Biographical Profiles of Current MPA Graduate Students

Sanna Ellinore Ahlgren
II - International Development
Cambridge University, 2017
Human, Social & Political Sciences, B.A.
Stockholm, Sweden
Born and raised in Stockholm, Ellinore studied French in Paris for a year before starting her undergraduate degree in politics and international relations at the University of Cambridge. She has a keen interest in human rights, and worked with the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. She volunteered for three months in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with charity Cambridge Development Initiative, supporting young Tanzanians’ start-up ideas. For the past two years, she has worked in the field of education policy, implementing education projects for governments, including governments of Maldives, Ukraine and Rwanda. In her free-time, Ellinore enjoys rowing and spending time with friends and family.
Spogmay Ahmed
II - International Development
George Washington University, 2015
International Affairs, B.A.
Selden, New York
Born and raised in New York, Spogmay studied international affairs and women’s studies at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Upon graduating in 2015, she joined the International Center for Research on Women, where she specialized in policy analysis and advocacy on women’s rights issues in multilateral forums including the United Nations, G7 and G20. She also coordinated the Feminist U.N. Campaign, bringing together civil society, philanthropy, academia and former U.N. staff around a shared agenda for advancing women’s rights and gender equality at the United Nations. This past summer, Spogmay interned with the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Section at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand. Spogmay, a Pakistani-American, is passionate about global affairs, human rights and advancing gender-transformative policy change worldwide. She enjoys writing, fashion, desserts and engaging in conversation about race and popular culture.
Elliott Amkraut
II - International Development
Arizona State University, 2014
Economics, B.S.
Seattle, Washington
Hailing from Seattle, Washington, Elie graduated with a B.S. in economics from Arizona State University. From there, he moved to rural Nepal to serve as a food security specialist for the U.S. Peace Corps. His work centered on small-scale agricultural projects such as kiwi and fruit tree cultivation. Elie then moved to Kathmandu to take on a volunteer mentorship role for the Peace Corps. He most recently worked as a consultant for the Millennium Challenge Corporation in Kathmandu, where he supported community relations and communications activities for large-scale infrastructure projects.
Emily Apple
III - Domestic Policy
Hunter College, 2014
Political Science, B.A.
Brooklyn, New York
Emily is a born and bred Brooklynite still adjusting to life outside the five boroughs of New York City. Prior to graduate school, she worked on issues of economic security and mobility in the New York City Mayor’s Office focusing on policies and programs in the areas of workforce development, education, and youth development. This past summer, Emily served as a summer manager with Third Sector Capital Partners where she worked on projects with state and local governments seeking to drive positive long-term outcomes for individuals utilizing social services. Emily is a proud graduate of New York City public schools, including the CUNY Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. She is an alumna of the NYC Urban Fellows program and the Roosevelt Institute Network. After graduating she hopes to pursue a career helping government at all levels push for more just and equitable social outcomes.
Maya Aronoff
III - Domestic Policy
Princeton University, 2019
Woodrow Wilson School, B.A.
Mason, Michigan
Maya is from Mason, Michigan, and completed her undergraduate coursework at Princeton University. During her time at Princeton she focused her work on issues related to immigration and sexual/interpersonal violence, working with the Organization for Refuge Asylum and Migration, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, and the New York City Anti-Violence Project. She also worked as a residential college adviser and tutor. This past summer she took a breather to spend time with family before coming to the joint MPA/J.D. program as a SINSI scholar. She plans to apply to law school halfway through her SINSI experience, and is determined to be a lawyer--either an immigration attorney or one that works on accountability/advocacy surrounding sexual violence in some form.
Bekmyrza Asanbaev
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Harvard University, 2015
Government, B.A.
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Beshka was born and raised in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He studied government and Chinese at Harvard. After graduation, he joined Bridge International Academies, a network of technology-driven primary schools across Africa and Asia, where he worked for three and a half years in private sector education reform in low-resource environments. While at Bridge, he has lived in Boston, Kenya, and India, doing work ranging from instructional design to field prototyping to operations. After Bridge International Academies, he went back to Kyrgyzstan to work at the State Committee for Industry, Energy and Subsoil Use of the Kyrgyz Republic, focusing on policymaking and project management for energy infrastructure investment projects. In the future, Beshka plans to go back to Kyrgyzstan and do government or international development work. He loves dancing, hiking, and skiing.
