December 2021 Newsletter

Brenda Coromina’s Pickering Fellowship

Here at Princeton in Africa, our Board, staff, and supporters are incredibly proud of our current Fellow Brenda Coromina (International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Kenya) who has been selected as a Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellow.

Among other resources, the Pickering Fellowship provides financial assistance to recipients as they embark on a two-year graduate program and two summer internships—one in Washington, D.C, and one in a U.S. Embassy/Consulate overseas. Throughout the program, they offer support and guidance as fellows prepare for a career in the Foreign Service.

“What I look forward to the most with the fellowship is continuing to build my professional network and learning as much as I can through the program so that I am as prepared as I can be for a career in the foreign service. I am also looking forward to incorporating the tools I’ve gained throughout past experiences, including Princeton in Africa, into the work that I do. PiAf will no doubt inform the way I think about my place in the world, how I interact with others, and my relationship with the people and cultures of other countries.” – Brenda Coromina, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Kenya

We look forward to seeing the incredible work Brenda will do with this Fellowship, and are deeply proud to have her in our growing PiAf network.

MEET Secures Its First Fiscal Sponsorship

Our Princeton in Africa network of alumni and Board members never ceases to be an extremely helpful resource for our current Fellows. In this edition of our Fellows Flyer, we want to highlight Catherine Blizzard (2021-22 Fellow with Mount Elgon Ecosystem Trust (MEET), Kenya) and her work with our Board Member and Chair of our Development Committee, Daniela Kaisth. 

Daniela has been on Princeton in Africa’s Board of Directors since 2012. She is the founder of Gratias Partners, a philanthropy consulting firm that focuses on helping new foundations and philanthropists to give more effectively, including through collaboration with other donors. With more than 20 years of experience in international non-profit management, Daniela oversees the development, communications, new initiatives, and emergency assistance of students and scholars. Daniela has been and continues to be an incredible resource for Princeton in Africa’s staff members, board of directors, and Fellows. 

When Catherine Blizzard began her fellowship in late August, she quickly realized that one of her first major tasks as the Grants and Fundraising Fellow would be to lead all fundraising efforts and secure 501(c)(3) status for her organization. This was a daunting task, and Catherine reached out to our PiAf network for guidance. Catherine met with Daniela in September and was encouraged to research possible fiscal sponsorships for MEET. A fiscal sponsorship could allow MEET to take in contributions from the USA and also provide specific expertise and connections to grow its non-profit network. Catherine found Ecologistics, a California-based nonprofit, and prepared an application about MEET’s mission and goals to present to Ecologistic’s board in November. 

Ecologistics is focused on ecology, conservation, and, more recently, racial justice. Located in California, it primarily serves conservationist organizations in the California area. Even before Catherine contacted them, Ecologistics was looking to expand internationally. The board unanimously voted for MEET to be the first international organization they sponsor. Ecologistics will act as a legal umbrella for MEET, providing assistance with admin taxes, completing Form 990 for nonprofits, and providing Catherine with a substantial fundraising platform that she will use to project MEET’s mission. Ecologistic’s sponsorship will also open up the door for potential donors, resources, connections to other like-minded environmental organizations, and the opportunity to gain 501(c)(3) status. 

On behalf of the Fellows, alumni, and Board of Directors, we want to congratulate Catherine Blizzard on her accomplishments in her fellowship, and we look forward to seeing how Catherine and MEET will grow throughout the rest of the 2021-22 Fellowship year. We also want to thank Daniela Kaisth for being an asset to our network of young professionals and for her dedication to Princeton in Africa.

Language & Storytelling: How to Write and Speak About Africa

Princeton in Africa wants to extend a sincere thank you to all of those who joined us for our virtual speaker event, “Language & Storytelling: How to Write and Speak About Africa”. We were honored to have Dr. Uzodinma Iweala and Dr. Mgbechi Ugonna Erondu as our esteemed panelists for this event. They crafted a rich conversation about identity, language, and how to shape the narrative surrounding the African continent. Thank you as well to Program in African Studies for co-sponsoring this event. If you missed it, please visit our youtube channel to see a recording of the event.

Thank you for a successful and fulfilling 2021.

Warm regards,

Damilola and the PiAf team

Our History

In 1999, a group of Princeton alumni, faculty, and staff launched Princeton in Africa as an independent affiliate of Princeton University inspired by the University’s informal motto, “Princeton in the Nation’s Service and in the Service of All Nations.” In 2010, the program opened up to include graduates of any US accredited university in order to meet the growing demand from host organizations and allow more young professionals access to the unique opportunities afforded by PiAf. During the past 20 years, we have placed over 600 Fellows with more than 100 organizations in 36 countries, while developing more strategic partnerships across Africa and creating more opportunities for our alumni community to engage with the continent and with one another.


The International Rescue Committee has been so fortunate to have had a longstanding relationship with Princeton in Africa since our very first Fellows landed in Rwanda in 1999.  Whether it was Emily or Renee in 1999 or the 110 Fellows across 14 IRC countries over the years, we have been blessed by the relationship, the quality of the Fellows and the impact on what IRC does on the ground every single day.

Brian Johnson
Chief Human Resources Officer
International Rescue Committee

My fellowship has been the most impactful personal and professional development opportunity of my life. I wanted a post-college experience that would push my limits, expand my comfort zone, and help me discern the next steps in my career journey. And this has been the case.

Ryan Elliott
2014-15 Fellow
Baylor Pediatric AIDS Initiative in Lesotho

I can honestly say that this year has changed my life and my view of what’s possible for the future. Princeton in Africa isn’t just a one-year fellowship, it’s an introduction to a particular way of life and a new way of thinking about the world. I feel like so many doors are open now that I never would have considered before.

Katie Fackler
2010-11 Fellow
UN World Food Programme

My Princeton in Africa fellowship was everything I could have hoped for and much more. The myriad of experiences makes my head swim, and it has strengthened my desire to help underserved populations worldwide.

David Bartels
2006-2007 Fellow
Baylor Pediatric AIDS Initiative

Princeton in Africa was an invaluable experience for me. I learned an infinite amount through my work and through living in Uganda. I also realized that I want to continue working on African issues as long as I can.

Alexis Okeowo
2006-2007 Fellow
The New Vision

The International Rescue Committee’s experience with Princeton in Africa has been exceptional. Each Fellow brings excellent writing and analytical skills as well as unique interests and passions that enrich the program and the field office environment. We were so pleased we expanded the program to more field offices.

Susan Riehl
Human Resources, IRC

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has been working in Africa for over 11 years through its Secure the Future program.  One common theme in all aspects of program implementation is having passionate, energetic individuals on the ground who can think outside the box and then transfer the skills for sustainability.  The Princeton In Africa Fellows have been a huge asset in this regard and our programs and patients have been better for it.

John Damonti
President, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation