Biographical Profiles of Current MPA Graduate Students
Born in northern Nigeria and raised in Southern California, Funke’s immigrant experience ignited her dedication to public service and commitment to forging a more equitable world. Before Princeton, she worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, supporting programs to reduce hunger, malnutrition and poverty globally. Prior to that, she worked in research and advocacy to advance racial, gender and economic equity as a policy analyst with the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, and as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center. After Princeton, Funke aims to help develop evidence-based and equitable policies to combat poverty and promote inclusive economic development in Africa and globally. Funke is a member and volunteer with the Sadie Collective, an organization dedicated to empowering Black women and girls in economics and related fields. She is a dance and podcast enthusiast.
Lizabelt was born in Cuba and moved to Miami with her family when she was twelve. Prior to Princeton, she worked as the Assistant Director for Partnerships at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a leading research and advocacy organization advancing human rights in the Americas. She managed WOLA’s grants portfolio and relationships with foundations and governments, while deepening her knowledge of issue areas relevant to Latin America and the Caribbean. Before joining WOLA, Lizabelt worked with The Nature Conservancy as a Princeton in Latin America Fellow, supporting the preparation of grant proposals and environmental projects in the Americas. She also interned with the U.S. Department of State, conducting research that supported the annual Mexico Human Rights Report. Lizabelt has volunteered with the Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security, The Humanity Formula, UNICEF, and ODESA. She is interested in U.S. policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean, climate change, and migration. In her free time she enjoys being in nature, trying new foods, dancing, practicing foreign languages, and spending time with family and friends.
After graduating from Washington University majoring in systems engineering and international studies, Noah worked as a campaign field organizer in rural Southeast Missouri. This experience demonstrated the beauty and strength of community organizing, ultimately leading him back to his home state of Virginia to continue campaigning on behalf of his values, and then serving as a legislative staffer. From assisting individuals with scheduling DMV appointments to pushing for policies to combat hunger statewide, this opportunity showed him how we can shape our government to work better for everyone – at both micro and macro levels. At Princeton and upon graduating, he hopes to pursue avenues to empower fellow citizens to engage in our democratic processes. Noah is a big fan of democracy, walking, and sweet potatoes.
Ishita is from New Delhi, India. After studying economics at UPenn, she worked in economic consulting in Washington, D.C., for a year. She then returned to her hometown to work on evidence-informed development at IDinsight. In this role, she worked with government and nonprofit partners to improve financial inclusion outcomes, and developed a free resource that guides nonprofits on how to use evidence. This past summer, Ishita completed her MPA internship with The Global Fund in Boston. She’s exploring what she would like to do after graduating, but imagines it will involve one or more of the following: global development, effective altruism, animal welfare, climate change, gender equity, monitoring and evaluation, and data science. In her free time, Ishita likes to read, play with dogs, and play board games.
Katie is a joint MPA/J.D. student at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and Yale Law School. She was born and raised in Bellevue, Washington, and studied psychology at Duke University. She was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at a rural teachers’ college in Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico. After returning from Mexico, Katie helped manage ten in-house pro bono legal clinics at the University of North Carolina School of Law. She interpreted and translated for 80 Spanish-speaking clients, organized the CARES Act Eviction Information Line to help undocumented tenants, and helped establish the Adult Parole Project. She later served as the community education coordinator for the Farmworker Unit at Legal Aid of North Carolina, where she coordinated know-your-rights trainings for migrant, seasonal, and H-2A farmworkers. In that role, she developed outreach strategies to reach prospective clients with limited literacy, with limited digital literacy, and who speak Indigenous languages. Outside of work, she volunteered with Al Otro Lado, Respond Crisis Translation, and the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Katie was the 2020–2021 recipient of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Peace and Reconciliation at Queen’s University Belfast. There, she researched the intersection of immigration law and technology, the role of women in peacebuilding in Northern Ireland, and the treatment of speakers of Indigenous languages at the U.S.-Mexico border. Katie is interested in policy approaches to increasing access to justice. She speaks fluent Spanish, intermediate French, and basic Maya Mam. In her free time, she enjoys playing board games, reading investigative reporting, and singing in her church choir.