Student Bios

Spogmay Ahmed
MPA1
II - International Development
George Washington University, 2015
International Affairs, B.A.
Selden, New York
Born and raised in New York, Spogmay studied international affairs and women’s studies at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Upon graduating in 2015, she joined the International Center for Research on Women, where she specialized in policy analysis and advocacy on women’s rights issues in multilateral forums including the United Nations, G7 and G20. She also coordinated the Feminist U.N. Campaign, bringing together civil society, philanthropy, academia and former U.N. staff around a shared agenda for advancing women’s rights and gender equality at the United Nations. Spogmay, a Pakistani-American, is passionate about global affairs, human rights and advancing gender-transformative policy change worldwide. She enjoys writing, fashion, desserts and engaging in conversation about race and popular culture.
Lindsey Andersen
MPA2
I - International Relations
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2012
International Studies/Political Science, B.A.
Omaha, Nebraska
Lindsey was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and is a proud Cornhusker (Go Big Red!). She discovered a passion for international human rights while attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and studying abroad in Latin America. After graduating, she worked at human rights NGO, Freedom House, and then went on to do a Fulbright research fellowship in Brazil focusing on transitional justice. She then fell into the world of internet freedom, exploring the intersection of human rights and technology at the D.C.-based organization Internews. There she led projects focusing on improving digital security and developing internet policy advocacy skills for activists and journalists in Latin America. For her summer internship, she worked at digital rights organization Access Now, where she wrote a report on the human rights implications of artificial intelligence policy. After graduation, she hopes to work in tech policy, helping ensure that the technologies we use and develop respect and protect human rights. In her free time, Lindsey enjoys traveling, being outdoors, hanging with her dog, eating chocolate, reading fantasy novels and seeing live music.
Margaret Anderson - Davis
MPP
III - Domestic Policy
Cambridge University, 2009
History, B.A.
London, United Kingdom
Maisie comes to Princeton after nearly a decade working in politics and policy in her home city of London. From 2014-18, Maisie served as an elected councillor in the London Borough of Southwark, representing the Labour Party. In the second half of her term, she was promoted to a Cabinet position - delivering strategic political leadership for Public Health, Parks & Leisure and Social Regeneration across an inner London borough of 300,000 people. Most recently, Maisie headed up Campaigns & Public Affairs for a high-profile charity - shaping and influencing the public policy environment to better respond to Britain's ageing population. Prior to this, Maisie built her career in policy and public affairs in both the health and financial sectors, as well as being active in local Labour Party politics. An experienced political campaigner, she also volunteered as a Fall Fellow on the 2012 Obama Campaign in Las Vegas. Maisie is passionate about reducing social inequality through good public policy and community-led initiatives. She is honored to be coming to Princeton as a Fulbright Scholar and will be joined by her husband and young daughter. Hailing from a family of professional musicians, Maisie is a trumpeter in her spare time - which has been fairly hard to come by in recent years!
Richard André
MPP
III - Domestic Policy
Amherst College, 2009
Political Science/Spanish, B.A.
Queens, New York
Rich is a Queens, New York, native and proud Haitian-American with a passion for immigrants' rights and economic justice. Until recently, he served as deputy director of State and Local Initiatives at New American Economy, where he worked with mayors, business leaders, and nonprofit organizations to use data to advocate for inclusive immigration policies. Before joining NAE, Rich ran the NYCitizenship program at the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, which provided free citizenship legal services and financial counseling at public libraries citywide. He also launched and led Cities for Action, a national coalition of over 100 mayors and county officials fighting for immigration reform. Rich started his career as a writer and editor for Americas Quarterly magazine. His assignments took him to Cuba, Chile, Colombia, and across the U.S. Rich graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in political science and Spanish. He is fluent in Spanish and French, and conversational in Portuguese. Rich is also an avid soccer fan, and until recently, played on a co-ed team with few wins, but a lot of heart. At Princeton, he is eager to learn from his peers and plans to explore how local government can best address racial and economic inequality.
Emily Andrews
MPP
III - Domestic Policy
Oberlin College, 2001; New School University, 2007
Politics, B.A.; International Affairs, M.A.
Washington, D.C.
