PiAf Fellows

Luwam Berhane 2009-2010 Fellow with Lutheran World Federation, Burundi Princeton University Class of 2009

Fellow Bio:

Luwam is a politics major from Fairfax, VA. She also earned certificates in African studies and French language and literature. On campus, she was vice president of the Princeton Association of Black Women and small group leader for Manna Christian Fellowship. Luwam is looking forward to good conversations with locals and to learning about development from her colleagues while living in Burundi.

Katie Bernhard 2015-2016 Fellow with The Rwanda School Project, Rwanda Dartmouth College Class of 2015

Katie grew up in Park City, Utah. She graduated from Dartmouth College in the Class of 2015 with a B.A. in Honors Environmental Studies and a minor in Applied Ethics. In addition to skiing and mountain biking, as a Dartmouth student Katie pursued her interdisciplinary interests in environmental science, environmental justice, and civil rights by conducting research in both the Biology and Environmental Studies Departments and the Ethics Institute.  In 2014, Katie interned in the Civil Rights Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in Boston and studied abroad in Morocco. Her experience in Morocco and study of Arabic led to her senior honors thesis research on the influences of international politics on Moroccan phosphate mining. Upon her return from Morocco, Katie served as an AmeriCorps volunteer at Teton Science Schools in Wyoming, where she entered the world of environmental education. Katie believes that improving environmental justice across the globe starts with science literacy. In Rwanda, Katie is excited to work with the Rwanda School Project to develop environmental science curriculum and promote environmental literacy. Katie is a potter and a mountain bike racer, and is excited to learn Rwandan art and pottery methods and explore central Africa.

Abhit Bhandari 2012-2013 Fellow with UN World Food Programme, Senegal Northwestern University Class of 2012

Alumni Update:

Abhit is currently a PhD student in political science at Columbia, where he studies the political economy of development with a focus on Africa.

Fellow Bio:

Abhit is from Knoxville, TN and was a Political Science and African Studies major in college. During his time at Northwestern, he was the co-director of the Undergraduate Africa Seminar, the editor of the Political Science Communiqué, and the director of A&O Films. He also spent time working as a teaching assistant for an African politics class and interning at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Through Northwestern, he was able to study abroad for a semester in Paris and conduct independent thesis research for a summer in Senegal. Abhit looks forward to returning to Senegal, improving his Wolof, and taking in the incredible music scene Dakar has to offer.

Martha Bierut 2015-2016 Fellow with The Kasiisi Project, Uganda Scripps College Class of 2015

Martha is originally from Sleepy Hollow, New York and graduated from Scripps College in Claremont, California with a degree in Organismal Biology in 2015. Martha also studied Wildlife Management for a semester with The School for Field Studies in Rhotia, Tanzania and Kimana, Kenya. At Scripps, she completed her senior thesis on inorganic pollutants in Costa Rican watersheds, and she completed an additional directed research thesis on the implications of human encroachment on the Kimana-Kikarankot River during her time studying abroad in Kenya. She also has spent the past two summers interning with the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo, which has been an invaluable experience. Martha’s future career interests include wildlife conservation and field research, but a Master’s degree inevitably must come first! Outside of academia, Martha enjoys Zumba fitness and alternative comedy. Martha is very excited to return to East Africa as well as to travel throughout the region, keep up with her Swahili, and learn Rutooro at her fellowship post in Kibaale. Her experience teaching English while abroad in Tanzania as well as her passion for wildlife conservation make her a happy and ready Fellow for The Kasiisi Project.

Mark Birhanu 2012-2013 Fellow with Save the Children, Ethiopia Northwestern University Class of 2012 Check out Mark's Blog

Fellow Bio:

Mark graduated with degrees in African Studies and Social Policy. While at Northwestern, he held leadership positions on the African Students Association, the Global Engagement Summit, and the Undergraduate Africa Seminar. Off campus, he studied Public Health and Forced Migration at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, and interned with the Refugee Law Project, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, and the Center for Forced Migration Studies. Raised in suburban Illinois, Mark is excited to experience life in the country of his father’s birth. He especially looks forward to improving his Amharic, interacting with hyenas at Harar, visiting other fellows in their respective countries, eating injera every day, and exploring the Addis music scene.

Shameika Black 2012-2013 Fellow with Olam International, Gabon Swarthmore College Class of 2011 Check out Shameika's Blog

Alumni Update:

In January Shameika moved out of the nonprofit world and started working as a Management Trainee at McMaster-Carr, a MRO supply company. She commutes from her home in Philadelphia to New Jersey. She focuses on learning how to support and develop people while maintaining high standards and increasing logistical efficiencies.

Fellow Bio:

Shameika is originally from Seattle, WA. At Swarthmore College, she majored in Africana Studies and spent a year abroad in Accra, Ghana. Since graduation, Shameika has worked at Philadelphia VIP, a nonprofit legal services agency, through the Philly Fellows program. In her free time Shameika enjoys learning languages, reading about the most recent developments in astro-physics, and kickboxing. While in Gabon next year, Shameika looks forward to learning French and Fang in addition to learning about Gabonaise culture.

Hannah Blair 2017-2018 Fellow with Young 1ove, Botswana Middlebury College Class of 2017

Originally from the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, Hannah graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in International and Global Studies and minor in Global Health. While at Middlebury, Hannah served in board positions with clubs like GlobeMed and danced with Midd Masti, a South Asian dance group. Throughout her academic career, Hannah held internships at Gardens for Health International, Global Brigades in Ghana, and the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador; she also spent a wonderfully warm winter term teaching English in Costa Rica. Hannah assisted in a long-term research project with a Middlebury professor and spent one summer in Amhara, Ethiopia collecting field-notes on the Women’s Development Army, a government program seeking to empower women and improve health outcomes from a grass-roots level. Her passions for health equity and access were strengthened during her junior year abroad in Argentina and Tanzania. While in Buenos Aires, she interned at a maternal hospital and conducted independent research on comparative health policy. In Tanzania, Hannah studied political ecology, Kiswahili, and spent a month living and studying with a Maasai healer. Hannah is excited to relocate to Gaborone, Botswana to join the Young 1ove team, learn Setswana, and finally escape harsh winters of Vermont.

Erin Blake 2006-2007 Fellow with mothers2mothers, South Africa Princeton University Class of 2006
Kevin Block 2008-2009 Fellow with Lurdes Mutola Foundation, Mozambique Princeton University Class of 2008

Fellow Bio:

Kevin Block ’08 is an English major from Philadelphia, PA. At Princeton, Kevin participated in club sports and was a member of the Student Advisory Committee for the Program in American Studies, in which he earned a certificate. Kevin studied abroad in Spain and has worked for nikesoccer.com as a consultant for the past two years. He is interested in criminal justice and plans to attend law school after his PiAf fellowship ends.