Paulina Lopez Gonzalez
News & Awards

Graduate Students Clark and Lopez Gonzalez Named Ullman Fellows

Feb 21, 2019
Sarah M. Binder
Woodrow Wilson School

Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs has awarded two graduate students, Tom Clark MPA ’20 and Paulina Lopez Gonzalez MPA ’19, Richard H. Ullman Fellowships. These awards will allow Clark and Lopez Gonzalez to pursue significant international projects in a full-time assignment for one year.

The Ullman Fellowship honors the late Richard H. Ullman, the David E. Bruce Professor of International Affairs, Emeritus, at the Woodrow Wilson School. Ullman published hundreds of academic papers on foreign policy, helped compile the Pentagon Papers, and served in many governmental, journalistic, and academic positions. Ullman was a distinguished scholar of international affairs at Princeton for more than 40 years and educated and mentored generations of students — many who have guided U.S. foreign policy for both Democrat and Republican presidents.

“Woodrow Wilson School students often have incredibly innovative ideas for expanding the theory and practice of international assistance,” said Ullman Fellowship co-directors Rick Barton and Kit Lunney. “We are delighted that Tom and Paulina will be able to use these funds to learn more about food security and domestic work, respectively.”

Tom Clark MPA ’20 will spend his year using big data to improve food security in sub-Saharan Africa. Clark will take a middle year out of the two year master’s program to work in countries that, despite being some of the very poorest in the world, receive far below the average aid per capita for the region, such as Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has been inspired by initiatives such as UN Global Pulse, which have found that food insecurity can be detected far more quickly and efficiently by relatively simple observations such as changes in cell phone credit purchasing. He hopes such insights will drive innovations in food security, which will help resources go further in places where they are scarcest.  

Clark was born and raised in Warwickshire, England. In 2012 he earned a bachelor’s degree in politics from the University of Exeter (UK), where he focused on international relations, trade, and development. He spent the next two years with grassroots NGOs in the Philippines and Madagascar. In the Philippines, Clark worked on indigenous rights, education, and livelihoods. He then joined a NGO based in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar, where he provided support on operations and proposal development on projects spanning education, livelihoods, and community health.

Clark subsequently moved to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London, initially supporting a technical assistance program to improve fiscal governance in fragile states, including projects in South Sudan, Uganda, and Liberia. He then project-managed ODI’s Agricultural Development and Policy research program, whose themes included land governance, property rights, and climate resilience. While at ODI, Clark also studied part-time for a graduate diploma in economics at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Paulina Lopez Gonzalez MPA ’19 plans to spend her year rethinking the role of government and policymaking in the context of the gig economy, centering on domestic work. “My time at the Woodrow Wilson School has expanded my appreciation of the role imagination and creativity play in the social sciences,” she said, “and I am looking forward to the great freedom that this award provides to pursue this further.”

At the Woodrow Wilson School, Lopez Gonzalez’s master’s studies focus on issues related to economic security in urban contexts. She’s a member of the Gender and Policy Network’s steering committee, and was a diversity and inclusion representative in the Woodrow Wilson Action Committee. She spent her summer internship working at the New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, where she collaborated with the management of evaluations and evidence reviews for anti-poverty programs. As part of her MPA, she is pursuing a certificate in Urban Policy.

Lopez Gonzalez grew up in Puebla, Mexico and moved to Mexico City for college, where she received a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México. Convinced of the importance of interdisciplinary action, she became a member — and spent a year as elected coordinator of — a youth group that discusses Mexico’s most pressing issues with experts and students from various fields. Upon graduation, she worked for two and a half years at the economic research division of the Mexican central bank. She contributed to research projects that studied different policies’ impact on Mexican women’s economic opportunities and health outcomes. Interested in better understanding gender inequality, she later completed a certificate in Gender, Sexuality and Law at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE).