2018 & 2019 Fellows

Over the past two years, a total of eight University of Michigan graduate students from seven University of Michigan schools worked in seven countries around the world as part of the WDI Global Impact Internship program.  In 2018, six students worked individually in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Namibia, and Nepal, and in 2019 two students worked in India and Rwanda.  The students worked with global organizations, social enterprises, and start-ups on various projects such as developing business and marketing strategies, impact assessments, business process improvements, and women empowerment strategies in the emerging market countries.   Learn more about our 2018 and 2019 Fellows below.



Emma Smith, Ross School of Business
Michigan Academy for the Development of Entrepreneurs (MADE) & Poornatha   –   Madurai, India

When Emma started her WDI summer internship with MADE, she had just completed her first year of her MBA program at Michigan Ross.  Prior to her MBA studies, Emma was an Account Executive with Interactive Digital in Ghana and Co-Founder of Any Book Now, a non-profit working to provide books to under-resourced schools and orphanages, also in Ghana.

The Michigan Academy for the Development of Entrepreneurs (MADE) is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization whose aim is to develop entrepreneurs in emerging economies.  MADE was founded by the William Davidson and Zell-Lurie Institutes at the University of Michigan and Aparajitha Foundation in Madurai, India.  MADE provides Entrepreneurship Development Organizations (EDOs) in emerging economies a repeatable, scalable, transferable and profitable service platform to develop entrepreneurs in their home countries.  For her summer project, Emma designed a structure for MADE’s entrepreneurial curriculum, breaking down topics into comprehensive modules that can be understood and taught with ease, and serve as the structure for the development of future modules.  Emma’s work continued a succession of Ross School student teams who have worked with MADE since its launch in late 2017.


Olawunmi Oduyebo, Health Informatics Program, School of Information & School of Public Health
The Ihangane Project (TIP)   –   Ruli, Rwanda

Wunmi had completed her first year of her Master of Science in Health Informatics (MHI) at the University of Michigan when she started her summer internship with The Ihangane Project in Ruli, Rwanda.  Prior to graduate school at UM, Wunmi was Managing Auditor Ernst & Young in Chicago.  Wunmi is also the Founder of All Things Health Africa (ATHA), a digital health company promoting chronic disease prevention and management to maximize life potential, based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Ihangane Project (TIP) empowers local communities to develop sustainable, effective, and patient-centered health care delivery systems that holistically respond to the needs of vulnerable populations.  Partnering with Ruli District Hospital and its associated health centers, TIP is working to identify key strategies for improving health outcomes.  Alongside front-line health care workers and the Rwanda Ministry of Health, The Ihangane Project has created Rwanda’s first point-of-care digital health record called E-Heza. E-Heza will dramatically improve maternal and child health outcomes by giving nurses the tools they need to adopt evidence-based clinical care protocols, provide high quality care and utilize real-time data trends to both tailor health education to individual family needs and to improve the health care delivery system while simultaneously satisfying Rwanda Ministry of Health data reporting requirements.  For her summer project, Wunmi tested TIP’s metrics framework and analyzed baseline costs, accuracy and timeliness of data reporting associated with ‘current practice’ and comparison data at sites where E-Heza had been implemented.



Andrea Arathoon,  School of Public Health
Jacaranda Health   –   Nairobi, Kenya

Andrea completed her first year of her Master of Health Services Administration, Global Health Management and Policy program at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.  Prior to graduate school at UM, Andrea worked in the medical and financial industries.  Andrea has a Medical Degree from the Universidad Francisco Marroquín, MBA from the Universidad Francisco Marroquín School of Business in Guatemala, and a Master of Management with a minor in Entrepreneurship from Tulane University Freeman School of Business.

