John is responsible for THP’s research and advocacy, and has led its programs in South Asia and Latin America. He also oversees the participatory local democracy community of practice project. John is an expert on bottom-up, gender-focused development and decentralized local governance who has lectured at the United Nations, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), New York University (NYU), Princeton University and the United States Air Force Academy.
John grew up in the Midwest and was trained as a physicist at Stanford (BSc) and the University of California-Berkeley (MS, PhD), during which time he was active in the civil rights and anti-war movements. He worked as a research physicist at Princeton University from 1978 through 1984. John became THP’s first volunteer in March of 1977, joined its staff in 1985, and has participated in the development and implementation of all of its programs.
Mary Kate Costello, Senior Policy Analyst and UN Representative, The Hunger Project.
Mary Kate joined The Hunger Project family in August 2013 as its Policy Analyst. Immediately prior, Mary Kate was a Fellow for the Alliance for International Youth Development – in partnership with InterAction – and the Executive Program Director for Youth Futures International, Ghana. Now The Hunger Project’s Senior Policy Analyst as of January 2017, she is responsible for THP’s internal and external advocacy around local level, gender-focused strategies, as well as designing frameworks and determining best practices for youth development integration and nutrition-sensitive programming. Mary Kate is also one of THP’s primary UN Representatives, appointed to the United Nation’s Inter-agency Network on Youth Development’s Youth and Gender Equality Working Group and the co-chair of this working group’s Task Force on Women’s Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship.
Mary Kate holds a BA in Political Science and minors in Eastern European Studies, and Faith, Peace and Justice from Boston College in Massachusetts. She also studied Third World politics and ethics in government at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Mary Kate is currently an MAIR candidate in the School of International Studies of American University. She also applies her experience as a board member for The Youth Alliance for Development of Obuasi, Ghana and Rallysound, Inc. of Boston, Massachusetts.
Sonni Barma (’16, BS), Global Advocacy Intern, The Hunger Project
Sonni received her B.S. degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Marine Ecology at Nova Southeastern University located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In fall of 2016, she began her first semester as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University under the Advanced Academic Programs of Environmental Science and Policy.
Previously, she participated in a Johns Hopkins University International Study in Nepal, which focused on implementing adaptation mechanisms and public health standards for vulnerable communities combating global climate change. She completed a research internship during summer 2017 at the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology of the University of Pennsylvania. The research focused on evaluating community risk factors of lead exposure in Philadelphia. Her experiences have gravitated her towards working with the environment, as well as people, with plans to pursue a humanitarian career working on women’s empowerment in indigenous communities.
Julian Velasquez (’15 MA), Global Advocacy Intern, The Hunger Project
Julian received his Master’s Degree in Advanced European and International Studies from the Centre International de Formation Européenne focusing on the Mediterranean region with academic sojourns in France, Tunisia, and Turkey. Originally from Massachusetts, Julian received his BA in History from Boston College and spent a summer studying at the Universidad de San Andrés in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
His main areas of interest include human rights, international development, conflict resolution, and youth affairs. Before joining The Hunger Project, Julian taught high school English in France and served as Youth-Peer Leader for Next Step, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping teens and young adults living with life-threatening diseases during their transition to adulthood. Most recently, Julian completed a research consultancy internship with Youth Policy Labs, a Berlin-based NGO striving to build a global evidence base for youth policy.
Garifallia Kasamias (’18 MA), Global Advocacy Intern, The Hunger Project
Garifallia is pursuing her Master’s degree at George Mason University in Global Affairs. She received her B.A. degree from Kent State University in Political Science: International Relations & Comparative Politics. She holds a minor in Construction Management and studied Architecture prior to her change of direction to the international field. Her primary areas of interest are humanitarian and refugee aid, international development, and sustainable technology progression. Garifallia formerly tutored Burundi refugee students and has volunteered with Syrian and Afghan refugee children in Athens, Greece.
Past Team Members
Sara Bruce (‘19, BA), Global Community-led Development Intern. Sara is a BA candidate at the University of Michigan, double majoring in Political Science and International Studies. Her areas of interest include human rights, international development, and diplomacy. Sara previously interned for Distressed Children & Infants International, a non-profit organization in her home state of Connecticut. At the University of Michigan, she is working on an international minority rights project as an undergraduate research assistant with the Institute for Social Research. Sara hopes to use her experiences at The Hunger Project to become an experienced advocate for international human rights and transform developing countries through the United Nations.
