Student Bios

Macklin Scheldrup
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. A native Iowan, Macklin graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a B.A. in international affairs and political science.
Caitlin Schoenfelder
III - Domestic Policy
Whitman College, 2009; University of the Pacific, 2012
Politics, B.A.; Curriculum and Instruction, M.A.
La Grande, Oregon
Caitlin grew up and attended college in the rural American West. She has worked in education for seven years as a consultant, teacher coach, teacher, and researcher in high-poverty environments in D.C., Oakland, San Diego, Seattle and Mexico. She is especially excited about innovative teaching and learning for adults and kids, and spent this summer contributing to several workforce innovation pilots with The New Teacher Project (TNTP). Caitlin is a Truman scholar and a former Princeton in Latin America fellow. She is fluent in Spanish and enjoys comedy and the outdoors in (almost) all forms.
Maira Seeley
I - International Relations
Oxford University, 2013; Oxford University, 2014
Archeology and Anthropology, B.A.; Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, M.S.
Ithaca, New York
Maira grew up in Ithaca, New York, and rural Maine with a passion for exploring outdoors. She completed her B.A. in archaeology and anthropology at Oxford with a focus on the Middle East. Her experience as a volunteer Arabic interpreter and caseworker for the British Red Cross’ Refugee Support Services led her to complete her master’s degree in refugee and forced migration studies at Oxford as a Clarendon scholar. After two years of work on conflict mitigation programs in the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan, Maira joined the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a projects officer at the British Embassy in Amman. Her experience has informed her interest in foreign policy responses to economic instability in the Middle East. At the WWS, she plans to build skills in economic and policy analysis to pursue her career interests in public service and foreign policy. Maira enjoys distance running and hiking.
Nabil Shaikh
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.