Jacaranda Health is an organization that aims to make pregnancy and childbirth safer for women and newborns by transforming maternity care in East Africa.  They started operations in 2011 with a mobile clinic that provided prenatal care to women in Kenya.  It has now grown into two distinct arms that still work towards the same goal but cover two different aspects of maternal health.  Jacaranda Health’s NGO arm focuses on research and healthcare innovations.  In 2017 they worked with 15 public/mission hospitals in two counties and last year they expanded to three counties and more facilities. Jacaranda’s other arm, Jacaranda Maternity, is an 18-bed private hospital located in the outskirts of Nairobi. The hospital conducts over 25,000 outpatient visits per year and delivers an average of 115 babies every month.

The biggest challenge for an organization like Jacaranda Maternity that provides high-quality care while serving mostly low-income populations is financial sustainability.  There have been many efforts by Jacaranda Maternity to reduce costs and to increase patient volumes, while at the same time maintaining the high quality of care that Jacaranda is known for.  One potential intervention that can have a positive impact on profitability is the improvement of patient flow in the facility.  If patient flow is streamlined, waiting times can be reduced and consultations can be more efficient, which in turn, increases patient volumes and reduces costs.  As part of Andrea’s summer internship project, she was tasked with mapping and optimizing the processes for outpatient visits and inpatient stays.  These improvements in patient flow included the roll-out of an outpatient care checklist, which simplified the current medical record and  ensured that the organization complies with World Health Organization and Kenyan Ministry of Health guidelines for patient care.


Mason Benjamin,  College of Pharmacy
International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), the William Davidson Institute (WDI),  and the University of Namibia   –   Windhoek, Namibia

When Mason joined WDI internship program, he was a rising 3rd year student at the University of Michigan pursuing his PharmD at the College of Pharmacy and, through their professional elective program, also took MBA courses at the Stephen M Ross School of Business. His career interests include healthcare access, advocacy for underserved patient populations, and emerging markets. He plans to relocate internationally after pharmacy school, pursuing a career which positively impacts healthcare delivery and improves access at the population level.   Prior to his studies in Michigan, Mason earned his B.A. in Psychology and his Certificate of Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder.   During his free time, Mason loves learning about different cultures, geographies, and foods. He enjoys traveling to photograph—and later paint—different places, as well as trying new foods.  Mason also tries to learn a new recipe every weekend, and visit a new place every year.

The International Pharmaceutical Federation or Fédération Internationale Pharmaceutique (FIP) is a global federation representing over 4 million pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists worldwide. The Hospital Pharmacy Section’s objectives are to further hospital pharmacy in all its aspects, including the needs of developing countries.  FIP, in partnership with WDI, established a collaboration with the University of Namibia School of Pharmacy to increase the capacity of hospital pharmacists, through in-country diagnostics and technical assistance.   Mason developed a landscape analysis of hospital pharmacy practices in Namibia, both at private and public hospitals, in support of a larger pharmacy workforce development goal.


Matthew Carney, Ross School of Business and the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS)
Ecoprise    –   Kathmandu, Nepal

Matthew completed his first year in the dual degree MBA/MS program at the Ross School of Business and School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS).  Prior to joining the Erb Institute at the University of Michigan, Matthew worked as a market research consultant in New York City.   During that time, he developed quantitative and qualitative research tools to help businesses better understand their customers and compete in the marketplace. Moving forward, Matthew is interested in helping global businesses become more efficient by incorporating sustainable practices. Matthew graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina, earning a BA in Political Science with a minor in Economics.  He is an avid skier & hiker, completing the Strada Degli Alpini in Summer 2017.  He is passionate about politics, art, travel, reading non-fiction and is fluent in Italian.

Founded six years ago, Ecoprise designs, builds and installs clean energy products in Nepal for the underserved, energy-poor communities in order to create positive economic, environmental and social impact.  Ecoprise recently started AgroHub, a pay-as-you-go service-based business model that aims to provide access to solar-powered infrastructure for remote underserved farming communities.  These hubs provide farmers with access to equipment for irrigation, clean drinking water, food-processing and refrigerated post-harvest storage as a service, with ownership of equipment remaining with AgroHub or Ecoprise.  Matthew developed a theory of change report and a business plan for Ecoprise’s AgroHub model as part of its efforts to bring solar-powered agricultural services to subsistence farmers in the western Nepal region of Terai.


