Current Students

Cohort 9 (2018-2020)

 

Name: Adi Gangga
Hometown:
Juwana, Pati, Central Java, Indonesia.
Education:
BS in Forestry, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Experience:
Adi Gangga earned his Bachelor of Science in forestry from Gadjah Mada University in 2012. As a forester and field assistant, he conducted forest inventories in montane forests on four mountains in Java Island, Indonesia. After almost two years working in biophysical research, he discovered his new passion to work with local communities. He had an opportunity to work as a consultant with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) studying climate change adaptation, working closely with local communities from different social and cultural backgrounds. He also conducted socioeconomic studies for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Building on his experience working with local communities, he aims to improve his skills in evidence-based research in order to contribute to the betterment of Indonesia’s forestry programs.
Interests:
Local communities, sustainability, forestry, forest management, equity, conservation, wildlife, forest commodities, supply chain, food security, capacity building, badminton.

 

Name: Christina Joy
Hometown:
Eustis, Florida.
Education:
BA in International Studies with Concentration in Middle East and African Studies, University of North Florida.

 AS in Paralegal Studies, Daytona State College.
Experience:
Christina is the Founder and Director of Joy Moja, a 501(c)(3) organization that supports educational projects in Tanzania. When she founded the organization in 2014, Christina’s vision was to provide impoverished children with the resources and opportunities they needed to pursue an education so that they could effectively contribute to the development of their communities. She has since traveled throughout Tanzania providing educational materials such as desks, books, and supplies to rural schools and purchasing handmade items from the markets to sell in the United States. Christina has coordinated multiple music festivals and organized trunk shows, informational events, presentations, and fundraisers to increase awareness of Tanzania’s culture and raise funds for projects in Tanzania. Prior to her work with Joy Moja, Christina was a paralegal for thirteen years during which time she managed extensive case files, developed and analyzed legal arguments from multiple perspectives, and aspired to become an appellate judge. She spent her spare time working toward an undergraduate degree at the University of North Florida where she was introduced to a broad spectrum of development issues throughout the world. In 2012, she left the United States for the first time to study abroad in Tanzania. Her experience inspired her to change her career path and focus instead on African development.

Interests:
Sustainable food production, environmental conservation, education, East Africa, geography, reading, traveling, spending time with pets, raising chickens, backpacking, camping, craft beer, inspiring people to pursue their dreams.

 

Name: Colleen Abel
Hometown:
Lakeland, Florida.
Education:
BA in Spanish, Minor in Latin American Studies, Florida Southern College.


Experience:
During her undergraduate studies, Colleen was the volunteer coordinator for a monthly legal clinic that provided free legal services to immigrants below the poverty level. During her time with the clinic she served as an interpreter between volunteers and clients, scheduled volunteers, and did community outreach. Colleen’s desire to address the root causes of migration grew as she heard the stories of the clients from the legal clinic. Additionally, Colleen has been involved with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their campaigns to bring Chipotle (joined 2012), Wendy’s, and Publix (ongoing campaigns) to support the farmworkers by joining the Fair Food Program. She has spent time in Guatemala studying Spanish and learning about the culture and history as well as hiking and rock climbing in the mountains. During her time at Eckerd College, Colleen worked in the International Education office helping to plan study abroad trips around the world. Additionally she consulted with several students who had interest in traveling to Guatemala on their own. Colleen wants to work on compassionate immigration reform and with returned migrants reintegrating into their communities after deportation.

Interests:
Outdoor adventures, rock climbing, natural resource preservation and access, language acquisition, travel, immigration reform, farmworker justice, social justice, gender equality, women’s empowerment, LGBT+ equality, Latin America, refugees, migration, fair trade, community radio, cooking, and cats.

 

