Fellowship Cohort 2013

Timothy Cheston, MPA/ID 2014, Cultural Bridge Fellow
The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), South Africa

Tim conducted research to assess the impact of new gender-inclusive interventions in South Africa. He spent the summer working for the Africa Office of the Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL Africa), the global network of researchers who use randomized evaluations to answer critical policy questions in the fight against poverty. His work focused on leading data collection teams on the ground for a series of ongoing field experiments across a range of activities that included coordinating field and data survey teams, government partners, community stakeholders, and program beneficiaries, and conducted data analysis. Through this research, Tim explored how distinct dimensions of program design can enhance gender-focused approaches to achieve social and economic policy outcomes. Specific projects were an innovative evaluation isolating the impact of incentivizing mothers’ participation in schools on student learning outcomes, particularly girls’ test scores. The results of these studies were used to inform South African policymakers in the scale-up of these pilots based on program design that incorporates effective gender-focused development elements and leverages J-PAL’s broad platform to inform the policy design of similar programs across the region and world.


Marissa Davis, MPP 2014, Cultural Bridge Fellow
ArtWorks for Youth, South Africa

Marissa worked with ArtWorks for Youth to assist in developing, implementing, and monitoring a program for young girls in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The organization’s mission is to provide free visual art instruction, mentoring, and academic support to under-served students in South Africa. Three in five of the first sexual experiences girls in South Africa have are not consensual. ArtWorks has subsequently identified the need to develop a program that seeks to support these young women and aid in countering the psychological effects of sexual violence. Marissa spent the first part of the summer researching and consulting experts on best practices related to art therapy and girl-centered programs. Over the course of the summer, she worked alongside ArtWorks staff members to facilitate focus groups, conducted a needs assessment for the girls, and ultimately crafted an appropriate program aligned with ArtWorks’ mission. Following program implementation, Marissa also helped develop a preliminary monitoring and evaluation system for the program.


Cindy Dinh, MPP 2016 & UC Berkley JD 2016, Oval Office Intern
Rogene Calvert for Houston City Council Campaign, Houston, TX

After participating in the Women and Public Policy Program’s From Harvard Square to the Oval Office, Cindy Dinh received her first dose of a running a local political campaign as an aide to the campaign manager for the Rogene Gee Calvert for Houston City Council, At-Large Position 3 campaign. She returned to her hometown of Houston, Texas to learn the ins-and-outs of campaign messaging and target marketing, voter records, and campaign fundraising; all while supporting a viable female candidate in an open-seat race. While in high school, Ms. Dinh worked with Ms. Calvert on the City of Houston Mayor’s Youth Council, when Ms. Calvert oversaw the program as Director of Volunteer Initiatives Program. Since then, Ms. Calvert has been her mentor, fellow board member on a local non-profit, has supported Ms. Dinh for numerous applications including admission to the Harvard Kennedy School, and will hopefully be named the next At-Large 3 Houston City Council Member in November 2013.


Heather Dennehy, MPP 2014, Cultural Bridge Fellow
United Nations Population Fund, Tanzania

Heather interned in the Gender Equality and Empowering Women and Girls program in Tanzania. Her work assisted the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) consult the government as it moves to mainstream gender factors in national policies. UNFPA’s major partners are the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children (Mainland), and the Ministry of Labor, Youth, Women, and Children (Zanzibar). Heather supported their national capacity building efforts in addressing reproductive health, gender equality, women’s empowerment, and sustainable development.


Thomas Favennec, MPA 2014, Cultural Bridge Fellow
Oxfam America, Senegal

Thomas worked with the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative, a project that helps poor, smallholder farmers become resilient to the impacts of climate change so as to improve their long-term food security and economic opportunities. It is a holistic approach to rural development and climate adaptation that brings together innovative risk management strategies through a partnership with the United Nations World Food Program and Swiss-Re, a major re-insurance company. Thomas worked with smallholder farmers and civil society organizations to ensure that the program is built upon the interests and needs of participants, and that it is designed and scaled in partnership with farmers and local organizations. He also worked with local and national governments to ensure that policies and regulations align themselves with and are in support of a long-term strategy for food security and rural development. It is important to recognize that the majority of food producers in Africa are women, yet they own less than a quarter of the land, have less access to agricultural inputs, markets, and value chains than men, and are primarily responsible for keeping their families fed and healthy. This project, therefore, targeted women farmers, by providing them with the resources they need and empowering them to be productive, rights-holding leaders of their communities.


Radhika Jain, MPP 2014, Cultural Bridge Fellow
Centre for Policy Research, India

Radhika worked with affiliates of CPR on research examining linkages between state-citizen interactions, the delivery of public services, and household wellbeing in the slums of greater Delhi. She analyzed data from surveys, interviews, and ethnographies to explore intra-slum heterogeneity in household engagement with political actors and access to basic public services, such as sanitation and waste collection, and the resulting effects on health conditions. The study provided theoretical and empirical contributions on the nature and formation of political institutions in urban slums, the role women play within these institutions, how gender influences slum dweller interactions with state actors, and how this may affect household outcomes in urban slums.The findings have been used to form policy discussions on the incorporation of the poor into cities and how public services may be effectively delivered to them.


