Human Development Fellows: 2016-2018

The Human Development Fellowship program aims to help a select group of Dartmouth’s top students develop the technical skills and professional experiences necessary to work in international development. The following students were awarded fellowships for the 2016-18 academic years.

2016-2018 FELLOWS

Muhammad Ahsan '19

Muhammad Adil Ahsan ’19 grew up in Lahore, Pakistan. Adil was the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Pakistan’s first student-syndicated science magazine, “Solaris,” and was a co-founder of the Pakistani chapter of The Planetary Society. At Dartmouth, Adil is double majoring in Economics and Mathematics. Over his freshman summer, he conducted research on the religious coping mechanisms of schizophrenics in Pakistan, and during his sophomore year, he was a research assistant to Professor Diego Comin, while also participating in the Rockefeller Center's Global Leadership Program. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in Developmental Economics.

Personal Statement

Adil is most interested in examining, from a quantitative point of view, healthcare and education as they relate to the lives of the poor. He is particularly interested in the mental health of the poor, e.g., what are the causes of mental illness, how can medication be made more readily available, how can the poor be incentivized to take medication, and what kinds of support networks are the most conducive to recovery etc. Within education, he is interested in questions of access and differential rates of educational achievement, as well as the incentives that can encourage schooling and discourage child labor. Adil believes that the Human Development Fellowship will help him create professional networks as well as provide opportunities to learn a research-focused skillset that will enable him to work in a field that not only fascinates him intellectually, but which he, in his capacity as a Pakistani, believes he is duty-bound to pursue.


Benny Adapon ‘19

Benny’s interest in human development was piqued during his first year at Dartmouth. He hails from Manila, Philippines, also having spent some years in Los Angeles, California. He is tentatively considering pursuit a degree in Geography modified with Environmental Studies, with a possible minor in Spanish. At Dartmouth, he is involved in GlobeMed, a global health club partnered with the Kachin Women’s Association in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spent his freshman summer interning to participate in development work related to Kachin and ethnic rights. He is also involved with the Divest Dartmouth campaign.
Personal statement
Human development holds strong, personal importance for Benny coming from a city (and country) with its fair share of issues related to development, sustainability, and poverty. Specifically, the urgency of climate change and how it works in tandem with development is what most interests Benny at this moment. With the skills he learns through the Human Development Fellowship, Benny hopes to be able to eventually work in a field that will allow him to work towards equity and justice back home and beyond.

Solomon Bang ‘19

Solomon was born in Seoul, South Korea but spent the majority of his life in Dhaka, Bangladesh. At Dartmouth, he is pursuing an Environmental Studies and Economics double major. Solomon is the treasurer of the International Student Association, a member of the International Development Forum, and a member of Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering. He also sings with the all-male acapella group, the Dartmouth Aires.
Personal statement
Growing up in an impoverished nation, I have always been passionate about human development. Specifically, I am interested in exploring realistic and environmentally sustainable government public policies that foster economic growth and local community empowerment. I am also intrigued by microfinance institutions, and their roles as community empowerment methods. Through this fellowship I hope to take a step towards my professional goals by gaining valuable experience in research. I also hope to use this opportunity to make relationships with accomplished experts in the field of development and engage in stimulating discussions.

Allyson Block ‘19

Allyson proudly hails from Upstate New York. At Dartmouth she is pursuing a Geography major and either a Global Health or Spanish minor. Before coming to Hanover, Allyson took a gap year and lived as a Rotary Exchange Student in Ecuador; an experience which stoked her interest in all things development. On campus she is a resident of the Global Village, an America Reads tutor, a Great Issues Scholar Mentor, and a member of the Dickey Center's International Development Forum. In the Winter of 2017, Allyson will work as an intern at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA. 
Personal Statement
I am interested in finding quantitative evidence to back creative interventions. Through this program I hope to learn how seemingly abstract goals, such as gender empowerment in diverse cultural settings, can be measured.