Name: Gustavo Prieto
Hometown:
Bogotá, Colombia.
Education:
B.S.E. in Industrial Engineering, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Experience:
While a student at the National University of Colombia, the biggest public university in his country, Gustavo had the opportunity to experience first hand Colombia’s diversity during his undergraduate studies. By bringing together students from every region of the country, this university not only provided the best higher education to Gustavo, but also allowed him to work during his 5-year career with groups from different social and academic backgrounds. Always interested in interdisciplinary work, Gustavo took courses such as Ethnobotany and Project Management, generating a particular interest in the management of sustainable projects, which is why he assumed a T.A. position for the Project Management course where he worked as an advisor for students presenting entrepreneurship projects based on sustainable processes. Upon graduating as an Industrial Engineer, he received a recognition from the Ministry of Education of Colombia for the best score in the country’s professional tests (Saber Pro) and worked as Human Resources Coordinator for the engineering multinational Sodeca Latam, a company specialized in providing engineering solutions in the area of industrial and commercial ventilation. Thanks to this job, Gustavo had the privilege of visiting different regions of the country and learning about infrastructure, production and extraction projects and how they interacted with communities and their territory. Gustavo hopes to acquire valuable experience on sustainability and development issues in this new path of his career.
Interests:
Biodiversity conservation, Latin American economic development, Latin American politics, technological management, project management, policy making, systemic thinking, anti-corruption, social justice, music festivals, soccer, video games.

 

Name: Haaris Saqib
Hometown:
College Station, Texas.
Education:
BS in Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University.
Experience:
As an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University, Haaris worked as a monitoring and evaluation researcher with the Center on Conflict and Development, an international development research center. There, Haaris helped to design evaluation studies for two African development projects including a community irrigation scheme and an improved border post. Haaris traveled to Rwanda on assignment to meet with local stakeholders and develop evaluation strategies. As a senior at Texas A&M, Haaris assembled a team to develop an innovative packaging concept for hydroponically grown foods in the 2017 Biomimicry Challenge.
Interests:
Innovation, corporate social responsibility, design for development, food systems, sustainable business systems, travel, biking.

 

Name: Mackenzie Goode
Hometown:
Williston, Florida.
Education:
BA in Anthropology, Minor in African Studies, University of Florida.
Experience:
Mackenzie’s enthusiasm for sustainable development was largely inspired by her experiences abroad as an undergraduate. Having always been passionate about natural resource preservation and primate ecology, she pursued a degree in anthropology with a focus on biological anthropology and primatology. Mackenzie traveled to Ethiopia in her third year of studies to conduct projects in cultural heritage management and archaeology. She dedicated the next three months to researching chacma baboon behavior in collaboration with Duke University and South African National Parks. It was in South Africa that Mackenzie became acutely aware of the complex—and often negative—relationship between humans and wildlife in areas of Africa, especially where land is increasingly used for agricultural purposes. After graduating, Mackenzie volunteered with Eco-Agric Uganda to learn more about the role of NGOs in engaging communities to develop appropriate, sustainable solutions that benefit both the environment and humans.
Interests: 
Conservation biology, sustainable agriculture, ecotourism, reforestation, conflict mitigation, rural development, environmental policy, travel, backpacking, hiking, gardening.

 

Name: Manuel Morales M.
Hometown:
Quito, Ecuador.
Education:
BSc in Biology, Universidad del Azuay, Cuenca, Ecuador.
Experience:
Manuel studied Biology in Cuenca, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in 2004. For the past twenty years, he has worked in conservation issues, especially related to amphibian and reptile biodiversity, natural resource management, community management, park management and ethno-zoology. Manuel has worked with several NGOs (national and international) addressing these issues in Ecuador, including Conservation International, Wildlife Conservation Society, Fundación EcoCiencia, Fundación Natura, Fundación Herpetológica Gustavo Orcés and Fundación Otonga. He has worked as a natural history collections manager at the Catholic Pontifical University of Ecuador, the National Museum of Natural History and the Jambatu Research Center for Amphibian Conservation (his most recent job). Manuel also served as wildlife technician in the Esmeraldas Provincial Government where he implemented conservation plans and served as a wildlife specialist (2004). In 2004-2005, Manuel served as Chair of Environmental Affairs in the Water, Sewage, Environmental Sanitation and Telecommunication Public Enterprise of Cuenca, Ecuador, where he worked in environmental law enforcement and in program implementation for water service management, hazardous waste disposal and environmental education. As part of his responsibilities, he directed El Cajas National Park and 12 other reserves, which together protect the watersheds that provide drinking water for the Cuenca district. As part of his work, Manuel has had the opportunity to travel to several parts of the continent, including Colombia, Peru, Panamá and Costa Rica. Ten years ago, he was at the University of Florida for the first time, as a visiting scholar with TCD analyzing data from fishing and hunting monitoring by local people in Yasuní National Park, a project implemented by Wildlife Conservation Society – Ecuador. From the beginning of his career and on several occasions, including his last job with Fundación Otonga – Centro Jambatu, he has worked on amphibian and reptile research and conservation, particularly inventory and monitoring, rapid assessment programs, ex-situ management, natural history studies and wildlife-people relationships.

