96 Graduate with Advanced Degrees from the Woodrow Wilson School

Jun 7, 2017
Sarah M. Binder

The Woodrow Wilson School awarded 96 graduate students (Woody Woos!) with degrees at its June 6 Commencement and throughout the 2016-17 academic year. We congratulate the five Ph.D. students, 69 Master in Public Affairs (MPA) students and 22 Master in Public Policy (MPP) students who graduated this year and welcome them to the Woo alumni family.

At the annual Hooding Ceremony held June 5 at the Wilson School, Dean Cecilia Rouse addressed the graduates and their families. Click here for a photo album from the ceremony.

“You are graduating at a tumultuous time – we have levels of inequality that have not been seen since the times of the Robber Barons over a century ago, with dire consequences for our economic, political and social fabric. Terrorism both here and abroad continues to be a very real threat. The need for talented men and women to serve the public good has never been greater. As trained passionate and compassionate policy professionals, you have an obligation to apply your skills and talents to find solutions to the most vexing policy issues in our communities, in our nation and in the world.”

Several graduate students were recognized through prestigious awards. They are as follows.


High Distinction

Bethany Atkins (Field III), Jack Hoskins (Field IV) and David Logan (Field I) received high distinction on the second-year qualifying exam.


The following students achieved distinction in their second-year qualifying exams: Alexandra Parma, (Field III), Ewan Rankin (Field IV) and Ken Sofer (Field I).


Seven MPA students received Certificates in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP): Vivian Chang, Cara Goldenberg, Stephen Lassiter, Eri Nakatani, Ken Sofer, Hannah Safford, Herve Thomas.

One Ph.D. student received a STEP certificate: Yue Qin.

Four MPA students received Health and Health Policy Certificates: Rafael Almeida, Alexandra Parma, Amanda Tan and Julianne Whittaker.

Three MPP students received Health and Health Policy Certificates: Vasanthakumar Namasivayam, Joshua Roper and Aparna Seth.

One MPA student earned a Certificate in Urban Policy: Milan Reed.

One MPA student earned a Certificate in Urban Policy and Planning: Crystal Godina.

Two MPP students earned a Certificate in Urban Policy and Planning: Ari Maas and Andrew Newman.

Graduate Prizes

The Bradford Prize was awarded to Hannah Safford. From San Francisco, California, Safford graduated from Princeton in 2013 with a BSE in chemical and biological engineering and a certificate in the Woodrow Wilson School. A graduate scholar with the Scholar’s in the Nation’s Service Initiative (SINSI), Safford’s SINSI internship was with the U.S. Forest Service Department of Resource Use Science. She spent her fellowship at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The Bradford Prize – named for the late David Bradford, a former associate dean and distinguished colleague – goes to the STEP student who has achieved both a distinguished academic record and a record of service in the School.

The Master in Public Policy Prize was given to Asha Brooks. After receiving her undergraduate degree in geography and politics from Cambridge University in 2005, Brooks began her career in the NGO sector, advising on public relations for Oxfam and Girlguiding U.K. before joining the British Diplomatic Service in 2007. She has since advised on a wide range of topics, including migration, trade and multilateral policy, and completed two overseas postings in Kinshasa and Mexico City.

The MPP Prize is given to a student who has achieved both an outstanding academic record and demonstrated a commitment to public service and community building at the Wilson School.

The Somers Prize was awarded to Ryan Stoffers. A San Francisco native, Stoffers graduated from UCLA in 2012 with a B.S. in economics/mathematics. Prior to coming to WWS, Ryan was a research analyst at an economic development consulting firm, working with different public and private sector financing sources to fund real estate developments and operating businesses in economically distressed communities throughout the United States. He plans to work in community development finance, building innovative programs to channel capital into low-income communities.

The Somers Prize – established by the late Anne Somers to honor the memory of her husband, the late Herman M. “Red” Somers, a former Wilson School faculty member – is awarded to a student with domestic policy interests who has a distinguished academic and public service record.

The Stokes’ Award was awarded to Olivia Dowling and David Peterson. After graduating from Yale University in 2011 with a B.A. in political science/international studies, Dowling researched the influence of civil society organizations on national policymaking at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. The following year, she moved to Bangkok, Thailand, where she evaluated market-based public health interventions as a Princeton in Asia fellow at an international nonprofit. She hopes to focus on issues related to U.S. foreign policy, civil society, and the relationship between development and international security.

Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, Peterson studied sociology, sexuality studies and classical humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a campus leader on LGBTQ issues. During the summer of 2016, he interned with the Phnom Penh office of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), reporting on LGBT inclusion in Cambodia. After graduating from the Woodrow Wilson School, Peterson plans to pursue his interests in development, human rights and civil society organizations. 

The Stokes’ Prize recognizes both academic achievement and public service leadership and is awarded to the graduating MPA student/s whose achievements best exemplify the world of the late Donald E. Stokes, former dean of the Wilson School.