HKS Students Work to Empower Women Around the World

July 1, 2014
HKS Admisisons Blog

For the majority of Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) students, the end of the academic year usually means the start of a new opportunity.
The following HKS students, through support and funding from the Women and Public Policy Program(WAPPP), are taking part in summer internships to help further women’s causes all around the globe.
Arthur Bauer MPA-ID 2015
Centre For Microfinance, India
Arther Bauer is interning with the Centre for Microfinance, part of the Institute for Financial Management and Research in India, to work on an innovative and multifaceted Harvard-led research project that explores the impact of rural financial services on women’s health and economic empowerment.
Arthur’s work will be focused around data analysis, field management, and policy engagement. While working in close collaboration with policy makers, Arthur’s contribution to this project will help them understand the effectiveness of financial inclusion as a tool to close the gender wage, health, and social empowerment gaps, and help them refine future interventions to maximize the economic, health, and social gains of women.
Elizabeth Bennett MPP 2015
Rwanda Development Board (Kigali, Rwanda)
Elizabeth Bennett is working alongside Rwanda Development Board COO, Clare Akamanzi, assisting her in special development projects. Her main area of interest is the economic empowerment of women in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, she hopes to work within RDB’s Entrepreneurship Development Program.
The Entrepreneur Development Program seeks to increase the number of business start-ups in Rwanda, specifically training women and youth on entrepreneurial skills. While in Kigali, Elizabeth also plans to research the intersection of female governance and economic growth.
Bernardo Garza MPA/ID 2015
Professional Assistance for Development Action, Kolkata, India
Benardo Garza is conducting an independent research project that looks into the malnutrition status of women living in Indian villages and its possible social, physiologic, cultural, and economic causes. As a basis for this research, he will spend the summer working at the Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN) in Kolkata, assisting Self-Help Groups (an informal association of 10 to 20 poor women belonging to the same village and sharing a common socio-economic background) nutrition programs.
Antonio Labrador Jimenez MPA 2015
Antonio Labrador Jimenez is helping UNICEF Brazil improve its efficiency in dealing with women and children’s issues throughout its nine offices and across the different levels of government (federal, state and municipal).
The objective of this internship is to evaluate, design, and set up the implementation of initiatives that could improve UNICEF’s performance in the above issues. To do so, it will look for opportunities for improvement in the content of the work (structure, potential overlaps across departments or areas not sufficiently covered) and the way UNICEF works with partners in government, private sector, and civil society. It will also evaluate tools to improve performance, such as supporting databases and IT resources.
Jessie Landerman MPP 2015
Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Bogotá Colombia
Jessie Landerman is serving as a David Rockefeller Intern with the Colombian National Government’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), where she will help develop, implement, and monitor programs that utilize online and mobile technology to fight extreme poverty and close social, education, and income gaps among rural and Afro-Colombian women.
Her work will include researching the existing utilization and barriers to ICT adoption, analyzing international best practices, guiding the development of digital tools relevant and useful to rural women, and designing outreach and education programs that target them.
Desmond Lim MPP 2015
Choson Exchange, North Korea
Desmond Lim is conducting a series of workshops and training focused on North Korean females in the area of business, finance, and fiscal policy to better their understanding and knowledge of global entrepreneurship and technology.
He will work closely with the current team to initiate the programs across North Korea, Beijing, and Singapore, and facilitate the administration of training focused on North Korean females aged between 20 and 40.
According to local research, North Korean females are given a low priority in education because of their strong Asian culture and government restrictions. Through this internship, Lim hopes to help North Korean women receive educational opportunities, empowerment, and a better understanding of North Korea and the outside world.
Xi Liu MPP 2015
National Health and Family Planning Commission, China
Xi Liu is working for “girls’ dream,” a new project launched by the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
Driven by the traditional concept that girls are not as important as boys, many parents in rural country in China force their girls to drop out of school after finishing junior high school to support their family by working in big cities or getting married at an early age. “girls’ dream” aims to change the situation and increase the senior high school enrollment rate of female students by making a monthly money transfer to mothers of the families if they send their girls to senior high school.
Xi will help design the project by doing research in China and other countries that have similar programs.
MaryRose Mazzola MPP 2015
The City of Edinburgh Council, Public Protection Partnership, Scotland, U.K.
MaryRose Mazzola is evaluating and making policy recommendations on domestic violence services for the City of Edinburgh Council over the course of ten weeks. The project’s goal is to ensure that the city of Edinburgh, as well as the surrounding region, is providing the most effective responses to those who need and use these domestic violence services.
Mazzola will lead consultation exercises with domestic violence service users and providers, manage user focus groups, and create and distribute written questionnaires. She will also serve as a neutral assessor and will provide evaluation and policy recommendations in a report to the Council at the end of the summer.
Cassandra Robertson PhD 2017
United States Department of Health and Human Services, Washington D.C.
Cassandra Robertson is focusing on two projects this summer: preliminary analysis of data from the Promise Zone Initiative and writing a research paper on family structure, geography and economic mobility.
The scope of her work with Promise Zones will include helping with the evaluation and conducting preliminary data analysis on five sites. Cassandra will also focus on the demographic aspect of Promise Zones, particularly the gendered nature of poverty and the differences in the experience of poverty and disadvantage by gender.
The remainder of her time will be spent writing a paper examining the changes in the geographic distribution of family patterns, specifically single motherhood, and its impact on economic mobility.
Marvin So, MS in Maternal-Child Health 2015
Homes For Families, Boston, MA
Marvin So is organizing a community-based participatory research project to examine the family shelter system in Massachusetts. The goal of this project will be to develop policy recommendations for re-designing this system using a triage-based assessment model interlinked with data from local and federal databases, as well as key findings from surveys/interviews conducted for and by members of the homeless family community.
Furthermore, the training and participatory research process will constitute meaningful professional and personal development for the women involved.
Kate Wilkerson Sturla MPA/ID 2015
Ministry of Education, Lima
Kate Wilkerson Sturla is spending this summer at the Office of Strategic Planning in the Ministry of Education of Peru.
She will work on a project to address gender gaps and other inequities in public education by applying innovative techniques to a Peruvian context. This will involve conducting a literature review of studies on education and school reform from other developing countries, particularly India; analyzing data from Peru’s annual National Student Assessment; and writing a final proposal with specific policy recommendations.
WLB Fellow Ryan Cohen, JD-MPP (HLS-HKS), 2017
White House Domestic Policy Council, USA
Ryan Cohen is working with the White House Domestic Policy Council to advance the Obama administration’s efforts to close the gender pay gap.
She will work to develop partnerships and conduct advocacy in support of the National Equal Pay Task Force’s initiatives to help women recover lost wages, educate employees about their rights and inform employers of their obligations, and improve enforcement of equal pay laws.
Adrienne Hall Fellow Susanne Schwarz MPP 2015
Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge
Susanne Schwarz is working as an assistant for the research project “Causes and Consequences of Rape Culture: Global Evidence from News and Social Media” at Harvard Kennedy School.
She will develop a laboratory experiment in Kenya by conducting independent research complementary to the larger project on rape culture.
The experiment will serve two purposes: first, it will test whether rape culture in the media is apparent to readers in the ways that are often assumed, and second, it will examine whether and how rape culture affects behaviors and attitudes towards sexual violence.

 Antonio Labrador Jimenez MPA 2015

Antonio Labrador Jimenez MPA 2015 poses for a picture outside the office doors of UNICEF Brazil on his first day.

Kate Wilkerson Sturla MPA/ID 2015

Kate Wilkerson Sturla MPA/ID 2015 (left) modeling the "office wear" in Peru.


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