful settlement of a multi-complainant race discrimination suit by conducting proof in pattern and practice statistical analysis. Her senior year, she worked at Proskauer Rose, where she helped develop and organize an online database for the firm’s archival case reference material. She also assisted in a pro-bono case filling a U-Visa for a noncitizen crime victim. Academically, Michelle has been placed on the ILR School Dean’s List every semester and expects to graduate with honors, pending completion of her thesis research on local adaptations to globalization in the New York City Garment District. Michelle’s interest in the intersection of economics, law and policy has inspired her to pursue competition in both collegiate policy debate and British Parliamentary debate for the Cornell Forensics Society, where she currently serves as the Vice President of External Relations. Notably, she is the first member of the society to achieve competitive success in both policy and British Parliamentary debate. Beyond competition, Michelle also performs outreach at the Finger Lakes Residential Center, where she spends time teaching juvenile delinquents about debate and public speaking. In her free time, Michelle enjoys blogging about her amateur forays into cooking and maintaining her black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Cindy K. Y. Lung
Degrees: B.A. in Education Studies and Sociology, Brown University;
M.A. in Urban Education Policy, Brown University
Nominating Institution: Brown University
Field of Professional Interest: Education Research and Policy
Cindy Lung was born in San Francisco and raised in nearby San Lorenzo, California, where she attended public schools for her primary and secondary education. Raised by a hard-working immigrant mother who worked as a janitor, Cindy became the first in her family to graduate from high school. In 2008, she entered Brown University in Rhode Island and studied education psychology, policy, and history. At Brown, she received the Evelyn Jacobs Reisman and Karen T. Romer undergraduate research awards to conduct achievement tests and qualitative interviews with low-income Chinese immigrant children and their mothers to document their learning beliefs and how their beliefs influence their actual learning and achievement. In addition to her research, Cindy served as a teaching assistant for an introductory sociology course and a graduate-level research methodology course. Her interests in teaching led her to conduct TOEFL practice sessions with international high school students for three summers, teach English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at a community center, and lead an adult ESOL literacy program that provides free ESOL courses for adult immigrants in Providence, Rhode Island. After completing her Bachelor’s in Education Studies and Sociology, Cindy pursued her Master’s in Education Policy at Brown and interned at Rhode Island Kids Count where she was a contributing writer and data analyst for the organization’s annual publication that examines sixty-eight indicators that affect the lives of children. Currently, Cindy serves as Fulbright Fellow in Prizren, Kosovo, where she assists with English instruction at a public elementary school and collects student-level data through focus groups and questionnaires to examine Kosovar youth perspectives of higher education and how government agencies, schools, and community-based agencies could help more Kosovar students enroll in and succeed in college.
Katherine G. McDaniel
Degree: B.S. in Molecular, Cellular and Development Biology, Yale College
Nominating Institution: Yale University
Field of Professional Interest: Global Health
Katherine McDaniel was born and raised in Bloomington, IN, the daughter of a biomedical engineer and a nurse-midwife. She grew up appreciating the power of both scientific innovations and patient-level efforts to improve human health, and hopes to incorporate both into a career as a physician focusing on global health. Katherine will graduate from Yale College in May with a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Her research, conducted both at Yale and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, seeks to inhibit bacterial group behavior and thus guide development of therapeutics less likely to provoke resistance as compared to standard antibiotics. In addition to her scientific pursuits, she has developed a keen interest in the health of disadvantaged populations, starting with her work as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking patients at Yale’s HAVEN Free Clinic. Her experience at HAVEN prompted her to join the Yale-Ecuador HIV Clinic Initiative (YEHCI), which allowed her to work in Ecuador for a summer doing global health research, HIV testing, and sexual health education. She later served as Outreach Director and Co-Executive Director of YEHCI, guiding its evolution into a new initiative - Student Partnerships for Global Health. Inspired by her experience in Ecuador and preparing other students for the same, she is now conducting survey- and interview-based research on how global health research experiences impact students and their host communities. The initial findings are being used to shape Yale’s pre-departure training for global health researchers and will inspire case studies about student global health ethics in Global Health 101, 3rd Edition. Katherine also works as a research assistant to Professor Richard Skolnik, the author of this textbook. In addition to providing academic insights, these experiences have fostered a delight in learning from other cultures. A Christian, she joined a Jewish, Hebrew and Israeli a cappella group her freshman year and has since embraced Jewish culture and become proficient in Hebrew. She has knit and shared patterns with knitters on five continents, played French horn with groups ranging from the Yale Concert Band to South African and Lithuanian street bands, and enjoyed Argentine tango lessons taught in Hebrew. As Katherine prepares for a medical career, she looks forward to continuing to learn from many places and people and uniting those perspectives for benefit of global health.
