Congratulations to the 2012 Graduate Fellows Program Recipients! Graduate fellows were selected through a competitive application process and then placed in prominent organizations around the world based on their interests in gender and public policy, environmental policy, and public health policy.

Anna Keegan
The F.W. de Klerk Foundation


Anna Keegan is a graduate student in the Master of International Affairs program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs where she is pursuing a concentration in human rights. She has interned with the United Nations Development Programme Gender Team in New York and recently completed a graduate research internship on gender and motherhood at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights.

 Prior to her graduate studies, Anna worked in the commercialization and technology transfer office at the US   Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado and served as a US Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia. She received a B.A. in Sociology & Anthropology from Colgate University and completed undergraduate internships at the International Institute of Boston, Mines Action Canada and the Balkans Peace Park Project in Albania.

Melanie Sharry
The Club of Madrid

Melanie Sharry is a graduate student at American University where she is pursuing her Master’s in Public Policy with a concentration in Global Governance. She graduated from Rhodes College in 2009 where she received her B.A. in International Studies with a minor in Spanish. Melanie is delighted to return again to Spain after studying there for six weeks during college.

Rehana Absar
The Council of Women World Leaders

Rehana Absar recently completed her first year of graduate school at American University"s School of Public Affairs where she is studying public policy, with a concentration in international relations.  Prior to graduate school, she worked at an international consulting firm for philanthropic management in Chicago, IL. Most recently she completed an internship with the Council on Foreign Relations where she provided research assistance to the International Institutions and Global Governance studies program. Rehana graduated from Marquette University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in Political Science. 

Z'leste Wanner
World Economic Forum

Z'leste Wanner is a Masters degree student in International Communication at American University's School of International Service, interested in innovation, entrepreneurship and global knowledge sharing networks.  Her studies are centered on building stronger alliances among diverse actors and sectors to collectively develop innovative and sustainable approaches to meet global challenges and improve our world.  At AU she recently served as a Graduate Assistant for the Kogod Global Management Institute, a course focused on training professionals to work in emerging markets.  She also serves on the board of the International Communication Student Forum, a student-led organization that promotes interaction among students, faculty, alumni and professionals working in the field of international communication.  Prior to beginning her Masters she worked in San Francisco with an entrepreneur to develop two startup companies in online entertainment and alternative health focusing on communications and business development.  Her other professional experience includes work with education, health and social services nonprofits.  Following her undergraduate degree, Z’leste spent 3 years living in Santiago, Chile working as an English teacher, translator and for an executive education and professional development company.  She has also volunteered with social development programs in Colombia, Brazil and Tanzania.  She holds a Bachelors degree in Global Studies, Socioeconomics and Politics from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Ketaki Desai  

Ketaki Desai is pursuing a Masters degree from the School of Public Policy and Management at the Heinz College in Carnegie Mellon University. She completed her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Texas A&M University, after which she spent a year conducting research on the effects of smoking on pregnancy at the Magee-Womens Research Institute, Pittsburgh. Following that, she worked as a Program Manager for the Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Pittsburgh, managing large, federally funded research grants including a Department of Defense funded program for Gynecologic Cancer. As a student at the Heinz College, she led a team that recently won the Hult Global Case Challenge in New York, providing a solution for One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) to reach 10 million children with learning through technology in five years. Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus was on the judging panel for this competition, and the winners were announced by Pres. Bill Clinton. She is also the President of TEDxCMU and actively participates in several organizations on campus.

Stephanie Tung
Ministry of Human Services & Social Security, Guyana

Stephanie Tung is a Master of Public Administration student at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, studying economic and political development. Prior to her studies at Columbia, she worked in human rights research and program evaluation in the area of youth and adult education. Stephanie graduated from Wellesley College with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology. 

Katherine Polin
Office of the Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth, Germany

Katherine Polin is pursuing her Masters in Family and Population Health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Her areas of academic interest include the design and evaluation of programs targeting the physical and psychosocial health of women and adolescents, particularly around the transition to adulthood; the integration of human rights into programs and national policies; and how health and family policies apply to gender and racial equality, child development, and individual health behavior. Prior to her studies at Columbia University, Ms. Polin worked at the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York as the International Legal Assistant supporting the Asia and Latin American & Caribbean programs. Ms. Polin has a background in reproductive health programming and youth sports programming; she worked with the internally displaced in Colombia and managed an international summer camp for three years. Ms. Polin received her BA from Yale University in Humanities.

