Student Bios

Maura Farrell
MPA1
IV - Economics and Public Policy
American University, 2013
Economics/International Studies, B.S.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Maura is an MPA candidate focused on the intersection of economic policy, business and social impact. She first became interested in social impact when she volunteered in Kolkata for a year after high school. She returned to India several times throughout college, twice as a Critical Language Scholarship recipient in Bengali. After graduating from American University with a B.S. in economics and international studies, Maura worked at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., analyzing the efficacy of various state and federal programs. She then returned to South Asia to work at Innovations for Poverty Action in Bangladesh. At IPA, she managed a randomized controlled trial examining the effects of payroll digitization in the garment sector on financial inclusion. She hopes to continue working to expand financial inclusion by improving the regulation and development of financial services. Prior to joining the Woodrow Wilson School, Maura spent the summer interning with a fintech startup in Medellin, Colombia.
Michael Fletcher
MPA2
III - Domestic Policy
Washington University in Saint Louis, 2012
Political Science, B.A.
Baltimore, Maryland
Mike was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He received his B.A. in political science from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was also a pitcher on the baseball team. After graduation, he worked in Baltimore as an intake paralegal for Maryland Legal Aid Bureau. He then worked as a paralegal at the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division Voting Section where he learned about voter-I.D. laws and their impact on voter turnout. After two years of law school at University of Pennsylvania, he is excited to pursue his MPA at the Woodrow Wilson School where he is focusing his efforts on domestic politics with an emphasis on racial wealth inequality.
Seleeke Flingai
MPA2
III - Domestic Policy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011; University of Pennsylvania, 2016
Brain and Cognitive Sciences, B.S.; Cell and Molecular Biology, Ph.D.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Seleeke graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in brain and cognitive sciences. He then completed his Ph.D. in gene therapy and vaccines at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where his dissertation focused on developing a DNA-based protective antibody delivery system against viral and bacterial pathogens. During his doctoral studies, Seleeke also served as a monitoring and evaluation consultant with the international non-profit vaccine access organization, Energize the Chain, for which he developed a comprehensive framework to monitor and evaluate the health, economic, and social impacts of the group’s efforts in Ghana. His desire to broaden access to life-saving health care, together with courses in health economics and health policy, engendered a passion for understanding universal health care programs. At Princeton, Seleeke looks to gain a holistic understanding of the interplay between health policy and race in America, looking across the globe for strategies to improve access to health care domestically for all communities. After graduation, he hopes to design and advocate for universal health care policies at a state and federal level. In his free time, Seleeke enjoys (temporarily) learning musical instruments, having long discussions about music and culture, learning new recipes and compiling an endless library of books.
Amber Forbes
MPA2
II - International Development
University of Michigan, 2010
Latin American and Caribbean Studies/Political Science, B.A.
Canton, Michigan
Born and raised just outside of Ann Arbor, Amber attended the University of Michigan and double majored in political science and Latin American and Caribbean studies. After briefly working as a legal assistant at a law firm specializing in immigration law, she joined the Department of State as a civil service employee in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Amber spent her first three years as a public affairs specialist in the Bureau’s Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and later accepted a position as a foreign affairs officer in the Bureau’s Office of Economic Policy and Summit Coordination. In this new role, she managed more than $3.5 million in presidential initiatives promoting women’s entrepreneurship and social protection. During this time, she was also a member of the Summit Coordination team that ensured U.S. priorities were reflected in the 2015 Summit of the Americas. Amber’s experience leading the inter-agency working group on social development for the Summit inspired her to pursue a graduate education in international development policy and further hone her quantitative skills so that she can recommend and implement policies for maximum impact. She also undertook two temporary assignments during her seven year tenure in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, first as the acting human rights officer in Colombia for two months in 2013. Most recently, Amber served as a program officer at the Millennium Challenge Corporation for six months in 2016, where she managed the $277 million El Salvador Investment Compact.
James Fromson
MPA2
I - International Relations
Amherst College, 2013
Asian Languages and Civilization/History, B.A.
New York, New York
A native New Yorker, James graduated from Amherst College in 2013, where he rowed and played cello in the orchestra. At Amherst, he spent a semester at the American University of Beirut and was a White House intern. After graduation, he worked as a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Middle East Institute before moving to Amman, Jordan on a Fulbright research grant. There, he published as much as possible and got his Arabic up to standard. After Fulbright, he remained in Amman as a project officer with Mayday Rescue, an NGO that delivers training and equipment to the Syrian Civil Defense (also known as the White Helmets), among other grassroots civil defense organizations in the Middle East. While at Princeton, James hopes to volunteer with resettled Syrian refugees in the greater NYC area, and to make the most of unlimited dining hall food, which he has missed dearly.
Joelle Gamble
MPA1
IV - Economics and Public Policy
University of California-Los Angeles, 2012
International Development Studies, B.A.
Riverside, California
Joelle is a native Californian, hailing from Riverside. She spent most of her life in the Golden State, receiving her B.A. in international development studies from UCLA in 2012. She has held research and programmatic internships in the UCLA Department of Economics and U.S. Department of State, Office of Foreign Missions Los Angeles. For the last five years, she’s worked in New York at the Roosevelt Institute. She served as the national director for the Roosevelt Institute’s network, a 40-state youth policy organization, for the three years prior to coming to Woodrow Wilson.
Varsha Gandikota
MPA1
II - International Development
Lady Shri Ram College, 2015
Mathematics, BSc
Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Varsha was born and raised in Hyderabad, India. While in high school, she founded The Orange Leaf, an NGO with a mission to engage students in public service. In 2012, she presented the organization’s work at the office of the Indian ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva. She currently leads the initiative with a volunteer network spread across projects in multiple states of the country. Varsha studied mathematics at Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi University and upon graduation, joined Kepler Cannon, a boutique strategy consulting firm. Her work spanned projects in Hong Kong and New York with a focus on insurance and retirement funds. Beginning in 2017, she began work with the state government of Andhra Pradesh as a part of the Economic Development Board, an advisory committee to the chief minister. After graduation from WWS, Varsha is interested in working against education inequality in India, beginning with a remote village in Telangana, her mother’s native place.
