Alumni Profiles

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Our internships catapult careers. Meet just a few of our successful alumni.

Dyonne Pennings

has been working with the Institute for Therapy and Investigation (ITEI) in Cochabamba, Bolivia since October 2011. She supports ITEI’s efforts by researching international human rights law on behalf of victims of torture and state violence. To date, she has learned much about the process--and difficulties--of human rights enforcement in this setting. Upon completing her internship in Bolivia, Dyonne will begin an internship with the Jurisdiction, Complementarity, and Cooperation Division of the International Criminal Court. She says, “FSD has helped to make sure my internship was well-guided and a valuable learning experience. Definitely do an internship abroad if you’re considering working in development or human rights to experience its local difficulties and dimensions.”

Britton Tuck

was an FSD intern from June to September 2009 in Kakamega, Kenya. She worked at the Kakamega Forest Dispensary where she trained a group of teachers on high-priority health issues specific to that area, brokered a partnership between the dispensary and Community Action for Rural Development (CARD) to host HIV/AIDS nutrition education days, and gave health education lectures to school groups. Britton speaks highly of her host family, saying “without them, my time in Kakamega would not have been so special. My mama took me in as her own and truly helped me learn about the Kenyan culture through the language, the food and the community.” She was lucky enough to be there for the birth of her host brother’s first child. “They named her Britton. I was, and still am, honored.” After her internship, Britton served in AmeriCorps VISTA, where she helped start a nonprofit to decrease the public school dropout rate. Currently, Britton is pursuing certification in Earthship Biotecture in New Mexico.

Jon Blackwell

interned with FSD in Mombasa, Kenya in 2009. He worked on the microfinance program for the Likoni Community Development Programme (LICODEP), a local development NGO, visiting clients, making collections, performing due diligence, and providing loans. Jon initially applied for his internship because, he says, “I wanted to transition out of my career in finance and the work sounded interesting. It turns out that I loved the work so much that it sparked an entirely different career in development.” Currently, he is the Director of Product Development for InVenture, which works to improve the accounting and financial literacy of microenterprises. He is glad that his experience helped him break out of his routine, and says that living in a developing country provided “all new experiences which were very exciting.” Overall, Jon says, “FSD provided me with invaluable field experience that has helped with all of my subsequent work abroad.”

Jamie Wozniak

is currently in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua working with a pre-school where she assists teachers, teaches English, and is writing a grant proposal to create a vegetable garden at the school to improve the nutrition of the students. The garden will also be used to give demonstrations to parents on how to create their own vegetable garden in their homes. Jamie says of her homestay experience: “Everyone has been very welcoming and has allowed me to communicate in Spanish as much as possible.” Jamie believes, “I am making an impact in Ciudad Sandino that will be felt long after I leave.” Find out more at Jamie’s blog.

Nicholas Egger-Bovet

was an intern at FSD’s Headquarters in San Francisco in the summer of 2010. He helped expand the year-end report database, which automatically generated project statistics, and produced a 16-page Giving Circle report on India. Immediately after his internship with FSD, Nicholas won a prestigious Projects of Peace grant for a microenterprise project he devised and implemented in Chile. Upon graduating from Claremont McKenna College this semester, Nicholas will work as a Financial Institution Specialist for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Rebecca Rouse

is an FSD alumna from the summer of 2002 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. While abroad, she worked at a school run by the Salvation Army, acting as a teacher’s aide to two different elementary school classrooms. Currently, Rebecca works as a consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank. Rebecca has kept in close contact with her host family as well as FSD program coordinators in Bolivia. She says, “My experience with FSD gave me more direction in what I wanted to do, and piqued my intellectual curiosity.