Kyle W. Niezgoda
Degree: B.S. in Environmental Science / B.A. in Mathematics, Emory University
Nominating Institution: Emory University
Field of Professional Interest: Climatology and Meteorology
Kyle hails from a small town just outside of Dover, Delaware. He is a recent graduate from Emory University in Atlanta, where he double majored in Environmental Science and Mathematics. During his time at Emory, he worked in a lab studying pollination ecology and honey bee declines. Kyle spent two summers doing ecological field research for his advisor at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory near Aspen, Colorado. At the RMBL, Kyle and his lab team experimentally removed a single pollinator species from a field site and then observed how the foraging behaviors of the remaining pollinator species changed. The lab team found that these changes in foraging behavior negatively effected the reproductive fitness of wildflowers pollinated by the bee species, reducing seed set by up to 30%. At Emory, he has carried out independent research studying the effects of El Niño/La Niña phenomena on the flowering phenology of plants from the RMBL and surrounding areas. He is currently involved in a research project trying to tease apart the details of new pollination network data that were gathered recently. While Kyle’s main research focus in school has been of bees and pollination, his career interests lie in the climatological and atmospheric sciences, stemming from a childhood spent almost entirely outdoors where an appreciation for nature flourished. He hopes to one day use his research experience and mathematical knowledge to enter the complex field of climate modeling and prediction to address important questions facing our planet, such as pollution control and management. Kyle is an avid percussionist of 11 years and a life-long music enthusiast. He enjoys crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay and spends most of his holiday time at home fishing on a family owned pond. He spends the majority of his time outside and will jump at the opportunity to take a long backpacking trip, go camping, or just take a short day hike. He also enjoys skiing, but opportunities are limited due the lack of mountainous topography in Delaware and Atlanta.
Andrew T. Peters
Degree: B.A. in Linguistics, Carlton College
M.D., Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University (expected 2017)
Nominating Institution: Northwestern University
Field of Professional Interest: Medicine and Neurolinguistics
Andrew Peters was born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota. A lifelong fascination with language, its content, and its structure drove his studies at nearby Carleton College, where he graduated summa cum laude in 2013 with a B.A. in linguistics, with distinction for his thesis project on mathematical models for Spanish phonology. He travelled to Kyoto for an all-too-brief trimester studying Japanese linguistics at Doshisha University in 2012. Andrew has a passion not just for linguistics but for language learning, having studied Latin, Spanish, and Japanese. He developed these pursuits alongside a long-held affinity for science and medicine, picking up hard-science classes at Carleton and immersing himself in HIV research for three summers at the Mayo Clinic. His work there and his experiences with Mayo physicians galvanized his desire for a medical career, and eventually his move to Chicago in fall 2013 to attend Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. He is particularly interested in speech disorders, as they represent an area where medicine and linguistics critically overlap, which he currently studies as a member of Northwestern's Aphasia and Neurolinguistics Research Laboratory. He hopes to seriously pursue and maintain this research interest, but views working with patients as the purpose and focus of his future career. Working with infectious disease physicians and their need for global and public-health competency have also influenced his perspective on medicine. Outside of classes, Andrew has found teaching and tutoring fulfilling; he worked as a Writing Center tutor throughout his Carleton career and currently volunteers at an after-school science program for middle schoolers in Humboldt Park, Chicago. He has always been a musician, playing piano and horn, and performing in orchestras in his hometown and at Carleton. Music - along with reading, writing, the outdoors, and of course time with family and friends - is what keeps him mindful, open, and inspired.
