Biographical Profiles of Current MPP Graduate Students

Matthew Appleton
I - International Relations
College of the Holy Cross, 2006
Political Science, B.A.
Nashua, New Hampshire
Raised in New Hampshire and Ireland, Matt commissioned in the Navy through ROTC and serves as a surface warfare officer. A “tin can sailor” who has served aboard Aegis guided missile destroyers, Matt’s background is in navigation, weapons and combat systems. He has deployed to the Arabian Gulf, Western Pacific, Arctic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and Black Sea, and has also served as an exchange officer to the Royal Norwegian Navy frigate service where he taught air defense tactics. After earning his MPP, he will return to the Navy to serve as a naval strategy subspecialty officer. Matt’s wife, Elaine, is a Department of Defense civilian with the Defense Logistics Agency who hails from Erie, Pennsylvania. Matt enjoys kayaking, biking, rucking, running, rowing, attempting to cook, listening to bad Jimmy Buffett music, and is a proud member of Red Sox nation.
Rahul Bojja
II - International Development
Indian Institute of Technology, 1995
Mechanical Engineering, BTech
Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Rahul was born and raised in the beautiful city of the Nizams, Hyderabad in India. Graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in mechanical engineering, Rahul joined the Administrative Service of the country and has been a career bureaucrat for the last 17 years. His career has been a delightful journey through rural development, environmental and forest policy, regulatory administration, urban infrastructure development, etc. He hopes his stint at Princeton will help in his future plans to be involved in policy making at the federal and world body levels.
Juan Pablo Castro
II - International Development
University of Florida, 2008
Economics/Political Science, B.A.
Bogotá, Colombia
Juan Pablo grew up in both Colombia and the United States, and graduated with a degree in economics and political science from the University of Florida. He joins the Woodrow Wilson School after working for several years on crisis-response programs funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He has led the design, management and implementation of projects aimed at building stability and local governance, fostering civic engagement, supporting reintegration processes and countering the influence of violent extremist groups in different parts of Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Juan Pablo also led the design of programmatic and operational frameworks that enabled USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) to deliver assistance throughout Syria from Turkey for the first non-humanitarian USAID program responding to the Syrian crisis. He is looking forward to challenging his own notions of what successful and responsible crisis-response interventions are with the Woo community. Despite lacking both musical talents and cooking abilities, Juan Pablo is an avid consumer of emerging music and food from around the world. Thus, he is eager to see what Princeton and its vicinity have to offer. Upon graduation, he plans to continue working in addressing both violence and conflict; however, from what angle and where remains to be determined.
Kevin DiFalco
I - International Relations
University of Colorado-Boulder, 2004; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 2014
Aerospace Engineering Sciences, B.S.; Aeronautical Science, M.S.
Fort Collins, Colorado
Major Kevin “Gator” DiFalco is an Air Force officer and fighter pilot. He was most recently the assistant director of operations for the 16th Weapons Squadron at the United States Air Force Weapons School. He was commissioned in 2004 as a graduate from the Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since then, he has served as an instructor at the United States Air Force Weapons School, joint operational planning expert, joint/coalition integration expert, and as a scheduler for the largest and most complex flying operation in Air Combat Command. He was recently an Air Force nominee for the NASA Astronaut Class of 2017. With 297 combat hours and 1,800 total hours flying the F-16, Gator has supported contingency and deterrence operations in Southwest Asia, Europe, Africa and on the Korean Peninsula as a weapons officer, mission commander, flight leader and Combined Air Operations Center liaison. Following graduation from the Woodrow Wilson School, he plans to continue his service in leadership roles throughout the Air Force. Gator spent his summer finishing his duties at Nellis Air Force Base and visiting family while traveling to Princeton with his wife and three kids.
