Student Bios

Zacharia Wahls
III - Domestic Policy
University of Iowa, 2014
Interdisciplinary Studies, B.A.
Iowa City, Iowa
A native of Iowa City, Iowa, Zach is a graduate of the University of Iowa and co-founded Scouts for Equality, the national campaign that successfully fought to end discrimination against gay members and leaders of the Boy Scouts of America. His testimony about love and family before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee was YouTube’s most-watched political video of 2011. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling book “My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family.” The summer before his MPA was spent training for his first-ever triathlon and attending the Democratic National Convention as a pledged delegate for Hillary Clinton. After his time at the Woodrow Wilson School, he plans to work in federal renewable energy policy.
Mark Walker
University of Tennessee, 2012
Nuclear Engineering, BSc
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Mark is a fifth-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, he was involved with research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory on verification technology for nuclear arms control treaties, with a focus on active neutron interrogation techniques. He is a 2011 recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, and earned his bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2012. His research involves technical and political analysis of verification issues relevant to nuclear arms control and safeguards.
Timothy Weedon
II - International Development
University of Bath, 2008
Business Administration, B.S.
London, United Kingdom
Following a semester studying abroad in Toronto, Tim graduated with first class honours in business administration from the University of Bath. He began his public service career on a graduate intern programme at the Cabinet Office, where he worked on a review examining how the U.K. measures poverty and life chances. He also spent time as a researcher for the Global Leadership Foundation, a network of former world leaders that works to promote good governance. He then moved to Yunnan Province, China, where he taught English in a state middle school on a British Council programme. Upon return to London, Tim became head of office for a member of parliament, where he helped lead a successful campaign for a new Modern Slavery Act. He then went on to work in the Home Secretary’s private office, and headed up development of the government’s strategy for tackling modern slavery and human trafficking in the U.K. and internationally. Tim was most recently chief of staff to the U.K.’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, working with the commissioner to lead advocacy efforts to ensure that a strong anti-slavery target was included in the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. In his spare time, Tim enjoys most sports, traveling – ideally getting lost off the beaten path – and photography.
Alex Wheatley
II - International Development
Princeton University, 2016
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, A.B.
Wichita, Kansas
Alex, of Newtown, Pennsylvania, is a 2016 graduate of Princeton University with a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology. She is passionate about global health and is particularly interested in how public policies shape disease dynamics and environmental health at local, national and international levels. Prior to joining the Woodrow Wilson School, Alex interned with the Conservation Clubs in Laikipia County, Kenya (2014) and the Strategic Multi-Attribute Ranking Tool for Vaccines (SMART Vaccines) project at the Fogarty International Center within the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland (2015). Alex was a member of the varsity women’s basketball team at Princeton. She loves reading, running, cooking and eating (especially eating).
James Williams
II - International Development
John Jay College, 2015
Public Administration, B.S.
Lagos, Nigeria
Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, James moved to New York City in 2011 for undergraduate studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY), where he studied public administration with a minor in economics. After graduation, he served as a NYC Urban fellow at the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), a unit within the New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations which designs, implements, and evaluates innovative, evidence-based programs tackling poverty. At CEO, James worked on subsidized jobs programs for young adults facing barriers to employment and educational opportunities. He plans to use his time at the Woodrow Wilson School to hone the necessary skills to confront the social development challenges in his hometown, and to assist governments in becoming more intentional in their responses to poverty. James enjoys cooking, dancing, watching English Premier League football, creating graphic designs, and has a new-found love for physical training.
Lauryn Williams
I - International Relations
Stanford University, 2014
Political Science, B.A.
Long Beach, California
Lauryn was born and raised in perpetually sunny Long Beach, California. She moved to the Bay Area for college and graduated from Stanford University with a degree in political science and honors in international security studies. While writing her undergraduate honors thesis, she developed an interest in nuclear issues in South Asia that continued after she received the Junior Fellowship to work with the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. After completing the one-year fellowship, Lauryn remained at Carnegie as a project manager for an additional year. Over this two year period, she had the opportunity to research various nuclear topics, to travel internationally, and to publish a report on the changing nature of the global nuclear order. During the 2015-16 academic year, Lauryn also served as the residential assistant for dozens of undergraduate students participating in the Bing Stanford in Washington program. She enjoys visiting new places, seeing live performances and being outside in the sun.
