06 May 2015

The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 William H. Crook Fellowship awards. This year the Center is funding seven outstanding LBJ School students, who will be spending their summer working in Cambodia, China, Colombia, Ghana, France, and Washington, D.C.

Over the past eight years, the Crook Fellowship program has enabled fifty-five students to spend the summer interning 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 2015 Crook Fellowships have been awarded to the following seven students:

Leo Carter will be spending his summer in Beijing, China with the Wildlife Conservation Society. His internship will focus on the development impact and intervention strategies related to illicit global wildlife trade by examining the demand for ivory and rhino horn in China. Leo will create market studies and consumer profiles to better understand the demand for these illegal goods that impacts livelihood security and economic opportunity in supply-side African and Asian countries, and he will work with Chinese enforcement agencies to improve regulation.

Amara Chhin will be interning with Cambodian Living Arts in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, evaluating the organization’s program focused on building Cambodia’s performance sector—once vibrant before the Khmer Rouge—as a viable economic development path in Cambodia. Amara will work with the Plae Pakaa theater program, which provides a platform for local performers to learn the technical, communication, and business skills necessary to develop a sustainable career in the performing arts realm.

Marcelle Cohen will be based in Bogotá, Colombia with the Alianza Iniciativa de Mujeres Colombianas por la Paz, a women’s rights and peace-building NGO. Marcelle’s work will focus on integrating women’s rights considerations into ongoing negotiations aimed at deescalating conflict and planning for post-conflict rebuilding following five decades of civil war between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) and the Colombian government.

Steven Damiano will be interning with the Bread for the World Institute in Washington, D.C. this summer. His internship duties will center on improving U.S. development assistance by promoting transparency and increasing partner countries’ ownership of development programs. The work will specifically focus on sustainable development goals relating to food security, including issues of hunger, malnutrition, and agricultural productivity in developing countries.

Beatrice Halbach will intern with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France. She will be working on the OECD’s project on service sector development in China, analyzing data and policy options to inform new initiatives aimed at supporting the sustainable, long-term development of the service sector. The recommendations from the program will be an input in China’s upcoming 13th five-year development plan.

Isabel Hovey will be based in Kumasi, Ghana, interning with Exponential Education, an education-focused NGO started five years ago by LBJ School alum and former Crook Fellow Helen Gradstein. Isabel will serve as a performance evaluation and knowledge management consultant for Exponential Education this summer, collaborating with program associates and educators in the field to assess the quality and impact of the institution’s education-intervention programs.

Alexandra Noble will be interning with InterAction in Washington, D.C., a leading organizing in the effort to track, evaluate, and improve NGO development aid worldwide. As a Global Development Practice Intern, she will investigate best practices in international development projects by creating maps of where aid projects are implemented, supporting partnerships across development aid organizations, and working with InterAction’s Evaluation and Program Team to assess overall effectiveness of aid programming.

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

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