Student Bios

Katrina McLaughlin
III - Domestic Policy
University of California-Berkeley, 2014
Environ Economics & Policy/Political Science, B.S./B.A.
Davis, California
Katrina’s professional interests lie at the intersection of energy, climate and public lands policy. Following undergrad she worked for two years on energy policy at Resources for the Future, an environmental economics think tank in D.C. Looking to get out from behind a desk, she then spent two seasons serving with AmeriCorps on public lands across Nevada, Montana and Wyoming. Most recently, she worked at an environmental law organization where she learned more than she ever thought she would about Rocky Mountain ungulates. Katrina is originally from northern California and enjoys rambling around outdoors on bike or foot.
Daniel Mejia
II - International Development
Harvard University, 2007
Government, A.B.
Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Dan is a proud Jersey boy excited to be coming back home to the Princeton area after being based primarily overseas for the last 11 years. He is a former foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State who served in Jakarta, Beijing, Toronto, and Washington D.C. H.Q. in a wide variety of political, environmental, and consular roles. In his two years prior to Princeton, Dan served as the global policy officer for the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization in Beijing, promoting the sustainable use of bamboo for smallholder livelihoods throughout the Global South for the only multilateral organization headquartered in China. Dan started his career working in political and security issues but has become increasingly interested in the intersection of international development and environmental public policy. He speaks fluent Spanish and intermediate Chinese Mandarin, and he graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Government. In his spare time, Dan is glued to his New York Times app and finding the most creative ways to collect and redeem frequent flyer miles and hotel points to travel the world.
Jenna Mellor
III - Domestic Policy
Harvard University, 2008
Social Studies, A.B.
Galloway, New Jersey
Jenna, a harm reduction specialist, has ten years of experience working at the intersection of direct service and public policy. She believes that harm reduction is about human dignity and seeks to dismantle and re-envision social service models that do “for” rather than redistribute decision-making power and resources. Jenna’s most formative experiences include leading the flagship Outreach program at HIPS in Washington, D.C., supporting folks engaged in sex trade and criminalized drug use; coordinating medical services and creating avenues for youth leadership at a youth shelter in Newark, N.J.; and navigating housing and immigration services for constituents in Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s district office. Immediately prior to studying at Woodrow Wilson, Jenna served as associate director at Point Source Youth, a national nonprofit that promotes and supports Housing First and youth-centered solutions to youth homelessness. She is passionate about her home state of New Jersey, where she is on the board of New Leaders Council-NJ and the New Jersey Abortion Access Fund. In her spare time, Jenna loves dancing and spending time outdoors near bodies of water, especially in the Pine Barrens, a N.J. ecological treasure.
Djeniffer Melo
II - International Development
Yale University, 2012
Economics, B.A.
West Haven, Connecticut
Djeniffer was born in São Nicolau, one of the ten small islands of Cabo Verde, off the west coast of Africa. Her family moved to Connecticut when she was eight years old. Upon graduating with an economics degree from Yale University, she began her professional career in corporate finance with IBM in New York. In 2015, she seized the opportunity to transition into development economics by accepting an offer to work for the Ministry of Finance in Cabo Verde. Since then, Djeniffer has supported the government in various projects. She worked as a transaction manager and financial analyst dealing with privatization and public-private partnerships (PPPs), a role which was later expanded to include monitoring state-owned enterprises in the energy sector. Delivering the government’s structural reform and development agenda helped her gain cross-industry exposure in sectors such as transportation, energy, housing, water and sanitation. Key highlights of her time with the government included the sub-concession of the country’s main ports and shipyard as well as the divestment of the national airline. Djeniffer is working on solidifying her skills in public policy in order to play a more active role in solving development issues at a local or international level. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling (preferably to warm places), going out for nice meals and spending time with friends.
Owen Minott
III - Domestic Policy
Bates College, 2014
Politics, B.A.
Needham, Massachusetts
Owen grew up in the Boston area before attending Bates College in Maine, where he graduated in 2014 with a major in politics. After school, he was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English at a university in Rio de Janeiro. He then moved to D.C. to accept a position as a policy analyst at National Journal, where he covered congressional legislation, elections and technology. With an MPA from Princeton, Owen plans to pursue a career in public policy and communications for progressive causes. His interests also include news media and LGBT issues. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and outdoor recreation.