Laura Williamson
III - Domestic Policy
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2008
English/International Studies, B.A.
Hillsborough, North Carolina
Laura grew up in Hillsborough, North Carolina playing in the creek and building forts in the woods. As an international studies and English major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she learned about participatory development from the residents of Kibera, Kenya, and about community organizing and resilience on the post-Hurricane Katrina Gulf Coast. Since graduation, Laura has organized for racial justice with high school students as a staff member at Puentes New Orleans, spent a year studying public policy and social planning at La Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina, and, most recently, supported multi-issue social justice movement-building through leadership development work at Young People For. At the Woo she will be exploring how to leverage public policy tools to expand voting rights and how to better integrate organizing and policy strategies. Laura is also passionate about rock climbing, backpacking, salsa dancing, furniture-making and cooking.
William Willoughby
III - Domestic Policy
University of Georgia, 2013
History, B.A.
Savannah, Georgia
William was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia where he worked on the university radio news show and earned his B.A. in history and a minor in music performing cello. After graduating, he started his career as an education policy analyst at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget focused on early childhood and postsecondary education. His other work includes research with Emory University on evaluating programs designed to improve school climate in elementary schools and as a consultant to Georgia and Kentucky on finance and policy regarding their foster care systems. William spent the summer prior to attending Princeton exploring national parks and wilderness preserves of the western United States. After WWS, William intends to work with governments or public sector organizations in program evaluation or public budgeting, particularly in the fields of education or, more broadly, social policy.
Charles Wilson
I - International Relations
United States Coast Guard Academy, 2003; National Graduate School of Quality Management, 2011
Management, B.S.; Quality Systems Management, M.S.
Houston, Texas
Charlie joins WWS after most recently serving as the director of aviation operations at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City, Michigan, where he was responsible for air-sea rescue and law enforcement operations across the Great Lakes. Commissioned in 2003 as a graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy, he completed two shipboard tours leading counter narcotic, migrant interdiction, and humanitarian operations throughout the Caribbean and Pacific basins onboard the Coast Guard Cutters MOHAWK and DRUMMOND, while sunburned in Key West, Florida. He completed Naval flight training in 2009 and has amassed nearly 3,000 hours as an MH-65 helicopter instructor pilot and as an Airborne Use of Force mission commander. Following graduation, Charlie looks forward to flying a desk in the Office of Congressional Affairs or as a DHS policy and program reviewer before returning to leadership roles at a Coast Guard Air Station. Charlie and his wife, Christy, look forward to the return of the other three seasons while in Princeton, and spent the summer thawing with their children Luke, Eli, and Emilia along the Jersey Shore.
Hope Wollensack
III - Domestic Policy
Tufts University, 2011
Political Science, B.A.
New Haven, Connecticut
Born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, Hope attended Tufts University where she studied political science and helped found the Africana Studies Program. Her interest in social justice and activism led her to join Teach For America where she became a social studies teacher in New Orleans, Louisiana. In her second year of teaching, Hope began the “Race and Class Working Group,” which lead professional development on active anti-racism, critical consciousness and cultural relevancy in teaching. Most recently, she was the middle school assistant principal at Mildred Osborne Charter School where she provided instructional coaching for 12 teachers, led professional development, and created rigorous and culturally relevant curriculum in social studies. Upon graduation from WWS, Hope plans to use her professional and academic experiences to impact education policy.
Teresa Wolverton
I - International Relations
Middlebury College, 2012
International Politics and Economics, B.A.
