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By Matt Hayes
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  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
Rex Ukaejiofo, MPS ‘20 earned a Science & Technology Policy Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), with a placement at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Ukaejiofo, who earned his Master of Professional Studies in Global Development at Cornell, is among 284 scientists and engineers who will spend a year serving professionally in federal agencies and congressional offices as a Science & Technology Policy Fellow. The U.S. government benefits from the contributions of highly trained scientists and engineers while they learn first-hand about federal policymaking and implementation, according to AAAS.

“I am particularly interested in learning how the U.S. government, through USAID, crafts applicable policies and program interventions, humanitarian and development programs that promote rural livelihoods and economic security globally,” Ukaejiofo said.

Ukaejiofo works as an agriculture advisor/fellow in the USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance. He is technical and strategic lead in emergency agriculture and food security projects and provides policy analysis in climate adaptation and resilience programs, among other responsibilities.

“Rex is very deserving of this recognition,” said Terry Tucker, co-director of the Global Development MPS program. “He is a thoughtful, highly dedicated development professional. Our program benefits in important ways from his continued engagement as an informal alumnus advisor and mentor.”

Tucker said that since completing his program in 2020, Ukaejiofo has reached out to current students and generously sharing professional opportunities, career advice and useful insights related to the design and execution of the MPS capstone project. 

While studying at Cornell he worked in the Southeast Asia programs and the Center for Conservation Social Sciences with Shorna Allred, professor in the departments of Natural Resources and the Environment and Global Development. Ukaejiofo's graduate work focused on the different adaptation strategies employed in agricultural production systems in diverse communities in Malaysian Borneo. The study was premised on understanding how communities prone to severe shocks remain resilient in the face of increasing climatic vulnerabilities.

"Dr. Ukaejiofo is an expert international development professional who is equally committed to the empowerment of local communities," said Allred. "He came to Cornell with extensive policy expertise and a strong policy network, which he further strengthened through his research in Sarawak, Malaysia. Dr. Ukaejiofo brings an unparalleled breadth of experience, depth of understanding, and dedication to empowerment from the applied policy research he has conducted in Asia and Africa, and I am excited that he has an opportunity to apply that expertise and experience in the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship program."

The 2021-22 fellowship class is comprised of 284 fellows sponsored by AAAS, the Moore Foundation, and partner societies. Ukaejiofo joins nearly 4,000 fellows since the program formed in 1973.

“As the new director of the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships program and an STPF alum myself, I am thrilled to announce this year’s class of scientists and engineers who will bring their dedication and science-minded perspectives to US policymaking at the federal level where it is needed and greatly appreciated,” said Rashada Alexander, director of the Science & Technology Policy Fellowship.

Training next-generation development practitioners

Our one-year Master of Professional Studies in Global Development is designed for early and mid-career professionals to take their career to their next level. This program will enhance your practical and technical skills and prepare you for a career in field-based development and policy in low-income and rural communities around the globe. 

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