Nathan Babb
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Louisiana State University, 2016
Economics, B.A.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Nathan was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and attended his hometown university where he earned a B.A. in economics and minors in mathematics, German, political science, and history. There he conducted research on taxation and fiscal stability policies, paving the way for a role as the economist in the Louisiana Department of Revenue upon graduation. Nathan moved to Washington, D.C., for a research position with the Federal Reserve Board’s Prices and Wages Section where he studied domestic macroeconomic inflation. After a winter spent in Berlin, Germany, working for the Bundestag, Nathan returned to Washington to serve those experiencing homelessness. As a partner with the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church, he served a daily breakfast, helped search for housing, and drafted CVs and helped members of the community apply to jobs. Nathan’s interests lie in macroeconomics, socioeconomic distributions, inequality, and mobility. Nathan enjoys sport climbing, bicycle touring, backpacking, and making a roux for his gumbo.
Kaira Bakkestad-Legare
I - International Relations
University of Ottawa, 2017
Conflict Studies & Human Rights, BSS
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Through her academic and professional experience, Kaira has pursued her dual love of natural sciences and international affairs. As a public servant through and through, she has worked on various files in the Government of Canada, including on governance and capacity development for Indigenous communities in her home province of Manitoba. Most recently, as a senior policy officer at Global Affairs Canada, Kaira worked in the Nordic and Polar Relations division to support the development of a new forward-looking international Arctic policy for Canada. Among her most valued professional experiences thus far was the opportunity to travel throughout Canada’s Arctic, engaging with sub-national governments, Indigenous organizations and Northern communities to ensure that their voices were reflected in the policies and programs that directly impact their lives. At the Woodrow Wilson School, Kaira hopes to continue studying policy that explores interdisciplinary issues of global science, technology and the environment, and advocating for more inclusive approaches to policy development.
Jatin Batra
II - International Development
Cornell University, 2010; Yale University, 2019
Hotel Administration, B.S.; Business Administration, MBA
Marlboro, New Jersey
Born and raised in suburbia New Jersey, Jatin grew up just 25 miles east of Princeton University. Having a lifetime obsession with food and the magic of hotels, Jatin pursued his bachelor’s degree in hotel management at Cornell University and then threw it away by spending the next three plus years as an investment banker in New York. Feeling dissatisfied with his life choices, he quit his job, packed his bags, and left for Namibia where he served as a community economic development volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps focused on women’s empowerment, capacity building, and government investments. After returning to the United States, with two Namibian kittens in tow (Lily and James), Jatin worked at an immigration nonprofit, volunteered with a financial empowerment nonprofit, a literacy nonprofit, and an education nonprofit. In May 2019, Jatin completed his 2-year MBA from Yale University, during which he worked at a tech accelerator in Kenya, worked on an impact evaluation for a large-scale Sierra Leone electrification project, and co-founded a sustainable clothing start-up in Connecticut that he worked on full-time the summer prior to joining Princeton. Upon graduating from Princeton, Jatin would like to advise foreign governments on adopting supportive policies relating to public-private partnerships with for-profit social enterprises, and separately he would like to foster some kittens.
Toshiro Baum
I - International Relations
Johns Hopkins University, 2011
International Studies, B.A.
Seattle, Washington
A native of Seattle, Toshiro (or Toshi) attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where he studied international relations. After graduation, he moved to Morocco where he lived and studied renewable energy policy for over a year on a Fulbright grant. He returned to Washington, D.C., where he worked for the National Democratic Institute on democracy strengthening programs in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2015, Toshi joined the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as an adviser in USAID’s Asia Bureau. His most recent position was in USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, where he managed stabilization programs in Libya. This past summer, he completed his internship at the National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs. Toshi enjoys running, cooking, and has a one-year old puppy named Evie.
Danielle Beavers
III - Domestic Policy
Stanford University, 2012
Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity with Honors, B.A.
