Making data matter for development: Introducing the 2016 AidData Summer Fellows
This year’s 16 fellows will assist host organizations in Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Thailand, and Uganda.
After a nominating process with 117 student submissions, the AidData Center for Development Policy is pleased to announce our AidData Summer Fellows class of 2016. This year’s 16 fellows will assist host organizations in Bangladesh, Ghana, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Thailand, and Uganda. Host organizations this year include 5 USAID missions and a diverse array of development organizations, including SERVIR Mekong, a joint venture between NASA and USAID.In partnership with USAID, the AidData Summer Fellows program has matched 75 students with host organizations in 10 countries since 2013 to promote data literacy and build capacity to use subnational aid information in decision making. Fellows are embedded for 10 weeks with governments, non-governmental and civil society organizations, universities, think tanks, or USAID missions to undertake collaboratively defined projects such as building data management and visualization systems, training journalists in data analysis for evidence-based reporting, and incorporating aid information into service delivery and corruption monitoring efforts.
Meet the Fellows
Alex de GalaHost Organization: USAID BangladeshAlex de Gala is currently a senior at the College of William and Mary majoring in International Relations and minoring in Chinese. His interest in international aid grew from working as a research assistant at AidData starting in 2014. He has conducted research in Bangladesh with the W&M student group BRIC (Bangladesh Relief Initiative for Change) and studied abroad in China for seven months. Alex will be working with USAID/Bangladesh this summer to conduct spatial analysis, create thematic maps of projects and activities, and provide technical assistance.
Sarah MartinHost Organization: CERSGISSarah Martin is a self-designed Global Health Major at the College of William and Mary. Sarah has been on AidData’s geocoding team for a little over a year, and has completed work on independent mapping projects. Her main academic interests include global public health, community development, and Geographic Information Systems. Sarah will be working with Jason Ready at the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services (CERSGIS) this summer to locate and code development projects from local government records, conduct analyses of their project database for academic and policy-based research, and help provide training, technical backstopping, and mapping services to the National Development Planning Commission.
Jason ReadyHost Organization: CERSGISJason Ready is a current student at Clark University working toward a M.S. degree in Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment. At Clark, his work has focused on conservation modeling, development agriculture, and vegetation/landscape monitoring. Prior to graduate school he was employed in the energy sector doing database management and LiDAR processing/classification. His international experience consists of working as a Resource Manager in Ghana with the United States Peace Corps (2011-2013). Jason will be working with Sarah Martin at the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services(CERSGIS) this summer to locate and code development projects from local government records, conduct analyses of their project database for academic and policy-based research, and help provide training, technical backstopping, and mapping services to the National Development Planning Commission.
Paul RyanHost Organization: ISET-NepalPaul Ryan is a dual-degree Master’s student in Public Affairs and Middle Eastern Area Studies at the University of Texas with a concentration in Intelligence and Security. He is particularly interested in identity politics and hope to work with NGOs in the Middle East, particularly those inside conflict zones. This summer he will be working at the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition - Nepal (ISET-Nepal), to assist with geocoding climate projects and creating vulnerability maps to assess whether community needs are being met.
Raheem ChaudhryHost Organization: Nepal MonitorRaheem Chaudhry is a second-year Master of Public Affairs candidate at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. His research focuses primarily on political conflict in the developing world, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. Before graduate school, he taught English at an elementary school with a Korean government program. Raheem has a BA from the University of Maryland, where he majored in English Language and Literature and minored in Spanish. Raheem will be working with Nepal Monitor this summer to provide GIS support and training, as well as to contribute to geospatial analysis of data on human rights and security incidents.
Haley McCoinHost Organization: Nepal MonitorHaley McCoin is a third year undergraduate International Relations Major at the University of Texas at Austin, where she specializes in Middle East Studies and Arabic language. Haley recently spent the past spring semester studying Arabic and Jordanian Diplomacy in Amman, Jordan. At the University of Texas, she has been a research affiliate for the Conflict and Development team of Innovations for Peace and Development since the Fall of 2014, where she developed an interest in ArcGIS software and sub-national research on the relationship between conflict and humanitarian aid. In the future, Haley hopes to use her GIS background paired with her Arabic language skills to advocate for more effective forms of humanitarian aid to states in the Middle East and North Africa. Haley will be working with Nepal Monitor this summer to provide GIS support and training, as well as to contribute to geospatial analysis of data on human rights and security incidents.
Hannah Dempsey Host Organization: USAID NepalHannah Dempsey is graduating May 2016 from The College of William & Mary with a B.S. and B.A. in Ecology & GIS and Environmental Policy respectively. She is the data visualization team lead at AidData and virtual intern for USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives. Her GIS and remote sensing research includes studying Armenian fish farm proliferation, using the NDVI to examine global deforestation, and analyzing nighttime light changes over time as a proxy for human disturbance. In the next few years she hopes to perfect her cartography design skills and become a coding guru to automate her data aggregation. Hannah will be working with USAID/Nepal to design and implement geospatial analyses using data from the Nepal's Aid Management Platform.