Isaac Munene Ndereba (‘18, MPP), Global Community-led Development Intern. Munene is an MPP candidate at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, specializing in international development. His interest areas include economic policy, trade policy, food security and energy policy. Munene graduated from Africa Nazarene University in Kenya with a degree in computer science. Before joining the MPP program, Munene worked as an IT consultant in various African countries including Malawi, Ghana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. He aspires to become a change agent in Kenya and the wider African continent in areas of development and governance. After graduation, Munene plans to take his experience back to Kenya and continue the conversation on socio-economic transformation of the country.
Andrea Ayers (’18, MPH), Advocacy Intern. Andie is a Master of Public Health candidate at The George Washington University, concentrating in Global Health Epidemiology. Originally from Minnesota, she is an alumna of the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, having earned a BA in Public Health and a minor in Anthropology. Prior to graduation, she interned with Alternative for Rural Movement, India and with Youth Futures International, Ghana, building her experience in international rural development. She also served as a research assistant on a NIH-funded study with the University of South Carolina’s Psychology Department focusing on obesity prevention in African Americans. She hopes to work in global developing-world disease control upon earning her MPH.
Leyla Roshanian, JD, Advocacy Intern. Leyla’s JD concentrated in International Human Rights and she earned a certificate in International and Comparative Law. She completed an externship with the International Criminal Court in Bosnia & Herzegovina. She is a Baha’i with a Persian background and grew up in the United States. Her humanitarian experience includes work in human rights law, international criminal law, sustainable development, community building, immigration, community-led youth projects, child trafficking, advocacy, and public policy. Leyla has volunteered for the United Nations and NGOs involved with human rights law, public advocacy, and public policy work. Her work was published in The Future of State: The 15 Challenges of the Millennium as part of a group project presented at the NYC 2000 Summit Conference.
Erin East (BA ‘16) Global Community-led Development Intern. Erin graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in Foreign Affairs and a minor in South Asian Studies. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for FeelGood, a youth-driven nonprofit that raises money for the end of poverty by empowering students on college campuses to run their own sustainable grilled cheese delis. Her core areas of interest are women and girls, education, hunger, and water, health, and sanitation. Previous internships include the United States Senate and Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat, a nonprofit in Pune, India that organizes and advocates for wastepickers. Erin is excited to start nurturing her career in international development. The Hunger Project provided Erin with the opportunity to expand her research, analytic, and writing skills as well as stoke her passion for sustainable, global change.
Erin now works for The Hunger Project as the Capacity Building and Planning Associate within the Global Office in New York City.
Jacquelyn Lockhart (’18, BA), Global Community-led Development Intern. Jacquelyn is a Bachelor of Arts candidate of at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC. She majors in Political Science with a minor in Religion. In January, she was a Program Intern at Volontariato Internazionale per la Sviluppo (VIP) in Catania, Italy. In her role, she assisted with the oversight of response to the current immigration crisis in Europe. Jacquelyn also held an internship with Catholic Relief Services in Baltimore, MD in the Overseas Operations Department. She aspires to attend law school to become a Health Policy Lawyer.
Shanell Fan (’20, BA), Global Community-led Development Intern. Shanell returns to The Hunger Project as a second time intern after first working with us during the summer of 2014. She just completed her studies at Langley High School and will be starting her first year at McGill University in the Faculty of Arts. Shanell has significant strengths in the studies of English, History, and Art, and is a member of the National Honors Society. Shanell was also active in Langley’s writing center through reading and editing other students’ essays and papers, and privately tutoring Chinese immigrants.
Nicole Graham (’16, MA), Advocacy Intern. Nicole is a MA candidate at American University’s School of International Service, focusing on Comparative and Regional Studies of Europe and International Organizations. She graduated from Assumption College in Worcester, MA in 2013 with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. Her areas of interest include gender equality, poverty reduction, and sustainable development. She recently returned from a research trip in Athens, Greece to study the effects the economic crisis has had on Greek society. Her previous internship was with the United Nations Information Center. Through this opportunity with The Hunger Project, Nicole hopes to learn more about community-led development and female empowerment when addressing extreme poverty.