Will F. Poff-Webster
Degree: B.A. in History, Harvard College
Nominating Institution: Harvard University
Field of Professional Interest: Government Policy/ Education and Urban Policy
Will Poff-Webster grew up in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. He first encountered political activism at age 8 when he canvassed his neighbors with his mom to get their street repaved. As a junior in the Boston Public Schools, he started a community organizing effort with students across neighborhood and race lines to restore budget cuts to public education. He joined the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC), advocating for education reform in the Boston Teachers Union contract alongside business, community, faith, and parent groups. As an alumni staff member at BSAC he helped lead the campaign that made student feedback a component of teacher evaluations across Massachusetts. As a student at Harvard College graduating in 2014, Will majors in History with a smattering of classes in Government, Spanish, Sociology, and International Relations. He is writing his senior thesis on the political impact of gang violence in the Roman Republic, exploring how urban class conflict interacted with political revolution in the first century BC that has relevance for unstable and developing countries today. Will’s experience outside the classroom has been equally meaningful; this year, as President of the College Democrats of Massachusetts, he has advocated for greater youth input on issues like public transit, tuition affordability, housing, campus sexual assault policies, the minimum wage, and modernized voter registration. He moderated a youth forum with the Boston Mayoral candidates and brought more public college chapters into the College Democrats. During his summers, Will has taught environmental justice to at-risk teens at a Boston youth program, interned on education policy with Boston Mayor Tom Menino, campaigned for Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and worked for Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s Office of CitiStat on data analytics. He is passionate about the intersection of local government and data-driven policy analysis that can lead to better outcomes in everything from education to road maintenance to gang violence reduction. He believes data collection must be responsive to the experiences of constituents, and has combined data with his passion for education reform by co-founding the Boston Student Union, an organization of Boston Public Schools students and college mentors that surveys students on issues that matter to them and advocates for student-centered educational improvement and equity between schools. In his free time, Will teaches American Civics to 5th graders in South Boston, reads about science fiction and foreign policy, and performs in a Harvard improvisational comedy troupe.
Kevin E. Schell
Degree: B.S.M.E. in Mechanical Engineering, Rice University
Nominating Institution: Rice University
Field of Professional Interest: Energy & Utilities
Kevin Schell currently works within the Finance group of the Helmsley Charitable Trust as the foundation’s Management Reporting Associate where he has worked on developing systems and metrics to help improve the Trust’s ability to effectively support its programs. Kevin graduated from Rice University in 2011 with a degree in mechanical engineering. While at Rice, Kevin spent much of his time outside of the classroom in the pool with the men’s water polo team, helping to coordinate committees at his residential college (Brown), and volunteering in Rice’s admissions office. Kevin also looked for every opportunity to demonstrate his enthusiasm for his school and regularly painted up for the Owls’ home football games. After graduating from Rice, Kevin joined McKinsey & Company’s Houston Office as a business analyst where he primarily worked with energy and industrial clients. During his time at McKinsey, Kevin was involved with recruiting and training new classes of business analysts. In his free time, Kevin likes cooking, running, and listening to classic rock. He is also an avid fan of light British automobiles and mediocre professional sports teams. Kevin misses Texas BBQ and pecan pie, but has developed a love for bagel sandwiches since moving to New York.