Eva Ghirmai
MPA2
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Harvard University, 2011
Social Studies, A.B.
Seattle, Washington
Eva grew up in Seattle and studied at Harvard, where she developed a strong interest in moral philosophy. She aimed to understand ways in which we can fulfill our obligations to others and has since pursued a career in international development. Her primary work has been in quantitative research, where she most recently worked in East Africa with IDinsight and the International Growth Centre (IGC) to help organizations and governments use research and data analysis more generally to make policy decisions. After WWS, she plans to continue working in international development, with a greater focus on economic policy. Outside of school and work, Eva spends her time playing jazz, taking photographs and developing skills in graphic design.
Marelle Goodlander
MPA1
III - Domestic Policy
University of California-Berkeley, 2013
Sociology, B.A.
Prunedale, California
Prior to beginning the MPA program at Princeton, Marelle served as a government relations professional in New York City. In this role she worked with over 20 nonprofit clients to help them achieve their budgetary and legislative goals with the City of New York. Marelle worked closely with the New York City Council and Mayoral Administration to help secure over $20 million in public funding for nonprofit organizations. Her clients included cultural institutions, social service organizations, public media, foster care and senior services, among others. From 2014-2015, Marelle was a Coro fellow in Public Affairs. As a Coro fellow, Marelle completed projects for the NYC Department of Finance, the Working Families Party, FPWA and District Council 1707. Before moving to New York, Marelle advocated for LGBTQ workplace rights at Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, a nonprofit based in San Francisco. She is interested in working with local and state governments to improve the social safety net and housing options for low-income and other vulnerable populations. Marelle earned her B.A. in sociology from the University of California-Berkeley.
Devin Gould
MPA2
III - Domestic Policy
Brown University, 2011
International Relations, B.A.
New York, New York
Devin is a native New Yorker studying domestic policy at WWS, much to the detriment of his lifelong dream to become an actor and/or correspondent on the Daily Show. While concentrating in international relations at Brown he studied abroad in Beijing, China and was a Critical Language scholar studying Hindi in Jaipur, India. After college he investigated major fraud cases as an analyst at the New York Attorney General’s Office. He most recently worked on the financial coordination of major capital projects as a budget analyst at the NYC Economic Development Corporation. A true believer in civic engagement, Devin has been a public member on a Manhattan community board and volunteered for numerous local progressive campaigns.
Anita Gupta
MPP
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.
Henri Hammond-Paul
MPA1
I - International Relations
Washington and Lee University, 2012
English, B.A.
Nyack, New York
Henri was born in Chicago and grew up in the Hudson Valley region of New York. He earned a B.A. in English literature from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. For his senior thesis, he built a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond on the University’s campus. Following graduation, Henri served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay. He then worked as a programme and policy officer for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) where he was stationed first in Panama and then at Headquarters in Rome, Italy. Most recently, Henri worked as an emergency management specialist for the NYU Langone Medical Center helping the Enterprise ensure business continuity and build resilience to natural and manmade shocks and stresses. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, climbing mountains, cooking, traveling and playing with his puppy, Marvin.
Aung Hein
MPA1
II - International Development
Earlham College, 2010; University of Kent, 2012
International Studies/Politics, B.A.; International Political Economy, M.A.
Yangon, Myanmar
For over the past four years, Aung has been a research coordinator at the Centre for Economic and Social Development, a local policy think tank at the forefront of reforms in Myanmar. At the Centre, he led policy advocacy, research and capacity building activities of the Food Security Policy Project team. Prior to his current job, he was a faculty member at the Pre-Collegiate Program for a year teaching classes in international political economy and existential philosophy. Aung went back to Myanmar after the four-year study at Earlham College, the nine-month Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, and the one-year master’s program in international political economy at University of Kent. Along the way, he has cultivated an avid love for playing soccer, and picked up rock-climbing, swimming and sitting out in the sun with friends at various parks.
Phillip Hernandez
MPA2
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Michigan State University, 2014
Economics/Public Policy, B.A.
Canton, Michigan
Phil spent his childhood just outside of Detroit, Michigan, with his six older siblings. When he graduated high school in 2010, he moved to East Lansing and attended Michigan State University. During his time at Michigan State, he attended football games, worked part time at Pizza Hut as assistant manager, and interned at the Mayor of Lansing’s Office, where he was extremely involved in constituent relations. After graduating sigma cum laude with a B.A. in political science and economics, he began working at Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA), a public policy research and evaluation firm. His work at PPA included traveling around Michigan, including the western Upper Peninsula and Mackinac Island, to visit police departments, county jails, and youth homes for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act compliance. In his spare time, Phil enjoys spending time with friends, playing guitar, exercising, cooking and reading.
Cleo Hirsch
MPA2
III - Domestic Policy
Tufts University, 2012; Relay Grad School of Education, 2015
American Studies/Political Science, B.A.; Middle School Generalist, MAT
Hull, Massachusetts
Cleo grew up outside of Boston in a small beach town called Hull. She was raised by her mother and father and has an older brother who is also in policy school at LBJ, and a younger sister who is still in college. Cleo attended Tufts University where she studied political science and American studies. She also played on the soccer team at Tufts and spent most of her childhood playing soccer as well as lots of other sports. She lived in New York City for four years where she most recently taught middle school social studies in Harlem. Cleo also has a master’s degree in teaching.

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