Rayricus Matthews (’16, MA), Global Community Development Intern. Rayricus is pursuing his M.A. in Sustainable Development: International Policy & Management at the SIT Graduate Institute. His areas of interest are climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, urban agro-ecological community development, and policy advocacy to increase the capacity of local people to be engaged in these matters. Rayricus recently completed a field course in Amman, Jordan studying the local, regional, and global influences on leading and managing social sector organizations and has further developed his passion for community-led development. He received his B.S. in Agriculture in 2014 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville studying Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications. His past engagements include serving with AmeriCorps in the National Park Service’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a GIS specialist, as well as, interning with the United States Department of Agriculture People’s Garden Initiative as an Urban Gardening and Community Development Intern.
Zyra Quirante (’15, BA), Global Community Development Intern. Zyra is originally from the Philippines. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations from Georgetown College. Her areas of interest include international human rights and women’s empowerment. She has experience working with local government in the Philippines for conflict resolution. Zyra is passionate about social justice and human rights, and has a strong interest in building her career in the nonprofit sector. The Hunger Project serves as an opportunity to grow through affecting positive change and improve specific skills in research, analysis and writing.
Harriet O’Sullivan (’16, BA), International Affairs Intern. Harriet is a BA candidate for both Political Science and Management Consulting in the Mendoza School of Business at the University of Notre Dame. Her areas of interest include international policy, democratization and gender equality. She studied abroad in her hometown of London, England in the fall of 2014 and interned with a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons, where she focused on responding to the various needs and local issues of her MP’s constituents. Previous internships include the National Institutes of Health located in Bethesda, MD and the U.S. Department of State. To Harriet, the Hunger Project represents the opportunity to combine her professional management skills, passion for international affairs and development, and belief that all mankind has the right to dignity and self-reliance, to enact effective global change.
Elisa Wilkinson (’16, MA), Advocacy Intern. Elisa is a MA candidate in Global Environmental Policy at American University’s School for International Service. Her areas of interest include food security, rural livelihoods, gender-based development approaches, and participation. Elisa recently returned from a study abroad opportunity in Rosario da Limeira, Minas Gerias, Brazil where she researched the potential for participatory environmental decision-making in the community in light of potential mining operations. This work focused heavily on the participation and empowerment of women. In addition to her field work in Brazil, she completed a course on Rural Livelihoods and Food Systems through American University this summer. Past internships include a position as a Senior Research Assistant at the Women and the Environment Organization run by former Iraqi Minister for the Environment, Dr. Mishkat Al-Moumin. To Elisa, the Hunger Project represents an opportunity to further empower local communities, particularly women within those communities, to combat global problems like hunger.
Robel M. Tamirat (’15, MA), Robel is a MA candidate for Sustainable International Development in The Heller School For Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He earned his BA in Law from Hawassa University in Ethiopia. Before joining The Heller School, Robel worked as a Program Assistant for various grassroots projects in Ethiopia, where he spearheaded project management, M&E and reporting. Robel specializes in policy analysis, development management, and monitoring and evaluation. His areas of focus include local governance, food security, nutrition and bottom-up initiatives.
Justice Shorter (’15, MA), International Affairs Intern. Justice is pursuing her MA in Sustainable Development: International Policy & Management at the SIT Graduate Institute. Her areas of specialization are policy advocacy, strategic communication and inclusivity in development. She studied Community Development and Social Entrepreneurship in South Africa at the University of Cape Town as well as Peace and Post-Conflict Reconciliation in Uganda & Rwanda. She graduated from Marquette University in 2012 where she earned a BA in Journalism with minors in Entrepreneurship and Justice & Peace Studies. Justice aspires to one day launch her own Policy Advocacy Communications firm designed to strengthen ‘people-centered’ advocacy efforts for marginalized populations.