Michaela Caplan '18

Michaela is from Acton, MA. She is majoring in anthropology modified with African and African-American Studies and minoring in Environmental Studies. As a Wilderness EMT, she took the last year off from Dartmouth to spend five months working as a medic at the Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Camp with the Medical Healer Council. She then spent several months working on an organic farm and doing local community organizing. At Dartmouth, she runs the Student Mindfulness Group and has been involved in different student organizing efforts. As a recipient of the Anthropology Department’s Claire Garber Goodman Fund, Michaela conducted ethnographic research into the generation and effects of normative culture at Dartmouth.

Personal Statement

After gaining an “on the ground” perspective on change-making through protest, emergent struggles over resources, and different cultural perceptions of state and institutional power, I am now interested in taking a step back and viewing such phenomena as part of larger systems. I believe that the opportunities afforded by the Human Development Fellowship will provide me with the unique opportunity to integrate my experiences with activism into a larger framework grounded in academics. I hope to better understand the role of academia in understanding and creating social change, and I believe that the chance to interact with and learn from scholars who have dedicated their lives to Human Development will be a powerful way to do so.

Michelle Dundek ‘18

I grew up in New Lenox, IL, south of Chicago. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering concentrating in Mechanical Engineering, along with a minor in Chinese. During the Summer of 2016, I traveled to Beijing for the Chinese FSP, and I spent the fall term attending the Chinese University of Hong Kong on an engineering exchange program. As a first-year student, I was a member of the Hydropower group of Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering and participated in an Alternative Spring Break trip to the Dominican Republic. I am currently involved in the Dandelion Project, which helps teach English to kids at under resourced schools in China. I have worked tutoring kids through America Reads, doing research with the Physics Department, and as an engineering intern for BOF corporation. In my free time, I also enjoy fencing and hiking.
Personal Statement
I decided several years ago that I want to live a life where I don't make excuses or justifications for what I know is morally wrong.  I cannot justify living as a middle class American when there are people without basic medicine, physical safety, or enough food. I would like to humbly offer up the skills I have developed through my privilege to give more people a chance at the opportunities I have been fortunate enough to have. I chose to major in engineering because I think it is the best way to use my particular skills to do humanitarian work. I am particularly excited about the Human Development Fellowship because it is a chance to study further the humanitarian side of humanitarian engineering, something I have not had time to do because of a demanding course load. I look forward to seeing what a professional career in human development looks like through the research and intern opportunities.

Allison Gelman ‘18

I am a history and economics double major with a focus in developmental and international economics. This Fall term, I will be in London with the Economics FSP. On campus, I am a tour guide and I have been involved in academic research on campus. In my free time, I enjoy training for marathons. I also have a huge sweet tooth and especially love gelato.
Personal Statement
I am looking forward to engaging in this fellowship program. My interest in human development began when I took a developmental economics class. It astounded me the impact case studies can have on policies. People may think they are assisting a part of society but then their policy does the opposite they intended or it has little impact at all. That is why I am excited to get involved in a program where I can learn more about how to efficiently and effectively solve world problems. The areas of human development I am most interested are women’s rights and education. I find this correlates well with both my majors as women’s rights has changed over the course of history as have education policies: both can really impact the economy of a country.  In this fellowship, I hope to learn more about what is being done in the developing world and how to improve these areas of society. Moreover, I want to engage with research that will test and understand the best possible policies. My career goals involve problem solving and making an impact on the world specifically through economic policy. I believe this program will give me experience doing research and learning about human development, and this will set me on the right path toward these goals.

Alyssa Heinze '18

Alyssa is a rising senior from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, who majors in Government and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies. While at Dartmouth, Alyssa has enjoyed learning about international issues of development, conflict, and policy through study, research, and fellowship opportunities: as an attendee of the AMES FSP in Hyderabad, India, War and Peace Fellow, Global Health Initiative Scholar, Presidential Scholar, and Rockefeller Leadership Fellow. Her other campus involvements include being student director at the Guarini Institute for International Education, a Link-Up mentor, and Co-Captain of Women's Club Ice Hockey and Women's Club Lacrosse. Her professional experience includes interning at: Chhori (daughter), a women's advocacy and policy NGO in Kathmandu, Nepal; Vera Solutions, an organization that uses data solutions to enhance social change initiatives, in Mumbai, India; and McKinsey & Company in Boston. In her free time, Alyssa likes to trail run, hike, and drink jasmine green tea.

