Student Bios

Robert Watts
MPP
I - International Relations
University of Virginia, 2002; Naval War College, 2009
Foreign Affairs/History, B.A.; National Security and Strategic Studies, M.A.
Norfolk, Virginia
Hailing from Norfolk, Virginia, Rob joined the Navy fourteen years ago to see the world – and his hometown. A surface warfare officer, or “ship driver,” he has deployed to the Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Western Pacific Ocean while serving on ships homeported in Norfolk, Bahrain and Japan. Ashore, he has worked in the Pentagon as a liaison to foreign navies and as an admiral’s aide. Rob was most recently a ballistic missile defense analyst at U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk. After Princeton, he looks forward to returning to sea to command a warship. He speaks Mandarin Chinese and plays squash, but neither very well. Rob, his wife Alden (a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in Mauritania), and their two young sons, Chip and Pete, have never been stationed in New Jersey. To ease the transition they spent a week at the Jersey Shore before settling in Princeton.
Alexa Weiss
MPA2
II - International Development
Ohio State University, 2012
Environmental Resources, B.S.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Alexa has a B.S. in environmental science from The Ohio State University and experience in crop science research. Before coming to the Woodrow Wilson School, she served in the Peace Corps for three years as an agricultural extension agent in Nicaragua and Guatemala. This past summer, she interned with USAID Honduras, conducting an evaluation of agricultural development activities. After earning her MPA, she aims to become an agricultural programs manager for an international development organization. Alexa enjoys running, hiking, rock climbing, skiing and reading.
Alex Wheatley
MPA1
II - International Development
Princeton University, 2016
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, A.B.
Wichita, Kansas
Alex, of Newtown, Pennsylvania, is a 2016 graduate of Princeton University with a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology. She is passionate about global health and is particularly interested in how public policies shape disease dynamics and environmental health at local, national and international levels. Prior to joining the Woodrow Wilson School, Alex interned with the Conservation Clubs in Laikipia County, Kenya (2014) and the Strategic Multi-Attribute Ranking Tool for Vaccines (SMART Vaccines) project at the Fogarty International Center within the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland (2015). Alex was a member of the varsity women’s basketball team at Princeton. She loves reading, running, cooking and eating (especially eating).
Julianne Whittaker
MPA2
II - International Development
Fairfield University, 2012
Economics/International Studies, B.A.
Acton, Massachusetts
A native of Massachusetts, Julie loves languages, cultural exchange and service of others. In university, these three passions shaped her path as she completed a bachelor’s in international affairs and economics, traveled the Middle East, and interned at the International Rescue Committee, U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. After graduation, Julie pursued these passions through a Fulbright Scholarship in Amman, Jordan, where she established and ran an informal education and mentoring program for Palestinian refugees in Baqa’a Camp as well as led a remedial English program at a local university. After her Fulbright, Julie worked with the International Organization for Migration, Iraq Mission, as well as International Relief and Development (IRD). Before coming to Princeton, Julie led IRD’s Community Engagement component in Za’atari Camp, establishing and managing community centers and sports fields with social, educational and recreational programming. This past summer, she completed her internship at UNICEF in Shu’fat, East Jerusalem. Julie is excited to utilize her time at the Woodrow Wilson School to find new skills and opportunities for service of others through international and public policy.
James Williams
MPA1
II - International Development
John Jay College, 2015
Public Administration, B.S.
Lagos, Nigeria
Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, James moved to New York City in 2011 for undergraduate studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY), where he studied public administration with a minor in economics. After graduation, he served as a NYC Urban fellow at the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), a unit within the New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations which designs, implements, and evaluates innovative, evidence-based programs tackling poverty. At CEO, James worked on subsidized jobs programs for young adults facing barriers to employment and educational opportunities. He plans to use his time at the Woodrow Wilson School to hone the necessary skills to confront the social development challenges in his hometown, and to assist governments in becoming more intentional in their responses to poverty. James enjoys cooking, dancing, watching English Premier League football, creating graphic designs, and has a new-found love for physical training.
Lauryn Williams
MPA1
I - International Relations
Stanford University, 2014
Political Science, B.A.
Long Beach, California
Lauryn was born and raised in perpetually sunny Long Beach, California. She moved to the Bay Area for college and graduated from Stanford University with a degree in political science and honors in international security studies. While writing her undergraduate honors thesis, she developed an interest in nuclear issues in South Asia that continued after she received the Junior Fellowship to work with the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. After completing the one-year fellowship, Lauryn remained at Carnegie as a project manager for an additional year. Over this two year period, she had the opportunity to research various nuclear topics, to travel internationally, and to publish a report on the changing nature of the global nuclear order. During the 2015-16 academic year, Lauryn also served as the residential assistant for dozens of undergraduate students participating in the Bing Stanford in Washington program. She enjoys visiting new places, seeing live performances and being outside in the sun.
Laura Williamson
MPA1
III - Domestic Policy
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2008
English/International Studies, B.A.
Hillsborough, North Carolina
Laura grew up in Hillsborough, North Carolina playing in the creek and building forts in the woods. As an international studies and English major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she learned about participatory development from the residents of Kibera, Kenya, and about community organizing and resilience on the post-Hurricane Katrina Gulf Coast. Since graduation, Laura has organized for racial justice with high school students as a staff member at Puentes New Orleans, spent a year studying public policy and social planning at La Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina, and, most recently, supported multi-issue social justice movement-building through leadership development work at Young People For. At the Woo she will be exploring how to leverage public policy tools to expand voting rights and how to better integrate organizing and policy strategies. Laura is also passionate about rock climbing, backpacking, salsa dancing, furniture-making and cooking.
