Student Bios

Nabil Shaikh
MPA1
III - Domestic Policy
Princeton University, 2017
Politics, A.B.
Reading, PA
Nabil recently graduated from Princeton University with a concentration in politics and certificates in global health policy and values and public life. His academic interests and activities have taken him to Budapest to research nano-medicine, Boston to study pediatric cancer clinical trials, Hyderabad to evaluate access to end-of-life care, Trenton to analyze state health disparities, and the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee to work on health policy. Nabil is also passionate about interfaith work and civic engagement, having served in leadership roles for the Princeton Muslim Students’ Association, Religious Life Council, Muslim Advocates for Social Justice, Pace Council for Civic Values, and Community Action. He plans to pursue a career at the nexus of policy, law and public health.
Graham Simpson
MPA1
III - Domestic Policy
Harvard University, 2013
Economics, A.B.
Holden, Massachusetts
Graham grew up in central Massachusetts and attended college at Harvard University, where he studied economics. After graduation, he taught high school equivalency and other classes to incarcerated men at the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction. Graham then worked for three years at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)’s North America office as a member of the policy team, where he acted as project manager for the Creating Moves to Opportunity project, a collaborative effort between public housing authorities and academics to develop and evaluate ways to help families using housing choice vouchers move to higher-opportunity neighborhoods. Graham relaxes through cooking, watching the Boston Red Sox and attending concerts.
James Smyth
MPA2
I - International Relations
Duke University, 2008
Philosophy, B.A.
Carmel, Indiana
James grew up cheering for Reggie Miller in the community now known as Roundabout City, U.S.A. After graduating from Duke University with a philosophy major and math and Spanish minors, he taught English in public primary schools of rural Kumamoto, Japan (home of Kumamon) for two years through the JET Programme, studied Mandarin for two years at National Taiwan University’s International Chinese Language Program, and spent four years as a translator, editor and teacher for the Taiwanese government. He served his WWS summer internship at The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, and aims to continue working on international affairs after graduation.
Hanna Snider
MPA2
II - International Development
University of California-Berkeley, 2010
Political Science, B.A.
Corvallis, Oregon
In 2014, Hanna was working in the California Legislature when the unaccompanied child migrant crisis emerged at the state’s southern border. Thousands of children showed up on their own, fleeing violence and desperate living conditions and California was forced to respond. The experience caused Hanna to shift her focus from domestic policy to international development in order to better understand the root causes of the migration crisis. After completing her first year at the Woodrow Wilson School, she took a middle-year-out where she conducted migration research for USAID’s Mission in Honduras. While there, she also leveraged her background in California elections policy to help coordinate the U.S. Embassy’s electoral observation effort during Honduras’s presidential primary. Before moving to Honduras to work with USAID, she worked with UNDP in Guatemala on conflict mediation and dialogue. Hanna enjoys planning (and attending!) camping trips, playing the ukulele, bringing together friends, reading great books and laughing out loud.
Sepideh Soltaninia
MPA1
I - International Relations
University of Ottawa, 2013
International Development and Globalization, BSS
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Sepideh is a graduate of the University of Ottawa, where she received a degree in international development and globalization. Following her bachelor’s degree, Sepideh worked for over four years at the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Much of that time was spent in Jordan, Turkey and Iraq supporting WFP’s response to the crisis in Syria and in the organization’s headquarters in Rome, where she served as a project coordinator in the Office of the Executive Director. Born in Tehran and raised in the suburbs of Toronto, Sepideh has an irrational fear of earthquakes and a fondness for the origins of words.
Ana Sorrentino
MPA1
I - International Relations
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2011
Latin American Studies/ Political Science, B.A.
Burnsville, Minnesota
Born and raised near Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, Ana attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As an undergraduate, she spent a semester studying at the Universidad de La Habana in Cuba and a semester interning in Washington, D.C. Following graduation, Ana interned at an international think tank in Amsterdam and then worked for several years at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a human rights research and advocacy organization, where she focused on U.S. policy toward Cuba and Central America. She then spent two years as a legislative assistant to Congressman Sam Farr, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. As his point person on foreign policy and international trade, Ana advised the congressman primarily on U.S.-Latin America relations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the foreign aid budget. Following Congressman Farr’s retirement in 2017, she returned to WOLA, where she managed a congressional outreach surge and developed a long-term plan to expand WOLA’s reach on Capitol Hill. After WWS, Ana plans to return to Congress as a legislative staffer.
Alonso Soto
MPP
II - International Development
University of Missouri, Columbia, 2005
Journalism, B.A.
Managua, Nicaragua
Alonso started his journalism career reporting on immigration and labor unions in Chicago for Reuters before heading to Ecuador to start a 12-year tour through Latin America where he wrote about everything from violent demonstrations, shocking debt defaults, a massive earthquake and the impeachment of a president. Growing up in a country torn by civil war and economic chaos, Alonso has focused on public policy in Latin America with the last six years devoted to covering economics in one of the world’s biggest economies, Brazil. He wants to further his knowledge of economics, concentrating on fiscal and industrial policies as the region enters a new era of slower growth after riding the wave of record-high commodity prices for the last decade.
Tom Stanley-Becker
MPA2
III - Domestic Policy
Yale University, 2013
American Studies/Political Science, B.A.
