Student Bios

Newby Parton
MPA1
III - Domestic Policy
Princeton University, 2018
Public & International Affairs, A.B.
McMinnville, Tennessee
Born and raised in the rural Appalachian region of Tennessee, Newby completed his undergraduate education at Princeton University, where he was a co-recipient of the 2018 Pyne Prize, the highest general distinction conferred on an undergraduate. One of the Wilson School’s SINSI fellows, he has worked in the Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice and plans to return to the Department for the field component of his fellowship. Newby’s undergraduate research, which focused on criminal justice reform and judicial independence, has inspired him to pursue a career in civil rights law with the intent of entering the judiciary.
Liqun Peng
PhD
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
MPA2
II - International Development
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 inclusive and sustainable urban development. After her architecture and Italian studies, with a year of urban studies in Rome, Tiffany spent six years in Los Angeles and New York City working with governments, NGOs, and community members to implement sustainable land-use, housing, and transport policies. Her proudest accomplishment thus far is seeing a 67-page master plan she wrote become adopted as a city ordinance. To serve the cities most challenged by rapid urbanization, Tiffany now works on urban issues at a global level. Last spring, she initiated an MPA policy workshop on informal settlements which will partner with PennDesign and 100 Resilient Cities to study transport planning and informal economies in Accra, Ghana. Most recently, Tiffany spent her summer as an urban development research fellow at the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) in Vietnam, developing a transport project to reduce motorbike use in Hanoi and a housing project to increase the climate resiliency of low-income communities in the Lower Mekong Delta. Upon graduating from the Woo, Tiffany aims to work at the nexus of design and development 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 loves adventures, foreign languages, bright colors, and morning coffees.
Caitlin Quinn
MPA1
I - International Relations
Princeton University, 2018
Public & International Affairs, A.B.
San Antonio, Texas
Caitlin grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and spent a year living in Salvador, Brazil, before starting college. A member of the 2018 SINSI cohort, Caitlin graduated from Princeton University with a degree in public and international affairs and minors in Latin American studies and Portuguese. As an undergraduate, she studied abroad in Toledo, Spain and Belfast, Northern Ireland. She also interned with a newspaper in Málaga, Spain; a cultural institution in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and the State Department in Washington, D.C. Caitlin plans to eventually pursue a career in federal government service, and in her free time, she enjoys traveling, listening to podcasts, and cheering on the San Antonio Spurs.
Pooja Ramamurthi
PhD
RV College of Engineering, 2011; Royal Institute of Technology, 2013
Chemical Engineering, BEng; Mechanical Engineering, MSc
Bangalore, India
Pooja is a policy expert specializing in areas of modern energy access, climate change and sustainability. Her research focuses on finding innovative solutions to global energy and environmental challenges through rigorous cutting-edge analysis. Over the past four years, Pooja has been working on these challenges at premier think tanks. Most recently, she worked in Delhi as a senior policy analyst at the University of Chicago. Her work has resulted in her being invited to international and national conferences and published in peer reviewed journals and articles in leading newspapers. Pooja received her double master’s degree in sustainable energy from the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, and Instituto Superior Tecnico, Portugal, via the prestigious Erasmus Mundus Innoenergy Scholarship granted by the European Commission. Beyond her work with energy and environment, Pooja is a noted stand-up comedian who uses the platform to spread awareness about gender equality and speech impediments. Her work involves creating spaces and networks, which promote women in comedy and allow comediennes to support each other.
D.J. Rasmussen
PhD
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: http://www.djrasmussen.co.
Rocio Rodarte
MPA1
III - Domestic Policy
Brown University, 2011
International Relations, B.A.
East Los Angeles, California
An East Los Angeles native, Rocio graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s in international relations. Her internships with the County of Los Angeles and the U.S House of Representatives shifted her focus to domestic policies impacting underserved communities. Upon graduating, she worked at Lake Research Partners, a national political strategy research firm, as a Logistics Assistant and Junior Analyst. Rocio subsequently spent four years on Capitol Hill, serving as a policy aide to U.S. Senator Michael F. Bennet. Her policy work has centered on immigration, civil rights and environmental justice issues. She kicked-off her summer with a trip to Berlin for a fellowship to discuss immigration and integration issues in the U.S. and Germany with transatlantic leaders interested in reducing disparities among immigrant communities. Rocio enjoys traveling, hiking, camping and podcasting.
Emily Romano
MPA1
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Rice University, 2011
Mathematical Economic Analysis/Policy Studies, B.A.
Gainesville, Florida
Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, Emily graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in mathematical economic analysis and policy studies in May 2011. While in high school, and as an undergraduate at Rice, she spent summers working in Honduras, Peru and Costa Rica, becoming passionate about international development. After graduation, Emily joined Root Capital, a nonprofit social investment fund that lends capital and delivers financial training to small agricultural businesses in Latin America and Africa. Emily began her career at Root Capital in portfolio operations, where she designed and implemented a loan management system and processed loan transactions, and later worked in risk management, where she developed lending policies and procedures and performed analysis on the non-performing loan portfolio. Upon completing her graduate degree, she hopes to continue working for a non-profit organization that focuses on global poverty reduction. In her free time, Emily enjoys playing tennis, yoga, running, swimming and spending a day (or week) at the beach.
