Past BGI Fellows

Ali Boyd (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

Ali Boyd is a junior at Furman University. She is majoring in Political Science with Latin American and Poverty studies concentrations. Her volunteer experiences in Latin America, particularly in Nicaragua, have catalyzed her passion for social justice. She also serves as a volunteer in the U.S. through her work with Somali Bantu refugees in Columbia, South Carolina. On campus, Ali is involved with social justice organizations like Africa Rising, and the International Justice Mission. She is also involved with the Mere Christianity Forum. Her leadership positions are focused on advocacy and equipping students with resources for ethical lifestyles.

Ali's Blog

Dean Chahim (Nicaragua)

Dean Chahim is a junior at the University of Washington and is pursuing a self-designed BA in Development Studies and a BSCE in Civil & Environmental Engineering. His passion for aid efficacy was sparked in Bolivia in September 2008 when he traveled to Bolivia with his university's chapter of Engineers Without Borders to implement major rural roadway improvements, wondering why governments like Bolivia could not provide even a basic road. Following this curiosity to Nicaragua with BGI, he began to seriously question the entire system of aid and its ability to affect real structural change for the poor in its current form. After graduating, he plans to be an outspoken advocate for systemic changes to the current development models and an equitable approach to managing life-sustaining water resources globally. This may entail being a professor, but with much less ivory tower and more public and policy engagement. He is almost fluent in Spanish and is learning Farsi, his Afghan parents’ native tongue. In his spare time he is an avid photographer and cook.

Dean's Blog
Dean's Published Field Report -Unintentional Underdevelopment: Systemic Impact of the NGO Model in Nicaragua

Julie Gladnick (Malawi)

Julie (University of Virginia, Middle Eastern Studies and Media Studies, 2011) was extremely happy to spend her summer in Malawi as a BGI Fellow. Her research interests include global development and youth empowerment and education, and she is passionate about music and dance. In 2006 she created a short documentary film about the Iranian women's movement. Currently she works in an AmeriCorps program for at-risk children in Virginia. Within UVA, she helps coordinate a tutoring program for Darfur refugees through the university's STAND chapter. Julie has done volunteer work in Ecuador and Peru and loves to travel just about anywhere. Her future plans include teaching abroad in South America.

Julie's Blog

Eva Orbuch (Bolivia and Peru)

Eva Orbuch is a junior at Stanford University. She is majoring in Urban Studies with a concentration in Urban Society and Social Change. She plans on taking two major routes within her concentration: social/political change, and organizational form, NGOs and social entrepreneurship. Eva has traveled extensively and is especially drawn to Latin America. She also hopes to study abroad in South Africa next winter. This summer, she will be focusing her research on micro-credit organizations that deliver social services like health and education to their clients. At Stanford, Eva has been involved in co-founding and leading the student group Challah For Hunger, a group where students get together to bake bread and sell it to raise money for relief organizations. She also loves dancing and drumming from all around the world.

Eva's Blog

Leana Schwartz (Philippines)

Leana Schwartz is a senior at the University of Puget Sound. She recently returned from a semester studying abroad in Tanzania, where she studied wildlife ecology and conservation, and spent a month conducting independent research. Leana speaks conversational Kiswahili and has moderate French proficiency skills. Previously, she spent a month in the Democratic Republic of Congo working with an orphanage to create a short documentary used for fundraising. She is passionate about the outdoors and enjoys leading university backpacking trips. She is a member of the permaculture club on campus and spent a summer working on organic farms throughout France. Leana holds leadership positions at her school in the sustainability advisory committee and in the club Students for a Free Tibet. She is majoring in international political economy with a specialization in international development.

Leana's Blog

Rebecca Vitale (Senegal)

Rebecca Vitale is a senior at Harvard University and is majoring in History of Science. She is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, where she spent her entire life until moving to Cambridge for college. At Harvard, Rebecca is involved with Strong Women Strong Girls, a youth mentoring program, as well as the Phillips Brooks House Association, a student-run public service organization that provides programming and support to constituents all over the Greater Boston area. Several years ago, Rebecca received an Edward Lamont Public Service Grant to work in Rabat, Morocco as a teaching assistant at the Ibny School. This unique elementary school was created to serve the homeless children of Rabat's medina. After completing her undergraduate degree, Rebecca plans to go to medical school and hopes to work in global health.

Rebecca's Blog

Rebecca's Senior Thesis-- The Hungry Season: Changing Approaches to Hunger in West Africa