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At CGD, we like “Goodbye!” to mean “See you later!” The CGD Alumni Association—a informal network of former staff, interns and visiting fellows—offers alumni a way to stay in touch with each other and CGD, and to strengthen the simple but powerful bond of our collective mission. Did we mention that the network can be a good way to find your next career opportunity—or to help a fellow alumni do the same? Unlike some other alumni associations, ours has no dues!
Alumni are invited to become active participants in the CGD Alumni Page on Linkedin. We also send occasional newsletters that include Alumni Developments updates and anAluminaryprofile. Questions? Suggestions for a future Alumnary profile? Got an update for the next Alumni Developments? Drop a note to CGD events manager Amanda Leverett, who does double duty as alumni coordinator.
Sebastian worked at CGD between November 2004 and July 2006. Before joining CGD, he spent a few months at the IADB, working as a research assistant for Liliana Rojas-Suarez, who was there at the time. When she moved to CGD in 2006, she proposed that Sebastian join as well. CGD was relatively young at the time, so he didn’t know much about it, but he says that it fortunately turned out to be a great decision.
Most of the time at CGD, Sebastian was an RA for Liliana, with whom he worked on all kinds of projects and activities: from helping with the organization of CLAAF meetings, to providing support for the task force that wrote Growing Pains in Latin America, to helping Liliana on research related to financial regulation in developing countries. He also worked a bit with Kim Elliott while she was preparing her book Delivering on Doha: Farm Trade and the Poor. Sebastian didn’t know it at the time, but years later he would write his PhD thesis about the domestic costs of agriculture and their productivity and welfare implications in Peru.
Sebastian says that his experience at CGD has helped him in a number of ways. One concrete example is that it helped him develop the tools for careful empirical analysis, which he now uses in his own research. He says that the care that the senior and research fellows used in dealing with data stuck with him. He also got to spend time with super smart RAs and learned from them. More generally, it was great to be around a lot of smart people, hearing what they thought about development issues.
Have news to share with CGD and alums? Please send your news and developments to Amanda Leverett.
Selvin Akkus (research assistant, 2003–2005) has always felt like she is part of the CGD family and is now happy to be adding a new member. She and Michael Clemens were the first (or one of the first) CGD couples to get married, and now they are expecting their first kid in April. They are thrilled to be expanding the CGD family.
Denizhan Duran, (research assistant, 2011–2013) former global health policy research assistant, is currently working as a technical advisor for health insurance with the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Jessica Gottlieb (program coordinator, 2005–2006) is still an assistant professor at Texas A&M University’s Bush School, but in the last year has published two articles from her dissertation on challenges to democracy in Mali here and here. She is also expecting her second child in summer 2016.
Nabil Hashmi (research assistant, 2013–2014) has been working in Philadelphia as a web developer for Comcast, which has been a great learning experience. Philly is a wonderful city, and it has been a lot of fun getting to know it better.
Robin Kraft (program coordinator and research assistant, 2007–2010) moved on from Global Forest Watch, leaving CGD’s FORMA project in WRI’s capable hands. He also co-founded — and then shut down — a satellite analytics startup and is about to start his first “normal” job since he left CGD in 2009. He’ll be leading an engineering team at Planet Labs. He also got engaged!
Annie Malknecht (executive assistant to the president, 2011–2012) just started a new job in New York acting as the philanthropy manager for the Chobani Foundation and the Tent Foundation, a personal philanthropic endeavor from Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder and CEO of Chobani.
Sonal Shah (director of programs and operations, 2001–2003) has been running the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University since February 2014. The Beek Center is focused on 21st-century solutions that can exponentially improve lives. This year the Center released the second report in its “Outcomes Series” called Smarter Government for Social Impact: A New Mindset for Better Outcomes. The next paper will focus on the role of data and technology.
Andrew Stober (media relations and publications associate, 2001–2004) left his position as chief of staff in the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office on Transportation and Utilities to run as an independent candidate for Philadelphia City Council. While ultimately unsuccessful, he had a great time running for office and managed to shake up Philadelphia politics. In January, he joined the University City District (UCD) as the vice president for planning and economic development.
Sandy Stonesifer (program coordinator, special assistant to the president, 2010) worked first on the global health team for Ruth Levine and then as Nancy’s interim special assistant for a few months before she left for the ONE Campaign. Since then she moved on to a political appointee position at USAID (running their advisory committee) before leaving to get her Master’s degree and start her own organization development consulting practice — www.ssquared.org — helping organizations become healthier and more effective. She also got married this year and had two fellow CGD alums in attendance.
Ross Thuotte (research assistant, 2010–2012) was promoted to international affairs associate in October at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Among other things, their team (International Affairs and Strategy) helps to formulate and execute the Bank’s international strategy and outreach.