Student Bios

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. Most recently, Taylor 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. After obtaining her MPA, Taylor hopes to return to Detroit 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.
Marcelo Norsworthy
II - International Development
Tufts University, 2009
International Relations, B.A.
Austin, Texas
Motivated by his Nicaraguan and U.S. heritage, Marcelo studied development economics before leading impact evaluation research in Peru. He later focused on domestic policy and private sector partnerships to advance air quality, health and environmental justice objectives while at an environmental advocacy organization. Over the summer, he interned at the Mexico Ministry of Finance in the Special Economic Zones Authority working on environmental analysis for development. Marcelo is an avid runner and thinks that the term “great outdoors” really undersells nature. He plans to use his experience at WWS to blend environmental science, resource economics and development policy in the U.S. and abroad.
Christine Östlund
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Stockholm School of Economics, 2013
Economics, BSc
Nyköping, Sweden
Christine grew up in Nyköping, a small coastal town by the Baltic Sea south of Stockholm. During her undergraduate studies at Stockholm School of Economics and University of British Columbia, she developed a strong interest in international economic policy, and after following the euro crisis at an internship in Brussels in 2012, she decided to focus specifically on E.U. policy. She worked for three years with E.U. economic governance at the Swedish Ministry of Finance, mainly focusing on macroeconomic surveillance and coordinating the Swedish delegation’s participation in the E.U. economic policy committee. This past summer, she completed her internship at the Monetary Policy Strategy Division at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. In her spare time, Christine loves to sing, ski, try new restaurants and she is generally very happy when she can spend a whole day reading a good book.
Albert Pak
III - Domestic Policy
University of Pennsylvania, 2011
East Asian Area Studies/Finance, B.A./B.S.
Oakland, New Jersey
Albert is currently pursuing an MPA/J.D. with Penn Law and WWS. Before graduate school, he worked as a management consultant for Oliver Wyman, where he specialized in the financial services industry. He then went on to help launch 12+, an education nonprofit that creates college-going cultures in Philadelphia high schools. As COO, Albert played an integral role in expanding 12+’s reach from one hundred to over a thousand students. During that time, he also started the Ivy Advantage Academy, a test prep social enterprise that pursues a “double bottom line.” To date, Ivy has donated over $45,000 to education nonprofits in Philadelphia. Albert plans on combining his experience in business, law and policy to tackle systemic issues in urban communities. This past summer, he interned in the Community Investment and Activation team at Rock Ventures in the great city of Detroit. Albert enjoys playing basketball, practicing the drums and rooting for the Sixers. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the Wharton School and the College of Arts and Sciences at Penn. He will be in residence at WWS during the Fall semester only.
Madeleine Parker
III - Domestic Policy
Dartmouth College, 2014
Geography, B.A.
Bangkok, Thailand
Madeleine was born in New York and grew up in Kathmandu, Beijing, Florence and Bangkok. She studied geography and global health at Dartmouth College, where she researched migration and segregation in U.S. cities and interned at the Gates Foundation in Beijing. After graduation, Madeleine worked in the Commissioner’s Office in the New York City housing department (HPD) as an Urban Fellow. She then moved to the research team, studying the impacts of affordable housing. She is particularly interested in questions of equity and the geography of opportunity, and at WWS she is pursuing these through a focus on urban policy and planning. She completed two internships this past summer, focusing on sustainability planning at SPUR and economic development with the World Bank. In her spare time, Madeleine enjoys distance running, casual cooking and taking public transit.
Liqun Peng
Beijing Forestry University, 2013; Tsinghua University, 2016
Forestry, BAg; Environmental Science and Engineering, M.S.
Beijing, China
Liqun is a first-year Ph.D. candidate in science, technology and environmental policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Prior to arriving at Princeton, she earned a master’s degree in environmental science and engineering at Tsinghua University with a focus on Chinese air pollution. Her research involves residential fuel use and emission estimates, the impacts of electric vehicles on air quality, public health and economic impacts from China’s international trade and local air pollution prevention and control action plans. Liqun is interested in assessing potential co-benefits of pollutant mitigation policies to air quality, climate change and associated human health impacts.