Guy C. Kamdem (’15, MA), International Affairs Intern. Guy is a MA candidate for International Development at American University where he has also been working as a Research Assistant since August 2014. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Public Policy from the University of Baltimore and also has a Bachelor’s degree in Law and Political Science from the University of Dshang in Cameroon. Guy volunteered for three months at the CDVTA-Cameroon, a local non-profit based in the North-West region of Cameroon working to improve the living conditions of elders in remote villages. Guy’s development areas of interest are democracy and good governance, agriculture and food security, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance.
Shanna Cole (’15, BA), International Affairs Intern. Shanna is a BA candidate in International Affairs at the Elliott School of George Washington University, with a concentration in International Politics and a minor in Women’s Studies. Her areas of interest include sustainable development policy, the intersection of politics and culture, post-conflict democratization, and gender equality. Shanna studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa in the spring of 2014, where she completed courses on issues of multiculturalism and human rights, and conducted an independent study project – through field research – on women’s economic empowerment in Cape Town. Previous internships include Women’s Foreign Policy Group, an educational membership organization that promotes women’s leadership and participation in international affairs, and the office of US Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01).
Emma Bradford (’15, BS), International Affairs Intern. Emma is a BS candidate in Public Health with a minor in Women’s Studies in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. Her areas of interest include global public health, disaster response and gender issues in development. Emma studied abroad in Cusco, Peru in the spring of 2014, where she was enrolled in a program focused on indigenous peoples and globalization. Part of her time was spent completing independent research on occupational health and porter workers’ rights in Peru. Emma’s previous internships include InterAction, The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and the Colonial Inauguration program at George Washington University.
Karoline Kraft holds a BA in politics and economics and is currently doing her masters in “International Politics and Peace and Conflict Studies” at the University of Tuebingen in Germany. She focuses and researches on the topics of landgrabbing, food security, human rights and corporate social responsibility. Originally from Germany, she gained experience with different NGOs, and is committed to the work of anti-racism and work against right-wing extremism. She is involved in the initiative “Studies without Borders,” which aims to qualify young people from crisis regions to make their own contribution to the reconstruction of their home country. Before she entered university, she did a voluntary social year in Poland, where she was working at a concentration camp memorial and with survivors of the Holocaust. She went back to Poland for a semester abroad.
Samirah Majumdar, Project Manager, received her MA in International Law and Global Security from Georgetown University. She holds a BA in Political Economy from Barnard College, where she focused on economic development and human rights. Previously, she did research work on urban poverty at the BRAC Development Institute in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has also researched and analyzed the impact of migrant worker’s remittances on Bangladesh’s economic development. Having spent her formative years in Bangladesh, Samirah became very interested in bottom-up grassroots level initiatives that contribute to sustainable peace, security and development. She has explored several human rights and security issues in various capacities at the Pew Research Center, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and Physicians for Human Rights.
Clara Knutson received her BA in Government and Middle East Studies from Dartmouth College. She is currently a masters student at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), concentrating in conflict management and economics. Previously she worked for Forbes Insights, the thought leadership division of Forbes, where she researched subjects related to global business including philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. She is also interested in human rights and international development.
Mai Otake served as project manager from Fall 2013 to Spring 2014. She focuses on international development, especially hunger and famine issues. She worked as a Local Community Coordinator for the Japan Overseas Cooperative Volunteers (JOCV) in Benin, a project of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In this role she helped establish an association that united over 40 community women’s groups, worked with various community projects to support the blind, and worked on micro-credit programs. Mai received her master’s degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University and holds a Bachelor of Economics from Waseda University in Japan.
Nan Huang earned her graduate degree from The George Washington University in Statistics. She worked as a data analyst at Southwest Securities in China and prepared various pitching materials and bond comments of inter-bank analysis. In 2008, she was lucky enough to get through the fierce competition to become a professional Olympic volunteer at the national stadium in Beijing Summer Olympic Games. Originally from China, she earned her Bachelor degree of Science in Capital University of Economics and Business (CUEB) and her interests of human rights and woman inequality brought her to The Hunger Project in 2013.
Tamene is a graduate of SIT Graduate Institute in masters of sustainable development, focusing on international policy and management. He interned at the Hunger Project Washington DC office, during his last year of graduate program. His areas of interest are food security, poverty alleviation, agricultural development, program planning and management, women empowerment, social entrepreneurship, advocacy, economic research and policy analysis. He is a graduate of University of Maryland College Park, Montgomery College and Jimma University. He has fluency in four languages and enjoys playing soccer. Outside school, he works on a website that engages diaspora Africans in agricultural development through investment clubs.
