Perry World House Meet Our 2023-24 Perry World House Graduate Associates

November 9, 2023
By Perry World House

Perry World House (PWH), the University of Pennsylvania’s hub for global affairs, has selected twenty-four students for the 2023-24 cohort of the competitive Graduate Associates Program.

Each cohort draws from each of the University’s graduate schools, joining perspectives and expertise from various disciplines to our flagship program for graduate students. Over the course of the academic year, graduate associates will engage with our community of scholars and experts and develop skills relevant to shaping policy in their areas of study.

“Perry World House is pleased to welcome the 2023-24 class of graduate associates to our community said PWH Interim Director Michael Weisberg. “We look forward to seeing their contributions to some of the most critical global policy concerns as well as how these individuals will impact their fields as  future policy leaders.”

In the coming months, the graduate associates will participate in monthly seminars led by Regina M. Abrami, director of the Lauder Institute’s Global Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and PWH Visiting Fellow Clay Risen, reporter at the New York Times. These seminars will provide graduate associates with the skills needed to engage the policy community, interact with media and publish in the policy space, and more. Through small group sessions, they will also build connections with other students and PWH’s experts who visit campus throughout the academic year.

The 2023-24 Graduate Associates are:

Fagunloye Adeola is a PhD candidate in biochemistry and molecular biophysics at the Perelman School of Medicine. His research focuses on investigating novel DNA repair mechanisms and genome instability. Fagunloye is passionate about advancing scientific understanding and developing innovative solutions in the field of biomedicine. He holds a master’s degree in cancer biology from the University of the District of Columbia and Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Igbinedion University.

David Agor is a PhD candidate in nursing at the Penn School of Nursing. Prior to joining this program, Agor earned his Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he specialized in the clinical assessment of multiple minority stress for Sexual and Gender Minorities with intersecting minoritized identities and graduated as an Interprofessional Distinguished Scholar. He was born and raised in Nigeria.

Shreya Bansal is an MCP student at the Weitzman School of Design, with a concentration in urban technology and climate resilience. At Penn, she cofounded the Penn Food Club and the Urban Technologies Club. Her research lies at the intersection of climate change planning and civic technology. Bansal recently completed an internship with the Climate Policy Initiative, working on multilateral bank reform for urban climate finance. Previously, she worked as a program associate with the World Resources Institute in Mumbai. She holds a bachelor's degree in architecture.

Tayeba Batool is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology. Her research focuses on urban development and environmental governance. Her research in Pakistan has been funded by the American Institute of Pakistan Studies. She holds an MA in international affairs from American University. Prior to her time at Penn, Batool worked on various projects and policies aimed at regional linkages in trade, women's economic participation, and institutional capacity building.

Kyle Brown is studying for an MA in philosophy and is a visiting fellow at Penn’s Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law. He is an actively serving officer in the US Army, and his fifteen years of military experience have shaped his research interests in the ethical implications of emerging technology as well as the nexus of neuroscience and moral injury. Brown has a degree in mechanical engineering from West Point, where he will return as faculty upon completion of his graduate studies.

Tao Chen is an MCP candidate at the Weitzman School of Design, concentrating in housing, community, and economic development. His primary research interest lies at the intersection of climate justice, global development, urban resilience, and post-conflict recovery. Most recently, Chen worked at the World Bank’s Cities Climate Finance Gap Fund Group, assisting with research on construction industry emissions in developing countries. He holds an MA in international relations and philosophy from the University of St Andrews.

Mayowa Fageyinbo is a MSSP/MPH candidate at the University of Pennsylvania and a Social Justice Scholar at the School of Social Policy and Practice. Fageyinbo’s research focuses on the intersection of economic justice, governance, and education reform. She also evaluates the role of education in the “American Dream” when compared with barriers to degree access and completion. She holds a bachelor of science in Psychology with a minor in sociology from Howard University.

Kim Fernandes is a PhD candidate in interdisciplinary studies in human development and anthropology. Their research examines the politics, practices, and processes of enumerating and identifying individuals, focusing particularly on disability. Their dissertation research has been funded by the Social Science Research Council and the Taraknath Das Foundation's Marion Jemmott Fellowship. Fernandes holds an MSEd from the University of Pennsylvania, an EdM in international education policy from Harvard University, and a BSFS in international politics from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar.

Eran Globus is an SJD candidate at the Carey Law School and a recipient of the E. David Fischman Scholarship. His research focuses on privacy, law and technology, and human rights in the digital age. His current project is developing a model to address systems of power in data-driven societies. Besides his academic pursuits, Globus is a co-founder of the Israeli National LGBTQ+ Leaders Forum and a founding member of the inaugural "Council of Consents," a joint initiative of the Israeli Congress and the Center for Jewish and Democratic Law at Bar-Ilan University. He also serves as the deputy chairperson of the Israel Bar Association's LGBTQ+ rights committee. He earned his LLM from the University of Pennsylvania and BA in government and LLB from Reichman University.

Stella Guo is a master's student at the School of Social Policy and Practice, studying social policy and data analysis. Her study interests focus on education policy and environmental policy. This summer, she interned as a nutrition education assistant at Paul Robeson High School in the West Philadelphia area, which is an after-school program affiliated with the Netter Center. Additionally, she worked as a student intern at Global Support Services to gain a better understanding of global activities associated with Penn.

