Juan Blanco – Research Associate
Juan holds a Master of Arts in Global Development Policy from Boston University, which is located in the US state of Massachusetts. While there, Juan worked on several research projects including Brazil’s industrial policy since 1980, branchless banking in Colombia and green microfinance in Latin America. For his final project, he worked on an ongoing microfinance effort in West Bengal, India, that carried out a randomized controlled trial to assess the relative success of individual lending versus group lending. Juan has worked for the Ministry of Culture in Colombia, and he also interned at the UN Conference on Trade and Development in 2013. In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar, soccer and reading. He speaks Spanish, English, French and German. UPDATE: In June 2014, Juan became an associate at Accion’s Center for Financial Inclusion in Washington, DC.
Chikondano Faith Chisala – Research Associate
Chikondano Faith joined MicroCapital after holding various roles at a commercial bank, where she was involved in trading, treasury management, credit analysis and business development. She developed an interest in the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in emerging economies after taking up a small business development and entrepreneurship course during her undergraduate studies at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She holds a masters degree in Strategic Management from the University of Derby in the UK, where her independent study focused on strategies to support small and medium-sized enterprises in Malawi. In working with MicroCapital, she hopes to expand her knowledge of microfinance and form a foundation for a career in micro- and development finance. Chikondano Faith also enjoys travel, drawing, jazz and improving her French.
Meraj Husain – Research Associate
Meraj holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Irvine with a concentration in econometrics, finance and economic development. While at university, he worked on empirical projects researching the causes of economic growth in developing nations. After graduating, he spent a year traveling in North America and Europe. He has worked as a GRE instructor, screenprinter and client relations coordinator at a major insurance firm. In the fall of 2014, Meraj will begin a masters program in applied economics with the goal of working in a microfinance institution upon graduation. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, playing guitar and riding his road bike through his hometown of Los Angeles, California.
Tejas Jain – Research Associate
After finishing his bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering in 2011, Tejas joined Bajaj Allianz General Insurance as an insurance advisor. In 2013, he joined the firm’s investment division as a credit analyst trainee and began performing credit analyses on financial institutions. He is also a Level-II candidate in the Chartered Financial Analyst program. Tejas has volunteer experience with the UN’s Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment and the Conservation Centre of Herbs, Yoga & Naturopathy, an NGO that aims to halt the skewed sex ratio in India. Tejas enjoys literature, traveling, art and music. Coming from an emerging market economy, he believes that microfinance is the key to creating an egalitarian society in developing nations.
A’kos Szebeni – Research Associate
A’kos joined MicroCapital after holding a senior analyst role at an investment bank where he was responsible for supporting a variety of M&A, capital-raising and private equity transactions for emerging growth companies around the world. His prior experience includes 3+ years in various roles in finance and business development for major international financial institutions and start-up companies alike throughout China, the EU and the US. A’kos holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the George Washington University in the US and a master’s degree in economics from Italy’s University of Rome, where he focused his studies on the economics of emerging markets and development as well as inclusive finance. He is also a Level-II candidate in the Chartered Financial Analyst program. In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar, cooking and playing soccer. A’kos speaks English, Hungarian, Italian and Spanish.
Megan McGowan – Research Associate
After earning her bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin in the US city of Madison, Megan moved to Chicago to pursue a career in microfinance and economic development. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in economics at the University of Illinois – Chicago. Her interest in microfinance recently took her to Bangladesh for an internship with the Grameen Bank. Her experience there and travels throughout Asia and Central America exposed her to the need for financial services for poor people. In her spare time, Megan teaches yoga and enjoys running, traveling and cooking. UPDATE: As of 2014, Megan is a loan portfolio analyst at IFF, a community development finance institution based in the US city of Chicago, Illinois.
Adrija Vaiciulionis – Research Associate
Adrija joined MicroCapital while pursuing a major in international relations and a minor in economics, with concentrations in economic development and international management, at Boston University. Her previous experience includes interning with the House Committee of Post Audit and Oversight at the Massachusetts State House in the US and interning with a parliamentarian in Vilnius, Lithuania. It was her internship in Lithuania that led Adrija to her interest in economic development, international trade and finance, global emerging markets, and cross-border investments. In the future, she aspires to become involved with international economic strategy and policy. Adrija is also intrigued with linguistics. She is fluent in both Lithuanian and English and is working toward becoming conversational in German. Adrija’s other interests include traveling, photography, architecture, reading the news and outdoor sports.
Michael Averell – Research Associate
Michael joined MicroCapital as a rising freshman at Harvard University, planning to pursue a double major in Economics and Chinese. Deeply passionate about service, he believes that microfinance is one of the most effective ways to combat poverty and support investment in the developing world. In high school, he co-organized a state-wide legal aid telethon with the North Carolina Bar Association, coordinated a charity show that raised money for a school for migrants in China, expanded service outreach as president of his school’s Beta Club and managed hundreds of service projects as chairman of the Cary Teen Council, the largest youth council in North Carolina. He is also proficient in Mandarin and has been to China twice – first on a study abroad trip, then on a law internship. Furthermore, he has served as captain of his school’s Congressional Debate Team, placing first in numerous national and regional tournaments. In his spare time, he enjoys biking, traveling, reading the news, building three-dimensional puzzles, and watching British mysteries.
Meghan Gillis – Research Associate
Meghan joined MicroCapital while pursuing a double major in economics and international relations with a concentration in economic development at Tufts University in the US state of Massachusetts. On campus, she has been part of the cross country and track teams, where she has earned three varsity letters. She also is a member of the Community Health team of the Engineers Without Borders: Uganda project at Tufts. She is proficient in French and is excited to spend the spring of 2014 studying in Aix-En-Provence, France. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys traveling, reading, coffee and playing with her dog. UPDATE: As of 2014, Meghan is conducting research at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC.
Anesa Kratovac – Research Associate
A humanitarian at heart, with the desire to establish herself in the human rights and sustainable development fields, Anesa previously worked in various countries as a personal-injury paralegal, English teacher, development associate, private tutor and editor. She owns her own editing business, Asena, and is passionate about innovation, specifically about self-sustaining mechanisms that tackle poverty alleviation and promote other forms of social progress. She is fluent in various languages, has traveled extensively and spent a magical month organic farming in Portugal. In her spare time, she likes to read, paint, engage in new projects and explore all of the adventures that New York City has to offer. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political studies and international affairs from Bard College in the US state of New York and earned her master’s degree in political science from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. UPDATE: As of 2014, Anesa is working with Green Village Plan Development in Ghana.