Anna Moriarty earned her MA from American University in “Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs” with a focus on conflict resolution, intercultural/interfaith dialogue and women’s empowerment. Her studies inspired an interest in working with grassroots gender-oriented development initiatives and inter-sectarian community building. Anna’s previous internship experiences in DC include the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the International Peace & Security Institute and Search for Common Ground. She received her BA in Religious Studies from the University of Redlands, and studied abroad in Granada, Spain in 2008.
Stephanie earned her graduate degree in Public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She has worked in Washington D.C. first as a foreign policy staffer for Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and then led international development advocacy for InterAction, the largest coalition of U.S. international relief and development nonprofits. As a leader of the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition, she believes that private sector accountability and locally-led development are critical to addressing global poverty and environmental degradation. Originally from Virginia, Stephanie has a B.A. in both Public Policy and Environmental Science and Policy from the College of William and Mary.
Claire received her master’s degree in Democracy and Governance from Georgetown University. She is interested in anti-corruption and governance as well as grassroots civil society development. Previously, Claire was a graduate intern at Democracy International supporting their work in the field of international democracy and governance assistance. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine from 2008-2010 teaching English and designing and implementing youth focused civic engagement programs. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations.
Danielle graduated from The University of Vermont, in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Policy and Development.
In Vermont, she was a leader in the campus FeelGood chapter, raising money for The Hunger Project and awareness around global hunger through the sales of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.Danielle spent a semester abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico studying Spanish and creating an independent study around waste management. She also studied sustainable development and social change in Jaipur, India, with a culminating month-long research project on a government food distribution program in the northeast region of Sikkim.
Leanna served as the original project manager for this initiative. She is originally from California and studied intercultural relations and anthropology at Stanford (BA, MA) and law at New York University (JD). She focused on Chinese development and investments and worked as a corporate and governance attorney from 2007 through 2012. Leanna first joined THP as a volunteer in 2012, when it opened its Washington, DC office.
Elisabeth served as project manager during the Spring of 2013 and increased the project’s social media presence.
Originally from Illinois, Elisabeth earned her BA in International Affairs and Psychology from Indiana University and her MA from The New School in New York City. In between her schooling, she taught English in China to kindergartners while developing her Mandarin language skills. She has a strong concentration on global health and has traveled the world gaining first-hand experience with such issues. Elisabeth first joined THP as an intern in 2011 in New York City and hasn’t looked back!
Luke’s academic concentration is in local governance, municipal development and bottom-up capacity building. He graduated with honors from Santa Clara University in 2009 in Political Science and Philosophy.
Luke began his career working as a member of the Santa Clara Community Action Program, a network of non-profit and community based organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, has worked with both the County of Santa Clara and the City and County of San Francisco’s Risk Management Division, and most recently supported community resiliency and municipal development initiatives in global programming at CHF International.
Sam’s focus area includes conflict sensitive development, specifically in regards to democracy and governance and resource allocation programming. He graduated from Boston University in 2006 in International Relations.
Sam’s interest in conflict-sensitive programming was cultivated as a Peace Corps volunteer in Crimea, Ukraine, where he worked with the UNDP office in Crimea on de-escalation projects with both ethnic Russian and Crimean Tatar groups. This interest was solidified in 2010, when he worked in Tajikistan on a variety of microfinance projects for Kiva Micro Funds, researching the potential pitfalls of foreign assistance in exacerbating conflicts.
Suffi concentrates on Democracy and Governance with a specific focus on civil society and election management. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 2010 in Government and Politics and Secondary Education.
Suffi previously interned at the Office of Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, worked as a canvasser for the Public Interest Research Group, and taught World History and Government as a Prince George’s County Teaching Fellow. He joined the AFL-CIO as a research assistant compiling data for the Job Tracker tool and research for the AFL-CIO’s Outsourced Report, and currently holds the position of Assistant to the Director there, where he helps plan, coordinate, and conduct research on national issue campaigns.