#IncomingElliott: Henry Knecht

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Henry Knecht is starting his Masters in Security Policy Studies at the Elliott School in the Fall 2019 semester. Henry is coming back from his Peace Corps service, which he began in February 2016. He worked as a Health Extension Volunteer in a small village in Senegal for 27 Months. There he became fluent in the local language, Sereer, and worked to promote health in malaria prevention, nutrition, maternal and child health, and water and sanitation hygiene. He then continued his service by moving to the Peace Corps Liberia post where he worked as the Malaria Coordinator for one year as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer. Henry hopes to continue work in the West Africa region, promoting peace and security.

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#ElliottProud: John Mackedon

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John Mackedon received his M.A. in European and Eurasian Studies from the Elliott School and is an Online Communications Officer with the World Bank, working in the Europe and Central Asia region. John joined the World Bank in 2009 and has worked in gender, agriculture, climate change, and communications. Prior to going to the Elliott School to pursue a degree in European and Eurasian Studies, John lived and worked in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. From 2002 – 2004, John served as a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching English. Upon completion of his service, and in the wake of Georgia’s Rose Revolution, John moved to the capital, Tbilisi, to work as a journalist and development consultant. John was born and raised in northern Nevada and received his BA in English from the University of Oregon. When not exploring the nearby waters with his flyrod, John can be found sampling hoppy beers at a local brewery or brewing his own (hoppy) beer.     Continue reading “#ElliottProud: John Mackedon”

#ElliottProud: Bart Pogue

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Bart Pogue completed the International Development Studies program at the Elliott School in 2012. While at GW, Bart took a number of international education courses through the Graduate School of Education and Human Development and worked part-time as an English as a Second Language instructor at Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School. Bart’s IDS capstone team evaluated the impact of AGE Africa, a small non-profit organization that supports young women through secondary school in Malawi. After graduating, Bart worked for American Councils for International Education administering an overseas language immersion program for U.S. high school students. In January 2016, Bart joined USAID as an Education Development Officer with the Foreign Service and currently serves in USAID Guatemala’s Health and Education Office where he supports the basic education and youth portfolios. Bart received his BSc in Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco.

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#ElliottProud: Patricia Huffman

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Patricia Huffman spent six years teaching English in Georgia (Peace Corps), Hungary, Ukraine and while there, revolutions occurred. She went back to school to get a comprehensive understanding of the events she had witnessed. As a result of her English teaching experience overseas, she got a position at GW working with Bolashak exchange students from Kazakhstan, helping them get their English up to the level required for doing and presenting research. After graduation, she networked and built her tutoring business. Patricia’s favorite thing about the Elliott School is the wide range of backgrounds of the people she encountered, adding that it was the university experience she had always wanted and worth going back to school for. She graduated with a Master’s in European and Eurasian Studies.

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#ElliottProud: Nanda Ruiz

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Nanda Ruiz is a Refugee Officer at the Department of Homeland Security. She received a B.A in Political Science and a B.S in Signed Language Interpreting from the University of New Mexico. She went on to earn her M.A in International Development Studies at the Elliott School, focusing on Gender development and humanitarian response. Ms. Ruiz is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Peru 2012-2014) and her previous work includes positions with International Medical Corps, International Development Enterprise, and Save the Children. She has lived and worked in Bangladesh and Jordan and speaks Spanish, French, and ASL.

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2017 Incoming Class: Claire Nadolski

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Meet Claire – First-year International Development Studies student from Virginia Beach, Va., who recently hiked the Caucaus Mountains in Georgia!

Prior to beginning graduate studies at George Washington University I completed my undergraduate education at Lynchburg College, in Lynchburg Virginia, with a double major in Political Science and French Language. While at Lynchburg College, I spent four years as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician for the Lynchburg College Emergency Medical Services and working as a French tutor in the Language Resource Center.

One month after graduation, I left for my first tour of service with the United States Peace Corps and served a full 27-month tour in Benin, West Africa. My primary assignment was Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and my secondary projects were concentrated in the health field: improving hygiene and sanitation in my local, rural school in northern Benin, and distributing much-needed mosquito nets to the community to help prevent malaria. Benin was an amazing experience that solidified not only my French language skills but also my desire and motivation to work in the international development sphere to better the lives of others. 6 months after closing my service in Benin, I was selected for a Peace Corps Response position of 6 months in the Republic of Georgia, where I am currently working. Here, I work on organizational development projects for a small local NGO (Regional Development Resource Center).

I’m very fortunate and eager to become part of the Elliot School community in the fall, where I will be participating in the International Development Studies program. I hope to continue working to help others; potentially returning to West Africa, focusing on health-related needs post-graduate education.

In my free time, I enjoy knitting, hiking, fitness, and all things equine related.

The 2017 Incoming Class Series highlights students starting a Master’s degree at the Elliott School in the Fall 2017 semester. The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs. For more information, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu.