Student Bios

Hélène Benveniste
Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines de Paris, 2012
Science and Executive Engineering, Master
Rennes, Brittany, France
Hélène is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP) at the Woodrow Wilson School. In her dissertation, she focuses on interactions between damages from climate change, international migration and inequality, using Integrated Assessment Models and a scenarios-based approach. She is also interested in International Environmental Agreements design, and in communication between science and policymaking on climate change. Hélène graduated in 2012 with a MSc in science and executive engineering from Mines ParisTech, France. For her master’s thesis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, 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. During the Paris Agreement year, she worked as research scientist and project manager of a scientific advisory group to the French climate negotiation team, focusing on assessing countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions. When not obsessing over climate change, Hélène can be found in the local movie theater or hiking in the nearest national parks.
Aditi Bhowmick
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Cornell University, 2016
Economics/Government, B.A.
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Aditi worked as a graduate intern at Evidence Action in Washington, D.C., in summer 2019, spending her time doing early stage research on the feasibility of scaling up breastfeeding and age-appropriate complementary feeding interventions in countries of interest – Nigeria, India, Ethiopia, and Pakistan. The work entailed reviewing the evidence base of best-in-class interventions and conducting operational feasibility and impact sensitivity analyses. Prior to Princeton, she worked as a research associate with J-PAL South Asia across education and early childhood development sectors. At Princeton, she can typically be found attending a Research for Development Studies or an Education workshop seminar. She wants to build a career as a hybrid researcher and public policy professional focusing specifically on gender and education in South Asia. She enjoys watching food documentaries, nerd-ing out about impact evaluations, and is always happy to help with all things STATA.
Peter Birke
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Washington University-St Louis, 2013
Economics, B.A.
Madison, Wisconsin
Peter attended Washington University in St. Louis, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics. Upon graduation, he interned at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, where he assisted research on the changing geography of poverty in U.S. metropolitan regions. He went on to work for New York City government for nearly three years, first as a New York City Urban Fellow and then at the Department of Small Business Services, where he was part of a strategic planning team advising City Hall on emerging economic development issues. Prior to graduate school, Peter worked at the Markle Foundation leading projects for their Skillful initiative and Rework America Task Force. Peter spent his summer internship at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, co-authoring a report on Opportunity Zones and their implications for local economic development. After graduating Peter hopes to develop policy solutions that build prosperous and equitable regional economies in the United States. Peter hails from Madison, Wisconsin, and enjoys lap swimming, cycling, reading, and baseball.
Patrick Boduch
III - Domestic Policy
University of Notre Dame, 2015
Economics/Finance, BBA
Geneva, Illinois
Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Patrick attended the University of Notre Dame where he double majored in finance and economics. Upon graduation, he returned to Chicago to work for Deloitte Consulting's Strategy & Operations practice. There, he primarily helped to advise and execute on special projects for large businesses and nonprofit organizations. After nearly three years of consulting, he decided to leave Deloitte and sign up for a year of full-time volunteer service with Mercy Volunteer Corps. This volunteer program led him to Cincinnati to work in the pastoral care department of a hospital, where he served patients directly as a volunteer chaplain and helped grow a new outpatient program focused on extending chaplaincy services to all points of care in the Mercy Health network. At Princeton, Patrick hopes to soak in as much as he can, and upon graduation, continue to work in the nonprofit sector.
Benjamin Brenner
I - International Relations
McGill University, 2011
History, B.A.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
A proud Michigander (and equally proud Michiganian), prior to Princeton Ben Brenner spent eight years working in Congress and for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In the Senate, Ben worked his way up from the copy room to become a legislative adviser to Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, focused on public-private research partnerships. At DOE, he served as a liaison between the Department’s leadership and the congressional Appropriations Committees, specializing in funding and management of DOE’s energy, science and nuclear security projects. Between his Princeton years, Ben joined the communications team of ITER: a seven-nation project to build a one-of-a-kind nuclear fusion device, which would replicate the physics that powers the sun as a (basically) limitless and carbon free energy source. At Princeton, Ben hopes to think through big questions: how government and the private sector can collaborate to meet modern energy challenges; whether IT platforms and policies can or should be managed in the public interest; and if he is actually, finally ready to get a dog.