Jessica Cho
Office of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago

Jessica Cho is an international development professional currently studying for her Master of Science in Public Policy and Management at the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University.  Jessica will be working in the Office of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago supporting efforts to increase women’s political participation. Prior to studying at Heinz College Jessica worked in Iraq and Afghanistan on USAID funded counterinsurgency and development projects.  Jessica began her career by serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Jordan where she became conversationally fluent in Arabic.

Jessica is originally from Denver Colorado and did her undergraduate work in Peace and Conflict Studies at Chapman University in Orange California.

Zhen Han
United Nations Environment Programme 

Zhen Han is a second year PhD student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University.  Through her dissertation research, Zhen is interested in understanding nutrient dynamics in agricultural systems. She currently explores how cover crop-based organic farming impacts greenhouse gas emissions at a local scale and how landscape characteristics interact with management practices to impact greenhouse gas emissions.

While working at UNEP, Zhen would like to better understand how scientific knowledge shapes policymaking. Originally from China, She is deeply concerned about environmental degradation in developing countries and would like to gain new perspectives on adaptation and mitigation strategies for climate change in developing countries.

Michelle Beam
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

Michelle Beam With a background in Biology, I took an interest in women’s issues after taking the course ‘Gender, Race, Science, and Technology.’ It was a course that opened my eyes and changed the lens through which I viewed the world and myself. I am currently pursuing a Masters in Public Health in Infectious Disease and Vaccinology at UC Berkeley. I hope to pursue a career in medicine, but only after learning more about the social, political, and cultural contexts that create and contribute to our healthcare systems and as well as others around the world. 

I graduated from California Polytechnic State University in 2010 with a degree in Microbiology. After a short time doing laboratory research, I decided to pursue a Masters in Public Health at UC Berkeley. With the opportunity to merge my interests in health, equity, and Latin America, I am very enthusiastic and grateful for the opportunity to work with the Pan American Health Organization in the Gender, Diversity, and Human Rights Division this summer.

Jessica Hoover
Ministry of Environment Ecuador

A native of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, Jessica Hoover graduated from Pennsylvania State University’s Schreyer Honors College in 2007 with a major in Spanish and minors in Linguistics and International Studies.  Afterwards, Jessica moved to Breckenridge, Colorado where she worked as a children’s ski instructor for the 2007-2008 winter season.  During that time, she applied to and was accepted for service with the United States Peace Corps.  In late September 2008, Jessica left to spend two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan where she taught English at a village school.  After returning to the U.S., she once again moved to Breckenridge and remained there until August 2011, when she relocated to Washington D.C. to begin her graduate studies in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development at American University.  As a part of this program, Jessica is currently spending a year studying at the UN-affiliated University for Peace, located in the suburbs of San Jose, Costa Rica.  After completing her Graduate Leaders Program placement with the Ministry of the Environment in Quito, Ecuador, she will return to Costa Rica for the fall semester before concluding her graduate studies with one final semester at American University.

Emme Edmunds
World Health Organization, Department of Public Health and Environment, Climate Change and Health Unit

Emme Edmunds is a Midwife and Nurse Practitioner in sexual, reproductive and LGBT health and currently completing a dissertation at Cornell University in Development Sociology. In 2011, she conducted qualitative research in Delhi, India about women's experiences with, and attitudes about sex education. In the past, she has conducted research on the history of family planning policy in the United States. She is the mother of one son and together, they founded and produced a Shakespeare troupe in Ithaca, New York for ten years.

Carri-Ann Gay
Federal Ministry of Health, Germany

Carri-Ann Gay will graduate in May 2012 with a Master in Public Health degree in Sexuality and Health from Columbia University?s Mailman School of Public Health.  She earned her B.A. in German Language and Literature and European Cultural Studies from Brandeis University. After graduating, she spent one year in Germany as a participant of the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals Program before moving to New York City to work as a legal assistant.  Her volunteer efforts in the areas of reproductive rights and sexual health promotion led her to pursue a career in public health.

Ohnmar Khin
World Health Organization, Department of Reproductive Health and Research

Ohnmar Khin was born in Myanmar and grew up in several places in England and the US. She graduated from Harvard University in 2008 and received a Human Rights Studies fellowship to work with midwives and health workers along the conflict areas surrounding Myanmar's borders with India, Thailand, and China. She is currently wokring towards a Masters in Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.