Emily was born and raised in Massachusetts. Majoring in politics, with a double minor in women studies and African American studies, she graduated Oberlin College in 2001. Bitten by the labor bug early through college activism and a post-graduation year spent working with union members in Mexico City, Emily became a union organizer with Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In 2007, hoping to combine her belief in collective action with her passion for international work, Emily completed a master’s degree in international affairs at The New School in New York. After a brief stint as an organizer trainer in Peru and Mexico, Emily returned to the U.S. to work as a senior research analyst for the Teamsters Union, and was part of a small team charged with crafting organizing and campaign strategy in the school bus industry. Her team’s work led to the successful organizing of more than 20,000 school bus employees into the union. She is currently the deputy chief of staff at Community Change, a D.C.-based national nonprofit working to empower low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to fight for progressive policy change. When she’s not bringing it to the man, Emily is working on home construction projects with her partner, Jim, cooking with her three-year-old daughter, Magdalena, or trying to control her unwieldy dog, Potato Chip.
Emily Apple
MPA1
III - Domestic Policy
Hunter College, 2014
Political Science, B.A.
Brooklyn, New York
A born and bred Brooklynite, Emily is excited to join WWS and learn what it’s like to live outside the five boroughs for the first time – even if that place happens to be just a short drive away. She spent the past four years working in the Mayor’s Office in New York City in the Office for Economic Opportunity and Center for Youth Employment working on policies and programs in the areas of workforce development, education, youth development and mental health. After leaving the Mayor’s Office, she spent the summer backpacking in Vietnam and road tripping through the South and Mid-Atlantic. Emily is a proud graduate of NYC public schools and the CUNY Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. She is an alumna of the NYC Urban Fellows program and the Roosevelt Institute Network. After graduating she hopes to return to New York City to continue working to make her hometown a more just and equitable place for all its residents. In her spare time, Emily can usually be found listening to a podcast, sampling new cocktail concoctions, or proclaiming the superiority of New York bagels.
Christopher Austin
MPA2
IV - Economics and Public Policy
University of Minnesota, 2011
Economics, B.A.
Saint Louis Park, Minnesota
Chris learned the ways of “Minnesota nice” after growing up in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, before attending the University of Minnesota. After graduating with a degree in economics, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea. There, he worked with small businesses and eventually cofounded Dare to Innovate, an incubator aimed at empowering Guinean youth to address social problems through social entrepreneurship. Before studying at Princeton, he lived in Washington, D.C., where he managed grants for Evidence Action, an international nonprofit that scales cost-effective development interventions. For his summer internship, Chris worked at the Deputy Managing Director’s Office for Health and Human Services for the City of Philadelphia, working on eviction, homelessness, and criminal justice reform policy. After graduating, he hopes to work in city government to address economic inequality and criminal justice reform in the U.S. Chris enjoys photography, running and overly complicated board games.
Somya Bajaj
MPA2
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Christ University, 2015
Economics, B.A.
Kolkata, India
Somya grew up in Kolkata and graduated in economics from Christ University, Bangalore. Her passion for public service enhanced when she was working with an NGO and subsequently started a school for kids of construction workers in Bangalore. In her first ethnographic study she worked with the people to empower them by setting up self-help groups. Her book, “Their Way, The Highway,” is inspired by one such encounter. Driven to create impact at scale, she quit her job at Goldman Sachs to join a political consultancy where she led projects with Central and State Governments on policy implementation. One of her most treasured projects includes the Education Transformation Programme to improve the quality of education across 15,000 government schools in Himachal Pradesh. Prior to WWS, Somya worked in the tribal and Naxal insurgency area of Kalinganagar, Odisha, to study resettlement and rehabilitation strategies by industries. Somya co-founded Citizens for Public Leadership, an organization that aims to train and involve the youth in politics. She spent the summer expanding the fellowship, conducting training and citizen engagement sessions across India. This summer she interned with the African Development Bank on integration strategies towards the Industrialize Africa vision of the Bank to use and enhance her village level experience towards inter-continent learning. Somya aspires to build a model village and work on rural development and strengthening local governance in India.
Mary Batterman
MPP
II - International Development
Knox College, 2007
Anthropology/Sociology, B.A.
Beloit, Wisconsin
Mary was born and raised in Beloit, Wisconsin, and studied anthropology and sociology at Knox College. After graduating she joined the Peace Corps in 2008, becoming a community development volunteer in rural Tanzania. Mary has been living in Tanzania ever since, working in the field of international development. Her career has focused on private sector development and sustainable livelihoods. Prior to WWS, Mary served as the Tanzania county manager for the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, which invests in medium-sized agribusinesses and renewable energy companies in 22 African countries, including 70 investments in Tanzania. The fund provides matching grants and loans to the businesses, as well as technical assistance, investment advisory and social impact assessment. Upon graduation, Mary plans to continue working in international development with a focus on private sector and agriculture policy development.
Toshiro Baum
MPA1
I - International Relations
Johns Hopkins University, 2011
International Studies, B.A.