Mayank Misra
West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, 2007; Princeton University, 2014
Law, B.A./LLB (Hons); Public and International Affairs, MPA
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Mayank works on complex adaptive systems and his research interests lie at the intersection of human collective behavior, ecosystems, and climate change. At the Levin Lab, Mayank studies the socio-ecological and co-evolutionary dynamics of integrating different human populations on their organizational structures and native ecosystems. He uses a mix of theoretical models and empirical research to investigate human adaptability to risk across organizational and temporal scales. His research currently focuses on the interaction between indigenous populations, formal States, and markets. Prior to his time at Princeton, Mayank was a constitutional and civil rights lawyer at the Supreme Court of India. He drafted federal laws relating to food security, sectarian violence, and the prevention of sexual offences against minors. He also drafted the Indian Bar Council’s code of ethics for legal professionals. Mayank completed a Master in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School in 2014. He was a Wertheim scholar at the New York Public Library, and consultant for the Open Society foundations before returning to Princeton as a Ph.D. student.
Leyla Mocan
IV - Economics and Public Policy
University of Pennsylvania, 2014
Statistics, BSE
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Leyla was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, and spent her high school years in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Most recently, she served as the special adviser for the Office of Economic Policy at the U.S. Treasury Department until January 2017. While there, Leyla helped the office manage a policy portfolio covering all domestic U.S. economic issues. She worked on a variety of topics, including housing, infrastructure, economic security, student loans and generally monitoring the macroeconomy. Prior to joining the Obama Administration at the Treasury Department, Leyla worked at the Federal Reserve Board in the Global Financial Institutions section of the International Finance Division. She spent this summer at Hawai’i Appleseed Center for Legal and Economic Justice, where she helped develop a comprehensive plan for eliminating chronic homelessness in Hawai’i and did research on eviction in the state. She earned her B.S. in economics with a concentration in statistics and minor in mathematics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Erik Morinaga
I - International Relations
University of Pennsylvania, 2016
Political Science, B.A.
Kaneohe, Hawaii
Erik grew up on the island of Oahu, enjoying his time at the beach or on a mountain. He enlisted in the Marine Corps as an infantry rifleman and did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. After six years of active service, he studied at Windward Community College and the University of Pennsylvania, while spending his summers wild land firefighting in Wyoming. This past summer, he worked at a marina and completed his dive master training.
Amn Nasir
IV - Economics and Public Policy
University of Chicago, 2015
Economics, B.A.
Lahore, Pakistan
Born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan, Amn developed a deep interest in the intersection between women’s rights and public service early on. After earning a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Chicago, she worked for the World Bank, where she conducted an impact evaluation of a community engagement intervention to improve school outcomes in rural Sindh. Prior to graduate school, Amn worked with the Office of the Chief Minister of Punjab, focusing on improving service delivery in several sectors, including education, health, water and solid waste management. Here she worked with senior bureaucrats and government officials to design and implement interventions and monitoring mechanisms to improve maternal and child nutrition and to set up a roadmap to provide clean drinking water to a population of 100 million people in the province. This past summer, Amn interned with IDinsight in Zambia, where she developed a monitoring and evaluation framework for the Ministry of Community Development’s cash transfer program and also modeled the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of new work streams for one of the organization's largest clients. After completing her MPA at the Woodrow Wilson School, Amn hopes to continue working with governments of developing countries, using evidence to inform policy.
Taylor Nelson
III - Domestic Policy
University of Michigan, 2011
English, B.A.
Troy, Michigan
Taylor, a native of Troy, Michigan, grew up just north of Detroit. After graduating from the University of Michigan, she worked in the education field spending two years as a Teach For America corps member in Decatur, Georgia, and one year teaching English as a second language in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Taylor then served as executive programs coordinator for the City of Detroit’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, focusing on integrating refugees into Detroit and connecting immigrant communities to municipal and community resources. This past summer, she revisited Detroit to complete an internship at The Kellogg Foundation. After obtaining her MPA, Taylor hopes to return to Michigan and support both native and foreign-born residents by increasing their access to economic and workforce development opportunities. When not re-acclimating herself to the world of academia, Taylor enjoys exploring new places, speaking French, reading millennial think pieces and reminding people that Detroit never left.
Mia Newman
I - International Relations
Stanford University, 2012
International Relations, B.A.