Ernie Wulff – Research Associate
Ernie B. D. Wulff joined MicroCapital with five years of credit, portfolio management and research experience in the financial services sector. In March 2013, he gained admission to study for a research master’s degree in development finance at the University Of Stellenbosch Business School in Cape Town, South Africa. On campus, Ernie is a volunteer-member of the Small Business Academy team, an initiative aimed at offering business skills to entrepreneurs in deprived communities. He is also involved in studying the factors that hinder growth of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises in South Africa. Ernie holds bachelor of science degree in economics and a certificate in management from the business school of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. In the future Ernie hopes to become involved with international development work, as he has passionate interest in development finance and social investment. In his free time, he enjoys reading, traveling and swimming.
Sam Allmendinger – Research Associate
Sam joined MicroCapital as a junior at Northeastern University in the US state of Massachusetts while pursuing a dual degree in economics and finance. He has also interned with Rinet Company, a private wealth management firm in Boston; State Street Bank; and Travelers Insurance Company. On campus, Sam is a member of the Finance & Investment Club, Economics Society and Sigma Phi Epsilon. With a foundation in the financial sector and an interest in emerging markets and developing economies, Sam seeks to learn about making microfinance institutions more accessible, transparent and effective for both clients and investors. In his free time, Sam enjoys investing, snowboarding, tennis, Mexican food and hiking. UPDATE: As of 2014, Sam is an associate at Kamylon Capital in the US city of Boston, Massachusetts.
Nicole Boyd – Research Associate
Nicole joined MicroCapital while pursuing a double major in government and economics at Dartmouth College in the US state of New Hampshire. She also interns at the National Committee of American Foreign Policy’s Forum on Asia Pacific Security, a nonprofit in New York City. While on campus, she works as an information technology consultant and is a staff editor and blog writer for World Outlook, Dartmouth’s undergraduate journal of international affairs. She is also a member of Smart Woman Securities, a college investment group. Having long been fascinated by other cultures, Nicole spent a term abroad studying Chinese in Beijing. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys coffee, swimming, and learning new things. UPDATE: As of 2014, Nicole is working in Ethiopia with the US Department of State.
Brian LeBlanc – Research Associate
Brian joined MicroCapital as a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Honors Program at Bentley University in the US state of Massachusetts, where he is majoring in economics and mathematical sciences. Prior to joining MicroCapital, Brian interned at the Microfiance and Small Loan Centre (MASLOC) in the Volta Region of Ghana where he assisted in rolling out the organization’s Poultry Loan Program. Brian also serves on the editorial board of the Bentley Microfinance Review, a journal dedicated to publishing undergraduate research on microfinance.
Sarah Benali – Research Associate
Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. She entered the program while working as an asset manager for a real estate company based in Montreal. Prior to that, she worked for Capital One Bank as a quality control specialist. During her studies, Sarah took a year off to travel in Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa, which further fueled her interest in developing nations and microfinance. Sarah is fluent in English, French and Spanish and is conversational in Arabic. In her free time, Sarah enjoys reading, writing and traveling. UPDATE: As of 2014, Sarah is serving as the associate producer and web editor for Kitco News of Montreal, Canada.
Makai McClintock – Research Associate
Makai joined MicroCapital as a rising sophomore at the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he is simultaneously pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a self-designed bachelor’s degree with a concentration in economics and socially-responsible investment. Prior to joining MicroCapital, he worked as the chief marketing officer for MyHometownLink LLC, a startup social networking company based in Cambridge in the US state of Massachusetts. Makai has a strong interest in social investment strategies and domestic economic development programs and is currently involved in an independent study regarding the feasibility of microfinance institutions in the US. In his free time, Makai enjoys reading, ultimate Frisbee and skiing. UPDATE: As of 2014, Makai is serving as an assistant editor at MicroCapital.
Chioma Okwudiafor – Research Associate
Chioma joined Microcapital with five years of research experience in the legal, nonprofit and bilateral trade and development sectors. In June 2012, she won a scholarship from Canada’s MasterCard Foundation to acquire a Certificate in Sustainable Microenterprise and Development at the Carsey Institute at the US-based University of New Hampshire, an experience that fueled her interest in financial inclusion for poor people. She also holds a bachelor of laws degree from the University of London. She hopes to advocate for policies that drive sustenance particularly as related to small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria. Chioma was selected as one of 40 young Nigerians to participate in the 2011 Legislative Internship Program of the African Leadership Forum. An avid writer, she has written essays on issues of global public policy concern including “No More Promises,” which was recognized in the 2010 Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) Youth Essay Competition. She also enjoys reading, photography, traveling and music.
Lena Phillips – Research Associate
Lena has long had an interest in community development work and international affairs. In 2010, she graduated from Canada’s University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and environmental policy. She has traveled to Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands where she volunteered with environmental projects. In 2010, she traveled to Mexico as a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation to the UN Conference on Climate Change. Most recently she spent a year working for Katimavik, a Canadian service-learning program. In this role she oversaw and organized thousands of hours of volunteer work and experiential education activities for young Canadians at various nonprofit organizations. In the future, Lena hopes to become involved with international development work and acquire a master’s degree. She is proficient in English and French and has intermediate skills in Spanish and German.
Jennifer Young – Research Associate
Jennifer joined MicroCapital as a recent graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia, USA. She holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and business administration with a concentration in international business. She has a strong interest in international economic development, socio-economics and environmental sustainability. The Drexel co-op program enabled Jennifer to work at the Exelon Corporation-PECO Energy as a government affairs intern and financial risk analyst and also at an emerging dot.com in the UK as an assistant business development and marketing manager. While working with MicroCapital, Jennifer is interning with Maxima Mikroheranhvatho Plc, a microfinance institution in Cambodia. Jennifer enjoys traveling, cultural festivals, concerts, coffee shops, wine, cheese and crackers. UPDATE: As of 2014, Jennifer is working on the pricing desk at Tradition Energy in the US city of Stamford, Connecticut.