Katherine M. Schuler
Degree: B.F.A. in Fine Art, Corcoran College of Art and Design
Nominating Institution: George Washington University
Field of Professional Interest: Wildlife Conservation and Science Education through Art and Storytelling
Katie Schuler works at the intersection of art, entrepreneurship, community development and stewardship of the natural world. As a photographer and videographer, Katie has traveled to over fifteen countries across six continents documenting wildlife and their habitats. As an artist and producer, she has led outreach efforts to vulnerable communities and undereducated youth, both at home and abroad. Katie’s clients rank among the most recognizable in environmental education including National Geographic, The Smithsonian Institute, Conservation International, Woods Hole Oceanographic and PBS. Katie is a graduate of the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and a recipient of the prestigious Koenig Trust Scholarship. Katie embraces a collaborative, holistic approach to solving problems of sustainability and environmental awareness, and believes that visual storytelling can be a transformative experience that changes hearts and minds for the better. Katie currently resides in Washington, DC and is a proud native of Palm Harbor, Florida.
Audrey C. Stienon
Degree: B.A. in Political Science and Economy, Hunter College
Nominating Institution: Hunter College
Field of Professional Interest: International Political Economy and Development
Audrey Stienon is a native New Yorker who grew up in a Belgian-American household. Her yearly visits to family in Europe sparked her fascination with understanding the world at large, and prompted her to study international relations in college. She has pursued study-abroad opportunities in diverse settings, including China, Crete, Argentina, Russia, Ecuador and Costa Rica. In 2014, Audrey will graduate from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College with a double major in Political Science and Economics, and with a minor in Public Policy. She joined the Hunter College Model United Nations Team in 2011, and after her first semester, became the teacher’s assistant of the requisite course for all team members, and Head Delegate of the team during all competitions. Having grown up with a younger sister who has Rett Syndrome, a severe developmental disorder, Audrey has long been involved in local awareness campaigns for Rett Syndrome and is interested in understanding the differences between individuals and groups in order to learn how best to respect them and accommodate their needs. More recently, she brought that experience to her academic work. In the summer of 2013, Audrey worked as an intern at the International Disability Alliance, a disability-rights advocacy organization at the UN, and recently completed a public policy capstone thesis analyzing the ways in which New York State long-term care policies could be used to promote social integration for people with disabilities. While much of her work thus far has centered around the promotion of rights for people with disabilities, Audrey hopes to expand on the lessons she learned about the barriers facing this group, and pursue a career in which she can promote the integration into society of a range of traditionally marginalized groups around the world.
Meaghan C. Tobin
Degrees: B.S. in Food Studies, Nutrition and Public Health, New York University;
A.S. in Bakery and Pastry Arts, Johnson & Wales University
Nominating Institution: New York University
Field of Professional Interest: International Agriculture, Trade & Development
Meaghan Tobin is a Fellow at Meridian Institute, where she supports mediation and consensus-building processes around complex social and political issues with national and global implications. Meaghan provides support for policy dialogues, negotiations, and strategy development projects focused on food and health, agricultural development, natural resource management, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. At Meridian, Meaghan has helped to develop policy recommendations for local, state, and national policymakers to increase access to nutritious foods; assisted the U.S. government and ministries of foreign governments in evaluating results-based payment systems that reduce deforestation and environmental degradation in developing countries; and supported multi-stakeholder dialogues to inform the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiation process. Meaghan has also provided strategic support for projects targeting reduced emissions from oil consumption and production in North America, and contributed to the continued development of the Meridian Fellowship program. Meaghan graduated in 2012 from New York University, where she studied food studies, nutrition, and public health. She also took courses in economics and international politics, and her academic work focused on understanding the relationship between political and economic forces and the global food and agriculture system. During her time at NYU, Meaghan conducted research on open campus spaces to investigate the potential of developing innovative urban agriculture systems. She held a number of intern positions at regional agricultural development organizations, and served as President of Slow Food NYU. Prior to attending NYU, Meaghan graduated summa cum laude in 2010 with a degree in Baking & Pastry Arts from Johnson & Wales University. As part of her studies, Meaghan spent several months living in Ireland and working as a pastry chef at a resort hotel. She has also been an artisan bread baker and worked on farms in Massachusetts and New York's Hudson Valley. Meaghan grew up in New England and is an accomplished figure skater. She has an abiding love for languages and linguistic anthropology, and has studied Spanish, French, Arabic, Irish, and Mandarin Chinese.
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