San Francisco, California
Mia Newman is pursuing a dual MPA/MBA between the Woodrow Wilson School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, after which she hopes to help channel the influence and systems of both the public and private sectors to protect human rights and mitigate conflict. This builds on her past experience, starting as an international relations major at Stanford, where she pursued a passion for the issues around conflict prevention and civilian protection, including leading Stanford STAND, a student advocacy group that built engagement around global conflicts and mass atrocities. She also spent several months in Kigali, Rwanda, working directly with survivors of the Rwandan genocide. After graduating, Mia served as a Gardner fellow and then investments manager at Humanity United, a foundation dedicated to building peace and advancing human freedom. During her four years there, her work included overseeing Humanity United’s portfolios addressing forced labor in the Thai seafood industry and global supply chains, and the conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan. She spent her first summer internship in Myanmar, researching the ruby supply chain and its links to conflict there with the Natural Resource Governance Institute, and her second summer in Gap Inc.'s Global Supply Chain team. In her spare time, you can find Mia meddling in the kitchen, hiking up a familiar hill, or finding a new country to explore.
Paul Nix
University of Lausanne, 2016; University of Geneva, Lausanne, 2018
Geology, B.S.; Geology, M.S.
Lausanne, Switzerland
Paul is interested in analyzing case studies of the propagation of cascading effects in natural hazard risk and management through the functional and physical parts of critical infrastructures and in how strategic planning can take this into account towards ameliorating mitigation and response mechanisms. To that effect, he recently took part in a United Nations course on disaster mapping, as well as an excursion to the Aeolian Islands to investigate societal vulnerability in relation to active volcanism. Paul also recently completed an internship in Zimbabwe, seeing first-hand the economic and political issues that face small ore miners. He graduated from the University of Geneva and Lausanne with an M.S. in geology, and after completing his Ph.D., looks to work within an NGO with the aim of improving coastal communities’ adaptation potential with respect to climate change related processes.
Olubunmi Otegbade
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Baylor University, 2006
Electrical & Computer Engineering, BSE
Lagos, Nigeria
Bunmi is building a workforce-for-the-future in Africa. Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, he co-founded Generation Enterprise, a non-profit reducing unemployment and poverty by providing transferrable skills and career pathways for youth through an AI-enabled skills education tool in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. He helps advance Government participation in the African technology ecosystem through, which funded over 80 impressive civic tech startups, and featured Mark Zuckerberg. He is an investor in food, healthcare, and energy startups, and serves as a policy advisor to Lagos State Government in TVET. Prior to his entrepreneurial pursuits, Bunmi was a management consultant advising Africa’s biggest companies in manufacturing, telecoms, and banking across Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, and South Africa. Upon graduation, he plans to continue working in the development space, particularly in the deployment of social and public investments.
Alexander Pachman
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Indiana University-Bloomington, 2012
Finance, B.S.
Weston, Connecticut
Alexander began his career working as an equity research analyst for Barclays in New York City. After three years of building financial models and authoring company research reports, he decided it was time to make a positive impact on the world. He left his job in finance and joined the Peace Corps, where he lived and worked in Macedonia for 27 months. Alexander’s work focused on local economic and community development initiatives. Following his studies at the WWS, he hopes to contribute to the reduction of global inequality in a role that combines his passion for international development and economic markets. In his free time, Alexander enjoys meditating, reading, hiking and cheering on the New York Giants.
Eric Parolin
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Boston College, 2013
Economics/Mathematics, B.A.
Amherst, New Hampshire
Born and raised in New Hampshire, Eric moved to Boston to attend Boston College where he majored in both economics and mathematics. Influenced by the financial crises during his time at BC, he left for Washington, D.C., after graduating to work at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in the Office of Financial Stability Policy and Research. While at the Fed, he researched the use of credit derivatives, worked to analyze the CCAR bank stress test submissions, and helped produce financial stability analysis to the Board of Governors. Eric continued on to the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the Office of Financial Research, where he worked to assess financial stability, including the construction of a public, quantitative tool to assess financial system vulnerabilities. At the Woodrow Wilson School, he hopes to supplement his professional experience with practical training in policy administration to pursue a career in addressing domestic inequality and promoting economic development. In his free time, Eric enjoys playing volleyball and basketball, learning to cook, and reading science fiction.