Strauss Center News

Updates from the Strauss Center and our affiliated distinguished scholars and fellows


2012 Crook Fellowship Winners Announced

May 1, 2012 |

The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law has announced the winners of the 2012 William H. Crook Fellowship awards. Now in its fifth year, the Crook Fellowship program provides summer fellowships to students in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs working for nonprofit organizations in developing countries. Since 2008, it has enabled student work on twenty-eight development projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The Strauss Center’s William H. Crook Program sponsors the fellowships. The Program is dedicated to promoting global economic development and fighting poverty and was made possible by a gift from Mrs. Eleanor Crook in honor of her late husband. William H. Crook was a prominent public figure in Texas politics and a pioneer in global development.

The Crook Fellowships for 2012 have been awarded to the following students and projects:

Joshua Abel will be working with Zidisha, Inc. in Mugaa and Nairobi, Kenya. His summer work will consist of meeting with entrepreneurs in Mugaa to assist them with applications for peer-to-peer microloans as well as meeting with current borrowers to check on the status of their business and loan.

Jenny Achilles and Ahmed Bilal Hakeem will be working with the McLain Association for Children in Tbilisi, Georgia to meet with teachers and families to perform an evaluation on the association’s educational training program for teaching and mentoring children with disabilities.

Ala Ahmad will be working with the Palestinian Hydrology Group, a non-profit organization in the Palestinian region working to improve access to water and sanitation devices. She will be evaluating the effectiveness of aid received and formulating new proposals for development programs in the West Bank.

Sarah DeCuir will travel to Cairo, Egypt and work with the United Nations Development Programme Regional Center for Arab States. Within the Poverty Team, she will work on outreach activities based on a recent report on development in the Arab world that advocates democratic transformation.

Sarah McDuff will be working with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She will be working for the Economic Development and NEPAD division conducting research, producing publications and organizing regional conferences with the main goal of reducing poverty in the region.

Allison Minor is working at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia in Beirut, Lebanon with the Social Policy team where she will research the involvement of private sector organizations in the provision of social services.

Rebecca Moore will travel to Granada, Nicaragua to work for People Helping People Global, a Vermont based micro-lending organization. She will work as a liaison between U.S. donors and micro-loan recipients, interviewing potential borrowers and updating lenders via the organizations blog.

Hanna Murphy-Pack will spend her summer working for the United Nations Development Program-Iraq in Amman, Jordan on a poverty reduction initiative. She will research best practices and review previous development projects as well as work on capacity building and democratic governance.

Elena Rodriguez will be working with Fundacion Ethos, an independent, non-profit think tank based in Mexico City, Mexico. Here she will research poverty in Mexico and Latin America, organize conferences and examine the process of democratization firsthand during Mexican presidential elections.

Cody Rothschild will travel to Panajachel, Guatemala to work with Mayan Families, a non-profit that promotes economic development and general well being for citizens of the region. She will take a leading role in the organizations family aid, medical aid, elderly care and infant nutrition programs, working directly with the community.

Niniane Tozzi plans to work for the United Nations Development Programme in Cairo, Egypt. She will work in the Poverty Reduction Unit researching and analyzing projects, monitoring ongoing projects and performing fieldwork related to food security.

Ross Van Horn is working at the United Nations Development Program International Poverty Center for Inclusive Growth in Brasilia, Brazil. Here he will work in the Social Protection and Cash Transfers Unit researching social insurance and social assistance to at risk populations in Latin America and Africa.

The 2012 award selection committee included Celeste Ward Gventer, Strauss Center Associate Director, Joshua Busby, Crook Distinguished Scholar at the Strauss Center and Assistant Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs; Jennifer Bussell, Assistant Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs; Kate Weaver, Strauss Center Research Coordinator and Associate Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs; and Jaclyn Leaver, former Crook Fellowship recipient and Master of Global Policy Studies candidate at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law is a nonpartisan research center at The University of Texas at Austin dedicated to promoting policy-relevant scholarship on the problems and opportunities created by our increasingly globalized and interconnected world. For more information on the Strauss Center, please visit