Dallas Browning
III - Domestic Policy
University of Kentucky, 2016
Political Science, B.A.
Louisville, Kentucky
Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Dallas attended the University of Kentucky, home of the eight time National Champion Kentucky Wildcats (this matters here). After studying political science and economics, he joined the Kentucky Science & Technology Corporation, a private nonprofit committed to the advancement of science, technology, and innovative economic development in the Commonwealth. Dallas led several special projects at KSTC, including developing strategic plans for entrepreneurial ecosystems in transitioning and underserved communities, building tech-based clusters in the defense and aerospace industries, and expanding youth innovation programs, all resulting in the creation of four public-private partnerships. He has also advised over fifty early-stage start-up companies, state government departments such as Economic Development and Workforce Development, and nonprofits focused on promoting high-growth economic opportunities in America’s most underdeveloped cities. Having grown up low-income in a city stuck between the declining Rust Belt and burgeoning Sun Belt, Dallas hopes to leverage his time at Princeton to seek opportunities with economic development planning firms committed to high-tech ecosystem development in declining cities. In his free time Dallas enjoys a nice beer, a good fantasy novel, and lamenting the decades-long drought of his beloved Dallas Cowboys.
Molly Brune
III - Domestic Policy
University of Maryland-College Park, 2013
Government & Politics, B.A.
Takoma Park, Maryland
Molly grew up right outside of Washington, D.C., and worked on various domestic social policy evaluations at Abt Associates before coming to Princeton. Previously, she also work on international impact evaluations at Social Impact and then spent a year as a Global Health Corps fellow in Uganda doing monitoring and evaluation for a nonprofit focused on health systems strengthening. After completing her MPA, she hopes to work on integrated data systems and helping cities better use their data to inform policy.
Brendan Burns
III - Domestic Policy
Vanderbilt University, 2015
Economics/Public Policy Studies, B.A.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Prior to arriving at Princeton, Brendan’s life was a tale of two cities. After growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, he moved west to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend Vanderbilt University. There, he studied economics and public policy, developing an interest in public service in the oft-overlooked lower levels of American government. Immediately after college, he went back to Raleigh to work with North Carolina’s Medicaid program. After a year there, Brendan doubled back to Nashville, where for two years he was a Commissioner’s Fellow in the Tennessee Department of Health. Among other projects, he researched and wrote three white papers detailing Tennessee’s past and then-ongoing policy responses to the opioid epidemic, and he helped create a primer for staff on how the Department’s budget is developed and structured. Most recently, Brendan spent his summer interning for the City of Detroit, where he evaluated a proposal to overhaul property taxes in the Motor City. After Princeton, he hopes to test and evaluate programs on the city or state level. When it is not too cold, Brendan enjoys cycling; when no one else is around, Brendan enjoys trying to teach himself how to play the piano.
Jordan Burns
I - International Relations
University of Colorado-Boulder, 2015
Civil Engineering, B.S.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
As a proud Colorado native, Jordan studied civil engineering at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she managed an Engineers Without Borders program in Rwanda and interned with USAID's Ethiopia Mission. She is a 2014 recipient of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship for public service. Prior to the Woo, Jordan worked for the World Bank's Inspection Panel handling claims from communities that are negatively impacted by Bank-funded projects. After her first year at WWS, Jordan pursued a middle-year-out from her studies to gain experience in a domestic policy context. She divided her year in Washington, D.C., between the U.S. Senate and a nonprofit advocating to address sea level rise and flooding. As a retired competitive Irish dancer, Jordan stays active by climbing, biking, and getting lost in the mountains whenever she has free time.
Paolo Cernuschi
II - International Development
American University in Dubai, 2004
Business Administration, BBA
Harare, Zimbabwe
Until May 2019, Paolo was country director for the International Rescue Committee in Zimbabwe. Paolo was born in Italy, raised in Zimbabwe, and completed his undergraduate studies in business administration in Dubai. After 14 years of humanitarian aid work in Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Yemen, he is taking a year break to pursue an MPP at the Woodrow Wilson School. His focus during the past few years has been on designing and delivering better evidence-based programs, being more effective in the use of resources, and better bridging the gap between humanitarian and development programming - all to respond to growing needs with fewer resources. He has been a strong supporter of a "cash-first" approach to humanitarian response, most recently in response to the March 2019 cyclone Idai in eastern Zimbabwe. In his spare time, Paolo is an amateur pianist and avid dog trainer; he competes internationally with his border collie, Chip, and sheltie, Stitch, both of whom will be tagging along to Princeton.