Mays Landing, New Jersey
Danielle was born and raised in South Jersey and is proud to return to the land of Wawa. She spent the past 10 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, first at Stanford and then in Oakland, pursuing racial justice advocacy. As the Greenlining Institute's director of diversity and inclusion, she worked to promote job creation for people of color through workforce and supplier diversity initiatives in the banking, environmental, health, technology, insurance, and utility industries in California and at the federal level. Danielle is excited to learn additional strategies to promote agency in marginalized communities and narrow the racial wealth gap while at the Woo. Post grad, she hopes to work in philanthropy or at a regulatory agency to ensure that anchor institutions fully reflect and benefit America's growing majority.
Aditi Bhowmick
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Cornell University, 2016
Economics/Government, B.A.
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Aditi worked as a graduate intern at Evidence Action in Washington, D.C., in summer 2019, spending her time doing early stage research on the feasibility of scaling up breastfeeding and age-appropriate complementary feeding interventions in countries of interest – Nigeria, India, Ethiopia, and Pakistan. The work entailed reviewing the evidence base of best-in-class interventions and conducting operational feasibility and impact sensitivity analyses. Prior to Princeton, she worked as a research associate with J-PAL South Asia across education and early childhood development sectors. At Princeton, she can typically be found attending a Research for Development Studies or an Education workshop seminar. She wants to build a career as a hybrid researcher and public policy professional focusing specifically on gender and education in South Asia. She enjoys watching food documentaries, nerd-ing out about impact evaluations, and is always happy to help with all things STATA.
Peter Birke
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Washington University-St Louis, 2013
Economics, B.A.
Madison, Wisconsin
Peter attended Washington University in St. Louis, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics. Upon graduation, he interned at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, where he assisted research on the changing geography of poverty in U.S. metropolitan regions. He went on to work for New York City government for nearly three years, first as a New York City Urban Fellow and then at the Department of Small Business Services, where he was part of a strategic planning team advising City Hall on emerging economic development issues. Prior to graduate school, Peter worked at the Markle Foundation leading projects for their Skillful initiative and Rework America Task Force. Peter spent his summer internship at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, co-authoring a report on Opportunity Zones and their implications for local economic development. After graduating Peter hopes to develop policy solutions that build prosperous and equitable regional economies in the United States. Peter hails from Madison, Wisconsin, and enjoys lap swimming, cycling, reading, and baseball.
Patrick Boduch
III - Domestic Policy
University of Notre Dame, 2015
Economics/Finance, BBA
Geneva, Illinois
Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Patrick attended the University of Notre Dame where he double majored in finance and economics. Upon graduation, he returned to Chicago to work for Deloitte Consulting's Strategy & Operations practice. There, he primarily helped to advise and execute on special projects for large businesses and nonprofit organizations. After nearly three years of consulting, he decided to leave Deloitte and sign up for a year of full-time volunteer service with Mercy Volunteer Corps. This volunteer program led him to Cincinnati to work in the pastoral care department of a hospital, where he served patients directly as a volunteer chaplain and helped grow a new outpatient program focused on extending chaplaincy services to all points of care in the Mercy Health network. At Princeton, Patrick hopes to soak in as much as he can, and upon graduation, continue to work in the nonprofit sector.
Benjamin Brenner
I - International Relations
McGill University, 2011
History, B.A.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
A proud Michigander (and equally proud Michiganian), prior to Princeton Ben Brenner spent eight years working in Congress and for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In the Senate, Ben worked his way up from the copy room to become a legislative adviser to Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, focused on public-private research partnerships. At DOE, he served as a liaison between the Department’s leadership and the congressional Appropriations Committees, specializing in funding and management of DOE’s energy, science and nuclear security projects. Between his Princeton years, Ben joined the communications team of ITER: a seven-nation project to build a one-of-a-kind nuclear fusion device, which would replicate the physics that powers the sun as a (basically) limitless and carbon free energy source. At Princeton, Ben hopes to think through big questions: how government and the private sector can collaborate to meet modern energy challenges; whether IT platforms and policies can or should be managed in the public interest; and if he is actually, finally ready to get a dog.