Jessica Watterson
Ministry of Health, Samoa

Jessica Watterson is an MPH student at UC Berkeley School of Public Health, concentrating in Health Policy and Management and Global Health. She is also a member of the Center for Health Leadership (CHL) Student Board and a part-time employee of the CHL, where she assists with strategic planning and project management. She joined the MPH program after completing an AmeriCorps position with the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Through this position she worked on a project to increase access to dental care for low-income elementary students. Prior to that she led health education sessions for women living in the slums in Kolkata, India. Previously, Jessica worked at Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres to increase awareness for issues in global public health and human rights through publications and events. She also worked with faculty at NYU Langone Medical Center on research to characterize the experiences of multi-ethnic breast cancer survivors treated at a public hospital. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from New York University. While studying there, Jessica volunteered at the New York City Free Clinic, served as President of a student organization called the World Health Initiative and organized a large-scale conference focused on global health opportunities for students. Going forward as a public health practitioner, Jessica plans to work on health policy to improve women’s health globally. She is delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the Council’s Graduate Leaders Program.

Gogi Grewal
Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Liberia

Gogi Grewal is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health with a focus on forced migration at Columbia University. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she realized soon after completing her Bachelor of Science at the University of British Columbia that she longed to make a wider and more immediate impact on health than she could while scrutinizing frogs under a microscope in a biology lab. Drawing on the inspiration to address global health disparities she had felt while visiting family in India as a child, she decided to take a job as an HIV educator in Swaziland, where she became interested in nutrition and food security. While earning a Masters degree in nutrition and food policy from Tufts University, she conducted research projects in India and Ethiopia covering a range of topics, including maternal and child nutrition and water and sanitation. She looks forward to applying her nutrition and more recent coursework in public health to improve health and nutrition surveillance and systems in post-conflict settings.

Sahana Balaji
European Environment Agency, Denmark

Sahana Balaji, born and raised in Bangalore, India, would like to see the world's environment be more sustainable.  She hopes to help make this goal happen. After receiving her Bachelor of engineering (B.E.) in India she wanted to obtain a Masters before going into industry. She chose Cornell University to pursue her masters in Environment and water resources. Because of her excellent academic background at undergraduate level, Sahana was awarded half tuition fellowship at Cornell University. Also, she was selected as a Teaching Assistant (TA), for both the fall and spring semesters for subjects Uncertainty Analysis in Civil Engineering and Risk analysis and Management respectively. She is proud to be involved with the AguaClara Program a part of her MEng project. She played a crucial role in redesigning the demo plant used at Cornell for outreach activities by incorporating the latest technology to make it more cost effective to help design sustainable water treatment plants, and provide clean water to over 25,000 people in communities around the world every day through both design work and laboratory research. Sahana has also worked for Larsen and Toubro Ltd. as an intern in summer 2010, in Construction planning and control systems. Under the guidance and supervision of project Managers she had training on a water supply project between 2 villages which also had weekly trips and included site visits to inspect the project and review the same at office

In addition to her studies, Sahana finds time for volunteer work.   She is the Social Networking chair for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at Cornell.  She has a team of four who assist in promoting opportunities available to female students. She also teaches Kannada to around 15 students from Cornell University to help prepare them for a summer project in Mysore, India.  Fitting in time for volunteer work along with her studies is a challenge but so far she is balancing well. Sahana's desire to improve the environment is from her love of nature .She strongly feels conservative usage of the existing resources would augment the sustainability in the long run.

Sahana is very grateful for the opportunity to study at Cornell and sincerely thanks her alumni that allow her to attend the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  She extends her heartfelt thanks to the Council of women world leaders who have given her an opportunity to work with the European Environment Agency at Denmark.

Amber Hill
World Health Organization, Department of Reproductive Health and Research

Amber is a first year Masters of Science in Public Health student at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of International Health.  She is specializing in maternal and reproductive health in low and middle-income countries.  Being a dual citizen of Canada and the United States and having grown up in the Middle East, she has become aware of the absence of a woman’s perspective on these pressing issues.  Therefore, Amber is very excited to be working as a Graduate Leader at the World Health Organization in the Department of Reproductive Health and Research to further promote strong governance and diplomacy in reducing international gender disparities. 

Amber’s interest in public health began through her travels throughout East Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia.  Specifically, she was involved in the development of a health post in rural Rwanda.  It was there that she was exposed to the numerous challenges and complexities of working in low-resource settings.  This also made her more cognizant of the disconnect that sometimes exists between global and national policy and community level work.  This motivated her to pursue a degree in International Health, focusing on health systems, to try and discover how to take community-based research and translate that into effective policy at a global level.   