Michelle Trone

was an FSD intern in Udaipur, India, from January-April 2011, working for the Institute for Local Self Governance and Responsible Citizenship. In her time abroad, she “learned how to live in a culture far-removed from Western comforts, and realized that my passion lies in pursuing international affairs both academically and professionally.” Currently, Michelle works as a Watch Officer in the Global Security Program of the World Bank Group, where she assesses the impact of political and security developments. Michelle cites her time with FSD as a major factor in gaining the experience needed to keep up with such a demanding position, and encourages anyone who is considering intern abroad programs to go for it. Michelle calls her experience with FSD, “one of the most life-changing experiences I have ever had,” and is already planning to return to India.

Andrea Scali

served in Udaipur, India in 2011. He did research for a microfinance NGO, Prayatna Samiti. He enjoyed learning about India’s culture and sharing stories of life in different cultures with other FSD interns. He says, “FSD made me realize what it really meant to be working in the development sector.” Andrea has remained in contact with other FSD interns he met while abroad, who share his interests in development. Currently, Andrea works for the Volunteers Association for International Service (AVSI) in South Sudan, where he is the Area Team Leader of the Ikoto County, Eastern Equatoria State, and the program manager for the Basic Services Fund project. His work with FSD helped Andrea launch his current career, noting that “FSD gave me my first opportunity, without which I wouldn’t be here in South Sudan now. They really prepare you and are always there with a smile and all that you would need.”

Shaina Wamsley

spent 12 weeks in Iganga, Uganda working with the Integrated Disabled Women Activities (IDIWA). Her first project during her internship was to build on an existing IDIWA project that helped locals learn how to grow sustainable kitchen gardens. She then worked with a local school for the blind where she wrote a grant which provided funding for enough students' instruments to start a music-dance-drama club, which was used to sensitize the community to disability stigma. Currently, she is a first-year student at Harvard Law School, and will intern with the Bureau of Special Education Appeals for the Department of Education this summer. Shaina reports, “I returned from my time abroad in a more positive mindset, one that has taught me to be much more independent in my own daily life.”

Malia Schroeder

was an FSD intern with Pro Mujer Bolivia in Cochabamba in 2009. She launched a human resources' non-monetary incentives program while revamping the outreach capabilities of their marketing team. After Bolivia, she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in International Relations from Hawaii Pacific University, and two weeks later landed a position as a translation project coordinator for a well-known translation company. She has since become project manager, and resides in Hong Kong. While gaining professional experience, she one day hopes to pursue a master’s degree in Local Economic Development.

Elizabeth Gilbert

is currently working with Phoebe Education Fund for AIDS Orphans (PEFO) in Eastern Uganda. She has designed a community health program involving disease prevention, health rights sensitization and skills training for the caretakers of the orphans. She is enjoying her home-stay experience, and even had the recent opportunity to join her host mother on a group trip to the Bugandan Kingdom, where she met the Prime Minister of Buganda. She says, “working here has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I have learned so much already in the 5-6 weeks I’ve been here.”

Suzannah Hiza

served as an intern in FSD’s San Francisco headquarters. She gained first-hand experience with website editing and HTML, database management systems, and emailing services that strengthened her resume and made her a more competitive candidate in interviews. In her current position as Program Associate at the World Affairs Council of Northern California, she says she “uses the skills I learned at FSD on a daily basis, and I am grateful for the experience my internship provided.”

Victor Tineo

was an FSD intern in Mombasa, Kenya in 2007. Not only did he work for a bank, helping to distribute microloans to entrepreneurs, but also he helped spearhead a program to revitalize a library at a maximum-security prison. The program instituted paralegal training programs for inmates to gain professional skills and research their own legal casework if they could not afford an attorney. Victor says, “It was easily the most rewarding professional experience I’ve ever had.” He remembers not only the support of the staff, but the other interns as well: “I can’t imagine my time in Kenya without thinking of the others I shared my time with." Victor currently works at the Export-Import Bank of the United States as a Financial Economist under the Presidential Management Fellowship, where he serves as the lead economist for a portfolio of sub-Saharan African countries, assessing macroeconomic and political risk.