Brett Cohen – Research Associate
Brett began working with MicroCapital while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Haverford College in the US state of Pennsylvania. Translating math into action, Brett is a student member of the Haverford Dining Services Board, with responsibility for budget allocation, as well as the founder of the Haverford Sports Management Club and a member of the Haverford Finance Club. He also works with the Haverford Quaker Bouncers, a student safety program now being implemented nationwide. A two-sport varsity athlete for the ‘Fords, Brett is a starting forward for the basketball team and starting pitcher on the baseball team. Brett is also involved in helping the community as a mentor for young athletes on and off the court at the Philadelphia 76ers Youth Camp and DiverseCity Hoops, a grassroots program serving disadvantaged youth. UPDATE: As of 2014, Brett is conducting research at international investing firm Veritable LP in the US city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Jaime Fellers – Research Associate
Jaime began at MicroCapital as a rising sophomore at Boston College, while pursuing a degree in mathematics with a minor in international studies and a concentration in international political economies. She is also a member of the Arts and Sciences Honors Program at the university. Before joining MicroCapital, Jaime interned at a taxation and estate planning law firm customizing a new billing system and implementing a more efficient and structured form of accounting. At Boston College, Jaime was also selected to serve as the Editor of Academics for the yearbook and as part of The Emerging Leaders Program. Her area of interest is Africa, where she hopes to study soon. Outside of school, Jaime enjoys hiking, camping and rock climbing.
Mihaela Grindeanu – Research Associate
Mihaela holds a master’s degree in international relations from Kingston University, London, where she focused on the advancement of women as both a condition for sustainable development and a strategy for conflict prevention. She developed a strong commitment to economic and social justice through her work in the nonprofit sector in India and Morocco and also as an intern at the headquarters of the UN in New York. As part of a microfinance certificate program with the Microfinance Association in London, she completed a research paper on the role of microfinance institutions in women’s economic empowerment in Brazil. UPDATE: As of 2014, Mihaela is working in the Department of Political Affairs at the United Nations in New York City.
Webster Hughes – Research Associate
Webster entered the program as rising junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the United States, where he is pursuing a degree in business administration. Webster’s experience includes conducting equity research for Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. He developed a strong interest in microfinance while working with Community Enterprise Solutions in Guatemala. He seeks to learn about how microfinance institutions can be made more transparent and accessible to investors. Outside of school, Webster enjoys playing tennis, eating watermelon and traveling.
Amy Samudre – Research Associate
Amy joined MicroCapital as a graduate student at Liverpool Hope University in the UK while working on a thesis on microfinance as part of a master’s degree program in international business. Her employment experience includes working with homeless women and children in the US state of Washington and in India. After completing her bachelor’s degree in society, ethics and human behavior from the University of Washington, she spent three months volunteering in India for NGOs working in sustainability. She is interested in integrating social business with international development and enjoys travelling, hiking, painting and jazz.
Natalie Baer – Research Associate
Natalie earned a master’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s degree in international studies with a focus on development economics from Johns Hopkins University. She has spent a year in China as a Fulbright Scholar researching the organic food supply chain, where she found that many farms require proper funding and institutional support to be successful. She is interested in the potential of microfinance to advance sustainable rural development, as well as the interaction of microfinance models and rural financial infrastructure. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, reading and improving her Chinese. UPDATE: As of 2014, Natalie is working with Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation, a producer of renewable energy and clean water in four countries.
Amira Berrada – Research Associate
Amira joined MicroCapital while working at Export Development Canada as a credit insurance underwriter. Amira holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business and Finance from Concordia University in Montreal. Amira has studied in France and spent three months in India promoting and implementing socioeconomic initiatives including the advancement of women. As a result of her time in India, Amira became dedicated to intertwining her business interests with her passion for development. Amira speaks English, French and Spanish fluently and is conversational in Portuguese and Arabic. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, trying new restaurants and most of all traveling with loved ones.
Brendan Millan – Research Associate
Brendan received his master’s degree in financial economics from HEC-Paris in November 2011. Before joining MicroCapital, he completed a three-month internship with Grameen Bank in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In the future, he hopes to work in the microfinance industry before returning to seek an additional degree in public or business administration. UPDATE: As of 2014, Brendan is serving with the Peace Corps in Macedonia.
Charlotte Newman – Research Associate
Charlotte earned her bachelor’s degree in international studies from North Carolina State University. She has worked in Costa Rica and Mexico, where she became even more drawn to microfinance after seeing the extreme poverty in parts of these countries. She came to MicroCapital while also working with Fundacion EnVia, a small microfinance organization in Mexico. She strongly believes that microfinance is an excellent way to provide sustainable change to those in need. In her free time she enjoys reading, playing with her dog and trying new things. UPDATE: As of 2014, Charlotte is editing news on impact investing for MicroCapital.
Jeff Patterson – Research Associate
Jeff earned a master’s degree in economics at the University of Delaware and a bachelor’s degree in political science and geology at the State University of New York at Geneseo. He has spent three years in Portugal working on various projects for his master’s degree and as a researcher. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, working at the University of Porto as an exchange program coordinator, reading, painting and improving his Portuguese.
Courtney Snelling – Research Associate
Courtney earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University. He then worked for two years with a microfinance institution in Benin as a US Peace Corps volunteer. Following his time in Africa, he returned to the US to work with international organizations managing microfinance projects in the Philippines, Senegal, Tajikistan and Vietnam. Most recently he worked as a financial services officer for a US-based community development finance institution. Courtney is currently pursuing a law degree and is interested in banking laws and regulations as they relate to microfinance institutions. In his spare time he enjoys reading, writing and coaching youth wrestling. UPDATE: As of 2014, Courtney is editing financial news for the Bloomberg news service in the Washington, DC, area.
Kristha Abores – Research Associate
Kristha began her work at MicroCapital after gaining five years of experience in the financial services industry in the Philippines. She has a background in strategy, planning and analytics in retail banking. She developed a keen interest in microfinance after being introduced to it during the course of her studies. Kristha holds a bachelor’s degree in Management Engineering from Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines and an MBA from INSEAD. She joined MicroCapital in the hope of gaining a deeper understanding of microfinance and its role in alleviating poverty. In her spare time, Kristha volunteers at aidha, a Singapore-based nonprofit organization supporting migrant workers through financial education. She also enjoys singing, baking and traveling.
Emilia Akonom – Research Associate
While working on government and NGO projects for a major strategy consulting firm, Emilia has also been pursuing a management degree at Poznan University of Economics in Poland. Her interest in sustainable development and economic empowerment grew after her travel to north Thailand where she was exposed to individuals working with Burmese refugees. She firmly believes that microfinance and sustainable development have strong impacts on women’s social and economic empowerment as well as children’s well being. In her spare time she loves exploring new recipes, especially Asian, to cook amazing dinners. Furthermore, she is an avid traveler and keen on watching marine life and meeting inspiring people from different walks of life.
