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2016 Fellows

From left to right: Francesca Hidalgo-Wohlleben, Daniella Zessoules, Bara Ahmad, and Kavya Rallabhandi

Bara Ahmad, a native of Chicago, Illinois is a rising senior at Georgia State University majoring in Political Science with a concentration in pre-law. Bara has been interested in the idea of practicing and studying law for a number of years. Her experience interning for Global Atlanta has strengthened her interest in international and business law. Additionally, Bara is very concerned about the refugee crisis due to prolonged unrest in the Middle East. She volunteers for the Refugee Learning Center every Saturday where she uses her knowledge of the Arabic language to tutor Syrian refugees. In the past, she was the secretary for the Muslim Student Association at Georgia State University, where she was in charge of recording minutes, creating newsletters, and event planning, including recruiting speakers. She is also a treasurer for the Arab Cultural Association at Georgia State University, an organization that strives to increase cultural diversity on campus. In the upcoming academic year, she will serve as a Justice on the Georgia State Student Judicial Board. She also plans on applying to law school to pursue a career in the legal field in the hopes of being able to help those who cannot help themselves. Bara is excited to work alongside ABF Research Professor John Hagan during her summer fellowship. 

Francesca Hidalgo-Wohlleben, a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a rising senior at Claremont McKenna College (CMC), where she is majoring in Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE). Her primary fields of interest include social inequality, mass incarceration, and criminal justice. During the 2015 fall semester, Francesca studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, where she took a number of classes on the legal system in Europe and human rights issues. Francesca also had the opportunity to volunteer at the State Public Defender’s office this past winter. In past summers, Francesca worked with the Jane Boyd Community House in her hometown and with a property development group in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Francesca is currently a research assistant at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, where she has led various projects relating to policy and prison reform. At CMC, she serves as Vice President of Rotaract Service Club and will be a consultant at the Center for Writing and Public Discourse in the fall. Francesca is considering a number of post-graduate options, including pursuing either a JD or JD/PhD in economics. Francesca looks forward to the opportunity to work alongside ABF Research Professor and Director Emeritus Robert Nelson this summer. 

Kavya Rallabhandi, a native of Palmerston North, New Zealand, is a rising senior at American University.She is majoring in Economics and minoring in International Relations. Kavya is particularly interested in international law, economic development, and education access for students in underprivileged communities. She is currently a legal intern at Abt Associates, where she developed her interest for international law by working on global health and economic development projects. In 2015, Kavya worked as a Research Assistant with Urban Institute in an effort to study how gentrification affects communities dependent on services offered by non-profits.  As a Community Based Research Scholar at American University, Kavya has conducted research on education access in urban areas and designed a comparative analysis of DC public and charter schools.  These results were presented to the United Planning Organization to help better serve the DC community. Through her scholar program, Kavya recently volunteered with Las Tias in Nicaragua. Kavya has also conducted research on a cross-country analysis of rent control policies and their effects on housing shortages in major global cities. She has presented her work at the AU School of International Affairs Research Conference. Aside from academics, Kavya is heavily involved on campus.  She is a Supplemental Instructor for multiple levels of economics courses and works as a Resident Assistant. Kavya is also a member of the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity. In the future, Kavya plans to pursue a joint JD/PhD in Economics.  She is thrilled to work with Research Professor Victoria Woeste, and ABF Director and Research Professor Ajay Mehrotra during her time at the ABF.

Daniella Zessoules, a native of Beverly, Massachusetts, is a rising senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst majoring in Economics and Political Science with a particular interest in American politics, economic policy, as well as gender, race, and health care inequality. She also participates in the Five College International Relations Program, focusing on international economic systems and foreign policy. In 2014, Daniella worked on Deb Goldberg’s successful campaign for Treasurer of Massachusetts, during which time she organized campaign statistics and participated in the Massachusetts Democratic Convention as a whip. Throughout the past year, Daniella had the privilege to work alongside Professor Dean Robinson assisting with research in comparative health care and race politics. She is involved on campus as a Peer Advisor for the School of Social & Behavioral Sciences. She is also an incoming Conduct Advisor for the Student Government Association, helping students navigate the Code of Conduct and preparing them for meetings with the Dean of Students Office. Daniella also has a keen interest in digital media, musical performance and design and is a media lab technician at the Digital Media Lab at UMass Amherst. Daniella works with 3D modeling and 3D printing, music and green screen production, and has experience hosting a radio show at 91.1 WMUA Amherst. She enjoys filming and editing promotional videos for the DuBois library. Future plans for Daniella include working in the field of civil rights, either pursuing a degree in law or a degree in economic policy. Daniella looks forward to working with ABF Research Professor Elizabeth Mertz this summer.

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