Seattle, Washington
A native of Seattle, Toshiro (or Toshi) attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where he studied international relations. After graduation, He moved to Morocco where he lived and studied renewable energy policy for over a year on a Fulbright grant. He returned to Washington, D.C., where he worked for the National Democratic Institute on democracy strengthening programs in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2015, Toshi joined the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as an adviser in USAID’s Asia Bureau. His most recent position was in USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, where he managed stabilization programs in Libya. Toshi enjoys running, cooking, and has a one-year old puppy named Evie.
Paloma Bellatin Nieto
MPA2
II - International Development
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2014
Political Science and Government, BSS
Lima, Peru
Paloma was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She studied political science and interned at the think tank GRADE on projects related to segregation, gender and violence in rural areas. After graduating top of her class, she worked in the Social Protection Division of the FAO-UN Rome headquarters on policy support regarding decent rural employment and rural youth. She later returned to Lima to work in the World Bank IFC on rural community development in conflict-prone mining areas. Paloma also co-founded the Young Professionals in Agricultural Development (YPARD) Peru chapter, and led a team in advocacy for better policies for rural youth. During the summer of 2018, she worked in Liberia for Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) on RCTs regarding cash transfers and gender based violence reduction projects. In the future, she would like to go back to Peru and hopes to develop policies that address poverty, inequality and conflict.
Hélène Benveniste
PhD
Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines de Paris, 2012
Science and Executive Engineering, Master
Rennes, Brittany, France
Born and raised in Brittany, France, Hélène has developed a passion for interdisciplinary approaches to solve the climate change challenge. As part of her Ph.D. studies in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, she focuses on quantifying economic impacts of climate change in terms of migrations and conflict risks, using integrated assessment models. She is also interested in international environmental agreements design, as well as using behavioral science to improve communication between scientists and policy makers on climate change. Before graduating with a MSc in science and executive engineering and a minor in geostatistics and applied probabilities from Mines ParisTech, she was a research fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado where she developed a statistical tool for scoring extreme climate events forecasts. She then started her career as deputy attaché for energy at the French Embassy in Germany, and as such followed the development and implementation of the German energy transition. Right before joining the Woodrow Wilson School, Hélène worked as a research engineer and project manager on an expertise mission for the French government; the mission, linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), aimed at assessing the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) presented by countries ahead of COP21, and used as a new tool for climate negotiations.
Margo Berends
MPA2
II - International Development
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2014
Economics/Political Science, BSBA/B.A.
Aurora, Colorado
Margo grew up in Aurora, Colorado, where she spent her time swimming and pining for the beach rather than skiing or snowboarding. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with degrees in economics and political science. When she wasn’t cheering on the Huskers, she interned in Washington, D.C., and studied abroad at Oxford University and in Benin, where she developed a passion for evidence-based international development. After graduating in 2014, Margo spent a year teaching English to primary school students in Foix, France. She then moved to Washington, D.C., to intern with the Africa Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars before taking a full-time position with Global Communities, where she managed international development programs in the Middle East and Latin America. While in D.C., Margo was also an active member of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP), publishing op-ed articles as a Sustainable Development Fellow and serving as the associate director of the YPFP Fellowship Program. This past summer, she returned to France for an internship at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and visited fellow Woos in London and Greece.
Leyatt Betre
PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016
Physics/Political Science, B.S.
Frisco, Texas
As a first-generation American born to Ethiopian parents, Leyatt had a small town Texas upbringing often punctuated by encounters with the wider world. While she cannot claim any encounters of the third kind, she picked up an early love of astronomy and the slightly less wide world of international politics. Leyatt went on to study physics and political science at MIT, where she sought to forge some semblance of academic and personal coherence out of her dual interests. After researching the early chemical evolution of the Milky Way, the spatial distribution of dark matter halos, the drivers of nuclear proliferation, and the role of arms control in shaping U.S. force posture, she concluded that the coherence of one’s C.V. should generally take a backseat to asking interesting questions. Leyatt is a Ph.D. student in security studies whose research interests center on issues of nuclear strategy, arms control and diplomatic history.
Aditi Bhowmick
MPA1
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Cornell University, 2016
Economics/Government, B.A.
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Aditi has worked as a research associate at J-PAL South Asia for two years. She has worked on a randomized evaluation of several nutrition and education interventions to improve child development in Tamil Nadu (southern India) and a randomized evaluation of a government-run school quality assurance system in Madhya Pradesh (central India). Aditi has an undergraduate degree in economics and government from Cornell University. She has authored newspaper editorial columns in collaboration with the J-PAL South Asia media team and used to write as an opinion columnist for the Cornell Daily Sun. After completing her MPA, she hopes to return to India to work in the gender education policy space with government and continue working on her writing.

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