Interests:
Biodiversity conservation and management, tropical forests, oceans, amphibians, reptiles, park management, watershed management, natural resources, ethno-zoology, wildlife-people conflicts, behavior, environmental education, conservation policies, biking, hiking, mountain climbing, dogs, kids.

 

Name: Octavio Gómez
Hometown:
Sarasota, Florida.
Education:
BA in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences with cognates in International Affairs and Anthropology, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.
Experience:
Before his undergraduate pursuits, he was involved in various faith-based outreach programs in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas. Among those were Adopt-a-block and Feed my Sheep, which sought to bring food security to disadvantaged communities. He also worked as an intern at Bayside Community Church’s missions department, where he managed budgets and created standard operating procedures for large-scale humanitarian projects. He continued to pursue similar administrative work with Send Me ministries, where he provided vision and direction for global missions projects. There he helped develop training manuals for more sustainable faith-based humanitarian work, and studied the benefits of social capital production in humanitarian work. During his undergraduate studies he led the University of South Florida’s Global Society as that chapter’s president, and was a recipient of the King O’Neil award for academic excellence. He also completed a comparative program evaluation for the Salvation Army of Sarasota and a research study on the social, economic, and religious motivations of faith-based nonprofits.

Interests:
International coordination, international resource distribution, sustainable missions, community development, interdisciplinary research, religious studies, ethnography, development economics, needs assessment.

 

Name: Paula Bak
Hometown:
Bogotá, Colombia.
Education:
BA in Anthropology with an emphasis on Culture and Power, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogotá.
Experience:
Before starting her undergraduate studies, Paula was a volunteer in a foundation called Techo Colombia. She worked with communities in a neighborhood called Mochuelo, where most of the people arrive from the countryside, to create sustainable projects to strengthen the community. This work continued when Paula started to study anthropology. During her 5 years of undergraduate studies, Paula had the opportunity to travel different places in Colombia and she worked with indigenous peasant communities and afro-descendant peasant communities. During her last two years of studies she dedicated her time to work with a community in Bahía Solano, on the north Pacific coast of Colombia. After  graduating, she worked with two different communities in the Chocó to develop food sovereignty projects. She has worked in  education as well as research and seeks to create awareness on the environment, culture and sovereignty deportation.

Interests:
Food sovereignty, territorial sovereignty, outdoor experience, traveling, women’s empowerment in rural areas, Latin America, dancing, biking, music, animals but especially dogs.

 

Name: Pierre William Blanc
Hometown:
Pétion-Ville, Haiti.
Education:
BS in Electronics Engineering, Faculty of Science, State University of Haiti.
Experience:
As an Electronical Engineer, Will has an extensive 10-year career in mobile telecommunication. His first contact with the telecommunication industry was an internship in Summer 2007 as a Network Operation Agent in the transit center for international calls at TELECO (the former national landline telephone company in Haiti which became NATCOM in 2011). Three months later, he moved on to his first official job as Customer Care Representative at VOILA (a former mobile communication company in Haiti) for one year. Will was promoted to the Revenue Assurance Analyst position in the Finance department of VOILA where he worked for four years and moved up to become a Senior Revenue Assurance Analyst. In 2012, VOILA was acquired by DIGICEL (a mobile company established in several Caribbean countries), where Will assumed the position of Senior Business Risk Executive for three years. During his work experience in the telecommunications industry in Haiti, he participated in and led Revenue Assurance and Fraud Management workshops in the USA, Jamaica, Panama and Guyana. Will also developed a productive partnership experience on Project Management for two years, with the Telecommunications Regulator in the Republic of Congo and the Police Force in the Republic of Uganda. More recently, in October 2017, Will led a weather station programming workshop for “Appui à la Recherche et au Development Agricole (AREA)”, a USAID-funded “Feed the Future” project in Haiti, which is coordinated by UF-IFAS.
Interests:
Telecommunications and technological innovations, sustainable rural development, decentralization and public service administration, mass education, environmental protection, farming, food security and supply chain management, data mining and information management, monitoring and evaluation, human rights and social justice, Haitian creole language and cultures, health, wellness and fitness, spirituality, beach vacations.