Tiffany M. Peterson
III - Domestic Policy
University of Notre Dame, 2011
Architecture, BArch
Orange County, California
Tiffany is a Vietnamese-American architect and urban designer who is passionate about building community through equitable design and public policy. Inspired by her undergraduate research on neighborhood redevelopment, she believes that successfully planned neighborhoods can truly alter the trajectory of people’s lives. After her architecture and Italian studies in the far reaches of northern Indiana and a year of urban studies in Italy, Tiffany spent four years in the Los Angeles region working with municipalities and nonprofits to provide over 300 affordable housing units for artists and seniors; renovating community buildings, such as a daycare for homeless children; and informing public policy, such as a walkability study that analyzed accessibility to healthy foods. Her proudest accomplishment thus far is seeing a 67-page civic center master plan she wrote become adopted as a city ordinance. Upon graduation from the Woo, Tiffany aims to work at the nexus of urban design, planning and policy to build vibrant communities. Tiffany holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame where she was the inaugural recipient of the Jane Jacobs Award for commitment to community building. She splits time between Princeton and Brooklyn where she enjoys biking across the bridges, speaking Italian, and sharing 500 square feet with a tico, a pit bull, and a never-ending number of foster dogs.
Kalie Pierce
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Dartmouth College, 2011
Asian and Middle Eastern Studies/Government, B.A.
Seattle, Washington
At Dartmouth College, Kalie studied post-colonialism and conducted research on guerrilla governance in North Africa. After graduation, she worked as a government consultant in D.C. and volunteered as a fellow for the 2012 Obama campaign. Her volunteer experience inspired her to learn more about messaging and, a year later, she joined a public relations firm in New York. Kalie then returned to studying policy and spent two years with Innovations for Poverty Action in Uganda, evaluating the impact of cash transfer programs. This past summer, she completed her internship at the New York Federal Reserve. She intends to spend the rest of her time at Princeton delving deeper into economics and statistics and, after graduation, returning to research and policy analysis. Outside of work, Kalie enjoys cartoons, museums and noodles.
Aparna Ramesh
III - Domestic Policy
Georgetown University, 2011
International Political Economy, BSFS
Davis, California
Aparna’s professional and academic interest is to “crack the code” in enabling public and social sector organizations to actually use investments in data collection and research to guide adaptive learning, improve organizational and programmatic performance, and inform future programming. This past summer, Aparna worked as a summer fellow with the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics at the City of Boston. Prior to WWS, Aparna monitored and evaluated federally-funded programs to determine what worked and how to improve programmatic outcomes. She was a senior research analyst with the International Programs department at NORC at the University of Chicago, conducting impact and performance evaluations of USAID projects. She also worked in Strategy and Operations at Deloitte Consulting’s Federal practice, conducting performance monitoring and management activities for the Department of State. Aparna is interested in helping public and social sector organizations use data to understand what works, what does not, and how to better serve their vulnerable populations. In her spare time, Aparna teaches Doonya, a Bollywood-inspired cardio dance workout, at Dillon Gym.
D.J. Rasmussen
University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009; University of California-Davis, 2013
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, B.S.; Civil and Environmental Engineering, M.S.
Cedarburg, Wisconsin
D.J. studies coastal storms and their economic damage and how climate stabilization targets, like the Paris Agreement, could impact projections of local sea-level rise. He builds statistical and numerical models to address these questions. D.J.’s career goal is to continue to produce tools based on the latest science to help stakeholders make decisions under evolving coastal flood risk. His hope is that these efforts will lead to planning and public policy that saves money and protects human lives. A portfolio of his work can be viewed at:
Matthew Richardson
III - Domestic Policy
Utah State University, 2011
Political Science/Speech Communication, B.A.
