Student Bios

Samuel Kanson-Benanav
MPA2
IV - Economics and Public Policy
University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2011
Agriculture and Applied Economics/Community and Environment Sociology, B.S.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Sam hails from the frozen fertile crescent of the Upper Midwest. After studying international agriculture and economics at UW-Madison, he worked as a chef and culinary director in Madison, Wisconsin, and Minneapolis, managing the growth of a number of food and hospitality businesses. In addition to his time in the kitchen, Sam spent two years in South America, first, on a Fulbright research grant studying global energy marketplaces in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and later, as a consultant to the Inter-American Development Bank in Peru. He returned to Princeton for his MPA to gain a greater understanding of the structural forces that drive the global economy and learn to situate market failures within their appropriate international political contexts. This past summer, he was an intern at the U.S. Treasury Department in the Office of International Affairs for the Global Economics Group.
Alexandra Kasdin
MPA2
III - Domestic Policy
Princeton University, 2014
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, AB
Princeton, NJ
Alex is a graduate of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Program in Environmental Studies at Princeton University and is the Class of 2014 Gilbert S. Omenn ‘61 and Martha A. Darling *70 Scholar in the Nation’s Service. She focused her undergraduate academic studies on conservation biology and environmental policy. Originally inspired by her first grade teacher and an obsession with penguins, conservation of biodiversity has been Alex’s passion for nearly all her life. She has focused her volunteer and internship experiences on environmental preservation; she worked in the Philadelphia Zoo education department for over two years while in high school; taught conservation biology to primary school children in Kenya in the summer of 2011; interned at the nonprofit, Climate Central, in the summer of 2012; and studied the educational effectiveness of wildlife tourism experiences in Cape Town, South Africa, in the summer of 2013. Alex spent her two-year SINSI fellowship working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Endangered Species Act regulation, public land management, outdoor education and legislative affairs.
Alexander Kaufman
MPA1
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Washington University-St. Louis, 2013
Economics/Political Science, B.A.
Newton, Massachusetts
Born in Newton, Massachusetts, Alex graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with majors in economics and political science. Eager to work on data driven policy, he spent two years as a research assistant at the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Since then, he has maintained an interest in computational economics and policy modeling, working at the Arava Institute in Israel and helping establish an open source project for heterogeneous agent economics. Over the summer, he traveled in Europe, South America and Asia where he enjoyed hiking, surfing and climbing.
James Kiawoin
MPA1
II - International Development
Colorado College, 2015
Political Science, B.A.
Monrovia, Liberia
James was born in Monrovia, Liberia, and lived in Ghana and Ivory Coast as a refugee. At age 14, James moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, to join the inaugural class at the African Leadership Academy. He graduated from Colorado College in 2015 with a degree in political science and returned to Liberia to work for Last Mile Health. At Last Mile Health, James worked closely with the Ministry of Health to develop policies and programs to deliver health care to 1.2 million Liberians in acutely underserved rural communities. He is interested in global health, education and public financial management reforms and wants to use his time at the Woodrow Wilson School to develop the necessary skills to design and deliver effective programs to fight poverty in Liberia. James spends his free time eating, listening to music (Paul Simon!), watching, playing and writing about soccer. James coached soccer at the YMCA in Downtown Colorado Springs for three years.
Elijah Kimani
MPA1
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Drexel University, 2014
Economics/Mathematics, B.S./B.A.
Thika, Kenya
Elijah grew up on the fringes of the Abardare Forest in Central Kenya and attended the Alliance High School, arguably the most prestigious high school on the Mother Continent. He moved to the U.S. to attend Drexel University in Philadelphia where he graduated with a B.A. in mathematics and a B.S. in economics. Elijah is a former employee of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., where he conducted research on fiscal policy and was involved in the publication of several books and IMF working papers and in supporting missions across Africa. He has previously worked for J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley in New York City and the Australian Stock Report in Melbourne, Australia. An ardent traveler, Elijah toured Europe, West and East Africa over the summer before returning to the U.S. for school. To unwind, he loves quiet green spaces (thanks, Princeton), a good read, good music and food (any food). Elijah is working on his photography skills so this list is bound to change.