Starkville, Mississippi
Teresa hails from the Deep South, but made her way to the Far North to study languages and international politics at Middlebury College in Vermont. As an undergraduate, she studied in France and China and received funding to support work in human rights with the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania. After seeing the unique perspectives towards learning in each country and noting the disparity in educational access for different ethnic groups, she spent a year researching ethnicity-based policymaking in primary education. After graduating, Teresa began working in international advertising as a director at Craft Translation, part of McCann Worldgroup. Her work has taken her to London, Singapore, Toronto and Budapest to oversee the rollout of global campaigns in over 100 countries. She hopes to translate her private sector skills into a career implementing programming and best practices for education in emergencies that are both globally consistent and locally relevant. An avid learner, most evenings Teresa can be found trying to solve crossword puzzles and sweep Jeopardy! categories. On weekends you’ll likely find her making triple batches of cheese biscuits, watching college football, and chasing her nieces and nephews around Alabama.
Anna Yalouris
II - International Development
Bates College, 2009
Economics, B.A.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Anna was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and received her undergraduate degree in economics from Bates College. Early experiences working with communities in rural Thailand exposed her to a diverse range of social issues including labor rights for informal scavengers, genetic crop modification, export agriculture, mining, energy and education. After college, Anna spent six years with the policy group at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in Cambridge, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Rwanda and Botswana. At J-PAL Africa, she was responsible for providing technical expertise to support governments to scale up high-impact antipoverty interventions, as well as design new programs based on evidence. She left J-PAL in 2015 to train as an aerial acrobat with the South African National Circus. Anna is a lover of the mountains and rivers of the Western Cape, dancing, music and anything to do with rabbits.
Yujing Yang
II - International Development
Shanghai International Studies University, 2009
International Politics, LLB
Chongqing, China
Yang grew up in Chongqing, an inland city in southwest China, where people feed on chili peppers. Influenced by her family members in public service, Yang took special interest in politics and received a bachelor’s degree of law from Shanghai International Studies University where she learned about world politics in an idealist manner. To put the theories to test, Yang returned to her home city and started a five-year relationship with the U.K. Foreign Office, picturing herself in West Wing-style scenes. She didn’t get to indulge in her fantasies for long. Exposed extensively to real-world public policy making in two governments, she witnessed how little an “agreement” can deliver and how much a whimsical idea costs. She was not disheartened after all. Trying out different roles, from press officer to science and technology officer to climate change and energy officer, Yang discovered the environmental and energy policy field was a place where she could not only insatiate her intellectual curiosity, but also continue her quest for inspiring-yet-practical solutions to one of the biggest global policy challenges: climate change. Yang hopes to pair the training she receives at WWS with her past experience to guide her future journey in the policy realm, where uncertainties and false hopes are never out of print.
Álvaro Zapatel Malpartida
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Boston College, 2011
Economics, B.A.
Lima, Peru
Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Álvaro earned a B.A. in economics and a minor in international studies from Boston College. Since graduation, he has worked as an economist, public servant, university professor and journalist. Accordingly, his passion for public service led him to actively participate in Peruvian politics. In 2009, Álvaro co-founded an NGO focused on vulnerable teenagers’ social-emotional development. Realizing the impact of working in policy and politics, in 2012 he began to work first at the private sector as a journalist at Semana Económica, a Peruvian business and economics magazine, and as a strategic planning consultant at APOYO Consultoría’s Public Administration Practice. Later, Álvaro ran for mayor, becoming the youngest candidate in his district’s history, and with that experience, in 2016 his party appointed him as the presidential campaign manager for Lima. After running for office, he started to work at the Ministry of Education of Peru leading projects to improve public schools’ management. In parallel, he also taught courses in economics and communications at the University of Lima. Álvaro plans to work in public service and international development after graduation. He expects that the MPA program will help him to expand his knowledge about public policy and merge it with his experience in politics. Álvaro enjoys to cook, read a good book, go running, and play and watch soccer.
Zachary Zappone
III - Domestic Policy
Georgetown University, 2013
American Studies, B.A.
Spokane, Washington
Zack was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. He attended Georgetown University where he majored in American studies and developed an interest in educational inequality. He worked with high-poverty communities in Washington, D.C, and Sacramento, California, before moving back to eastern Washington to be a middle school teacher where he created several civic engagement programs for students. Prior to starting at the Woo, Zack was a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Colombia. He is an avid fan of young adult fiction and enjoys traveling, hiking and bowling.