Personal Statement

Alyssa is passionate about the intersection of governance, gender, and development. Through her studies, and her time spent in Nepal and India, Alyssa has become increasingly interested in policy, institutions, and development initiatives that are crafted to ensure gender-inclusive development. She is also interested in the development sector's recent push to use data-driven analysis to inform policy and other initiatives. These interests have resulted in Alyssa's pursuit of a senior honors thesis, which will be an intersectional analysis of the impact of Indian political gender quotas on development outcomes. As a Human Development Fellow, Alyssa is excited to gain research skills that will be crucial in her pursuit of further education in the realm of development, be exposed to new and nuanced lenses through which to view development, and join a community of other students that are both critical of and passionate about issues of human development.

Ankhet Holmes ‘18

Ankhet is a rising senior at Dartmouth College, though she calls Los Angeles, CA home. After spending her junior year of high school as an exchange student in Jakarta, Indonesia, Ankhet decided to pursue a globally focused education. She is a Geography major with minors in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and International Studies. During Winter 2015, she studied abroad in Hyderabad, India on the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies FSP. In Spring 2015, she returned to Indonesia to intern at The United States - Indonesia Society (USINDO), the premier NGO focused on diplomacy between the two nations. There, she built upon her former knowledge of the language, the culture, and the city and learned more about what it means to work in international relations. On campus, Ankhet is student director of Dartmouth’s Guarini Institute for International Education where she promotes study abroad programs for her peers. In this position she leads student advisory board meetings and plans major events like the fall study abroad fair. She is a member of Women of Color Collective and a Sexual Assault Peer Advocate (SAPA). Ankhet spends her free time at the Hop watching films and performances, taking art classes, and writing. She continues to be a mentor and application reader for her high school exchange program.
Personal Statement
In this fellowship I hope to learn more about the many facets of human development from amazing resources at the Dickey Center. I would like to gain research experience and to be a member of a community that regularly has conversations about development, sustainability, and international issues. I am specifically interested in development that focuses on issues of gender, environment, and the needs of otherwise marginalized peoples. I hope this fellowship will give me a glimpse into my future as a graduate student, as well as prepare me to address these issues in my future career.

Maanav Jalan ‘19

Maanav is from various places in India, most recently from New Delhi. He is majoring in Environmental Studies and interested in many other disciplines including English and Anthropolgy. While he is a generally involved in sustainability efforts on campus, Maanav is particularly invested in the fossil fuel divestment campaign. He works in a Dartmouth ecology lab on soil and insects, and when in India works in an anti-caste publishing house, Navayana. Maanav is an executive member of the International Development Forum and has been a Great Issues Scholar.
Personal Statement
As a citizen of a ‘third-world country’, I have seen the many ways that human-development has been implement, as well as the similarities among the different human-development projects. I want to explore these different ways in which the common project of human-development is carried out as a Human Development Fellow, but with a critical lens. I am particularly interested in learning more about sustainable development initiatives aimed at helping marginalised rural and tribal communities.

Akhila Kovvuri '18

Akhila is a rising senior from Hyderabad, India, majoring in Economics. She has been involved with the Dickey Center since her freshmen year through the Great Issues Scholar program, World Outlook and the International Development Forum. She is particularly interested in development economics research and was able to gain hands-on experience through study abroad programs and internships in Kosovo, Peru, southern Africa, India and Ghana. Her eclectic interests include Bharatanatyam (an Indian classical dance form), cookies, good data and trying not to collapse a pot in the ceramics studio.

Personal Statement

I am interested in the intersection of development and behavioural economics and would like to delve further into slums and urban poverty, social capital, networks and financial inclusion, especially through the lens of gender. I believe in evidence-driven policy, something that has drawn me to randomized controlled trials in development economics. Through this fellowship, I would like to connect with both experts and peers to gain more informed opinions regarding development, and to hone my own. I often find myself questioning the role of an outsider in development, and would like to have meaningful discussions on how to be of support rather than an obstruction. I am also interested in looking into ways of bridging the vacuum between researchers and practitioners.