Ariana Malushi – Research Associate
Ariana studied international finance and marketing at the University of Miami. She became interested in microfinance after traveling as part of the Semester at Sea program, through which she volunteered in eight emerging economies. She also interned for UniThrive, a microfinance organization that facilitates education loans. After graduating from the University of Miami in May 2011, Ariana came to Buenos Aires to teach English. Her hobbies are traveling, reading, photography and scuba diving.
Ashim Kar – Research Associate
Ashim Kumar Kar has 14 years of work experience in public sector auditing, accounting and financial management and in research in university, NGOs and other research organizations. It is primarily through his work experience at BRAC in Bangladesh that he first became interested in microfinance. He has a PhD in Economics from Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki with his thesis focused on mission drift issues in microfinance. He also completed his Masters in Development Economics from the Australian National University, Canberra in 2001 in addition to his first Masters of Science in Economics from Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Ashim is currently working on a post-doctoral research project at Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland. Alongside English and Bengali, he also speaks Hindi fairly well and Finnish a little. In his free time, he enjoys reading classic literature, listening to music, watching documentaries and cycling.
Carol Kim – Research Associate
Carol joined MicroCapital as a finance industry professional whose experience ranges from capital markets to public accounting, including working in the Debt Capital Markets group of Wells Fargo Securities. She learned about microfinance in pursuit of her interest in global and public finance. She is a firm believer in causes that equip and empower, and she believes that microfinance can be a critical medium to help the financially impoverished. Carol holds a bachelors degree in Economics-Accounting from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. During her spare time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, pilates and adding dishes to her cooking repertoire.
Nisha Koul – Research Associate
Nisha has four years of experience working with nonprofit organizations. She has an MBA in Rural Management from India’s Institute of Rural Management (IRMA). While working as a consultant with A F Ferguson & Company in India, she worked on microfinance, health, poverty and gender issues. In particular, she has worked with microfinance cooperatives and has extensive experience evaluating the progress of microfinance projects, recommending enterprise development strategies and implementing effective linkages between microfinance groups. While working with MicroCapital she hopes to investigate innovations and new developments in microfinance and enhance her understanding of the sector. She currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and continues to work in several areas of international development.
Rohan Trivedi – Research Associate
Rohan joined MicroCapital following an extended internship with ACCESS Development Services, an Indian nonprofit that provides technical assistance to Indian microfinance institutions. He has previously worked in Ghana with microfinance institution WomensTrust and has introductory experience in the financial services sector. At Wesleyan University, while completing a degree in Mathematical Economics along with a Certificate in International Relations, he found that microfinance can be a powerful tool for socio-economic development. He is interested in social performance management and the potential of microsavings. In his spare time he enjoys reading, drawing and playing ultimate Frisbee. UPDATE: As of 2014, Rohan is studying at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.
Jacqueline Foelster – Research Associate
Jacqueline joined MicroCapital upon her completion of her Fulbright tenure in Cambodia where she examined the microfinance sector under the auspices of the Cambodia Microfinance Association. While in Cambodia, she also volunteered at Mith Samlanh, an NGO that works to develop creative and sustainable projects to reintegrate street-involved children into their communities. She fostered her interest in socio-economic progress while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in General Business and a minor in International Development at the University of Maryland. She anticipates that contributing to the MicroCapital team will allow her to further develop a comprehensive understanding of microfinance which she hopes to harness for a career in the strengthening of emerging markets. UPDATE: As of 2014, Jacqueline is working with the US-based Microfinance Information Exchange as a a social performance analyst.
Julie Moksim – Research Associate
Julie was managing a securities valuation team at State Street Corporation when she began the program. Julie grew up in Indonesia, Egypt and India where she gained an interest in third-world development and poverty alleviation. She attended Tufts University where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics as well as a graduate degree in urban and environmental policy and planning. Julie plans to return to Asia to work in the field of microfinance. She is interested in the direct impact of microfinance on women and children and hopes to explore current models to identify how debt repayment can be improved and sustained. Julie has travelled extensively throughout the world and enjoys hiking, scuba diving, snowboarding, photography, yoga and cooking.
Alexandra Pattee – Research Associate
Alexandra joined MicroCapital while working as an advisor at Impakt, a boutique community investment consultancy based in Toronto, Canada. She is a graduate of the Queen’s School of Business and has extensive experience in the social sector, including consulting for a large Cambodian microfinance institution, working with the Guyana Red Cross, filming a documentary in rural China and receiving the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. She has been awarded an Associate Honorary Youth Membership from the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) and delivered a keynote speech at the XVIII ISPCAN International Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii. As a Research Associate she hopes to expand her knowledge of microfinance while contributing to the evolution and expansion of the industry. UPDATE: As of 2013, Alex is serving as an associate program manager for financial inclusion at Canada’s MasterCard Foundation.
Medha Ravi – Research Associate
Medha began the program following her completion of an internship in impact investing with Acumen Fund, Pakistan. Prior to that, she spent three months in Uganda with the Foundation for Sustainable Development where she implemented a sustainable project for a local microfinance organization. Before making a transition into development, she spent over three years working at KPMG, London in the Assurance & Advisory division. Medha holds a degree in Econometrics & Mathematical Economics from the London School of Economics. She is passionate about microfinance and views it as an innovative and critical tool in addressing social challenges. In her spare time, Medha enjoys reading, traveling and learning new languages. UPDATE: As of 2013, Medha is serving as Chief Financial Officer for Agora Microfinance in Mumbai, India.
Diana Baide – Research Associate
Diana began the program as a recent graduate of Tufts University in the US state of Massachusetts. She majored in International Relations and minored in Economics with a focus on development. She studied abroad in Geneva, Switzerland, to delve into international politics and human security. During her senior year at Tufts, she developed an interest in microfinance through her final project, which focused on women and home-based enterprises in the informal sector in urban Brazil and Colombia. She hopes that her research with MicroCapital will further educate her on international microfinance in order to someday work in the field. UPDATE: As of 2015, Diana is a loan officer supporting educational facilities at New York’s Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
Witt Gatchell – Research Associate
Witt began working with MicroCapital while pursuing a masters degree in International Finance, Trade, and Economic Integration at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies in Denver. After completing his undergraduate degree in Finance from Colorado State University, he travelled extensively throughout Southeast Asia and became interested in the ability of microfinance to alleviate poverty there. Since then he has worked with microfinance institutions in Kenya and Bangladesh. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, soccer, skiing, hiking and mountain biking. UPDATE: As of 2015, Witt is beginning his third year as a consultant for Andaman Capital Partners facilitating investment in Myanmar.
