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By Kelly Merchan
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  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development

Cornell Global Development is pleased to announce its Master of Professional Studies (MPS) class of 2023. This year’s program will provide in-depth training to early and mid-career development professionals from Africa, Asia and the Americas.  

Each student brings a unique combination of prior academic preparation and practical experience ranging from agriculture and rural development to women's entrepreneurship. Building upon prior experience, MPS students work with an advisor to plan coursework and capstone project activities in one of nine areas of specialization, according to Terry Tucker, professor of the practice and director of the MPS program in Global Development.

Cornell’s Global Development MPS program focuses on practical, technical and analytical skills for development.  It prepares individuals for a wide range of roles in government, NGOs, international organizations, foundations and civil society organizations. Beyond examining the social, biophysical, political and institutional impediments to change, students equip themselves with the knowledge and skills to work toward positive change.

“We are excited to welcome this talented group of professionals and changemakers to Global Development,” said Terry Tucker.

“This cohort arrives curious, imaginative and driven to work on the most vexing challenges of our day. They inspire optimism for a more just, secure and sustainable future.” 

Members of the MPS Class of 2023 and the grand challenge they seek to confront in their work are:

  • Adina Aamir: Engaged development and impact evaluation to increase economic opportunities in developing countries
  • Afiavi Caca "Calista" Akibode: Gender equality and women's empowerment in the food system
  • Maryam Amini: Impact evaluation of development projects in underdeveloped countries
  • Addis Abera Ayalew: Climate change and child undernutrition in Ethiopia
  • Kristin Benson: Food security and sustainable food systems that empower farmers and improve livelihoods
  • Mend-Amar Biniye: Promoting sustainable development and social well-being for all
  • Allison Cooper: Building inclusive, resilient, and climate-smart food systems that catalyze agriculture-led economic growth
  • Andrea Durmiaki: Equitable opportunities and fair access to experiential learning/global education opportunities
  • Alexandra Everhart Gearing: Justice for vulnerable populations through equitable water distribution across agriculture, industry, and households; protecting our freshwater ecosystems in the face of climate change
  • Jesse Fowler: Stronger economic sustainability with improved postsecondary education in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Gretchen Hanson: Agriculture education/extension and the intersection of public and private sector ag services for information sharing to farmers
  • Jackson Hart: Environmental sustainability of agriculture; food sovereignty and economic independence in smallholder farming communities; optimization of controlled environment agriculture
  • Rashmi Kanthi: Research and Evaluation to ensure sustained development, food security, poverty elimination, better policy design and implementation; Global partnerships for inclusive and equitable access to nutrition, health and education
  • David Arnaud Ngam A Kibeng: Youth empowerment, innovation and policy adaptation
  • Jackie Sayegh: Empowering displaced women and youths; indigenous coping strategies; associational social structures
  • Hannah Schwarz: Participatory research and project design that engages marginalized communities, particularly women and girls, to define problems and design development solutions

The one-year MPS program offers a transdisciplinary education to enhance students’ technical and practical skills in development. Most students in the program have at least two years of field experience in a range of sectors, including government agencies, Peace Corps and non-governmental organizations. The program combines coursework and a capstone project which uses problem-solving skills to approach a real-world development challenges.

Kelly Merchán is a communications specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Global Development.

Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Global Development

Our 1-year MPS in Global Development is designed for early and mid-career professionals to take their career to their next level. This program will enhance practical and technical skills and prepare students for a career in field-based development and policy in low-income and rural communities around the globe. Our graduate students and alumni are at the frontlines of developing solutions to pressing issues — from agriculture and food systems to gender, economics and demographics — on the local and global scale.

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