Zolberg-IRC Fellows – Fall 2021

The IRC and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School are excited to announce the fall 2021 cohort of fellows. Supported by the Arnhold Foundation, master’s and doctoral students at The New School have the opportunity to contribute or lead design and research projects at the IRC.

Since 2017, fellows have worked at the IRC on a range of teams including policy, innovation, research, health, governance, and emergency response. Fellows have a wide range of experience, and come from the Parsons School of Design, School of Nonprofit and Public Management, and other New School departments. 

Danielle Bryson, General Psychology, New School of Social Research, MA, 2022

Danielle Bryson, General Psychology, New School of Social Research, MA, 2022

Danielle currently delivers Problem Management Plus (PM+), a low-intensity psychological intervention developed to support those experiencing adversity who may not otherwise have access to mental health support, in NYC. Previously, she was a research assistant in the Child Outpatient Psychiatry Department at Montefiore Medical Center. Her current research interests include longitudinal attachment research as it relates to adoptive families and the effects of disrupted effective communication in parent-child dyads. An interest in global mental health, attachment, and implementation science has also led her to collaborate with a nonprofit organization in Ghana to develop an intervention for local families of children with special needs.

As the Mental Health in Humanitarian Settings Fellow, Danielle will work with the Airbel Impact Lab’s Middle East Hub on mental health programming. She will conduct literature reviews and support the development of mental health messaging and may also have the opportunity to work on evidence frameworks, remote delivery mechanisms, and pathways to scale for delivering mental health programming.

Julie Caracino, School of Public Engagement, Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs, MA, 2023

Julie Caracino, School of Public Engagement, Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs, MA, 2023

Julie is a policy analyst with more than a decade of experience in clean energy. As the former program director of a national nonprofit organization, she provided research, education, and technical assistance to private and public sector energy stakeholders to facilitate and accelerate digital transformation in the residential energy efficiency industry. Julie holds an MS Urban Policy Analysis and Management from The New School and a BA Anthropology from Rutgers University. As a graduate student in International Affairs, her research focuses on the social and equity implications of the clean energy transition in the US and India.

Signpost is a humanitarian information and communications project that serves the complex needs of people in crisis. The project seeks to change the standard for how information is delivered to people affected by conflict and disaster by putting people at the center of a new and diverse technical approach to this major humanitarian problem. As the Signpost Fellow, Julie will consolidate learning from Signpost and help bring it to scale through the contribution of long format blog style articles, the identification of lessons-learned through an implementation review, and additional communications and writing projects.

Nikita Deshpande, Strategic Design Management, Parsons School of Design, 2023

Nikita Deshpande, Strategic Design Management, Parsons School of Design, 2023

Nikita previously served as a Creative Visualizer at Ogilvy, Mumbai, where she crafted diverse visual solutions for consumer-focused campaigns. She has also created trend research and target analysis to effectively deliver brand messages to target audiences for clients including Hindustan Unilever, Mondelez, and Courtyard by Marriott. Nikita completed her undergraduate studies in Visual Communication and Strategic Branding at Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology (SIADT), Bengaluru, India. As a designer, Nikita is keen to develop a deep and emotional understanding of user’s motivations and needs in this emerging world of data-driven design and innovation. Hey key interest is in creating visual strategies and solutions to create better education systems or tools.

As the Marketing & Communications Fellow, Tanzania Research & Innovation Hub, Nikita will support the communication of innovative projects and key research findings with the aim of impacting the way business is done in the humanitarian sector. She will work closely with IRC’s Tanzania Research & Innovation Hub to support developing stories and create custom visuals in an effort to communicate complex information and data succinctly to engage a variety of internal and external audiences. Specific outputs will include 1) the redesign of the Tanzania Hub brochure; 2) the amplification of discrete innovation work through social media; and 3) the amplification of discrete innovation work through the development of new collateral.

Belen Fodde, Milano School of Policy, Management and Environment, PhD in Public and Urban Policy, 2024

Belen Fodde, Milano School of Policy, Management and Environment, PhD in Public and Urban Policy, 2024

Belen holds a Msc in Urban Policy, Analysis and Management from The New School (2019) and was a Fulbright Scholar from Argentina (2017-2019). She has worked at the Argentinean National Government and at the Buenos Aires City Government in areas related with public works and public space. As a graduate student at The New School, Belen has worked with the NYC Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene and Environmental Protection, as well as with Slums Dwellers International (SDI) in Cape Town, South Africa. She works as a Teaching Assistant in courses such as Introduction to Urban Studies, Policy Analysis, Urban Policy Lab, Quantitative Methods, and Climate, Cities and Migration. Belen is also a Research Associate at the Observatory on Latin America, The New School. Her research focuses on food security, informality, governance, and community engagement in Latin America.