Stefan Kondić
MPA2
I - International Relations
Amherst College, 2016
Political Science, B.A.
Belgrade, Serbia
Stefan grew up in Belgrade, Serbia (formerly Serbia and Montenegro, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, etc.). He graduated with honors from Amherst College in 2016, where he majored in political science and received the Five College International Relations Certificate. Stefan’s academic interests are multilateral diplomacy and intergovernmental organizations and institutions, particularly the United Nations system. In college, he explored these issues through an academic, extracurricular and professional lens, taking courses and writing an honors thesis on the U.N., serving as president of the United Nations Association of Serbia’s Youth Section since 2011, and interning at the U.N. office in Serbia and participating on numerous U.N. summits and events. Through his involvement, he has had the chance to visit over a dozen countries, and has striven to create more opportunities for young people in his own country. This past summer, he returned to Serbia to intern at the Balkan Trust for Democracy in Belgrade. After graduation, Stefan hopes to find a job working in negotiation and conflict management. He enjoys good books about politics and bad movies about superheroes.
Tomer Kremerman
MPA2
III - Domestic Policy
Hebrew University-Jerusalem, 2015
Law and Philosophy, LLB
Kfar Haim, Israel
Tomer was raised in Kfar Haim, a small Israeli village located just far enough from Tel-Aviv. Following military service as an officer in the IDF, he attended Hebrew University to study law and philosophy. Upon graduation, he went on to work in the Israeli parliament as legislative aide to the former Leader of the Opposition, Shelly Yachimovich, where he divided his time between failing to promote legislation, unsuccessfully impacting government policy, and losing internal elections. Tomer’s primary policy interests lie in the intersection between government and tech. This past summer, he interned with the Israeli Innovation Authority, working on the agency’s policy plan to promote innovation in disadvantaged regions. In his free time, Tomer used to teach a weekly class on philosophy and politics, which he dearly misses, and enjoys running, reading, and shouting himself hoarse during Hapoel Tel-Aviv B.C. matches.
Kristen Kruger
MPA2
III - Domestic Policy
Princeton University, 2014
Politics, AB
Calabasas, CA
Kristen graduated from Princeton in June 2014 with a degree in politics. Her academic focus throughout her time at Princeton has been largely on domestic education policy, accompanied by field research on charter schools as well as community organizing and education reform. More generally, she’s also very interested in project management, strategic planning, and how to make bureaucracies function well. As a SINSI scholar, she completed her fellowship rotations with the Education Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, with then-First Lady Michelle Obama’s college access initiatives Reach Higher and Better Make Room at the U.S. Department of Education, and with the Bureau of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Kristen spent the summer of 2017 learning Spanish in Barcelona.
Anurag Kumar
MPA1
I - International Relations
Indian Institute of Technology, 2012
Textile Technology, BTech
Delhi, India
Anurag was born and mostly raised in Delhi and its suburbs. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi in 2012. During college, he grew interested in and worked on a range of issues from refugee rights to livelihood generation to environmental sustainability. After graduating, he joined the Parthenon Group, a boutique consulting firm in their Mumbai office where he worked predominantly with private equity and education clients across emerging markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Anurag’s interest in working with the public sector led him to do a brief stint at the firm’s Boston office. Post Boston, he wanted to work more closely with the public sector, and joined the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. At CHAI, he worked to stabilize malaria treatments and diagnostics’ markets at the global level and with country governments across sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia to improve access to these commodities. Anurag is an avid traveler always planning the next adventure, likes most things outdoors (especially hiking), and is always keen to learn more about world and Indian history.
Ryan Kuo
MPA1
IV - Economics and Public Policy
University of Pennsylvania, 2013
Operations and Information Management/Political Science, B.S./B.A.