Brian Dougherty
III - Domestic Policy
University of Kansas, 1991; National University, 2010
Communications/Political Science, BGS; Creative Writing, MFA
Atlanta, Georgia
In 1997, Brian founded a college-in-prison nonprofit organization now known as the National Prisoner Education Foundation. Since then, a little more than 2,000 prisoners have earned college degrees while serving their time in lockups throughout the country. The overwhelming majority of these nontraditional students have since secured either pardons, expungements, security bonding to hold white collar jobs, and/or early releases. Brian plans to return to the Foundation upon graduation from the Woo, and he plans to extend its outreach into international markets like Uganda, the U.K. and Canada.
Anita Gupta
III - Domestic Policy
Rutgers University, 1997; Rutgers University, 1999; University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 2003
Pharmacy, B.S.; Pharmacy, Ph.D.; Osteopathic Medicine, D.O.
Princeton, New Jersey
Anita was born in Philadelphia and grew up in a small suburb in nearby Camden County, New Jersey. She currently resides in Princeton and is a well-recognized leader and voice on the prescription and opioid overdose epidemic on both a local and national level. Anita is both a physician anesthesiologist specializing in pain management, and a pharmacist, which allows her to share unique thoughts on this serious public health issue. She has worked for the last ten years in academic clinical medicine both at the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University in Philadelphia as a professor where she served to train residents and medical students while caring for ill patients with intractable pain. Anita has been a tireless advocate on national media outlets on a broad range of issues related to her specialty, specifically pain and surgery on behalf of the American Society of Anesthesiology and the American Osteopathic Association. She continues to work closely with leaders both on Capitol Hill and the FDA to find solutions to solve the opioid epidemic and pain crisis in the United States. Anita’s interest in domestic policy allowed her to participate in the recent 2017 election on the issue of the opioid epidemic and to engage with leaders on a bipartisan level to discuss solutions to the healthcare system in general.
Peter Hoy
III - Domestic Policy
Wesleyan University, 2005; John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 2014
English, B.A.; Criminal Justice, M.A.
Brooklyn, New York
For the last decade, Peter has worked in government oversight and investigations at the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, an agency that investigates police misconduct. Managing a squad of investigators, he has supervised hundreds of cases, including police shootings, deaths in custody and stop-and-frisk cases. Before joining the City of New York, he worked in journalism as a reporter at Forbes magazine. Peter was born and raised in New England and attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut. He is accompanied in Princeton by his wife, son and dog.
Michael Kachel
I - International Relations
University of Newcastle, 2001
History, B.A.
Newcastle, Australia
Michael was born and raised in Newcastle, Australia, where he developed a lifelong addiction to politics and the beach. After studying history, he joined Australia’s Foreign Service in 2003. He was first posted to Indonesia where he covered domestic politics and human rights. After returning to Canberra, he worked as a policy adviser to the foreign minister and attorney-general. He later served as an exchange officer to the U.S. State Department before undertaking his most recent posting to Washington, D.C. In his spare time, Michael enjoys hanging out with his much more accomplished wife and five year old son. He speaks Bahasa Indonesia.
Yuka Kaihori
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Waseda University, 2008
Political Science, B.A.
Omiya, Japan
Yuka was born in Japan and grew up spending her school years in Toronto, London and Tokyo. Her interest in people’s identity led her to study political science at Waseda University. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she joined Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and engaged in Japan’s ODA projects in Bolivia, Sudan and South Sudan. From 2013 to 2016, she was in Nepal which she now calls her second home. In Nepal, Yuka led development programs in various sectors from local governance to agriculture and tourism, with the highlight of designing a program to support the restoration of Nepal’s cultural heritage which was damaged by the earthquake in 2015. Most recently, Yuka was the program officer at JICA’s Research Institute where she worked with researchers on themes such as quality growth in Africa and impact studies of JICA projects. At Princeton, she looks forward to acquiring research skills using well-being indicators and hopes to reflect these perspectives in future ODA projects. In her free time, Yuka enjoys walks with her husband, cooking weekend breakfast (especially soups), and chatting with her aunt using the newly introduced auto-answer Skype.
Elizabeth Lee
I - International Relations
Grinnell College, 1999; University of Minnesota, 2003
English, B.A.; Law, J.D.