As the Research and Measurement Fellow, Belen will work with both the Governance Technical Unit and Airbel Impact Lab and will focus on tasks that span monitoring & evaluation and research activities. The primary objective of Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL) work at IRC is to provide quality data to improve program performance and results for our clients. To this end, the IRC has developed a set of Core Indicators to support program teams in the selection of indicators during project design and monitoring of those indicators during implementation. Belen will support the development of measurement tools to collect data on the Core Indicators that have been identified and will primarily support research projects related to peacebuilding & social cohesion and inclusive urban development.

Gaofenngwe Kabubi, Strategic Design & Management, Parsons School of Design, MSc, 2022

Gaofenngwe Kabubi, Strategic Design & Management, Parsons School of Design, MSc, 2022

Gao holds an International Master's Degree in Conflictology, a Bachelor’s Degree in Home Economics Education, specializing in Food, Nutrition, and Early Childhood Education, and a Postgraduate Diploma in HIV & AIDS Management. She plans to pursue a PhD in Design Research following her MSc. Additionally, Gao has 13+ years of experience working in a range of contexts: she has served as a Home Economics Teacher, Economic Empowerment Officer, Gender-Based Violence Technical Advisor, and Stanford Go to Market Coordinator where she worked closely with youth entrepreneurs. Gao’s primary research interest is leveraging design research to deal with intractable challenges/situations and to maximize/optimize outputs using minimal inputs. Gao is passionate about improving the wellbeing of individuals, is a gender and peace activist, and is a lover of life.

As the Career Development Fellow, Gao will help drive the development and testing of the IRC’s Career Development Pathway map. She will plan and carry out staff and user experience interviews and conduct pathway prototyping and testing. Gao’s work will influence the design, delivery and impact of this critical initiative across the organization.

Julie Kim, School of Public Engagement, Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs, MA, 2022

Julie Kim, School of Public Engagement, Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs, MA, 2022

Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Germanic Studies and a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance, with a minor in Japanese Language, from Indiana University. Prior to pursuing her Masters Degree at the New School, Julie worked as an English teacher in South Korea for four years where she taught kindergarten, primary, and adult students. She is a New School of Public Engagement Dean’s Scholarship recipient, a United Nations Summer Study Program participant, and recently led a project assisting lawyers and activists in Serbia in filing documentation to the OECD regarding environmental and transparency guideline violations. Her primary research interests are governance and rights, a global green new deal, and economic inequality and justice.

The IRC created the Outcomes and Evidence Framework (OEF), a set of tools and processes to support colleagues across the organization to design outcomes-focused and evidence-based programs. The OEF was recently updated and a global roll-out of the new framework began in August 2021. As the Outcomes, Evidence, and Learning Fellow, Julie will support the development of synchronous and asynchronous learning tools to support colleagues across almost 40 countries to design and implement outcome-focused and evidence-based programs. She will develop Trainer of Trainer materials to socialize the new framework, develop methods for measuring knowledge before and after learning sessions, lead the adaptation of materials from live-webinars into asynchronous learning modules, and develop a framework to monitor OEF rollout learning outcomes.

Noha Mahmoud, School of Public Engagement, Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs, MA, 2021

Noha Mahmoud, School of Public Engagement, Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs, MA, 2021

Noha recently served as an intern with The World Academy of Local Governments and Democracy in Turkey where she spearheaded a project aiming to gain insight into high levels of resettlement in Maltepe, Istanbul, including how Syrian refugees living there perceive the U.S. and Europe. At the end of her internship, she drafted a report to be submitted to Maltepe Municipality. She has also worked as a Digital Media Coordinator at the Pillars Fund and as a Digital Organizer at the Arab American Association of New York. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Media Studies with a concentration in Journalism from Fordham University. Her primary research interests include media and culture, migration, and mobility.