 

Name: Rio Trimono
Hometown:
Sumatera, Indonesia
Education:
BS in Geography, University of Indonesia.
Experience:
Rio was part of a national project aiming to improve and accelerate the process of land registration in Indonesia. He worked in field research, communication, training, and coordination for the Dutch company “Meridia” that helps the Indonesian government create solutions for affordable and scalable land documentation. Through community participation and technology innovation, rural communities were trained on cadastral surveying and data collection using a mobile application and low-cost high-accuracy terrestrial survey equipment. Prior to the project, he worked as the head of farmers’ affairs in the social enterprise “Krakakoa” that seeks to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers through training and direct trade while preserving the environment and producing the country’s best bean-to-bar chocolate. His roles ranged from coordinating extension programs in Good Agricultural Practices to post-harvest quality control, purchasing, and impact assessment. He collaborated with WWF and Swisscontact in training and business development for farmers living around national parks so that the increase of farming income would dissuade them from encroaching on forests. As an undergraduate, he conducted several studies on land-use management, disaster vulnerability, and community-based transportation while actively participating in several volunteering, community development, and social entrepreneurship activities. Together with his college friends, he developed mentoring programs and entrepreneurial workshops for underprivileged children living in slum areas of the biggest landfill site in Greater Jakarta. Recognized for his activism, he was selected to receive extensive training and incubation guidance from the DBS SE bootcamp and SIF’s Young Social Entrepreneur program which allowed him to travel across Southeast Asia and India to learn about the landscape of social business in Asia. From those experiences, Rio has developed his strong interest in improving the well-being of and creating sustainable solutions for the under-resourced and socially-excluded.
Interests:
Sustainable agriculture, fair trade, land tenure, microfinance, social entrepreneurship, human geography, and political ecology.

 

Name: Silvia Jessica Mostacedo Marasovic (Jessica)
Hometown:
La Paz, Bolivia.
Education:
BSc in Socioeconomic Development and the Environment, Zamorano University, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Experience:
Jessica had the opportunity to work in various Latin American countries and the United States in projects related with corporate social responsibility, agricultural value chain analysis, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, sustainability, and natural resources research. From 2009 until 2015, her most exciting and rewarding assignments were a series of consultancies with Parity Bolivian Consultants. She was involved in the analysis of dairy and alpaca fiber production chains, which included environmental, social, and economic perspectives on both types of chains, as a means to improve biodiversity conservation, production efficiency, and livelihoods in rural areas of Peru and Bolivia. Similarly, she worked in a microfinance services project to address crop transformations due to climate change in rural areas of Peru and Colombia as a project for ecosystem-based adaptation. She also worked for the Bolivian Corporate Social Responsibility Foundation, where she helped to introduce CSR and Global Compact fundamentals, which emphasize the preoccupation about environmental impacts within the private sector’s business approaches. In 2015, she moved to Chile and began working for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) at the Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division. Until 2017, she worked at ECLAC in a climate change program (Euroclima) where she developed a series of policy recommendation documents regarding climate change in areas that included water, biodiversity, agriculture, fuels, and adaptation and mitigation to climate change, among others. Also, she has been in charge of the visibility of the Program among its different stakeholders. By the end of 2017, she worked at ECLAC’s Natural Resources and Infrastructure Division, where she conducted research on environmental concerns related to infrastructure for agriculture and mining, and explored, among other issues, the relevance of planning to avoid and reduce habitat loss. During her time in Chile, Jessica also taught Statistics in the Environmental Engineering Program of DUOC UC.
Interests:
Water resources and biodiversity management, value chains, adaptation to climate change, resilience, education, entrepreneurship, GIS and land use management, urban sustainability, program management, statistics, and data management.

 

Name: Stephanie Muench
Hometown:
Mexico City, Mexico.
Education:
BA in Anthropology, BA in Sociology and Minor in International Development and Humanitarian Assistance, University of Florida.
Experience:
As an undergraduate student, Stephanie mentored at-risk youth during after-school programs hosted in middle schools around Alachua County. During a study abroad in Ethiopia, she had the opportunity to create a fundraiser that supported a group of individuals with physical disabilities that build their own assistance equipment. In the summer of her third year, she completed an internship in Gurgaon, India working with the promotion of health and sanitation through the creation and facilitation of workshops in rural towns. She mapped the villages and localized households with latrines available, in order to promote the construction of latrines in the households that did not have them, with a grant from the government. Throughout her undergraduate studies, Stephanie has worked closely with the issue of food insecurity, especially among students of colleges and universities. She supervised the Food Pantry at UF that strives to end student hunger by providing food to students, faculty and staff, without requiring proof of need. In her three years working at the Pantry she recruited and managed volunteers every week, encouraged and coordinated food drives, and was an advocate providing dozens of presentations for students and professionals. Stephanie also supervised another non-profit targeting clothing insecurity among the students at UF called the Gator Career Closet. This service helped thousands of students without any professional clothes find business professional clothing to wear for interviews and other professional events. Stephanie hopes to work on the sustainable development goals that focus on hunger, clean water, and gender equity.
Interests:
Food security, food waste, community development, environmental awareness, social economics, social and environmental justice, sustainability, ecotourism, green building, cultural studies, gender equity, travel, dance, yoga, meditation.

