Undergraduate Students in Spring 2018, University of Notre Dame

“International Development and Design Thinking Class”

Kristin Andrejko is a junior Science-Business major and is minoring in Poverty Studies and the Glynn Family Honors Program. Interested in the intersections between global health, human centered design, and health policy, Kristin aims to pursue a career in public health. Kristin has used her Notre Dame education to dive deep into community health promotion strategies, malaria prevention, and vaccine development. She spent eight weeks collaborating with a non-profit, One Sun Health, and local health care workers in HaMakuya, South Africa on a community health campaign to prevent malaria. Motivated to understand the complexities surrounding malaria vaccine development, Kristin developed an independent research project to meet with vaccine experts at the Swiss Institute for Tropical and Public Health. Last summer, Kristin interned at the World Health Organization and collaborated with colleagues at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to update the WHO position paper on the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine. She is excited to be returning to the malaria field as an intern in the Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria at the Centers for Disease Control in Prevention this upcoming summer. Through these experiences, she has learned that global health challenges manifest themselves as a collection of complex problems, and the most effective intervention mobilizes the talents of various stakeholders. Kristin is thrilled to be working with Partners in Health to create an implementation plan which will strengthen the organization-wide understanding of accompaniment.

King Fok is a senior at the University of Notre Dame majoring in sociology and pre-health with a minor in international development studies. He is acutely in healthcare system organization and the social determinants of health. As an Evans Scholar and Kellogg Institute International Scholar,  he had the opportunity to complete a capstone project on the structural and social barriers to prosthetics for amputees in Ghana, and he has continued his research in Ghana for his senior thesis focusing on the social agency of amputee patients in the Ghanaian rehabilitation system. Having experience in analyzing the link between policy creation and implementation as the President of the Club Coordination Council which oversees all club programming and finances at the University of Notre Dame and as an intern at the United Kingdom Parliament, he would like to apply his skills in organizational analysis to further PIH’s programs particularly in the areas of programming and financial efficiency. He is especially devoted to Partners In Health’s mission to help the most marginalized and their developmental approach of accompaniment after having applied this approach in his own work. He aspires to be a physician and work abroad to restructure healthcare systems to maximize their health benefits to patients meanwhile maintaining low costs to extend coverage for all.

Laura Labb is a sophomore Biological Sciences major and minor in International Development Studies from Holliston, MA. Laura’s desire to increase access to healthcare in all communities has inspired her to enter the field of Global Health, as well as motivating her to intern last summer at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program. Laura will be studying abroad next fall in Puebla, Mexico where she will have the opportunity to intern at a hospital, as well as hopefully having the chance to visit the Chiapas Partner In Health site. On-campus, Laura does work in an Infectious Diseases lab where she does behavioral studies of mosquito larvae, which work she hopes to expand on internationally for her capstone project senior year. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such an inspiring organization that has such a large impact on communities. She believes that her service experiences with accompaniment offer a valuable perspective on healthcare that will be greatly utilized for this project.

Cat Edmonds is a sophomore Management Consulting major. She is passionate about spreading servant leadership among youth and corporations. Cat is interested in this project as she looks to develop her skills in international development. This project stood out to her as it focuses on accompaniment within the organization. Servant leadership and accompaniment go hand in hand as they focus on leading through serving those around you. Cat believes through her experience of leadership development she will bring a different perspective to the team. Along with this she has extensive knowledge in the entrepreneurship world. This will help guide the team in the implementation phase and bring a different mindset.

Caroline Murtagh is a junior Biology major with a minor in International Development Studies from Andover, Massachusetts. On campus, she is involved in several clubs and organizations that have provided her with logistical and relational skills for working with groups within Notre Dame and the South Bend community. As the president of Special Friends Club, she coordinates mentorships between students at Notre Dame and individuals with autism in the South Bend area. She also volunteers at the Family Medical Center at Saint Joseph’s hospital, which serves underinsured populations, and her interactions with patients and staff have shaped her understanding of the multitude of social, economic, and political factors which affect medicine outside of a doctor’s office. In addition working with people, she also has a passion for scientific research, and she studies in the lab of Dr. Amy Stark, who focuses on cancer pharmacogenomics. Her research experiences and positions on campus have  helped her to develop analytical and communication skills which she hopes to bring to this project.

        This past summer, Caroline traveled to Gulu, Uganda and served in clinics and maternity wards run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. While in Gulu, she was able to improve her understanding of global health by working with and learning from clinical officers and nurses, and she realized that the sisters who managed the clinics often demonstrated principles of accompaniment in action through their interactions with patients. Caroline is extremely excited by the opportunity to work with Partners in Health in Boston, where she hopes to learn more about the accompaniment model and to put her passions for public health and being with people into action.

Irla Atanda is a sophomore American Studies major minoring in International Development Studies and Business Economics. Her diverse background (mother is Nicaraguan and father is Nigerian) has fostered her interest in international development. She currently works in Notre Dame’s University Relations Office and has been exposed to development on a smaller, university scale. She received the Gilman Scholarship last summer (2017) to study abroad in South Africa. During her time there, she explored the history of South Africa while comparing it to the United State’s history and learned more about the development going on in Africa in terms of racial relations, infrastructure, and the economy. She hopes to learn more about development initiatives in Latin America and hopes to continue in the process of helping students become global citizens.