Anushree Ray
Aspen Global Health and Development 

Anushree is excited to be a Graduate Fellow at the Aspen Institute this year! Currently, Anushree is a second year Masters student at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health. Though she is originally from India, Anushree grew up in the heart of Boston. She graduated from Cornell University with a major in Biology and a double minor in Global Health, and Applied Economics and Management. After college, she worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the ObGyn department at University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. Additionally, she has worked extensively with Asha for Education, a global non-profit organization that works to provide basic primary education to underprivileged children in India. In her free time, she enjoys exploring nature, watching funny movies, learning new dance styles, listening to music from around the globe, and traveling all over the world.

Wenjie (Mandy) Ying
World Economic Forum

Wenjie (Mandy) Ying just finished her first year as an MPA (Master of Public Administration) student in the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University as well as her internship with United Nations Development Program (UNDP)’s Regional Bureau for Africa in May 2012. Prior to the graduate program she interned with Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch at US-China Education Trust in Washington, D.C. Mandy received her bachelor degree of law in the major of Political Science and Public Administration at Sun Yat-sen University in May 2011 in her hometown Guangzhou, China. During her undergraduate study, Mandy was funded to participate in various international exchange programs such as “Forum for American/Chinese Exchange at Stanford (FACES)” at Stanford University and Peking University, “Asian Institute for Political Economy” at University of Hong Kong and “Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems” at Georgetown University. In addition, she volunteered in Project HANDA for three years to rehabilitate survivors of leprosy disease to achieve self-reliance in a local micro-enterprise in China. Mandy’s career goal is to bring a positive impact in the field of non-profit management, education and gender equality.

Claudine Holt
ILO Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work

Claudine Holt, M.D. is an M.P.H. candidate and resident physician in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine program at The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.  She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 2009.  She began her residency training in Obstetrics/Gynecology, and has an interest in reproductive occupational hazards and toxicology, as well as international occupational health, and policy development.  She received her B.A from Georgetown University.


Veronika Rozmahelova
The Angie Brooks International Center

Veronika Rozmahelova is a Candidate of Master of International Affairs with a concentration in Urban and Social Policy and a specialization in International Advocacy, Media and Communication at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Ms. Rozmahelova is placed for her summer graduate fellowship with the Angie Brooks International Centre for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, and International Peace and Security (ABIC) in Monrovia, Liberia.

Ms. Rozmahelova received Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and German from the Croft Institute at the University of Mississippi. She also conducted research at the Freie University in Germany and at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa. She served in many leadership positions including her role as a Senator at the Associated Student Body for four consecutive years. She successfully led a team of fellow students, presented new legislation, and communicated with various individuals from local city council members to the deans of the university. For her involvement in student life, she received Achievement Award in 2006/2007. She was also a recipient of the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges award among others.

She gained professional experience in public sector at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Germany and the Department of Human Rights and Minorities. She continues to expand her research on the minorities integration since she presented her honors thesis entitled Black and White Life of the Roma Minority. Her areas of interest include Urban and Social Policy, Internet Governance, Minorities Integration, and Women Leadership.

Stacy Kramer
Pan American Health Organization

Stacy Kramer is a second year student at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health completing her MPH degree in the health policy track.  Stacy graduated from Northwestern University in 2008 with a psychology major and Spanish minor.  After graduating from Northwestern, Stacy interned with the hematopoietic stem cell transplant team at NIH and the completed a post-baccalaureate program at the University of Pennsylvania to learn more about the science driving health care policies in the U.S. and the world.  While at Penn, Stacy researched how FDG-PET can change management in colorectal cancer patients, part of which was recently published in Nuclear Medicine Communications.  Stacy then spent two years performing clinical breast cancer surgery research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  While at Sloan Kettering, Stacy worked on studies looking at women with genetic predispositions to breast cancer and at an exercise program for chemotherapy patients.  After seeing how research directly affects comprehensive women’s health policies, Stacy decided to pursue an MPH degree to learn how to implement policy changes to improve health care for underserved populations.  While at Columbia, Stacy interned with the National Center for Children in Poverty evaluating a program providing mental health services to local underserved children.  She is currently working with the Global Immunization Working Group of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee to help draft a proposal for the U.S.’s policy on global immunizations.  Stacy is interning this summer at the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, DC.  Upon graduation, she is interested in implementing and advocating for programs that improve health care access and outcomes for underserved populations globally.  Stacy is originally from Rockville, Maryland and enjoys running and cooking in her spare time.