San Jose, California
Ryan grew up in San Jose, California, and studied business and political science at the University of Pennsylvania. He comes to the Woodrow Wilson School after four years working for Bain and Company across Southeast Asia where he advised private and state-owned enterprises and investors on corporate strategy, performance improvement, and M&A. During this time, Ryan was also seconded to the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency in Addis Ababa where he managed teams developing commercialization strategies for the wheat, honey and sesame sectors and pilot programs for private distribution of agricultural inputs. Having seen the importance of building well-functioning markets to drive impact, Ryan intends to pursue a career in private sector development upon graduation from WWS. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys playing tennis, masochistically cheering for Bay Area sports teams, drinking pretentious beer, and making astonishingly salty, unhealthy food.
Elizabeth Lee
MPP
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.
Geesu Lee
MPA1
I - International Relations
Middlebury College, 2012
Economics, B.A.
Seoul, Korea
Born and raised in South Korea, Geesu decided to move by himself to the United States at fifteen. Since then, he has discovered that travel is one of the greatest sources of personal growth and valuable learning of customs, cultures and languages. During his undergraduate studies at Middlebury College, Geesu actively sought study abroad opportunities in China and Japan where he realized and appreciated the full range of diversity in society. Following his bachelor’s degree, he returned to Korea and was commissioned as an Army officer. During his military service, Geesu served as a U.N. peacekeeper in Lebanon. There he developed a strong passion for peace-building and humanitarian assistance as a future career. Prior to entering the Woodrow Wilson School, he did his internship at the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Seoul office and assisted in establishing military networks in Korea and analyzing political and security issues on the Peninsula. At Princeton, Geesu plans to combine these diverse social and cultural experiences and leverage them positively to help resolve ongoing conflicts around the world.
Jeongseok Lee
PhD
Seoul National University, 2007; Seoul National University, 2009
Political Science, B.A.; International Relations, M.A.
Seoul, South Korea
Jeongseok (Jay) is a Ph.D. candidate in the security studies program, who studies international security with a regional focus on East Asia. He is currently writing a dissertation on the origins and evolution of the U.S. alliance network in Asia. Challenging a predominant view that American hegemony is the main cause of the prevailing bilateralism, his dissertation explores how Asia-Pacific countries’ preferences and strategies shaped and solidified the hub-and-spokes structure of the alliance system. This research is supported by the fellowships and grants from the Bradley Foundation and the Center for International Security Studies, and he is also working on papers on North Korea’s nuclear doctrine and China’s economic coercion as additional research projects. Before joining the security studies program, Jay had served in the Republic of Korea Air Force as an officer and taught international relations and strategic studies courses at the ROK Air Force Academy as an instructor.
Amy Li
MPA2
III - Domestic Policy
Pomona College, 2013
Biology/Politics, B.A.
Chicago, Illinois
Born and raised on the southwest side of Chicago, Amy graduated from Pomona College as a QuestBridge scholar in 2013, double majoring in biology and politics. After graduating, her interests in health disparities and public policy led her to the California State Senate where she worked as a fellow for the Committee on Public Safety. Equipped with the valuable exposure she gained as a fellow and a deeper understanding of real world policy making, Amy next set her sights on understanding how evidence-based research and empirical analysis could be better utilized to inform policy decisions. In October 2014, she started at Acumen LLC, a health policy consulting firm, as a data and policy analyst. She worked on a variety of health-related topics, including projects supporting the premium stabilization programs established by the Affordable Care Act, analyzing the impacts of bundled payment initiatives in Medicare, and comparing the experiences of Medicare-Medicaid enrollees in traditional fee-for-service and managed care plans. In the summer of 2017, Amy interned at the Legislative Analyst’s Office in California, where she focused on program evaluation and review. After completing the MPA program at WWS, she hopes to return to California as a policy analyst.
Ella Lipin
MPA1
I - International Relations
Duke University, 2010
Asian and Middle-Eastern Studies/Political Science, A.B.
Portland, Oregon
Ella is from Portland, Oregon. She recently served in the Obama administration as the Egypt country director in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. She also worked in the speechwriting office of the Secretary of Defense. Previously, Ella worked at the Council on Foreign Relations and taught English at Al Azhar University in Egypt as a Fulbright fellow.

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