2017 Fellows

Six University of Michigan graduate students from four University of Michigan schools are working in 7 countries around the world this summer as part of the WDI Global Impact Internship program.  The students are working with private sector companies, social enterprises, and start-ups on various projects such as developing business and marketing strategies, impact assessments, in emerging market countries.  The interns are stationed in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mexico, Sri Lanka, and Rwanda.


Nana Asare,  Ford School of Public Policy
The Ihangane Project & Ruli District Hospital   –   Ruli, Rwanda

Nana completed his first year in the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program at the Ford School of Public Policy.  Prior to graduate school, Nana was a Watson Fellow with the Watson Foundation in New York, where he conducted field research in Peru, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Nepal, Myanmar, and Thailand.  Prior to that, he spent some time working with the Health Development Initiative in Kigali, Rwanda.  Nana’s interests lie in the intersection of policies, global health and international development

Nana facilitated a hospital retreat that created a shared vision of high quality and patient-centered health care at Ruli District Hospital.  He helped the hospital staff implement recommendations developed at the retreat.  He also created a roadmap that can build upon the strategic plan developed at the retreat that will guide future projects, and evaluated the effectiveness of the retreat.


Karen Cuenca, Ford School of Public Polics 
Value For Women   –  Mexico City, Mexico

Karen recently completed her first year in the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program at the Ford School of Public Policy as part of her dual degree Master of Public Policy/Master of Urban Planning program.  Prior to graduate school, Karen worked with Abt Associates as an Analyst in the Social and Economic Policy Department for a number of years.   Karen has a BA in Political Science from Yale University.

Karen conducted a situational analysis to understand and assess the current position of women in agriculture supply chains in Mexico, and recommended opportunities for improving gender inclusion in agriculture organizations and supply chains in Mexico.


Ann Duong, Health Informatics 
Becton Dickinson and iSpirt –  Kenya, Ethiopia, and India

Ann completed her first year of her Master of Health Informatics program at the University of Michigan, which is a joint graduate program offered by the School of Public Health and School of Information.  Prior to returning to graduate school, Ann was a 2015-16 Global Health Corps Fellow, working with the Ihangane Project in Ruli, Rwanda.  Ann has a BS in Economics of Health and Development form the University of Michigan.

Through both field-based and domestic work, Duong will be supporting implementation of the technical impact evaluation of the BD-PEPFAR program, Labs For Life: Strengthening Laboratory Systems in Developing Countries.

Following this project, Duong will travel to Bangalore, India for a short project with iSPIRT, a software product think tank that has been working with numerous start-ups in the development of IndiaStack. IndiaStack is an exciting set of technologies governments, businesses, and others utilize a digital infrastructure, creating a paperless and cashless service delivery model that is being integrated into India’s economy.

Duong will work with iSPIRT to connect and study various companies and start-ups that are utilizing IndiaStack’s APIs. After returning to Michigan, she will analyze this information in order to generate key insights into how stack technology can be used to enhance healthcare access and delivery.


Julia Entwistle,  School  for Environment and Sustainability
ADHENO  –  Debre Berhan, Ethiopia

Julia completed her first year in the Masters in Environmental Policy and Planning program at the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS).  Prior to returning to graduate school, Julia was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia for 18 months.  Her service was unfortunately cut short due to the Ebola epidemic.  Julia joined Focus Hope afterwards.  Julia has a BS in Environmental Policy and a BA in Planning and Public Policy from Rutgers University.

As part of a team of four graduate students from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, she spent the summer in Ethiopia to perform an impact evaluation of ADHENO’s programs.  To accomplish this, her team evaluated the impacts on farmer’s livelihoods as well as the ecological outcomes of ADHENO’s work. Her role was mainly in measuring the former and to do so she created a household survey aimed at assessing farming management practices, crop yield, and other indicators of wellbeing, such as income and health.

ADHENO is an Ethiopian non-profit organization implementing environmental restoration and economic empowerment programs in the North Shoa region. Their work includes various trainings for smallholder farmers on environmentally sustainable management practices such as terracing, use of improved seeds, water run off mitigation, and intercropping. Much of ADHENO’s environmental restoration work is aimed at reducing the rate of erosion. Loss of soil matter and nutrients due to heavy rains and steep slopes in the region is a major concern for farmers. Another key program that ADHENO operates is called tree gudifecha, which is an afforestation program where farmers are paid to adopt and care for trees. Additionally, ADHENO is also involved in the construction of improved drinking water sources, supporting children’s education through payment of school fees, and training farmers on beekeeping.


Danielle Wilkins, School for Environment and Sustainability
Grace Care Center   –   Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Danielle completed her first year at the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) MS program in Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainable Systems program.  Prior to returning to graduate school, Julia was Senior Associate in Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning at International Executive Service Corps in Washington DC and Cambodia.   Danielle has a BA in Political Science from the University of Michigan.

Nearly 8% of the Sri Lankan population, about 1.6 million people, are diagnosed diabetes patients. This number is expected to grow as Sri Lanka’s economy evolves away from manual agriculture to less physically demanding employment and disposable income allows more people to adopt Western styles of eating.  While Sri Lanka does provide health care free of charge in the country’s public hospitals, the lack of trained medical staff means that for poor patients who have diabetes, their disease is managed through a 2 minute monthly interaction with the doctor to renew their prescriptions, and the occasional blood test.

The Director of Grace’s Board of Directors in the US, has partnered with University of Michigan medical faculty and students to design a conceptual model that combines the roles of a Medical Assistant and Diabetes Educator.  This new role is supplemented by the development of a web application that uses a patient’s basic vital information to assess the individual’s risk for diabetes-related complications.

Danielle worked with the medical faculty at the Trincomalee General Hospital, medical faculty at the University of Michigan, and the young women from Grace who have begun training for the position, to develop a comprehensive training curriculum and path forward to improving diabetic care in Sri Lanka.


Tim Yuan, Ross School of Business
University of Michigan College of Engineering, Dept of Mechanical Engineering and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology   –   Accra and Kumasi, Ghana

Tim recently wrapped up his first year in the full-time MBA program at the University of Michigan – Ross School of Business. During his time at Ross, he’s transitioning into product management within technology startups from a prior career in management consulting.  He is originally from Chicago and will enthusiastically support Chicago’s merits on all fronts, including the Cubs, the hot dogs, and deep dish pizza.

He worked on a solar-powered mobility solution targeted towards emerging markets. The goal of the product is to provide motorized transportation and charging capabilities using solar energy.  Given the GDP per capita in Ghana is about $1,400 annually, the solution needs to be affordable and have low operating/maintenance costs, all while being durable and useful. His goal for the summer was to perform customer discovery, define product use cases, estimate the market opportunity, and identify potential supplier and manufacturing partners.

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