Jenna Harvey

Jenna Harvey went to Tola, Nicaragua, as an FSD intern in 2010 and worked with a women’s rights NGO, the Casa de la Mujer. Given their lack of economic independence and limited job opportunities, Jenna’s project trained women in bread baking, business administration, and self-esteem building. After her internship, Jenna joined FSD as the International Programs Coordinator at the Ciudad Sandino site in Nicaragua. Later, Jenna joined Accion Internacional, an international microfinance organization. In 2013, Jenna was awarded a Fulbright scholarship for research on Nicaraguan women participating in the informal economy in San Jose, Costa Rica. “The Spanish language proficiency and familiarity with Nicaraguan culture I gained with FSD will help facilitate my research with the Nicaraguan women, as my familiarity with their home country and colloquialisms will serve to build trust and forge friendships,” Jenna says. Since completing her research in Costa Rica, Jenna has pursued a master’s degree in urban planning at MIT.

Mary DeBartolo

served in Jinja, Uganda in 2007, where she worked for Saint Francis Health Care Services. There, she was involved in a tuberculosis program where she learned how TB was treated, how people with TB were viewed in the community, and advocated for treatment adherence to TB medication. She enjoyed her home-stay experience and says that she was “Incredibly fortunate to work at a fascinating clinic and live with an amazing and empowered woman.” She says, “My summer in Uganda helped me see where my true passions lie – at a macro-policy level – and helped shape my future educational career.” Mary’s experiences with FSD confirmed her interest in global health, made her a unique candidate when interviewing for legal jobs, and helped her receive an externship opportunity with the World Health Organization. This summer, Mary will graduate from the University of Michigan School of Public Health with an MPH in health management and policy, and the University of Michigan Law School with a JD this spring.

Heather Kowalski

was an FSD intern in Kakamega, Kenya in the summer of 2010. There, she worked at a health clinic and evaluated the needs of the community and clinic at a grassroots level while developing self-sustainable projects. Heather helped create an efficient process for attending to the clinic’s patients, distributed health information to community members, and set up educational seminars on topics such as malaria and pregnancy. She says, “My main goal was to get the community to identify the clinic as a resource center, not just somewhere to go when someone gets sick.” Heather formed many lasting relationships while in Kenya with her host family, FSD staff, and her fellow interns. She also participated in an FSD giving circle last year. Recently, Heather has accepted a two-year fellowship as a Public Health Associate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She says her experience with FSD “opened my eyes to the challenges that communities face in regards to healthcare and development, and gave me hands-on experiences on the issues that I had only read about in my undergraduate studies.”

Jannicka Murphy

was an FSD intern in Kakamega, Kenya at the Shibwe hospital. She built two farms, one for the HIV support group, and one for the hospital, while improving the technical capacity of the organization by teaching computer literacy to the staff. Jannicka believes that her work abroad has “helped me shape my goals by realizing that I wanted a career where I can engage in new communities and help in whatever way possible.” Currently, Jannicka is the project coordinator for Marin Grassroots, a local nonprofit that 'works to advance social equity and strengthen the voice of underrepresented communities in public policy decision-making to reduce poverty and improve quality of life.' She facilitates their communication, engages local policymakers and community leaders for social equity advocacy projects, reconstructs their website, and plans an inaugural dance festival to embrace diversity within the community. She says “I had a great experience! My time with FSD taught me how to interact with individuals on a new level, in turn enabling me to build upon my ability to create personal and professional relationships.”

Brittany Watts

was an FSD intern in Udaipur, India with Seva Mandir, an NGO that works on rural and tribal development issues in the Rajasthan area. Her project involved surveying youth in the Palesar area about their experiences and demographic information. Brittany enjoyed her home-stay experience, saying, “through living with them, I was exposed to the food and culture of the area in a very direct sense, and enjoyed family trips to other parts of India.” Brittany says that, as result of her experience, “I have modeled myself into a better leader and am able to use this experience as evidence of my social prowess for other opportunities.” Brittany is currently a senior at Vanderbilt University, and will begin teaching with the 2012 Teach for America Greater New Orleans Corps this fall.