Rebecca Grossman-Kahn, Ross School of Business and Medical School
Plan International    –   Sao Paolo, Brazil

Rebecca is a dual degree MBA/MD student.  She was in her fourth year of Med School when she started her Ross MBA program in the Fall of 2017.   Prior to joining the University of Michigan Medical School, she was Project Director with Amigos de Las Americas in Nicaragua and Brazil.  Rebecca was also a Fulbright  Research Fellow, working in Brazil.   Rebecca also founded a medical humanities student interest group a few years ago.  She speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish.

Plan International is a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1937.  It is a development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls through various programs.   For her internship, Rebecca developed a tool to assess the social impact of Plan Brazil’s gender equality programs; developed a framework for evaluating impact of violence prevention and girls’ empowerment programs that adapted to other partner organizations and in other settings.  In addition, Rebecca also analyzed Plan International’s program cost structure and provided recommendations for standardizing and cost savings.


Chris Owen, Ross School of Business and the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS)
Michigan Academy for the Development of Entrepreneurs (MADE) & Poornatha   –   Madurai, India

Chris Owen is a rising second-year dual-degree student with the Ross School of Business and the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan.  He is passionate about social entrepreneurship, sustainability, and people strategy.  He joins the 2018 WDI Global Impact Fellows program after serving for three years in Ecuador with the U.S. Peace Corps, first as a business consultant in the natural resource conservation program and then as a Regional Volunteer Leader.   As a business consultant, Chris equipped environmental NGOs nation-wide with the tools for organizational development. As an RVL, Chris collaborated with senior staff to manage and train incoming volunteers. Prior to his service with the Peace Corps, Chris co-founded Hosea’s Heart, a non-profit organization in Swaziland, Africa, which shelters and empowers at-risk girls. Chris graduated from Marquette University, and enjoys canoeing, hiking, and cycle touring in his free time.

The Michigan Academy for the Development of Entrepreneurs (MADE) is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization whose aim is to develop entrepreneurs in emerging economies.  MADE was founded by the William Davidson and Zell-Lurie Institutes at the University of Michigan and Aparajitha Foundation in Madurai, India.  MADE provides Entrepreneurship Development Organizations (EDOs) in emerging economies a repeatable, scalable, transferable and profitable service platform to develop entrepreneurs in their home countries.  For his summer project, Chris identified best practices of existing coaching programs in India and other emerging economies, conducted a needs assessment of entrepreneurs in Madurai and developed a framework and training curriculum for how coaches are identified, on-boarded and trained.  Chris’ work continued a succession of Ross School student teams who have worked with MADE since its launch in late 2017.


Nadia Putri, Ross School of Business
East Bali Cashews   –   Jakarta and Bali, Indonesia

Nadia had recently wrapped up her first year in the MBA program at the Ross School of Business when she joined WDI’s summer internship program.  For several years before joining Ross School, Nadia worked in the food industry in Boise, ID.  Nadia has a BS in Food Science from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.  She enjoys traveling and understands basic Korean, having volunteered on a tangerine farm on Jeju Island in Korea in the summer of 2017.

Founded in 2012, East Bali Cashews (EBC) sources sustainably grown cashews from nearby smallholder farmers and processes them in a factory located in a remote village in one of Bali’s poorest regions.  Since its launch, the company has integrated various social missions in and around their cashew processing operations, including community improvement and women’s empowerment.   For her internship, Nadia designed a U.S. and other international markets entry strategy and actionable roadmap, developed sustainable quality and efficiency improvements and created a food production “best practices” guide.  Additionally, in partnership with WDI’s Entrepreneurship Development Center, Nadia developed a strategy to support EBC’s mission for women empowerment and a mini case study how they would achieve it.

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