Lauren Cater Host Organization: USAID PeruLauren is a recent graduate of the Geography Master’s degree program at George Washington University, where her studies focused on environment and development geography. She is interested in the use of quantitative and geospatial analysis for humanitarian purposes and for the evaluation of public policies relating to the environment, public health and international development. Lauren will be working with the USAID/Peru Regional Program Office where she will be helping to maintain a database of USAID activities in Peru and to train members of their team to use GIS to support the Mission’s activities.
Caroline DavisHost Organization: ANSA-EAPCaroline Davis is an undergraduate at William and Mary majoring in Economics and Mathematics. As a research assistant on the Reform Incentives Project (now AidData's Survey Practice Team), she was significantly involved in the implementation and analysis of the 2014 Reform Efforts Survey. Caroline also uses GIS in the W&M Economics department to digitize historical maps of Java for the purpose of studying the effect of private land ownership on Java's long-term economic outcomes. She is interested in using spatial data to inform problems such as natural disaster resilience and relief allocation. Caroline will be working at the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP) in the Philippines this summer on their Citizen Participatory Audit project. She will assist in creating a platform for mapping government-funded infrastructure to help audit allocations for disaster response and mitigation.
Caleb EbertHost Organization: USAID PhilippinesCaleb Ebert is an Interdisciplinary Studies major with a focus on Public Health at the College of William and Mary. His areas of interest include social epidemiology, vaccine-preventable diseases, and urban health. At William & Mary, Caleb works as a Senior Research Assistant for AidData's Geocoding Team. This summer he will be working with USAID/Philippines to conduct spatial analysis, create thematic maps of projects and activities, and provide technical assistance.
Catie CrowleyHost Organization: USAID SenegalCatie Crowley is a student at the College of William and Mary majoring in International Relations. She is a Senior Research Assistant at AidData and works to track development financial flows from China and GCC donors. Catie is also a Research Fellow with the Project on International Peace and Security at William and Mary. Previously, she spent 10 weeks in Tanzania implementing an RCT impact evaluation of mobile phone ownership on female smallholder farmers with William & Mary’s Center for African Development. Catie will be working with USAID/Senegal to produce geocoded data of mission activities and publish them on ArcGIS Online, assist in the design of a spatial data management system, and collaborate with M&E specialists on covariate data gathering and analysis.
Ariel WalcuttHost Organization: SERVIR-MekongAriel Walcutt is graduating from Clark University with a M.S. degree in Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment. Her research projects include studying land cover change in Tanzania, examining the relationship between coal industry activity and lung cancer in Appalachia, and classifying forest species using LiDAR and hyperspectral imagery in British Columbia. Ariel will be working in Thailand with SERVIR-Mekong, a joint initiative between USAID and NASA, where she will utilize GIS and Remote Sensing applications to examine environmental issues and their relation to development practices.
Cleo Stern Host Organization: Humanitarian OpenStreetMap TeamCleo is graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin where she is pursuing a dual Master’s degree in Global Policy Studies at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and in Public Health in the School of Public Health. Cleo is interested in international development and health outcomes for vulnerable communities. Cleo is an avid Ultimate Frisbee player, and is originally from New York City. This summer, Cleo will be working at Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to perform spatial analysis on financial services locations in Uganda and create an interactive web map of HOT's overall global impact.
Taylor ZevanoveHost Organization: Humanitarian OpenStreetMap TeamTaylor Zevanove is an undergraduate at the College of William and Mary studying International Relations and Public Health. As an AidData Summer Fellow, she will be traveling to Uganda with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT). Taylor will be working with staff to perform spatial analysis on financial services locations in Uganda and to create an interactive web map of HOT's global impact.
Evan Woods Host Organization: ToroDevEvan Woods is a Public Health major at Brigham Young University. He loves tennis, spending time outdoors, and working with people. He hopes to have a positive impact on the world by utilizing skills and knowledge he's gained through his experience with AidData at BYU. This summer he will be working with ToroDev to integrate geospatial and in-field data to find effective and lasting improvements to the health and education services in Uganda.
Laura RichardsHost Organization: WOUGNETLaura Richards is currently working on a Master’s in Global Policy Studies, a Master’s in Business Administration, and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management at the University of Texas, Austin. Laura is a research affiliate with Innovations for Peace and Development and participates in the Open Aid and Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank teams. Laura is from Northern California and received a BA in Intensive Psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz. Before attending graduate school, she was a Program Supervisor at an inpatient facility for foster youth with behavioral and cognitive disorders. Laura is interested in international development, open aid data, and women and girls' education and empowerment. Laura will be working at the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) this summer to map subnational areas in which Voluntary Social Accountability Committees operate, to collect data through surveys to map membership and assess the extent of engagement, and to train staff on geocoding methodology.
Next Steps for the Fellows
Before departing for their assignments in early June, the Summer Fellows will first visit the AidData home office in Williamsburg, VA for an intensive week-long orientation and training session. During their time at the College of William & Mary, AidData’s faculty and staff will work with the Fellows to provide them in-depth instruction on topics including how to train professionals on utilizing open data and geocoded information to support their program planning, advocacy, and research and how to successfully collaborate with others while in the field.Throughout the summer months abroad, the Summer Fellows will be updating their progress and providing their reflections on their activities and experiences here on the First Tranche and through AidData’s social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. We encourage you to stay tuned in the months and weeks to come and follow along with the 2016 class as their exciting journey begins!