Hope Wollensack
MPA1
III - Domestic Policy
Tufts University, 2011
Political Science, B.A.
New Haven, Connecticut
Born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, Hope attended Tufts University where she studied political science and helped found the Africana Studies Program. Her interest in social justice and activism led her to join Teach For America where she became a social studies teacher in New Orleans, Louisiana. In her second year of teaching, Hope began the “Race and Class Working Group,” which lead professional development on active anti-racism, critical consciousness and cultural relevancy in teaching. Most recently, she was the middle school assistant principal at Mildred Osborne Charter School where she provided instructional coaching for 12 teachers, led professional development, and created rigorous and culturally relevant curriculum in social studies. Upon graduation from WWS, Hope plans to use her professional and academic experiences to impact education policy.
Teresa Wolverton
MPA1
I - International Relations
Middlebury College, 2012
International Politics and Economics, B.A.
Starkville, Mississippi
Teresa hails from the Deep South, but made her way to the Far North to study languages and international politics at Middlebury College in Vermont. As an undergraduate, she studied in France and China and received funding to support work in human rights with the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania. After seeing the unique perspectives towards learning in each country and noting the disparity in educational access for different ethnic groups, she spent a year researching ethnicity-based policymaking in primary education. After graduating, Teresa began working in international advertising as a director at Craft Translation, part of McCann Worldgroup. Her work has taken her to London, Singapore, Toronto and Budapest to oversee the rollout of global campaigns in over 100 countries. She hopes to translate her private sector skills into a career implementing programming and best practices for education in emergencies that are both globally consistent and locally relevant. An avid learner, most evenings Teresa can be found trying to solve crossword puzzles and sweep Jeopardy! categories. On weekends you’ll likely find her making triple batches of cheese biscuits, watching college football, and chasing her nieces and nephews around Alabama.
Mor Yahalom
MPA2
I - International Relations
Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, 2013
Behavioral Sciences, B.A.
Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Mor Yahalom is Master in Public Affairs (MPA) candidate, at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University. At Princeton, she works as a research assistant to Dr. Keren Yarhi-Milo, was selected to be a student fellow at the Center for International Security Studies (CISS), and elected to co-chair the Gender Policy Network (GPN). Born and raised in Israel, Mor began her professional path in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), where she served for three years as an officer in the Signal Corps, and is currently an active reservist. She holds a bachelor’s in behavioral sciences from the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, where she was nominated class valedictorian at graduation. Mor’s feminist activity and focus on the empowerment of women in the fields of peace and security has led to her involvement with the parliamentary work of Member of Knesset Merav Michaeli, one of Israel’s most prominent feminist advocates. She later continued to work with Member of Knesset Dr. Ronen Hoffman, as his parliamentary adviser. In the summer of 2016, Mor worked at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), as a research intern, focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Palestinian politics.
Anna Yalouris
MPA1
II - International Development
Bates College, 2009
Economics, B.A.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Anna was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and received her undergraduate degree in economics from Bates College. Early experiences working with communities in rural Thailand exposed her to a diverse range of social issues including labor rights for informal scavengers, genetic crop modification, export agriculture, mining, energy and education. After college, Anna spent six years with the policy group at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in Cambridge, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Rwanda and Botswana. At J-PAL Africa, she was responsible for providing technical expertise to support governments to scale up high-impact antipoverty interventions, as well as design new programs based on evidence. She left J-PAL in 2015 to train as an aerial acrobat with the South African National Circus. Anna is a lover of the mountains and rivers of the Western Cape, dancing, music and anything to do with rabbits.
Andi Zhou
MPA1
I - International Relations
Yale University, 2013
Global Affairs, B.A.
Windham, New Hampshire
Andi was born in the U.K. and grew up in the Greater Boston area after brief childhood stops in Japan and Arizona. He received a B.A. in global affairs from Yale University’s Jackson Institute of Global Affairs in 2013. For three years prior to enrolling at Princeton, Andi worked at the EastWest Institute, a New York City-based NGO, coordinating unofficial diplomatic exchanges between the U.S. and China as well as a project on U.S.-Russia cooperation to combat Afghan narcotrafficking. His opinion pieces have been published by The Diplomat, China-US Focus and other outlets. At Princeton, he intends to hone his policy analysis skills in order to pursue a public service career in foreign policy after graduation. Outside of his international affairs interests, Andi is an avid musician who has performed professionally as a piano accompanist for improv comedy shows in New York. He can also be overheard beatboxing under his breath while waiting in line or humming Bollywood soundtracks in between classes.
Amber Zuberi
MPA1
II - International Development
Swarthmore College, 2007
Economics, B.A.
Karachi, Pakistan
Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, Amber graduated from Swarthmore College, where she majored in economics and minored in religious studies. After graduation, she worked at Standard and Poor’s, conducting research for institutional investors. Amber moved back to Pakistan in 2010 and co-founded Teach For Pakistan, and spent four years working to improve the quality of education in Pakistan. Prior to WWS, she worked with a nonprofit organization in New York City, partnering closely with private sector and government agency organizations to create development opportunities for low-income high school students. She also interned at the Pakistan Permanent Mission to the United Nations, where she served as a representative on committees pertaining to finance and economic development. Amber spent her summer before WWS traveling in Asia and Europe. After graduating from WWS, Amber plans to pursue her interests in development, education policy and sustainability.

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