John Howard-Smith – Research Associate
John started working with MicroCapital while pursuing masters degrees both in business administration at the College of William & Mary and in international management at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. His path towards microfinance has been a varied one. He has traveled extensively throughout impoverished areas of Latin America, helped Honduran painters attain start-up capital for their own company and crafted a business plan for an Argentinean microfinance bank. Through these experiences, and others, he has seen the impact that a simple loan can have on a person’s life. John’s passion lies in microfinance in Latin America. More specifically, he is interested in learning about how government regulations in certain countries can become more favorable towards microfinance. In his free time he enjoys traveling, learning new languages, working out and playing the piano.
Trevor Kwong – Research Associate
Trevor entered the program as a junior at Cornell University majoring in Economics and Government. He first became interested in microfinance while working with a fair trade coffee cooperative in Nicaragua that also provides small loans to low income farmers. Having lived in Asia for most of his life, Trevor is interested in economic development and is convinced that microfinance is part of the solution. He enjoys playing football (aka soccer) in his spare time and is a fan of player Ryan Giggs.
Lindsey Shaughnessy – Research Associate
Lindsey Shaughnessy entered the program while working as a coordinator at the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in New York City. She hopes that her work with MicroCapital will provide a more granular understanding of microeconomic decision-making in the developing world. She holds a degree from Carleton College, in the US state of Minnesota, where she majored in International Relations and minored in Chinese. During her undergraduate studies, Lindsey worked as a summer fellow at the Gender Advocacy Programme in Cape Town, South Africa, and as a summer fellow at Pro Mujer in Puno, Peru; and also studied Mandarin at Nankai University in Tianjin, China. She expects to earn her masters degree in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University later this year. Lindsey is especially interested in how corporate social responsibility and social impact investment shape microfinance programs. UPDATE: As of 2013, Lindsey is coordinating data for Innovations for Poverty Action in the US city of New Haven, Connecticut.
Conner Brannen – Research Assistant
Conner entered the program as a recent graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where she majored in economics and minored in international relations. She has cumulatively spent over a year in Sub-saharan Africa and is very passionate about economic development in the region. During her senior year, she completed an honors thesis which examined the impact of a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) in Tanzania. Conner hopes that her internship with MicroCapital will develop and expand upon her understanding of the microfinance field and economic development in general. Her other interests include playing ice hockey, soccer and cooking.
Matt Castner – Research Assistant
Matt entered the program while working as an analyst at a small healthcare management and consulting firm. He plans to pursue a career in social business given its strong potential to affect large-scale sustainable change. He graduated from the University of Maryland – College Park with degrees in finance and psychology. His hobbies include reading about presidents, traveling, cycling, cooking and playing catch with his Jack Russell.
Matthew Fox – Research Assistant
Matthew began his internship while living in Dominical, Costa Rica, where he was teaching English. He graduated from James Madison University in May 2009 with a BA in International Affairs, a concentration on Latin America and minors in Economics and Latin American Studies. His interest in microfinance stemmed from his research of international economic development. Having traveled throughout South America, he believes there are significant possibilities that microfinance has yet to achieve. He is particularly interested in the expansion of microfinance to rural areas in Central America. Through the internship he was looking to gain an introductory experience in microfinance that may potentially lead to a career in the field. Matthew enjoys traveling, reading, surfing, swimming and getting sunburned.
Julia Korn – Research Assistant
Julia entered the program as a rising senior at Brandeis University, where she was majoring in Economics with a minor in women’s and gender studies. She became interested in microfinance while working as the economic empowerment intern for a community-based organization in New York committed to ending violence against women. She is interested in promoting gender equality, and she is also involved at her university with issues concerning worker’s rights. Through this internship she hopes to become better educated about poverty alleviation strategies so that she can help make the world a more equitable place. In her spare time she enjoys singing, going to the beach, puppies and spending time with friends and family.
Jennifer Shevock – Research Assistant
Jennifer entered the program after completing an MBA at EDHEC Business School in France. From her work at Thomas Weisel Partners, Esurance, KPMG and elsewhere, she has experience in the insurance, investment banking and internet start-up industries. Jennifer’s specialties include corporate controllership, external/internal audit and process and control implementation. Her hobbies include cycling, running, skiing, international travel, yoga, reading and cooking.
EARLY 2010 INTERNS
Christine Chang – Research Associate
Christine entered the program following her position as an associate in the mergers and acquisitions group of Goldman Sachs. She spent five years working in the New York and London offices where she helped companies evaluate their strategic financing and merger-related options. She is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with degrees in Biology and Management Science. She believes microfinance is a successful tool in the fight against poverty, as microfinance provides the financially excluded the means to empower themselves. Her other interests include traveling, yoga, rock climbing and scuba diving.
Eric McKay – Research Assistant
Eric entered the program as an undergraduate student at Arizona State University, where he was majoring in Economics and Mathematics. He became interested in microfinance while researching economic inequality and researched various implementations of microlending as a tool to alleviate poverty in the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area. Eric is interested in the fields of international economic development and international finance. In his spare time, Eric enjoys reading, computer programming and playing basketball and racquetball.
LATE 2009 INTERNS
Radhika Chandrasekhar – Research Assistant
Radhika entered the program as an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. She was double majoring in Economics and Business Administration, and is passionate about Third World development. For the past year, she worked in rural Honduran communities with Global Water Brigades to create sustainable solutions to water access and water treatment problems. In addition, she helped conduct research experiments in villages in Karnataka, India, with the Centre for MicroFinance. Through her internship with MicroCapital, Radhika hopes to gain more exposure to the field of microfinance and economic development, in general. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, singing, playing sports and spending time with friends and family.
Diya Chopra – Research Associate
Diya entered the program as a recent graduate of McGill University, where she majored in Sociology and Religious Studies. During her undergraduate career, she was actively involved in initiatives supporting women in entrepreneurship. This involvement sparked her interest in microfinance, as she focused much of her attention towards low-income women. To complement her academic research on microfinance, Diya travelled extensively throughout Asia, including India, Thailand, China, Philippines and Malaysia to see firsthand the challenges facing low-income societies and to better understand microfinance as an approach to poverty alleviation. Diya is fluent in French and Hindi and is currently honing her Spanish skills. In her free time, she enjoys music, cycling, travel photography and cooking big meals for her family and friends.
Kenny Kline – Research Associate
Kenny entered the program while working as a quantitative credit analyst at Bank of America. He has a BS in Applied Physics and a MS in Finance from Washington University in St Louis. His interest in microfinance stems from his experience in emerging markets and observation of how credit availability can impact the quality of life in both developed and developing nations. Kenny is looking to work in international development, specifically in the field of microfinance and social entrepreneurship. In his spare time he enjoys improv comedy, jazz piano and learning Persian.