Samuel Lee, Health Policy and Management (HSPH) 2014, Cultural Bridge Fellow
World Health Organization, Geneva

Sam worked at the World Health Organization in the Department of Public Health, Innovation, and Intellectual Property where he performed a comprehensive investigation of the research and development (R&D) gaps for developing countries in order to define the agenda for the development of future technologies for neglected diseases. His responsibilities included performing a systematic literature review on R&D gaps in developing countries and preparing a synthesis report of his findings. Through this work, Sam had the opportunity to identify health issues that require investments in new treatments that can benefit women in developing countries, including: female genital schistosomiasis, maternal hemorrhage, maternal sepsis, and others. Many of the conditions he researched disproportionately place many women and their children at significant physical, social, and economic disadvantages. Aside from addressing women’s health, developing technologies that combat these diseases will also significantly impact the quality of life of these women living in developing countries (i.e. social acceptance, economic productivity, childrearing, etc.). For this reason, his work directly addressed Millennium Development Goals 3 (“promote gender equality and empower women”) and 5 (“improve maternal mortality”), and he had a unique opportunity to influence the R&D agenda to focus on the health needs of women worldwide for years to come.


Lidija Levkovska, MC/MPA 2013, Oval Office Intern
Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, Skopje, Macedonia

Lidija Levkovska spent this summer at the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, working with the Office of Member of Parliament, elected representative for the diaspora from North and South America. Macedonia witnessed historical parliamentary elections in 2011 when for the first time it addressed the interests and needs of the diaspora and provided them an opportunity to elect diaspora representatives in the Macedonian National Assembly. During her time at the Parliament, Lidija focused on the pivotal, but underutilized role of the diaspora, and work on developing strategies and policies to forge a stronger link between the constituents living abroad and their respective country of origin. Additionally, she researched national legislation, as well as engaged in inter-agency and inter-governmental strategic planning sessions in order to achieve first-hand experience of the parliamentary process at the state legislative and oversight level, and leveraged the networks to address the needs of the diaspora in North America.


Heidi Liu, Public Policy PhD 2017, Adrienne Hall Mentorship Fund
Professor Hannah Riley Bowles, Harvard Kennedy School

Heidi conducted experimental research at the Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership (CPL) this summer. Under the mentorship of Dr. Hannah Riley Bowles, Heidi's work at CPL focused on two projects: the relationship between public decision-making and gender, and how situational contexts might contribute to gender differences in competitive behavior. She applied this understanding of how male and female decision makers are perceived by others - and how this perception might drive their decisions - towards policy that has significance for those seeking employment or leadership positions.


Maria Antonieta Alva Luperdi, MPA/ID 2014, Cultural Bridge Fellow
Pratham, India

Maria Antonieta joined the team at Pratham that is carrying out two studies regarding the access to post-primary educational opportunities for girls in India. In fact, in states such as Rajasthan, almost one out of every three girls in the 15-16 age group is out of school. As part of her duties, Maria Antonieta reviewed the available literature to identify successful instances of increasing the access of girls to post-primary education, analyzed the existing data on participation and educational attainments of girls in India, and designed and piloted possible tools for collecting additional data. Through her research, new evidence regarding the gender gap in the access to education in India was generated. This evidence helps improve policy development and planning in India, and it provides inputs for the design of effective programs.


Michelle Monsegur, MPP 2014, Oval Office Intern
Office of Massachusetts State Representative Marjorie Decker, Boston, MA

This summer, Michelle worked for Massachusetts State Representative Marjorie Decker at the State House in Boston. Rep. Decker is an Oval Office graduate and an HKS alumna. She has served as a member of the Cambridge City Council for 13 years and was elected as a State Representative in the fall of 2012. She sits on the Joint Committees on Financial Services, Health Care Financing, and Housing and has a strong record working for social justice for Cambridge residents. Michelle assisted Rep. Decker by attending hearings, researching draft legislation, preparing briefing materials, drafting press statements, and organizing events. She delved deeply into state issues, built a network of political contacts, and helped Rep. Decker promote policies that create a stronger Commonwealth. Michelle enjoyed learning how Rep. Decker navigates the State House and engages with constituents, which has helped Michelle build the skills she needs to launch her own political career in the future.


Jeff McManus, MPA/ID 2014, Cultural Bridge Fellow
IDinsight, India

Jeff interned with IDinsight, a non-profit founded by HKS alumni to provide developing country policymakers with demand-driven impact evaluations of policy. Jeff was based in Bihar, India, where IDinsight has partnered with JEEViKA to analyze their work with Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in 4,000 rural villages. JEEViKA provides support to women interested in forming SHGs, which act as social platforms that enable members to access credit and savings instruments and link women with existing state and non-state structures and resources. Jeff worked with IDinsight to help JEEViKA rigorously benchmark their progress and explore opportunities for SHGs to manage public service delivery, particularly a state nutrition program for children and mothers. In close collaboration with JEEViKA staff, Jeff supported field research operations, including questionnaire design, field staff management, qualitative data collection, and data analysis.


