Student Bios

Tom Ahi Dror
III - Domestic Policy
Hebrew University-Jerusalem, 2003; Tel Aviv University, 2009
Mathematics and Physics, B.Sc.; Business, MBA
Haifa, Israel
Tom was born and raised in the Israeli city of Haifa, save for one year in the U.S. as a kid. He currently heads Human Capital Development in Israel’s National Cyber Bureau, creating new training and educational programs for youth and professionals. He also led the Bureau’s CyberSpark project – a public-private initiative focused on creating a cyber security cluster and ecosystem in the southern city of Beersheba. Before joining the Bureau, Tom spent more than 12 years in the Israel Defense Forces. After graduating from the elite Talpiot Program (which he was fortunate to command later on), Tom’s service combined technology, analysis and education. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics and math, and an MBA. Tom’s wife and three kids are all excited to spend a year as part of the Princeton community.
Hillary Allegretti
III - Domestic Policy
United States Coast Guard Academy, 2005; Norwich University, 2012
Management, B.S.; Organizational Leadership, M.S.
Huntington Station, New York
Hillary grew up on Long Island, New York where her love of the water brought her to her undergraduate institution, the United States Coast Guard Academy. She was a four-year varsity soccer player and graduated with a B.S. in management in 2005. Upon earning her commission as an officer, Hillary sailed the Pacific Ocean conducting counter-drug smuggling operations, flew search and rescue missions as a helicopter pilot, and conducted hundreds of commercial vessel inspections and investigations. She deployed in support of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, was critical in the re-opening of the Port of New York/New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and served as the operations officer for a major oil spill in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2012 she earned her M.S. in organizational leadership from Norwich University. In her free time she enjoys hiking, but you’ll probably find her at the gym. Following graduation from the Woodrow Wilson School, Hillary plans to return to the Coast Guard to serve as a policy and program reviewer.
Ana Cristina Alonso Soria
II - International Development
Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey-San Luis Potosi, 2013
International Business, B.A.
San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Ana Cristina grew up in San Luis Potosí, a beautiful colonial city in central Mexico. In 2011 she was selected into the Yale Visiting International Student Program. After spending her junior year as an undergrad in Yale College, she returned to San Luis to earn her B.A. in international business at Tecnologico de Monterrey. Upon graduation she moved to Mexico City, to work at the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. While at the Ministry, she became part of the Technical Secretariat of the National Productivity Commission, a high-level public-private body that generates productivity and long-term economic growth policies. Ana Cristina is passionate about literature and loves wandering around Mexico City discovering new libraries and cafes. In the future, she would like to go back to her country to work on economic development policies at the federal level.
Jacob Appel
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Columbia University, 2006
Mathematics, B.A.
Montclair, New Jersey
A recovering evaluation geek, Jake began his career working on and writing about randomized controlled trials for development. Before coming to the Woodrow Wilson School, he spent four plus years consulting in the social innovation sector, helping nonprofits, foundations, and for profits develop programs and campaigns that actively engage their constituents in doing good. He completed his summer internship at the NYC Crime Lab. Jake is a lover of travel, music, Saison beer and chopping vegetables.
John-Michael Arnold
Oxford University, 2007; Yale University, 2010
Philosophy, Politics & Economics, B.A.; International Relations, M.A.
Wokingham, Berkshire, United Kingdom
John-Michael is a Ph.D. candidate with particular interests in international security, strategic studies and U.S. foreign policy. Prior to enrolling at Princeton, he worked for three years as special assistant to the president of the Brookings Institution. He holds a master’s degree in international relations from Yale University and a B.A. in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) from the University of Oxford. For the 2016-17 academic year, John-Michael is a pre-doctoral fellow at the George Washington University, and he lives with his wife, Elyssa, and his son in Maryland.
Bethany Atkins
III - Domestic Policy
Pacific Lutheran University, 2007
Global Studies/Political Science, B.A.