Chris Maggio – Research Assistant
Chris entered the program as a senior majoring in Economics and minoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies at New York University. He has a strong interest in economic development and plans to earn his MPA with a concentration in International Development after graduating. He currently works part time at the NYU Human Resources Department and holds an internship with the human rights blog “Wronging Rights”. Some of his other interests include contemporary popular music, international soccer, graphic novels and Japanese animation.
Hio Kyeng McGuirk – Research Assistant
Kyeng entered the program with five years of experience as a lawyer in the financial services industry. She spent that time litigating securities arbitrations on behalf of Merrill Lynch where she obtained exposure to a wide range of financial and investment products. She holds a JD/MBA from Fordham University and a BA in History and Women’s Studies from Wesleyan University. Kyeng has always been interested in international development, as demonstrated by her consulting projects with the UNDP as a law student. Having obtained experience in the private sector, Kyeng renews her interest in international development and, specifically, microfinance regulation.
Stefanie Rubin – Research Assistant
Stefanie is a graduate of Emory University, where she majored in Economics and Chinese. She became interested in microfinance while volunteering in a rural town in Costa Rica during her sophomore year of college. After returning to college, she founded The MicroCredit Club, which is aimed at raising awareness about microfinance by involving students in the process of making microloans to poor entrepreneurs in developing countries. Through this internship with MicroCapital, she hopes to learn more about microfinance and other innovative solutions to alleviate poverty so that she can one day make a significant contribution to the field of international development. In her free time, Stefanie enjoys learning new languages, traveling, extreme sports – like skydiving and bungee jumping – and playing with her golden retriever, Jake.
Elizabeth Southworth – Research Associate
Elizabeth entered the program with over 14 years of experience in the financial services industry. She spent 10 years at Bear Stearns & Co. where she specialized in international capital markets. Most recently, she was a Product Manager and Market Specialist at Marco Polo Network in New York City, where she worked closely with the Bolsa Nacional Agropecuaria S.A. in Bogota, Colombia, assisting them with strategic business initiatives. She holds a B.A. in American History from Wheaton College. She firmly believes microfinance is essential to alleviating poverty. Elizabeth is also a certified yoga instructor who enjoys photography, surfing and travel.
Laura Anderson – Research Associate
Laura entered the program with 12 years of experience working in investment management where she specialized in emerging market debt. Most recently she was an Assistant Portfolio Manager for Western Asset Management. Laura is a CFA and holds a master’s degree in International Management from Thunderbird and Bachelor of Commerce in International Business from McGill University. Her interest in microfinance stems from her experience in emerging markets and belief in the importance of extending access to financial services to poor people. In her spare time Laura is a professional mountain bike racer and small business owner and enjoys horseback riding, playing classical piano and cooking.
Jaclyn Berfond – Research Assistant
Jaclyn entered the program while completing the International Organizations MBA program at the University of Geneva. She is looking to work in international economic development, specifically in the field of microfinance and social enterprise. Prior to coming to Geneva, Jaclyn was a Research Associate at the Council on Foreign Relations, a US-based foreign policy think tank, where she researched issues of political economy. Jaclyn has also spent some time in finance, working in client service at a private wealth management firm. Jaclyn holds a BA in International Relations and Economics from Boston University. Originally from New York, Jaclyn loves exploring new cities around the world. UPDATE: As of 2013, Jaclyn is serving as a senior associate at Women’s World Banking in New York City.
Sally Levy – Research Assistant
Sally had a successful accounting career in Australia before an extended stay in Africa lead her to pursue a new career in international development. She spent time in Ghana as a project accountant and began studying for a Masters of International Development at RMIT in Melbourne. Since gaining her degree in 2006, she has worked with various International NGOs. Her most recent role was as a Disaster Coordinator with the American Red Cross and prior to this worked as a Program Manager with Plan International Australia. She now wants to combine her financial skills and international NGO experience within the microfinance arena. Sally has lived in Asia, Africa and North America and has traveled extensively around the world. She also enjoys photography and reading.
Goda Thangada – Research Assistant
Goda entered the program as a junior majoring in Anthropology and Mathematics at Columbia University. She grew interested in economic development while volunteering for an education project for poor children in Hyderabad, India. She strongly believes that both education and microfinance lend a great deal of dignity and opportunities to poor people. Anticipating a career in academic research, she hopes to refine her research skills and her understanding of microfinance through her internship with MicroCapital. In her spare time, Goda enjoys learning languages and reading classic as well as more obscure world literature.
EARLY 2009 INTERNS
Andrea Chu – Research Assistant
Andrea is currently a sophomore at Wellesley College. She is planning to major in psychology and economics and became interested in microfinance through her interest in finance and her experience of volunteering in Chimbote, Peru. She entered the internship program to learn more about the microfinance sector. Born and raised in Orange County, Andrea loves the beach, traveling and eating new foods.
Yanni Hao – Research Assistant
Yanni has been working as a consultant for Stax Inc., having previously worked at the National Opinion Research Center. To date, she has published in several top-tier academic journals, and holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago. She sees her pro bono work with Prisma MicroFinance and MicroCapital as a unique and meaningful way to leverage her analytical skills in the fight against poverty. In her spare time, Yanni enjoys reading and traveling.
Ryan Hogarth – Research Assistant
Ryan entered the program while studying Spanish with NGO Fairplay in Cusco, Peru. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a minor in Anthropology from the University of Victoria in Canada. He also has a Professional Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University. In January 2008, Ryan undertook an internship with the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh where he conducted a research project on the management structure of the bank for his undergraduate thesis. He hopes to continue researching microfinance in graduate school and pursue a career in the field after graduation. In the (northern) summer months, Ryan manages a crew of twelve tree planters in northern British Columbia. He enjoys traveling, playing soccer for VicWest FC, skiing, hiking, fishing and trying to play the guitar. UPDATE: As of 2015, Ryan is serving as a research officer on the Green Growth Team at the Overseas Development Institute, a UK-based NGO.
Bharathi Ramasubramania – Research Assistant
Bharathi entered the internship program while studying Business and Finance at the University of Massachusetts. Prior to coming to Boston, she briefly worked in the IT industry in India and holds an undergraduate degree in engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS, Pilani) in India. She is interested in the concept of microfinance as a means to fighting poverty. Through this internship she hopes to increase her understanding of the microfinance industry and is also looking at a potential career in the field of development finance. She enjoys music, reading and occasionally likes to dabble in theatre.
