Biographical Profiles of Current MPP Graduate Students
Ali grew up in the Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria, near the Iraqi border. He graduated from Al-Furat University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in Arabic language and literature. Ali is founder and CEO of DeirEzzor24 Network, which specializes in news reporting in northeastern Syria. Over the past seven years, DeirEzzor24 has been professionally able to communicate the voice of the Syrian people inside Syria through continuous coverage, with a group of researchers and activists working on the ground. Ali is also founder and CEO of the Sam Organization for Development, an independent nonprofit civil society organization which works with vulnerable groups in conflict-affected areas to help build a vibrant society, to improve the standards of living based on the principles of democracy and respect for human rights regardless of race, sect and ethnicity. Sam is registered in the European Union and has been driving many projects on the ground in Syria since its inception in 2019. Current efforts involve livelihoods and food security, women’s empowerment, and educational support for Syrian children. Ali hopes to help transform the Middle East into a hub of global peace and unity.
Emily is a passionate advocate for global health, science, and innovation with nearly a decade of experience in policy and resource mobilization. From 2018 to 2022, she led the U.S. advocacy portfolio of the Global Health Technologies Coalition where she drove the launch of the Bipartisan Global Health Research and Development Congressional Working Group, developed a new policy proposal to secure U.S. foreign assistance resources for biomedical innovation for poverty-related neglected diseases, and co-chaired the Global Health Council’s Budget Roundtable at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She previously led maternal and child health advocacy at World Vision U.S. and grassroots advocacy at the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and END7 Campaign. Emily developed her interests in global health and development as an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame, where she spent nearly as much time running the first student group dedicated to the fight against NTDs as she did her degrees in psychology and theology. Outside of work, you can often find Emily experimenting in the kitchen, sampling natural wine, or attempting to keep up with pop culture on TikTok.
Austin is a proud Trentonian born and raised in the City. With humble beginnings in his neighborhood and in his church, he learned the value of caring for his community and those who comprise it. Here, he found the most joy in helping solve the plethora of issues presented to his neighbors, friends, family, and other community members. He obtained his legal degree in Washington, D.C. at Howard University and also worked at the highest levels of the federal government including various federal alphabet agencies, Capitol Hill, the United States Coast Guard, the Federal Judiciary, and the private financial firm Ernst & Young. He specifically returned to Trenton to work with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office to reform both the state's police and community relations and also New Jersey's financial laws, issues with a direct impact on all New Jerseyians, but specifically on Trentonians. With his variety of prior work experiences; local volunteer organizations such as the Howard University Alumni Club of Metropolitan Trenton (Go Bison), Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Lambda Lambda Sigma Chapter, the Trenton Urban League Guild, and the national, state, and local NAACP; and his most recent appointment to the Trenton School Board, he is most proud to provide scholarships to local kids to bridge the financial gap to help them achieve their full academic potential, to create and celebrate diverse spaces for the youth of all ages to excel, to produce life-changing alternatives to the school/drug/prison pipeline, and to illustrate to the community the young scholars in Trenton's very midst. In what little free time he has left, you can find him running to Starbucks with his rescue greyhound, Grace, to get her a pup-a-chino; looking for the best places to eat around town with his wife, Natalie; axe-throwing; practicing his archery; whiskey-tasting; and throwing the best backyard BBQs!
Will is an experienced congressional staffer, working for eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives, mostly for the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). In that role, he managed several legislative portfolios, including transportation, immigration, and foster care and family services. A native of the Atlanta area, he earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Virginia and is deeply interested in the intersections between transportation, land use, and social justice.
Kate joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 2013 and has held a variety of positions in London and overseas. She spent five years working on conflict prevention and response programmes in the Middle East and North Africa, including a posting to Istanbul as Head of the Syria Joint Programme Team – providing support to local councils, police forces, civil defence and agriculture projects in opposition held areas within Syria. As the Deputy Head of Sanctions Unit, Kate led work to transition E.U. sanctions regimes to a basis in U.K. law, and to establish the U.K.’s first independent sanctions regime – targeting those who abuse human rights. Most recently, Kate has been Deputy Ambassador in South Sudan leading the U.K.’s engagement on political affairs, and bringing together development and diplomatic expertise following the merger of the FCO with the Department for International Development (DFID). Before joining the FCO, Kate worked in various roles in the U.K. Department for Education and DFID, including working with the U.N. to bridge the gap between development and humanitarian agencies in order to develop a strategy on resilience to disasters. In her spare time, she enjoys running, reading, and baking.