Missoula, Montana
Bethany hails from Montana and grew up eating venison and huckleberries. She attended Pacific Lutheran University in Washington state, where she rowed on the crew team, studied abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico, and ended up with two majors and two minors out of sheer indecision. Since graduating, Bethany served in the Peace Corps Guatemala Sustainable Agriculture program and spent a handful of years working in Portland, Oregon, in energy efficiency and demand-side management organizations. Just prior to entering the Woo, she completed Rocky Mountain School of Photography's 2015 summer intensive program in Missoula, Montana. This past summer, she worked in Washington, D.C., on the U.S. Government Accountability Office's Natural Resources and Environment team.
Edward Atkinson
I - International Relations
Oberlin College, 2011
Economics/Mathematics/Music Performance, B.A./B.M.
Houston, Texas
A native of Houston, Edward graduated from Oberlin College with a dual Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music in economics, mathematics and percussion performance. He most recently worked as a senior research assistant at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C., where his research centered on monetary policy, financial stability and shadow banks. Prior to joining the Fed, Edward was a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Pula, Croatia and a data analyst at Moody’s Analytics in San Francisco. As a 2016 Rosenthal fellow, he spent the summer interning in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Jon Austin
I - International Relations
Stanford University, 2002; Stanford University, 2004; Collège d'Europe, 2004
History/International Relations, B.A.; Sociology, M.A.; European Political and Administrative Studies, M.A.
Duluth, Minnesota
Jon joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2005. Most recently he was the deputy political counselor in Buenos Aires during Argentina’s dramatic presidential transition. Prior to that, he was posted overseas to Afghanistan, Mexico, Iraq and Algeria. In Washington, D.C., he served as a line officer to the secretary of state. Jon is thrilled to have an academic year to study the international policy realm, a goal since the State Department issued him skill code “5505 political officer.” Jon hails from Duluth, Minnesota. His foreign languages are French and Spanish.
Swetha Balachandran
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Nanyang Technological University, 2012
Accounting/Banking and Finance, BAcc/BBus
Noida, India
Swetha was born in the Netherlands and grew up in a suburb near Delhi, India. She went on to study finance and accounting at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Upon graduation, she joined the Boston Consulting Group and worked as a consultant for government agencies and private corporations across Southeast Asia. Her projects spanned different policy issues such as public transportation, infrastructure and manpower productivity. Swetha’s interest in public health and development took her to the Global Fund in Geneva where she worked on improving program quality and efficiency of health programs in sub-Saharan Africa. After graduation from WWS, she plans to go back to India to work with the urban poor on issues of health and education. Swetha loves traveling and exploring new places, is always planning her next adventure and identifies as a global citizen.
Jaime Benrey Bejar
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, 2013
Economics/Political Science, B.A.
Mexico City, Mexico
Jaime was born and raised in Mexico City. He was an economics and political science dual major, and served in diverse roles and settings in both the private and public sector. His work as an analyst at the Mexican Federal Institute for Government-Assisted Housing (INFONAVIT), as researcher and adviser to the chief economist at the Mexican Ministry of Finance, and as business development coordinator at a social housing company, has provided him a far reaching understanding of the challenges faced by the housing industry in Mexico, particularly those of workers in the lowest socioeconomic threshold. This past summer, Jaime interned at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C., with the Office of the Executive Director for Mexico and the Dominican Republic. After graduate school, he wishes to work in the design of new and viable policies to alleviate poverty, reduce inequalities and forge decisions that can lead developing countries – such as his own – down a new path of economic development and growth. He has been a volunteer with the Mexican Jewish Community and the Grand Masonic Lodge of Mexico. During his spare time, Jaime enjoys playing squash, soccer and chess. He loves traveling, world history and trying new foods.
Hélène Benveniste
Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines de Paris, 2012
Science and Executive Engineering, Master
Rennes, Brittany, France
Born and raised in Brittany, France, Hélène has developed a passion for interdisciplinary approaches to solve the climate change challenge. Before graduating with a MSc in science and executive engineering and a minor in geostatistics and applied probabilities from Mines ParisTech (Paris, France), she was a research fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado where she developed a statistical tool for scoring extreme climate events forecasts. She then started her career as deputy attaché for energy at the French Embassy in Germany, and as such followed the development and implementation of the German energy transition. Most recently, Hélène worked as a research engineer and project manager on an expertise mission for the French government; the mission, linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), aimed at assessing the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) presented by countries ahead of COP21, and used as a new tool for climate negotiations.