Kemmerer, Wyoming
Matthew, who is originally from Wyoming, attended Utah State University for his undergraduate studies and received degrees in political science and speech communication. After graduating from Utah State in 2011, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he began working for Senator Orrin Hatch. Over five years in the Senate, Matthew rose from interning in Senator Hatch’s office to serving as the Senator’s legislative assistant on health policy. He left the Senate in 2016 to pursue a Master of Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. His studies at Princeton focus on domestic and health policy. Matthew worked as an intern over the summer of 2017 at Bristol-Myers Squibb as part of the federal policy and government affairs team, where he worked on healthcare reform, implementation of Medicare policy, and value frameworks for drug reimbursement. Matthew and his wife Leah have two children, Rosalie and Kent.
Javier Rojo
IV - Economics and Public Policy
University of New Mexico, 2012
Economics/Philosophy, B.A.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Javier was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of New Mexico where he studied economics, philosophy and statistics. After college, Javier worked at the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department as assistant to the chief economist. He was then selected as the first ever New Mexico fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he conducted various forms of economic analysis and wrote political commentary. Javier returned to New Mexico and began working at MediaDesk NM, a public relations firm that serves the local nonprofit sector. He then served as a grant writer for the Center of Southwest Culture, a nonprofit that works to revitalize New Mexico’s rural economy by introducing innovative business models. In terms of hobbies, Javier is a huge fan of combat sports. He especially likes boxing and mixed martial arts.
Rachel Rothgery
II - International Development
Oberlin College, 2010
Third World Studies, B.A.
Eugene, Oregon
Rachel was raised in Oregon until she was 18 then did a series of globetrotting between Ohio, Guatemala, Bolivia, Niger, Los Angeles and New York. After graduation, she spent four years working on USAID Afghanistan programs with Chemonics International in Washington, D.C. From 2013 to 2014, she served as communications and gender director on the Regional Agricultural Development Program-South in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Upon returning from Afghanistan, she served as communications manager for a USAID youth empowerment program. Rachel completed her internship this past summer at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in New York.
Richard Sambasivam
IV - Economics and Public Policy
University of California-Los Angeles, 2014
Economics, B.A.
Glendora, California
Richard grew up in Southern California, and in an alternate timeline became a full-time novelist. His interest in history and travels overseas led him to become passionate about economics and international affairs. At UCLA, he worked to improve civic engagement among students, taught creative writing in underserved public schools, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 2014, all contributing to his understanding of the “public welfare.” After graduating, he spent two years working in the money markets office of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, where he gained an intimate understanding of public finance, the functioning of financial markets and the implementation of monetary policy in the U.S. At the Fed, he also co-led the Board’s efforts to improve financial literacy in the Washington, D.C. area. During the summer of 2017, he interned at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London. Richard’s goal after obtaining a master’s degree is to help the United States and multilateral institutions use economic and financial tools to more effectively create stability and improve livelihoods around the world, and still make time to write, too.
Jessica Sarriot
II - International Development
Eastern Mennonite University, 2011
Peacebuilding and Development, B.A.
Paris, France
Jessica was born in Paris, but soon moved to Nouakchott, Mauritania, followed by the Washington, D.C. area, and finally graduated from high school in Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine. She studied peacebuilding and development at Eastern Mennonite University where she invested much of her free time in student activism and advocacy. Warned of paternalistic development models, Jessica joined a two-year program through the Mennonite Central Committee focused on fostering relationships between North and South Americans and accompanying grassroots peacebuilding initiatives in Colombia. Having gained a love of salsa dancing and working at the community level, Jessica returned to the United States in 2013 to work as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in Virginia, focusing largely on affordable housing and education-related issues. In January, she quit her job in order to travel the world for seven months and explore its beauty as well as the role of civil society organizations and their ability to create change in areas of conflict. Jessica is particularly interested in the role of civil society, de-colonization movements and exploring ways to acknowledge and repair historic injustices and their current ramifications, especially within the fields of international relations and development. In the summer of 2017, she was an intern for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Amman, Jordan. In her free time, Jessica enjoys game nights, any group singing activity, and most outdoor activities such as hiking, running and reading under shady trees, or climbing said trees.