Genna Liu ‘19

Genna comes from West Virginia and is pursuing a major in Economics and Government. During her first year, she participated in the Great Issues Scholar program, for which she is serving as a mentor this year. She is also involved with the Dandelion Project, a student-run organization that provides course materials and volunteer English teachers to under-resourced schools in China.
Personal Statement
I am interested in how income inequality affects human development, specifically the access to and demand for education. Education is essential in actualizing our potential, but children from some areas of the world are disadvantaged because of their economic situations. Through the Human Development Fellowship, I hope to understand the relationship between economics and education in human development, find ways to minimize this disparity, and learn more about the research process.

Adaeze Nduaguba ‘17

Adaeze was born and raised in Nigeria, where she lived during the earlier years of her childhood prior to immigrating to Boston, MA. She is a double major in Government and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. At Dartmouth, she is a member of the Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault (SPCSA), a Sexual Assault Peer Advocate (SAPA) and a member of the Undergraduate Finance Committee (UFC). Outside of the classroom, she has also done research in the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program as a Presidential Scholar. Since her first year, she has completed policy-based internships in Nigeria, at the National Organization for Women (NOW), and most recently at the Office of the First Lady at the White House. She also studied abroad at the London School of Economics with the Government Department. In the past, she has been a Rockefeller Center intern and has completed the Global Leadership Program and the Management and Leadership Development Program.
Personal Statement
I am inspired by the role that girls and women can play as change agents in their own communities. Thus, my specific interests in human development lies with recognizing and appreciating girls and women as equal contributors to the economic, political and social fabrics of their society. I am highly confident that a major step in encouraging such integration necessitates the empowerment of adolescent girls in education, and the need to complicate the major structures that impede this agenda. In pursuing the Human Development Fellowship, I intend to explore and analyze these structures in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of the major barriers impeding millions of girls worldwide from attaining an education. I am excited to apply the skills and knowledge gained from this fellowship to my future professional and career endeavors, where I hope to play a role in breaking down these barriers.

Hallie Reichel ’18

From Richmond, Virginia, Hallie is majoring in Government with a double major or minor in French.  During Spring 2016, she studied in Paris (French FSP) and has worked as a French drill instructor.  Her love for travel, service, and working with youth developed during three summer trips to Latvia where she served as a camp counselor at Camp Hope Latvia—a Christian camp for children and teenagers from disadvantaged homes.  She traveled to Germany twice with a student team from Christ Redeemer Church in Hanover to connect with university students and support the work of the Christian non-profit organization, Connexxion.  Hallie is also an active member of Christian Union on campus.  She has further explored her interest in human rights work by interning at the Richmond Justice Initiative, a grassroots anti-human trafficking organization.  Hallie hopes to pursue a career in the non-profit sector or working for an NGO, potentially in the areas of education, human rights, or political reform.  In her free time, Hallie loves cooking, creative writing, playing piano, and running.
Personal Statement
I am thankful for this opportunity to research and explore in important issues of human development in a thoughtful way.  Though solutions to societal issues are multi-faceted and complex, this fellowship under the guidance of experienced professors provides a wonderful opportunity to better understand how I can use my interests and passions to serve communities around the world. In particular, I hope to focus on the areas of education, human rights, and how policy and political institutions can take steps to help communities and reform political systems.  I look forward to learning how in-depth research in the field of human development can improve the quality of life and opportunities available to communities around the world.


Saadjo Sow '18

Saadjo is from the Bronx, NYC and originally from Senegal and Guinea. She is pursuing a Geography and Government double major. As a freshman, she participated in the Dickey Great Issues Scholars Program and later pursued a Dickey internship at the YMCA Senegal. On campus, she is a member of the SOYEYA African Dance Troupe.

Personal Statement

I’m interested in how women and their reproductive health and family planning practices and rights can serve as an avenue to their health and economic empowerment and overall, help alleviate poverty. Through this fellowship, I hope to develop solution and decision making skills through workshops and simulation exercises. In addition, having access to a network of professionals and peers interested in human development would be a wonderful opportunity for me to build and share knowledge.

Benny Adapon '19

Benny Adapon

Muhammad Ahsan '19


Solomon Bang '19


Allyson Block '19


Michelle Dundek '18


Allison Gelman '18


Alyssa Heinze '18


Maanav Jalan '18


Genna Liu '19


Hallie Reichel '18

The John Sloan Dickey Center