 

Name: Weston A. Stitt
Hometown:
Charleston, South Carolina.
Education:
BS in Environmental Studies: Natural Resources, Minor in History, Sewanee: University of the South.
Experience:
As an undergrad, Weston completed several summer field study courses focusing on barrier island ecology, southeastern forest restoration, and the geologic history of the Colorado Plateau. Upon graduating from Sewanee in 2015, Weston served as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Cape Cod National Seashore fire management team. The six-person crew worked to promote diversity and regenerate native plant species through prescribed burning and cutting projects in the maritime forests throughout the Cape. In September 2016, Weston began working as a field analyst with a vertically integrated coffee exportation company in Managua, Nicaragua. Within a few months, as directed by the government agency responsible for the environment and natural resources (MARENA), Weston developed an environmental management model for a coffee farm in Jinotega, which focused on best management practices for farmers to adapt to improve efficiencies in plant production and health. Prior to enrolling in the MDP program, Weston managed a 2-acre organic garden that provides produce for three restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama.
Interests:
Sustainable agriculture, regenerative agriculture, climate change in agriculture, agroforestry, permaculture, natural resource management, social responsibility, coffee, food, traveling, cooking.

 

 

Cohort 8 (2017-2019)

 

Name: Daniela Lizano
Hometown:
 San José, Costa Rica.
Education: BS in Biology, Specialization in Botany, Universidad de Costa Rica.
Experience: Daniela started her career as a botanist, focusing her studies in the Ecology of Lichens. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in 2005, she started working for The Nature Conservancy as a Science Assistant, for the TNC Costa Rica Country Program. It was during this opportunity (4 years) when she found herself working on topics more oriented to conservation area planning, measures of success and information management, finding these topics fascinating and starting a professional and vocational path as a conservation practitioner. During her professional career, in the last 10 years she has collaborated with national NGOs, education centers and international organizations, all based in Costa Rica, working on topics related to agro-biodiversity conservation, protected areas management, environmental awareness, education, community empowerment and information management. Daniela is very passionate about making scientific and conservation information attractive, available and effective to all decision makers and users. She has also participated in projects to measure conservation impact and this has been one of her major interests throughout her career.
Interests: Conservation planning, education, conservation measures, environmental awareness, sustainability, nature, mountaineering, music and meditation.

 

 

Name: Dylan Rigsby
Education: BA in English, minor in Business Administration, University of Florida.
Hometown: Tampa, Florida.
Experience: Dylan received his BA in English from UF where he studied creative writing and rhetoric while working as a front-end web developer. Upon graduating, he moved to Costa Rica where he volunteered with the non-profit WorldTeach and taught English in a small rural community. Since returning to the States he has worked as a farmhand on an organic farm in Hawthorne, taught H2A migrant workers English, and developed several of UF’s websites. Dylan looks to investigate the intersections of technology and agricultural extension in Latin America in the aim to understand their impacts on issues of food security, education, and resiliency.
Interests:  Sustainable agriculture, food security, resilient communities, emerging technologies and technological adoption, globalization, coffee farming and production, labor economics, branding, communication strategies, and extension education.

 

 

Name: Emma Lannon
Hometown: Gainesville, Florida.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Geography, with minors in International Relations and Environmental Studies from the State University of New York at Geneseo.
Experience: Emma is a dual national (United States and Great Britain) and her grandfather grew up in Tanzania. Having relatives in England, France, South Africa, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, Singapore and Canada led to an inevitable interest in Geography. Ultimately she traveled out of state to university in Geneseo, New York where she was also a 4-year NCAA volleyball player. During her undergraduate work, Emma assisted with research in the Philippines and volunteered in India with women’s empowerment. In addition, she spent time in Peru working at Abre Puertas, an NGO serving remote Andean children. She learned that children who already understand seasons and day length based on mountain locations are already geographers. Extended post-graduate travel around Oceania and Southeast Asia has encouraged her to consider the potential and motivations of young travelers in development work.
Interests: Voluntourism, East Africa, GIS, spatial distribution of disease, disaster relief and refugees, conflict resolution, public motivation for travel, sport as global language.