Leyatt Betre
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016
Physics/Political Science, B.S.
Frisco, Texas
As a first-generation American born to Ethiopian parents, Leyatt had a small town Texas upbringing often punctuated by encounters with the wider world. While she cannot claim any encounters of the third kind, she picked up an early love of astronomy and the slightly less wide world of international politics. Leyatt went on to study physics and political science at MIT, where she sought to forge some semblance of academic and personal coherence out of her dual interests. After researching the early chemical evolution of the Milky Way, the spatial distribution of dark matter halos, the drivers of nuclear proliferation, and the role of arms control in shaping U.S. force posture, she concluded that the coherence of one’s CV should generally take a backseat to asking really interesting questions. Leyatt is now a Ph.D. student in security studies whose research interests center on issues of nuclear strategy, arms control and diplomatic history.
Christine Blumauer
I - International Relations
Institut d’études politiques de Lille, 2007; Westfalische Wilhelms Universität, 2007; Universität Hamburg, 2010
Political Sciences, B.A.; Political Sciences, B.A.; Peace and Security Studies, Master
Freiburg, Germany
Christine was born and raised in Germany but is half French and half Austrian and really feels European at her core. A Madagascan grandmother and several trips to Thailand as a child add a twist to her identity, especially when it comes to dance moves and culinary preferences. She holds a master’s degree in peace and security studies from the University of Hamburg, Germany; and a French-German B.A. in political science/European studies from Sciences Po Lille, France and the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster, Germany. Her previous professional experiences include academic work on conflict analysis in the South Caucasus (with an emphasis on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict) and Turkish-Armenian relations. In 2009 and 2010, she worked with the South Caucasus office of the German Konrad-Adenauer Foundation on regional peace-building and democracy promotion initiatives among Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. From 2012 to 2013, in her position as public affairs officer for The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) in Paris, she launched the TEAS operations in France by developing its communication strategy and major advocacy and awareness-raising campaigns to promote the development of French-Azerbaijani relations. Christine was most recently a research associate with the Eurasia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, which gave her the opportunity to learn more about democracy promotion in the American context.
Conner Brannen
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Wesleyan University, 2010
Economics, B.A.
Lyme, New Hampshire
Conner grew up in rural New Hampshire before earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations from Wesleyan University. As an undergraduate, she spent a year in Tanzania as a Boren scholar working for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). After graduating, she returned to East Africa to work as an evaluation coordinator for Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) in Busia, Kenya. After returning to the states, Conner spent the next four years in the policy group at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in Cambridge, where she managed the Governance and Political Economy program and J-PAL’s cost effectiveness analysis work. This past summer, she completed her internship at Canopy, LLC and The Russell Family Foundation in Seattle.
Alexander Brockwehl
I - International Relations
Union College, 2011
Political Science/Spanish, B.A.
Guilford, Connecticut
Alex grew up near New Haven, Connecticut, home to the best pizza this side of the Atlantic. After studying abroad in Mexico and developing a passion for political theory, he graduated from Union College in 2011 with a degree in political science and Spanish. After graduating, he worked for a year with a nonprofit in rural Ecuador, managing a high school scholarship program and assisting a few small-scale social enterprises, including a local artisans’ group and women’s cooperative. For the next four years, he worked for Freedom House, a democracy and human rights NGO, where he supported civil society organizations throughout Latin America to advocate before international human rights bodies and inform domestic policymakers about threats and challenges to political rights and civil liberties. He also contributed frequently to the Freedom House blog and conducted field research on topics such as indigenous rights in Peru and mass social protests in Chile. After graduating, Alex hopes to continue advancing human rights, whether by working in a policy role within government or conducting research or advocacy in the nonprofit sector. A cellist in his early years, Alex decided to forgo his initial aspirations to emulate Yo-Yo Ma in favor of sports like soccer and skiing. He spent the summer before grad school with his family in Greece and friends in Tanzania.