San Francisco, California
Liz is a career foreign service officer with the United States Department of State. Most recently, she served as a negotiator and policy advisor for three years at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Liz negotiated myriad regional and thematic issues in the Security Council, ranging from peace operations in Latin America and the Middle East to Women, Peace and Security and LGBTI issues. Previous State Department assignments include the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the Consulate General in Jerusalem, the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane (TDY) and the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.
Elizabeth Litchfield
I - International Relations
University of Chicago, 2008
International Studies/Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, B.A.
Darien, Illinois
Liz joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2009. Prior to Princeton, she completed a tour in the political and economic section of U.S. Embassy Algiers where she led a fantastic team of American and Algerian colleagues. Before that, she served on the Libya Desk from 2013 to 2015 as the United States managed political and security challenges in post-revolutionary Libya. Her previous tours were in Amman, Jordan and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Liz grew up in the Chicago suburbs and though she travels the world, her heart is always in Chicago. Following graduation from the Woodrow Wilson School, she will return to the Foreign Service.
Mary Ana McGlasson
I - International Relations
North Park University, 2001; University of Washington, 2005
Nursing, B.S.; Nursing, M.N.
Mesa, Arizona
Born in Kentucky and moving frequently around the USA as a child, Mary Ana spent most of her teen years in Mesa, Arizona. After obtaining her B.S. in nursing at North Park University in Chicago, she spent two years as a traveling ICU nurse before obtaining her master’s in nursing at the University of Washington to become a family nurse practitioner. After a successful decade as an FNP, Mary Ana began working intermittently with Doctors Without Borders and then transitioned to a full-time career as a humanitarian aid worker with Relief International in 2012. From her first exposure to the Syria crisis in 2012, she remained in the Middle East, managing large-scale humanitarian programs in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Syria. Mary Ana will be joined at Princeton by her beagle, Murphy, and a Turkish street cat named Sebastian.
Alonso Soto
II - International Development
University of Missouri, Columbia, 2005
Journalism, B.A.
Managua, Nicaragua
Alonso started his journalism career reporting on immigration and labor unions in Chicago for Reuters before heading to Ecuador to start a 12-year tour through Latin America where he wrote about everything from violent demonstrations, shocking debt defaults, a massive earthquake and the impeachment of a president. Growing up in a country torn by civil war and economic chaos, Alonso has focused on public policy in Latin America with the last six years devoted to covering economics in one of the world’s biggest economies, Brazil. He wants to further his knowledge of economics, concentrating on fiscal and industrial policies as the region enters a new era of slower growth after riding the wave of record-high commodity prices for the last decade.
Stefan Szepesi
I - International Relations
Maastricht University, 2003
Economics, Master’s
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Stefan is Dutch from his mother’s side and Hungarian from his father’s side. Growing up in the Netherlands, he loved basketball and tennis, finding out very late he was miserable at both. He then took up running and studied economics in Maastricht. Deeply passionate for Europe, he was recruited by the E.U. to work overseas in trade negotiations and development policy. In 2006, he was eventually posted in Jerusalem, working as a diplomat and economic advisor on Israel-Palestine issues for the E.U. and then the U.N. in the Office of the Middle East Quartet. In 2012, Stefan published “Walking Palestine: 25 Journeys into the West Bank” and traded in traditional diplomacy for the physical diplomacy of walking in the Middle East, joining the Abraham Path Initiative, a small NGO, as executive director. He has walked and initiated projects on storytelling, walking and hospitality in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Stefan, his wife Kirsten and their two small girls are very excited to spend a year at Princeton.
Abraham Trindle
I - International Relations
Purdue University, 2012
History/Political Science, B.A.
Martinsville, Indiana
Abe grew up in Martinsville, Indiana, and studied history and political science at Purdue University. He is a military officer with deployments in Latin America and the Middle East. In his spare time, Abe enjoys reading, exploring outdoors, and entertaining his nieces and nephews.

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