 

Name: Jesse Cosme
Hometown: Hialeah, Florida.
Education: B.S. Sport Management, minor in Business Administration, University of Florida.
Experience: Jesse is a community organizer local to South Florida. Most of his experience has been in the social justice realm and has focused on socio-political aspects that create unsustainable living conditions for marginalized people in the United States more broadly and more specifically in South Florida. Jesse has also worked with unions to ensure that employees are properly represented within the current economic system and to expand the rights they have to provide them with more access to the things they need for their family and for themselves to continue to strive for a better livelihood. This includes access to healthcare, time off, and the appropriate compensation needed to secure healthy food and safe communities. Jesse has also been very involved in the humanitarian and economic crisis in Puerto Rico, participating in and helping host workshops educating people stateside about the issues involving the colonial status of Puerto Rico and its influences on the current crisis of the island.
Interests: Public health, public policy, social economics, food security, community engagement, race/gender/sexual/class equality, community development.

 

Name: Mary Vasilevsky
Hometown: Palm Coast, Florida.
Education: B.S. in Environmental Science, minors in Sustainability Studies and Agricultural and Natural Resource Law, University of Florida.
Experience: While studying, Mary immersed herself in multicultural organizations, having the opportunity to choreograph dance pieces for the Chinese American Student Association, and serving on the International Month and Executive Boards for the Volunteers for International Student Affairs. Additionally, she worked at the English Language Institute, where she had the opportunity to lead a class of international students that were at UF to learn English. She learned how multifaceted sustainability and natural resource perspectives vary across the world. Furthermore, this opportunity sparked her passion for education and active learning, which she carried into her role as a coordinator of the Student Compost Cooperative. She developed a passion for combating food waste, leading her to interning at the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as an Athletics Sustainability Intern to help achieve their Zero Waste goals. In the future, Mary hopes to implement sustainable waste systems using biogas derived from compost and learn how she could help other nations become more sustainable.
Interests: Education, food waste, composting, upcycling, languages, food, communication, gardening, wind energy, environmental education, environmentally-friendly production materials, sustainability, outreach, green building, lesson planning, social and environmental justice, ecotourism, volunteering, cultural studies, and recycling.

 

Name: Nicholas Diaz
Hometown: Rockledge, Florida.
Education: B.S. Health Science; focus in Exercise Physiology, University of North Florida.
Experience: At the University of North Florida, Nick had several opportunities to explore international involvement and sustainability. Nick has worked with the international refugee community in Jacksonville, teaching an English language course and providing practical skills to individuals from 17 different countries. He then took a leadership position in the same organization, where he was a teaching assistant and discussion facilitator for a group of students. Nick helped to develop and execute an international service project by creating a fundraising plan, implementing it, traveling to Peru, interviewing and evaluating various NGOs, and ultimately awarding a stipend to Awamaki, an organization that empowers Peruvian women by connecting artisan weavers with a global market. His previous two years were focused on cross-sectional, epidemiological research at UNF, where he was exposed to data collection, secondary data analysis, and manuscript writing methods. The subject of his research was the association between various biomarkers of cardiovascular disease and physical activity.
Interests: Public health, humanitarian aid, refugee populations, food security, data analysis, disaster relief, community engagement, peace issues, community development.

 

Cohort 7 (2016-2019)

 

maria-waked-picName: María Rocio Waked
Hometown: Tunja, Colombia
Education: Bachelor of History, Javeriana University; Master in Anthropology, Los Andes University, Bogotá, Colombia.
Experience: Maria is a native of Colombia and has lived in Gainesville, FL since 10 months ago. Since 2005, Maria has been professor of History and Anthropology in schools and universities and also she has been working with NGOs as a leader of projects related to food, education and environment for local farmer communities in Latin America. In the last few months, Maria had the opportunity to volunteer for IEFTZ, a US non-profit organization that works with indigenous communities in Tanzania.
Interests: Environmental anthropology, education for sustainability, women’s empowerment, food security, agroecology.