Elisa de Anda Madrazo, MPA 2014, Oval Office Intern
Legorreta Hernandez Organization, Yucatán Mexico

Elisa worked this summer in her home country, Mexico, developing a public policy program to encourage community building in the state of Yucatan. Together with the Legorreta Hernandez Foundation, a recognized NGO in the region, Elisa took the first steps to develop the program by conducting policy research on the field. The objective was to help local communities develop channels of social coordination and participation that empowers them to position their own agenda. In her last year at the Kennedy School, Elisa is using her experience to build a model project that can be replicated in other regions of Mexico. The opportunity to design a policy project from the bottom-up is an invaluable grass-root experience in her path to seek office.


Delphine O, MPP 2014, Cultural Bridge Fellow
ActionAid Afghanistan, Kabul

Delphine worked with programs directed towards women's empowerment in Afghanistan. While based in the Kabul office of ActionAid, she traveled to their provincial office to monitor and evaluate current programs' performances. She focused on the role of women in local governance structures, specifically their inclusion in conflict resolution mechanisms at the community level. She proposed new ways to strengthen and expand women's participation in decisions affecting communities, and she helped with ActionAid's advocacy campaign for women's rights.


Neil Padukone, MPA 2014, Cultural Bridge Fellow
Peking University-Lincoln Institute Center for Urban Development and Land Policy, China

Neil conducted an independent research project that looks at the urban and spatial development of Chinese metropolitan areas, with a specific focus on gender equity in public transit access. His work was based at the Peking University-Lincoln Institute Center for Urban Development and Land Policy (PULI) and included interviews with scholars, officials, anthropologists, activists, and practitioners in key organizations in Chinese cities, with a particular emphasis on Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Neil’s research contributed to PULI’s ongoing work on urban accessibility in China.


Allison Shean, MPP 2014, Cultural Bridge Fellow
Mercy Corps, Oregon

Allison served as the Gender Integration Intern at Mercy Corps’ headquarters in Portland, Oregon this summer, working on the ACT for Impact initiative, a three-year effort to mainstream gender perspectives throughout Mercy Corps’ global programming. As part of her internship, Allison worked closely with Mercy Corps’ Global Gender Advisor to help coordinate the organization’s first-ever Gender Integration Training for Trainers, which trains key program staff in gender mainstreaming methods that can then be passed on to other team members in the field. She also drafted a “how-to” guide that outlines steps for crafting gender indicators and provides examples that can be adapted by program staff. This guide was used throughout the organization in its design, monitoring, and evaluation efforts to ensure it effectively measures progress toward gender integration. Finally, she undertook a research project to document cases of successful gender inclusion within Mercy Corps’ programming that resulted in a report of key outcomes and lessons learned, and it facilitated cross-organizational information sharing. Her work this summer furthered Mercy Corps’ mission and enabled the organization to better serve the world’s women and girls.


Mona Singh, MD-MPA 2014, Women's Leadership Board
World Health Organization, Switzerland

Interning with the WHO Emergency and Essential Surgical Care (EESC) program, Mona worked on a project that furthered efforts to improve women’s health and reduce death and disability from injuries, infectious diseases, disasters, and cancer in over 35 low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Mona’s projects focused on reducing gender gaps in health, particularly by working to improve women’s health outcomes and ensure they get the surgical, obstetric, and anesthetic care necessary when pregnant or injured. She will focused on strengthening efforts in LMICs to provide maternal care and manage pregnancy-related complications; care for injuries from burns, violence, road-traffic, and female genital mutilation; and anesthetic care related to obstetrics and post-operative pain. She also assisted in: a) conducting data analysis and preparing country reports and papers; b) developing health workforce training curricula to address gender-based health inequities in surgical care; and c) facilitating the WHO’s Global Initiative for EESC’s interdisciplinary network. Strengthening EESC and services is integral to improving maternal health and a key element of primary care, central to saving lives globally and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Yet, this vital component of health systems strengthening has been widely un-prioritized on the global health agenda, despite growing evidence of cost-effectiveness and impact on improving women and children’s health. Mona actively assisted in efforts to prioritize maternal and women’s health at the World Health Assembly 2013, where Member States convened to establish global health needs and priorities.


Andrea Titus, MPP, 2014, Cultural Bridge Fellow
Evidence for Policy Design, Pakistan

Working with Evidence for Policy Design and the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan, Andrea explored the gender dynamics of vocational training programs in the high-poverty areas of rural Punjab. She integrated baseline survey data collected as part of an independent assessment of the Punjab Economic Opportunities Program (PEOP) with existing literature and research to better understand how and why women choose to participate in skills-based training initiatives. Her work has informed the design of randomized control trials that examine the effects of vocational training on economic opportunities, with the ultimate aim of decreasing economic disparities in rural Punjab.


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Follow along this summer on the blog reader as WAPPP interns work on gender-related projects across the world.