Zoran Stanisljevic – Research Associate
Zoran has over 9 years of combined experience in investment management, capital markets and investment banking. He has held positions at some of the largest investment institutions globally, from being a trader at State Street Global Advisors to Assistant Vice President at Wachovia Securities within the firm’s corporate investment banking division. Upon entering the program, he is a consultant. He learned of the microfinance industry while attending an Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Business forum. Zoran has always had a strong personal interest in promoting poverty alleviation in developing countries through the use of microfinance in a sustainable business development and economic empowerment capacity. Zoran holds a B.A. in Economics and International Relations from Boston University and an MBA from Suffolk University. In his free time, Zoran is an avid tennis player, skier, mountain biker and outdoor enthusiast with an ambition to trek the regions of Mount Everest and Mount McKinley. UPDATE: As of 2013, Zoran is serving as the Executive Director of Cambridge Research Associates in the US city of Charlotte, North Carolina.
LATE 2008 INTERNS
Greg Casey – Research Assistant
Greg entered the program while studying economics and mathematics at Hamilton College in New York. His interest in microfinance began during a summer course at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Since then, he founded the Hamilton College Microfinance Club, which aims to raise funds from the Hamilton community and lend that money to individuals and small businesses in the nearby city of Utica, New York. During this internship, Greg hopes to learn more about the business aspects of the microfinance industry.
Lori Curtis – Research Assistant
Lori is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh with an MSc Ecological Economics and of Saint Mary’s University with a BA in International Development Studies and Political Science. Lori has worked as an english teacher in South Korea and as a junior socioeconomic consultant at Jacques Whitford in Halifax, Canada. Lori currently lives in London, UK and entered the Prisma Intern program to gain experience in the microfinance sector. She has always been interested in working in development, specifically with sustainable development and economic empowerment. Lori has travelled through Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central America, North America and a little bit of Asia. She loves writing, camping and anything that means she’s close to the water.
Jeffrey Erfe – Research Assistant
Jeffrey currently works as a Junior Surrey Fellow in the Office of Tax Analysis at the U.S. Treasury Department. He graduated with honors from Stanford in 2007 after studying economics and math. After writing a senior thesis on the effect of remittances on the consumption and saving patterns of migrant Indian households, he began to more seriously consider remittances and other financial instruments as sustainable sources of poverty alleviation. Eventually, Jeff hopes to work for an MFI in Southeast Asia. He enjoys reading, cycling, dj-ing and talking politics.
Scott Everett – Research Assistant
Scott entered the program while serving as Business Systems Manager for Kaplan Financial. He is doing pro-bono web consulting for Chicago Microfinance and also works with Chicago Fair Trade and more recently, ACCION Chicago. His interest in microfinance began when he saw the transformative effects it had on international fair trade artisans who were selling goods locally. He holds a B.S. in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh, and although he has been working in IT for most of his professional career, he plans to begin working full time in microfinance in 2009. Scott hopes that the work with Prisma will help him better understand where the industry is headed and how he can help promote poverty alleviation utilizing microfinance. In his free time, Scott is a semi-professional photographer, a DJ and an avid outdoors enthusiast.
Iyanna Holmes – Research Assistant
Iyanna entered the program while working as a Financial Analyst for a major financial institution where she is involved in a variety of debt and equity transactions. She received both her B.S. (2001) and M.B.A. (2003) from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. In 2002 she traveled with Semester at Sea while studying the economic, political, and social environments of the 10 countries she visited. In 2004 Iyanna traveled to Ghana where she saw first hand the impact that microfinance can have on people’s lives while volunteering with a Ghanaian NGO. With the experience from this internship, Iyanna hopes to turn her passion for eliminating poverty in developing countries into a career. She is an adventurous traveler, a novice salsa dancer and an aspiring entrepreneur.
Ryan Benson – Research Assistant
Ryan graduated from Tufts University with a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering. He entered the program as a masters degree candidate in Public Policy at Johns Hopkins University, with a focus on international development. After finishing graduate school, he plans to pursue a long and fulfilling career in microfinance. He enjoys sailing, running and playing Risk.
Jocelyn Cheng – Research Assistant
Jocelyn entered the program following her position as an Analyst at Goldman Sachs, where she spent two years working in investment banking in the New York and Buenos Aires offices. In her position at Goldman, she focused on the Natural Resources and Latin American spaces. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s joint-degree Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business. Her interest in microfinance started in undergraduate studies and was furthered through an internship with a grassroots MFI in Puno, Peru. She is fluent in Spanish and Cantonese Chinese.
Sarah Knapp – Research Assistant
Sarah entered the program while studying at Emory University in Atlanta, majoring in History and Latin American Studies. She became connected to microfinance through an interest in sustainable poverty alleviation. The experiences of living in an Argentinean soup kitchen and studying in a microfinance seminar have expanded this interest. Sarah is involved with Emory’s undergraduate microenterprise club and as a tutor for immigrants and refugees in English and financial literacy. She loves the Spanish language, skiing and the outdoors.
Diana Yang – Research Assistant
Diana graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Business Administration. As a Global Trade Consultant at Deloitte she advises and provides solutions to clients for dealing with their international customs and trade issues. She is inspired by microfinance and considers it to be a sustainable solution that empowers those in poverty. Through her internship Diana hopes to increase her knowledge of the microfinance industry and determine how she can contribute to this growing movement. She enjoys cooking, staying active and traveling and is thrilled to be visiting Latin America in the fall of 2008.
EARLY 2008 INTERNS
Anthony Busch – Research Assistant
Anthony entered the program as a junior at the University of South Carolina pursuing a double major in International Business and Finance. During 2008 he studied at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan, through the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship program. He previously spent a year in Syria studying Arabic at the University of Damascus and interning at the United States Embassy in Damascus. Through conversations with Rotarians in his sponsoring district, he began to realize the potential of microfinance in eliminating the cycle of poverty and sees it as a way to satisfy both his desire to serve the public good and his interest in the private sector. Anthony commands an advanced proficiency of Arabic, and his interests include traveling, photography, a love of Ohio State football and lots of tennis.
Melissa Duscha – Research Assistant
Melissa Duscha has a BA in Comparative Religion from the University of California at San Diego and a Japan-Focus MBA from the University of Hawai’i/Japan-America Institute of Management Science. Melissa has traveled extensively through Africa and previously lived in France and Japan. It is through her travels which included many encounters with micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries that she first became interested in sustainable development and especially microfinance. She speaks Japanese and French and is currently living in Shanghai studying Mandarin. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she loves beautiful weather and mantis boxing.