Sagatom Saha
MPA1
I - International Relations
American University, 2015
Business/International Studies, B.S./B.A.
Marlton, New Jersey
Born and raised outside of Philadelphia in New Jersey, Sagatom moved to Washington, D.C., to attend American University where he graduated with a degree in business administration and international studies. While at American, he studied abroad in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and Tbilisi, Georgia, and interned with the economics section of the State Department’s Afghanistan office, and later the German Marshall Fund’s energy security team. Through these experiences, he became passionate about the intersection between energy and geopolitics. After graduation, Sagatom joined the Council on Foreign Relation’s Program on Energy Security and Climate Change. His research spanned oil and gas markets, technology innovation, climate change policy and energy transitions in emerging markets. While at CFR, he published widely on emerging international security problems stemming from global energy transitions including U.S.-China competition, Russia’s nuclear industry, and climate risk. Sagatom left the Council on Foreign Relations to pursue research in Kyiv, Ukraine, on advancing the country’s energy sector reforms. While in Ukraine, he has also helped advise Ukrainian policymakers and civil society groups on international energy policy and draft energy reform legislation.
Macklin Scheldrup
MPA2
I - International Relations
University of Colorado, Boulder, 2014
International Affairs/Political Science, B.A.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Before coming to WWS, Macklin lived in Afghanistan and Pakistan for three years. While there, he worked for monitoring and evaluation firms conducting research for aid agencies and NGOs including USAID, the Department of State, DFID, Oxfam and the Asia Foundation. From this he worked on a variety of topics, particularly implementing quantitative and quasi-experimental empirical approaches to conflict and stabilization research. This past summer, he interned at USAID in Washington. A native Iowan, Macklin graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a B.A. in international affairs and political science.
Fionnuala Seiferth
MPA1
III - Domestic Policy
New York University, 2013
International Relations, B.A.
Lincoln, Massachusetts
An Airforce brat, Fionnuala graduated from New York University with a degree in international relations and a minor in social entrepreneurship. After graduation, Fionnuala joined the administration of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio where she has worked on various initiatives including New York City’s roll out of paid sick leave and the successful campaign to end chronic veteran homelessness. Most recently, Fionnuala worked for the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services where she focused on housing and social services for the homeless and on interagency planning to improve social service delivery. After graduating from Woodrow Wilson, she is interested in working with the government to improve low-income housing options and social service delivery for vulnerable individuals.
Manna Selassie
MPA1
I - International Relations
Occidental College, 2014
Diplomacy & World Affairs, B.A.
Trenton, New Jersey
Manna is a Trenton, New Jersey, native just getting back to the East Coast after long stints in California and Asia. Studying diplomacy at Occidental College brought her to a two-year Fulbright fellowship in Taiwan. She spent her first year learning to shoot the breeze with farmers in one of their most remote indigenous villages, and the next year navigating the subways of the busy capital city. Manna dedicated the past three years to not only cultural exchange and public service, but also environmental sustainability through volunteering at GreenPeace Taiwan and co-chairing the Philadelphia School District’s green infrastructure committee as an AmeriCorps VISTA. After graduating WWS, she looks forward to a career in the Foreign Service. Manna enjoys indie movies, podcasts, the Jersey Shore (not the TV show!), swimming, historical fiction and memoirs.
Jeffrey Simon
MPA1
III - Domestic Policy
University of Michigan, 2009; Stanford University, 2011
Chemistry/Interdisciplinary Physics, B.S.; Chemistry, M.S.
West Bloomfield, Michigan
Jeff is passionate about expanding opportunities for young people in low-income and immigrant communities. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s in chemistry from Stanford University, he taught chemistry at Passaic High School in Passaic, New Jersey, through Teach For America. He later served as a program manager with iMentor, a nonprofit mentoring organization, where he guided a cohort of high school students and mentors in the Bronx through postsecondary preparation from 10th grade through graduation. During the summer before beginning his studies at WWS, Jeff traveled to Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary to see a friend and travel around Europe for the first time. He is pursuing a concurrent MPA/J.D. degree at WWS and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and after graduation hopes to work as an immigration attorney defending unaccompanied minors in deportation proceedings, as well as providing college advising and career planning services for these young people.
Ana Sorrentino
MPA2
I - International Relations
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2011
Latin American Studies/ Political Science, B.A.
Burnsville, Minnesota
Ana attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Following graduation, Ana worked for several years at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a human rights research and advocacy organization. She then spent two years as a foreign policy and international trade adviser to Congressman Sam Farr, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. This summer, Ana worked as a research associate Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade division of the Congressional Research Service.
Anne Stickells
PhD
Stanford University, 2015
Science, Technology & Society, B.A.
Bishop, California
Anne grew up in Bishop, California, a small town located on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. When she started college at Stanford she planned to major in mathematics, but a class on national security policy convinced her to major in science, technology and society with an emphasis in policy and security. When she was not in class, you could find her riding for the Western Equestrian Team and teaching riding classes. After graduation, Anne worked at RAND Corporation in Santa Monica for several years where her projects largely focused on strategic systems, including nuclear and space assets. RAND’s location two blocks from the beach gave her the opportunity to explore new passions, like surfing and beach volleyball. Now a Ph.D. student, Anne plans to study nuclear policy and examine the intersection of nuclear and conventional weapons infrastructures.

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