Strauss Center News

Keep up with us - and subscribe to stay in the know!


Eight LBJ Students Chosen for 2017 Crook Fellowship Awards

May 9, 2017 |

The Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 William H. Crook Fellowship awards. This year the Center is funding eight remarkable LBJ School students, who will be spending their summer working in Uganda, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Boston, and Washington, D.C.

Over the past ten years, the Crook Fellowship program has enabled seventy students to intern with nongovernmental and multilateral organizations focused on economic development and poverty reduction throughout the developing world. The program was founded in 2008 through a generous gift from Mrs. Eleanor Crook in honor of her late husband, Ambassador William H. Crook. Ambassador Crook was a prominent public figure in Texas politics and a pioneer in global development, establishing the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity at the request of President Lyndon B. Johnson and serving as national director of Volunteers in Service to America, now known as AmeriCorps.

Former Crook Fellows have gone on to establish impressive careers in the development arena, now working at the Brookings Institution, Development Gateway, Innovations for Poverty Action, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the World Bank.

The 2017 Crook Fellowships have been awarded to the following eight students:

Cassie Davis will intern this summer with Bread for the World Institute, a nonpartisan policy analysis organization that focuses on strategies to end hunger. In her role, Cassie will develop a report that aligns recommendations for the 2018 Farm Bill with the United Nations Sustainable Goals on hunger relief, using research and analysis of past Farm Bills and their impacts on the social, economic, and political arenas. The report has the potential to impact public policy through adoption by government organizations such as USAID and the USDA.

Michael Deegan will be based in the Office of the Coordinator of Assistance to Europe and Eurasia with the State Department in Washington D.C., working with civil and foreign servants on the implementation of new development initiatives and the evaluation of ongoing projects. Michael will have the opportunity to participate in consultations with other U.S. government officials, respond to Congressional inquiries, and support the collection, analysis, and management of assistance-related financial data.

Ghida Ismail will spend the summer at the Harvard Kennedy School in the Evidence for Policy Design (EPOD) program in Boston, assisting the research project “Expanding Female Access to the Job Market through Affordable Commute.” Her work, which includes synthesizing survey data, statistical analysis, and policy brief production, will contribute to the project’s examination of the relationship between mobility and female labor force participation in Saudi Arabia.

Jessi Stafford will be based this summer in La Paz Centro, Nicaragua with Artists for Soup, a non-profit organization committed to improving food security, women’s rights, educational retention, and community enterprise. Her primary responsibility will be designing a monitoring and evaluation system to assess the impact of Artists for Soup’s various projects, with the aim of improving the organization’s effectiveness in increasing food security, decreasing poverty, and empowering women.

Dane Ulik will also intern with Artists for Soup in La Paz Centro, Nicaragua, training current employees in data collection and interpretation. In addition to his work with Artists for Soup, Dane will develop a monitoring and evaluation plan for the educational retention programs of sister organization Rayos del Sol. The goal of the project is for both organizations to better tailor their initiatives to the inhabitants of La Paz Centro.

Amara Uyanna will undertake various responsibilities in her internship with Sustainability International in Nigeria, including coordinating a bioremediation effort for a community in the Bayelsa state within the Niger Delta region and working with other organizations in the region to assess the economic and health impacts that environmental pollution is having on women and children. By the end of the summer, Amara will have contributed to the environmental restoration of select communities and economically empowered their residents.

Katherine Whitton will be with AidData‘s Summer Fellowship Program at the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) in Kampala, Uganda. She will either work in the Trade & Regional Integration Department (agriculture policy) or the Micro department (infant mortality). Both positions will involve a feasibility assessment, production of geocoded data, geocoding and GIS training, and research plan development.

Samer Yousif will complete a policy apprenticeship this summer with Ashoka as an Impact Evaluation Intern in Washington D.C. Ashoka is a non-profit that has pioneered social entrepreneurship for the last 35 years, and Samer’s responsibilities include aggregating and analyzing the results of surveys and interviews from fellows in Ashoka’s Changemakers program. Samer’s project seeks to uncover meaningful trends underlying the organization’s approach to empowering social entrepreneurs.

The Crook Fellows will be blogging about their experiences over the summer. Check back on the Strauss Center website throughout the coming months for updates on their work in the field!