Mariam Jaffer is a master of public health student on the Global Health Track. Her research interests include racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care, alongside refugee and migrant health. At Penn, Jaffer is a research fellow at the Center for Health Equity Advancement and has volunteered with the Educational Pipeline Program. Prior to joining the Penn community, she worked as a physician in London for three years. Jaffer obtained an MBBS in medicine and BSc in medical sciences with global health from University College London. She received a Thouron Award to fund her studies at Penn.

Helen Jin is a PhD student in the Department of Computer and Information Science. She works at the intersection of natural language understanding, artificial intelligence, and cognition. Jin is interested in the impact and ethics of technology on society, with a particular focus on East Asia. At Penn, she has held leadership positions in graduate student government, and is passionate about breaking down barriers for women in STEM, with involvement in various initiatives. Jin holds a BA from Columbia University, where she double majored in mathematics and computer science, and concentrated in East Asian studies.

Nina Jin is a second-year MBA candidate at the Wharton School, where she focuses on fintech, innovation, and product design. Before Wharton, Nina worked as an economist at the central bank of South Korea for seven years. At the central bank, she worked tat the intersection of payment infrastructure, economic development, and public policy. She is interested in solving issues of financial inclusion and democratizing finance.

David Alan Johnson is a JD candidate and Dr. Sadie T.M. Alexander Scholar at the Carey Law School. His research interests center on human rights as they relate to international law and national security. While at Penn, he has been part of the Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Team, served as a delegate to the Waseda Transnational Program in Tokyo, Japan, and interned at the US Court of International Trade and the US Department of the Treasury. Johnson currently serves as an associate editor for Penn’s Journal of International Law. He holds a BA in politics from the University of the South and an MPP from the University of Chicago with certificates in global conflict and international development.

Nissim Lebovits is an MCP student at the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, where he focuses on environmental planning and spatial analysis. He is interested in using public data and open-source technology to build greener, more inclusive cities, particularly in the Global South. Currently, he is a research assistant at Penn, helping to identify US water suppliers most vulnerable to sea level rise. He holds a BA in history from Vanderbilt University.

Jason Mah is a student in the Lauder Institute MBA/MA joint degree program, focusing on East and Southeast Asia with a specialization in the French and Chinese languages. His master’s thesis is on the proliferation of mobility as a service in Southeast Asia and Latin America. His interests also include topics in coastal climate resilience and development finance. Mah previously worked in consulting across various sectors at Bain & Company. He holds a degree in finance from the University of British Columbia.

Sparsh Maheshwari is pursuing a dual degree in non-profit leadership and social policy and data analytics. Before coming to Penn, he first worked as an analyst in the pharmaceutical sector before pivoting to development, later working as a chief minister good governance associate in the government of Haryana state and as a senior state coordinator at India’s Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. His research interests lie in how universal basic income as a welfare policy could help reduce poverty. Maheshwari received his engineering degree from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science – Pilani and studied development management and leadership at the Indian School of Development Management.

Sumaya Malas is currently pursuing her PhD in political science, with a focus on post-conflict reconstruction and great power politics in the Middle East and North Africa. Previously, she was a 2019 Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow, working on nuclear policy, international security, and arms control. Her research primarily focuses on assessing measures to predict conflict, as well as the mechanisms of post-conflict reconstruction and institution building. Malas received her master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University and her undergraduate degrees in international relations, comparative cultures and politics, Arabic, and Muslim studies from Michigan State University. 

Kaeri M. Medina is a PhD candidate at the Perelman School of Medicine where she is focusing on virology and RNA biology. Her specialty is in negative, single stranded RNA viruses and their mRNA translation strategies. Currently, Medina is the chair of the Science Diplomacy branch of the Penn Science Policy and Diplomacy Group and is a recipient of the National Institutes of Health T32 grant in cell and molecular biology. She holds a degree in biology from Brown University.

Mathieu Ouellet is a PhD candidate in electrical and systems engineering. His research studies complex systems like protein networks and quantum spin systems. Before coming to Penn for graduate work, Oullet obtained a master's degree in applied mathematics and a bachelor's in physics and computer science from the University of Quebec.

Giovanna Parini is an SJD student at the Carey Law School, specializing in constitutional law and human rights. Her research interests include constitutional interpretation, reproductive justice, international human rights law, and public policy. Prior to her doctoral studies, Giovanna worked for over ten years in the judiciary, including as a law clerk at the Supreme Court of Paraguay. She holds a master’s degree in constitutional justice and human rights from the University of Bologna, an LLM from Harvard University, and an LLB from the National University of Asunción.

Van Q. Truong is an PhD/MA candidate at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and Wharton School studying biomedical computing, data science, and artificial intelligence. She is deeply interested in the technical, sociocultural, and policy implications of global trends in AI applications, computing infrastructure, and multinational tech policy. Van has a decade of experience as a researcher and biotech ecosystem leader in academic, government, and private sectors. She holds an MS in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University and a BA in anthropology from the University of Florida.

Catalina Margarita "Mica" Udani is a PhD candidate in political science, studying the intersection of conflict, immigration, authoritarianism, and human rights. She examines the effects of ethnic and religious identities on political conflict and avenues towards peace, as well as how international conflict affects individual domestic outcomes and social identities, with a focus on authoritarian states in the Global South. Her dissertation follows attitudes towards migration and human rights abuses of migrants employed in Middle Eastern states with minimal rights and high risks of exploitation.

Ezekiel Vergara is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Philosophy. His research interests primarily lie in political philosophy, ethics, and metaethics. Currently, he is interested in the ethical use of global economic tools, such as economic sanctions and military aid. He holds a BA in philosophy and government from Dartmouth College.