Chicago, Illinois
Tom grew up on Chicago’s South Side. He studied at Yale University, where he majored in political science and American studies, concentrating on urban studies and political economy. He was involved in grassroots activism in New Haven and has held internships in the Anti-Human Trafficking Office of the Israeli Ministry of Justice and in the U.K. Parliament for MP David Lammy, who represents Tottenham, an impoverished London district home to refugees and asylum-seekers from across the world. Before coming to WWS, Tom worked in Washington, D.C., most recently as the policy director on the U.S. House of Representatives campaign of Jamie Raskin (now a House member representing Maryland’s Eighth District). While in D.C., he also sang in a karaoke league. This past summer, he interned at the New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, working to develop and evaluate anti-poverty programs. After WWS, Tom plans to pursue a career in urban policy.
Jordan Stockdale
MPA2
III - Domestic Policy
University of Missouri-Columbia, 2010; Hunter College, 2012
Convergence Journalism, B.A.; Special Education, MSEd
Kansas City, Missouri
For the last three years, Jordan worked for the De Blasio Administration – first as the program director of school climate initiatives for the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice and then as a policy staffer for the first deputy mayor. Throughout his tenure at the Mayor’s Office, Jordan was responsible for organizing the Mayor's Leadership Team on School Climate and Discipline, developing new school climate and safety programs, and shaping related policies. For the first deputy mayor, Jordan also worked on policies related to foster care youth, students on Rikers, students in temporary housing and the Renewal Schools initiative. Prior to working at the Mayor's Office, Jordan served as a Fulbright scholar in Madrid and a special education teacher in Harlem. He recently launched Hire Harlem – an initiative that promotes small businesses that hire locally, give back to local community organizations or are owned by women/people of color. Jordan is a proud New Leaders Council alum.
Luke Strathmann
MPA1
II - International Development
Bates College, 2010
Economics, B.A.
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
Luke grew up on a donkey farm near Philadelphia, and has since lived in Maine, Fiji, Massachusetts, Zambia, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and now New Jersey. After graduating from Bates College in 2010, he worked for an environmental policy consulting firm, a livestock microfinance program, an education nonprofit, and a bamboo construction company. From 2013 through 2017, he worked at MIT's Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in the Global Policy Group, where he conducted policy outreach around education and environmental policy issues, managed the Post-Primary Education Initative, and worked closely with J-PAL’s Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) office. Luke’s interests include English mastiffs, Thai food, hiking, biking, surfing, yoga and writing short stories.
Stefan Szepesi
MPP
I - International Relations
Maastricht University, 2003
Economics, Master’s
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Stefan is Dutch from his mother’s side and Hungarian from his father’s side. Growing up in the Netherlands, he loved basketball and tennis, finding out very late he was miserable at both. He then took up running and studied economics in Maastricht. Deeply passionate for Europe, he was recruited by the E.U. to work overseas in trade negotiations and development policy. In 2006, he was eventually posted in Jerusalem, working as a diplomat and economic advisor on Israel-Palestine issues for the E.U. and then the U.N. in the Office of the Middle East Quartet. In 2012, Stefan published “Walking Palestine: 25 Journeys into the West Bank” and traded in traditional diplomacy for the physical diplomacy of walking in the Middle East, joining the Abraham Path Initiative, a small NGO, as executive director. He has walked and initiated projects on storytelling, walking and hospitality in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Stefan, his wife Kirsten and their two small girls are very excited to spend a year at Princeton.
Ayumi Teraoka
PhD
Keio University, 2013; Georgetown University, 2014
Political Science, LLB; Asian Studies, M.A.
Tokyo, Japan
Ayumi is a first-year Ph.D. student with particular interests in U.S. foreign policy towards Asia, alliance dynamics, and national defense decision-making processes. Prior to coming to Princeton, she worked at the Council on Foreign Relations’ Japan studies program and the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ office of the Japan chair. She holds a master’s degree in Asian studies from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Keio University. Ayumi was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and is mother of Haru, a five-year-old shibainu. Haru moved to the United States from Japan in 2016 and spends most of her spare time napping.
Aaron Tobert
MPA2
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Colgate University, 2014
Economics, B.A.
Pennington, New Jersey
Aaron grew up in Pennington, New Jersey, right next to Princeton. He attended Colgate University in central New York, where he studied economics and philosophy. Upon graduating, Aaron worked as an economic research assistant at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). His typical work at the FDIC involved collecting, cleaning and analyzing financial data. He also worked extensively on stress testing, which forecasts whether banks would be healthy enough to survive another crisis, and measuring the too-big-to-fail subsidy for large banks. This past summer, Aaron interned at the New York City Office of Management and Budget. After WWS, he hopes to work at a think tank or government agency that analyzes anti-poverty policies. In his free time, Aaron likes to eat, read, play guitar and eat some more.
Henrietta Toivanen
PhD
Claremont McKenna College, 2017
Biophysics/International Relations, B.A.
Kuopio, Finland
Henrietta is a first-year Ph.D. student at the Woodrow Wilson School with interdisciplinary research interests at the intersection of science, technology, and international security. Her research focuses particularly on nuclear arms control, non- and counterproliferation, and other nuclear policy issues. She grew up in Kuopio, Finland, in a Finnish-Polish home, before moving to California to receive her bachelor’s degree in biophysics and international relations at Claremont McKenna College. Her past professional experiences have been in Washington, D.C., Switzerland and India, and most recently she worked at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Abraham Trindle
MPP
I - International Relations
Purdue University, 2012
History/Political Science, B.A.
Martinsville, Indiana
Abe grew up in Martinsville, Indiana, and studied history and political science at Purdue University. He is a military officer with deployments in Latin America and the Middle East. In his spare time, Abe enjoys reading, exploring outdoors, and entertaining his nieces and nephews.

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