Claire Danes is a senior Political Science and Economics double major with a minor in International Development Studies. Claire discovered her interest in international development after traveling to the developing world, including India and other Southeast Asian countries. During her junior year at Notre Dame, she studied abroad at the Global Gateway in London, where she experienced firsthand the impact of the institution on student learning, faculty engagement, and community outreach. The following summer, through funding from the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Claire traveled to Tanzania where she conducted interviews with people about mobile financial services in order to examine the gender gap in the usage of these services. This experience solidified her desire to work within the field of international development after graduation in May. Based on her background, Claire believes she can be an asset to the client on this project and looks forward to working with Notre Dame and their other partners on this endeavour. 17156249_1459979634059030_351144669453714834_n.jpg

Carly Kreber is a senior IT Management major with a minor in the Hesburgh Program for Public Service. Carly first became interested in international development while researching the Ugandan microfinance climate during her sophomore year of college, a project that culminated in the opportunity to travel to Gulu to work with a group of Ugandan entrepreneurs to develop a savings and credit co-op. Carly has also had experience in development domestically, having spent a summer interning at a rural economic development office in southwest Virginia. Carly traveled abroad to Dublin, Ireland during her junior year and is interested in how Notre Dame can provide a home for scholars and researchers abroad, and how we can best utilize the connections of the university to strengthen communities across the globe.

Joshua Pine is a junior studying Political Science and Chinese. He was born and raised in Tianjin, China. After participating in a service learning program in Southern China after his freshman year, Joshua became interested in the broader field of international development and poverty alleviation. Last year he also had the chance to study abroad at Peking University for a semester. Currently working as a student worker at the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, Joshua is passionate about discovering ways in which to expand Notre Dame’s engagement in Asia.

Emily Pohl

Major: International Economics (with a concentration in French)

Minor: International Development

Year: Sophomore

Emily has a strong belief in the importance and transformative power of education and is excited to have the opportunity to contribute her insight towards a cause as meaningful and pertinent as improving girl’s education in Nigeria. After centering her final project in her last International Development class on the challenges that inhibit Liberian girl’s access to and quality of education, Emily began to understand the immense and complex issues that tie into the pursuit of education and sought to take an active role in navigating around the barriers faced by marginalized women. Through personal experience, research, and observation, Emily notes that educational barriers are steeper for girls, especially those who live in countries affected by chaos or face developmental obstacles, and hopes to design a plan that addresses relevant issues such as confining cultural and gender norms, lacking infrastructure, threatening violence, and poverty. She has come to appreciate the influence and change that things as simple as female accompaniment, solidarity, and collaboration can generate and hopes to integrate those actions and considerations into the work she does and her team’s final recommendation.  

Kyersten Siebenaler

Major: International Economics with a concentration in Spanish

Minor: International Development

Kyersten is eager to learn about and work collaboratively on the topic of women’s education in Borno State. In a previous international development class, Kyersten chose to complete her semester-long research project on Boko Haram as a result of her interest in religious violence and community restoration. This project also focused on evaluating post-conflict community programs that have been used in the past in other countries. As an international economics student, Kyersten has come to understand education’s crucial role in poverty alleviation and economic growth, but also recognizes the potential of education to establish hope, community, and restore and protect human dignity. Through spending her summer in Ecuador in a marginalized indigenous community, Kyersten has witnessed firsthand the widespread effects of collective trauma, and strives to innovate solutions that are focused on empowerment and healing. Kyersten is excited to learn from those with a wealth of knowledge about Nigerian culture and life so that her team may come closer to understanding the complexities of the issues at hand.

Francesco Tassi

Major: International Economics with a concentration in    Italian, Peace Studies

Minor: International Development Studies

Year: Senior

Francesco is looking forward to collaborate on the significant yet complex challenge of girls’ reintegration into education and society within the Borno state. Having worked with and researched issues surrounding displaced peoples, including Sub-Saharan forced migrants’ opportunity costs to education in Italy last summer, Francesco is eager to participate in the initiative, and learn from Nigerians here at Notre Dame and abroad how girls’ education can be tailored to be made most meaningful in the context of the Borno State. Through an economic and peace-studies lens, mitigated by having lived in dissimilar cultures, Francesco has approached protracted issues in his research from unique and integrated angles. His research into IDP camp economies and NGO/local authority partnerships has reaffirmed his belief in any intervention to develop IDPs to be community-based, and heavily involved in partnerships across state and local initiatives. Understanding that there is a unique opportunity cost to education depending on one’s situation in life, Francesco is curious to learn more about how education can be integrated with informal support networks to strengthen a reintegration program.

Casey Kennedy

Major: Political Science

Minor: International Development Studies

Casey is excited about the opportunity to work with Girl Child Concerns on girls’ education in the Borno State of Nigeria. Through working on a research project looking at types of education in Sub-Saharan Africa--especially Kenya--Casey has come to understand the effects of education not just on academic and economic opportunities, but on civic engagement, civic knowledge, inter-ethnic trust, and the well-being of future generations. Through this research, Casey has developed a more empirical understanding of the broad importance of education. Through interning and conducting research in Tanzania and Kenya on child welfare, she has become particularly passionate about the care, protection, and empowerment of youth in vulnerable situations. She believes the government and civil society must work collaboratively for the welfare of children to be best met. Casey hopes to use these experiences to positively to contribute to this project, but is most looking forward to learning from the diverse group of experts involved in established this new secondary school and its curriculum.