Ahlan Simsim is an early childhood development project that focuses on young children in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, combining the depth of critical in-person services (reaching over a million children) with the breadth of mass media through an all-new Arabic-language version of Sesame Street. As the Ahlan Simsim Scaling, Advocacy, and Design Fellow, Noha will provide programmatic and strategic design support to the Ahlan Simsim team. Noha will focus on the ambitious scaling and national advocacy workstream, which focuses on scaling the program in partnership with national actors and on boosting sustainability of scale using policy advocacy to institutionalize commitments to quality early childhood development for all children. Noha’s focus will sit at the nexus of scaling and advocacy; monitoring, evaluation and research; design for representation/visualization of processes and demonstrating progress; and project management.

Alifiya Mutaher, Transdisciplinary Design, Parsons School of Design, MFA, 2022

Alifiya Mutaher, Transdisciplinary Design, Parsons School of Design, MFA, 2022

Alifiya is a design researcher and entrepreneur from Sri Lanka, interested in social and systems design. Through her MFA in Transdisciplinary Design, she practices participatory and speculative methods to reveal power dynamics in public space for marginalised populations. As a research assistant at Parsons's DEED Lab (Development through Empowerment, Entrepreneurship, and Design), she is exploring equitable collaborations in the artisan sector. Previously, she has worked across for profit and non-profit sectors in environmental advocacy and community engagement in public health and equitable business models. She is also the co-founder of Local Forecast, an online store and storytelling platform for artists and designers exploring creative culture in Sri Lanka.

The IRC has committed to reflecting the priorities and perspectives of clients in our programming decisions. One specific aim is to improve organizational performance management with reference to data on client experience of and satisfaction with our work. We aim to further strengthen our methodologies for assessing how our clients experience IRC work and their evaluation of that experience (i.e. whether they were “satisfied”). As the Client Responsiveness Fellow, Alifiya will work closely with the Governance Technical Unit to conduct rapid evidence reviews from across the not-for-profit, private and public sectors to identify promising approaches and understand the client experience, and use that analysis in management decision making.

Brooke Pascarella, School of Public Engagement, Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs, MA, 2021

Brooke Pascarella, School of Public Engagement, Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs, MA, 2021

For her capstone project, Brooke worked with DC-based think tank the Stimson Center on drafting policy recommendations concerning the UN75 Declaration's 12 Commitments for the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda report. Over the summer, she participated in a practicum with the UNHCR in which her team wrote a background paper to inform the introduction of the upcoming People Forced to Flee: History, Change and Challenge report. The background research for the paper involved conducting case studies on countries experiencing high levels of displacement and analyzing current global trends. Her primary research interests include conflict and security, forced displacement, and gender equality.

As the Crisis Analysis Fellow, Brooke will be a core member of the Crisis Analysis team, contributing to a range of high-profile internal and external reports, including the annual Emergency Watchlist. She will work on the Watchlist from first data collection through to publishing the final report, and contribute to other internal reports and private briefings. Brooke will also play a key role in updating and refreshing materials used to communicate with other colleagues about Crisis Analysis work.

Aditya Rao, Strategic Design and Management, Parsons School of Design, MS, 2023

Aditya Rao, Strategic Design and Management, Parsons School of Design, MS, 2023

For the past two years, Aditya served as an industrial designer at Tesseract Imagine Pvt, a Augmented and Virtual reality startup under Reliance Jio. He was responsible for conducting market and trend study of contemporary wearable devices, user demographic research and conceptualizing and designing human centered wearable technologies. Prior to this role, he was a graduate intern at the Tata Centre for Design and Technology and IIT Bombay, where he worked on his graduate thesis focused on developing products for small to medium enterprises in non-urban settings. He also spent some time as a graphic design intern at FITCH developing packaging graphics for NESTLE India. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Product Design from MIT Institute of Design, Pune, however, his interests lie in the world of research design and its applications. His research interests are in the following system-based topics; Blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, human centred design and design application in socio-economic sectors.

As the Emergency Onboarding Design Fellow, Aditya will work closely with the Project Co-Leads, the Emergencies and Humanitarian Access Unit (EHAU) team, and Global HR staff to evaluate the current orientation/onboarding process for theEmergency Unit, and to design a creative, new process enabling new staff to be successful in their roles. Aditya will also support/develop tools and resources that reinforce the process, whether orientation/onboarding is done remotely or in-person. Finally, Aditya will research best practices in onboarding/orientation for employee success, especially as it relates to humanitarian staff, as well as have the opportunity to create and implement a framework for learning about how the IRC operates in emergency settings.

Monica Salmon Gomez, Lesley Onstott, and Forrest Sparks will be continuing their Summer 2021 fellowships into Fall 2021. Isaac Andino will be continuing his Spring 2021 fellowship into Fall 2021. 

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