Stephen Son – Research Assistant
During Stephen’s two years as an Advisory Services Associate with KPMG in San Francisco, he helped clients bring their internal audit functions in line with regulatory standards. Stephen graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with degrees in Business Administration and Political Science and hopes his background can be meaningfully put to use in the field of microfinance. Stephen is a native Southern Californian who loves sunny days, but he also enjoys the occasional trip to places like South America or Scandinavia.
Jennifer Lee – Research Associate
Jennifer entered the program following her position as an Associate at Lehman Brothers, where she spent three years working in capital markets as Lehman’s US Treasury and Treasury Futures strategist. She is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with dual degrees in Chemistry and Management Science. Her goal is to increase her knowledge of the microfinance industry and pursue a new career with a focus on social responsibility. She is greatly inspired and attracted to microfinance as an innovative, sustainable solution to the challenge of poverty. Jennifer also enjoys traveling and dancing and is proficient in Spanish.
Mary Fu – Research Associate
Mary entered the program as a field interviewer for the RAND Corporation. She is a UCLA graduate with dual degrees in International Development Studies and Psychology. She had always been interested in poverty reduction through empowerment and sustainable development. By interning at Prisma, Mary hoped to acquire a deeper understanding of the role of microfinance in lifting and keeping people out of chronic poverty. She was born in China and has traveled throughout much of Latin America, including Chile, Peru, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. She is fluent in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Mary plans to pursue graduate studies in policy analysis in the near future. She enjoys surfing and dancing tango.
Steven Craig – Project Manager
Steven is a project manager at Digital Insight, an Intuit company. Steven manages technical implementation projects for US-based banks and credit unions. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California at Davis while working as a Senior Loan Officer in Digital Insight’s consumer loan contact center. His interest in microfinance started in undergraduate studies and has grown with subsequent research of the field. In the future, Steven would like to pursue an MBA and focus his career on entrepreneurship and global business.
LATE 2007 INTERNS
Amy Rennison – Research Associate
Amy is currently a consultant and research analyst for NGOs and ethical investment firms. She has 13 years experience in the financial services sector in marketing and communications, including board level experience. She completed her MA in Imperialism and Post-Colonial Societies at London University in 2007 (having her completed her BA at Oxford University in 1993) focusing on Africa and has managed to fit in stints working on projects in Zimbabwe and Madagascar throughout her career. She is British, but currently lives in Zurich, Switzerland. Her aim is to combine her practical development and academic skills with knowledge of microfinance and ethical investment in the world of mainstream financial services.
Steven Craig – Research Assistant
Steven is a project manager at Digital Insight, an Intuit company. Steven manages technical implementation projects for US-based banks and credit unions. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California at Davis while working as a Senior Loan Officer in Digital Insight’s consumer loan contact center. His interest in microfinance started in undergraduate studies and has grown with subsequent research of the field. In the future, Steven would like to pursue an MBA and focus his career on entrepreneurship and global business.
Elizabeth Nelson – Research Assistant
Elizabeth began her internship as a rising junior at Dartmouth College working toward a double major in Government and Philosophy. Her academic focus has been primarily within the intersection of foreign policy and political philosophy, but her recent research as a Presidential Scholar in the Government department at Dartmouth has sparked her interest in the relationship between the public and private sector in potentially providing solutions to global problems. Through her internship at Prisma, Nelson hoped to gain a fuller understanding of the history, mechanics and major issues in micro-investment, with a particular eye towards clarifying her views on the nature and degree of the government’s involvement in MFIs. After college, she plans to pursue a career in international development, but is unsure whether her work will lead her to governmental, NGO or private organizations. On campus, Nelson is an active member of the Navigators Christian Fellowship, and she volunteers as a mentor for local high school students.
Michael Warmington – Research Associate
Mike graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK with a BA in economics and with a master’s degree in international development from the University of Bath. Since then he has worked for an NGO based in the UK running international exchanges and is now eager to start a career in the microfinance industry. In addition to some current research he is also working on for the MicroLoan Foundation, an MFI based in London, in his spare time Mike enjoys playing squash, reading and live music. UPDATE: As of 2014, Mike serves as the microfinance partnerships manager at One Acre Fund, which supports 180,000 African farmers with services such as microcredit and market linkages.
Nicole Brown – Research Associate
Nicole Brown graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Economics. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Policy at the University of Chicago with a focus on poverty/inequality and health policy. Her interest is in microfinance and this stems from her involvement in several community based organizations. She is exploring job opportunities in international development. She is proficient in Spanish.
Chryssa Rask – Research Assistant
Chryssa is a rising senior at Tufts University in Medford, MA. She is a double major in international relations and economics, from which her interest in microfinance has grown. Adding to her interests in development economics and social entrepreneurship was the summer and semester she spent abroad in China, studying Mandarin Chinese, history, and culture. In the future she hopes to combine her knowledge of China with her knowledge of microfinance to start her career. In her free time she is an active member of the Tufts Varsity Sailing Team, and enjoys spending time outside and on the water.
Jonathan Rollins – Blog Master Apprentice
Jonathan entered the program as a junior at Bowdoin College double majoring in Economics and Mathematics. His passion for international development comes from his experiences with Bridges to Community, an organization that concentrates on community development in Nicaragua. Jonathan spent a semester in Madrid, Spain where he studied international finance and the Spanish language. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, singing and playing monopoly.
Quentin Ruiz-Esparza – Research Associate
Entering the internship program as a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Quentin was an economics-Spanish double major. Microfinance, a relatively new subfield in his economics studies, has piqued Quentin’s interest because of its role within Latin America and potential to economics. Quentin’s primary motivation for studying economics is to understand policies’ effects on societies, and how economics might assist the poor. Quentin is also active within his school’s student government and on-campus Christian ministry Reformed University Fellowship.
Monica Sharma – Research Assistant
Monica entered the program as a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is working toward a major in both Economics and International Studies, as well as studying Spanish and Hindi. Monica is interested in a career dealing with international or regional/local development, and she will soon be starting research under her Econ professor regarding the progress of credit unions in select Latin American countries. She was originally planning on being an art major before recently switching over to this field. Coming from the suburbs of Chicago, Monica is in love with the city, and is an unwavering Sox fan.
Shane Xu – Blog Master Associate
Shane Xu entered his internship as a senior at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, majoring in mathematics and business administration. He is excited about the potential of accelerating microfinance education and participation through the web, and he is planning to apply for a Kiva fellowship in the fall of this year.