Alice Chang
IV - Economics and Public Policy
University of Maryland-College Park, 2016
Economics/Finance, B.S.
Rockville, Maryland
Alice grew up on the Maryland side of the Washington, D.C., suburbs and is looking forward to finally getting out of the D.C. bubble! After studying economics and finance at the University of Maryland, Alice joined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as a director’s financial analyst. At CFPB, she worked on issues related to student loans and mortgages, including reviewing consumer complaints and assessing the effectiveness of mortgage servicing regulations. Prior to starting at Princeton, Alice was a research and policy analyst at the Student Borrower Protection Center, an organization solely dedicated towards alleviating the burden of student debt for millions of Americans. In her free time, Alice enjoys traveling (most recently to New Zealand and Australia), hiking, practicing yoga, and cheering for the woeful Washington-area sports teams.
Aaron Charlop-Powers
III - Domestic Policy
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2007
Anthropology, B.A.
New York, New York
Aaron was born and raised in the Bronx. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he studied anthropology and spent two summers working for an organization called Carolina for Kibera. Following graduation, Aaron worked internationally for several years: in Ahmedabad, India, on a post-graduate fellowship; in Bangkok, Thailand, as contractor for the World Food Programme; as a staffer at the U.N. Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti, an office run by President Clinton and Dr. Paul Farmer; and at Root Capital, a leading social enterprise that lends working capital to agricultural businesses. Before graduate school, Aaron was the deputy director of Early Diversion and Strategic Projects at the Center for Court Innovation where he was responsible for Project Reset, a post-arrest, pre-arraignment diversion program. Working closely with a team of colleagues, Aaron was instrumental in expanding Project Reset from a pilot in two precincts to a citywide standard for early diversion (in May 2019 the New York City Council funded Project Reset for all of New York City). He rides his bike wherever possible, enjoys delicious food from new places, is a founding member of Families for Safe Streets, a graduate of CORO Leadership New York, and loves spending time with his partner and two young children.
Anthony Chase
III - Domestic Policy
University of Michigan, 2012
Political Science/Arabic/Islamic Studies, B.A.
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Anthony is interested in the economic future of struggling American cities. Before the Woodrow Wilson School, Anthony served as a program director for Humanity in Action in New York. In that position, he led and developed fellowship programs about urban and civic issues in Detroit, Atlanta, Washington, Cairo, Paris, Berlin and Warsaw. He also worked as a project manager for Bibliothèques Sans Frontières in Paris and served on the board of the organization’s U.S. branch, Libraries Without Borders. He is a fellow with the Urban Design Forum in New York. This past summer, he completed his internship within the Talent Acquisition division of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Anthony holds a B.A. in political science and Arabic/Islamic studies from the University of Michigan. He loves biking, cooking and Brooklyn.
Kai Chong-Smith
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Queen’s University, 2015
Economics, B.A.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Kai was raised in Ottawa, Canada and graduated from Queen’s University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in economics. He spent the last four years working in the provincial civil service in Toronto, most recently as a senior policy adviser in economic policy at the Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs. He worked on the province’s approaches to the regulation of recreational cannabis and tobacco, including working with First Nations towards agreements to establish their own regulatory approaches in their communities, as well as on agreements to share resource development tax revenues with First Nations. This past summer, Kai split his time between Toronto, Ottawa, and traveling in western and central Europe. Kai’s policy interests include public finance and fiscal policy, income and wealth inequality, applying economic analysis to policy decisions, and helping create opportunities for Indigenous communities. After graduation, Kai intends to return to civil service in Canada.
Anthony Cilluffo
IV - Economics and Public Policy
University of South Florida, 2016
Economics/Political Science, B.A.
Tampa, Florida
A native of Tampa, Florida, Anthony discovered his passion for economics in high school. He followed it to the University of South Florida, where he received bachleor’s degrees in economics and political science, and studied at the London School of Economics in the general course. After graduating, he worked for USF Professor Susan MacManus as she examined the 2016 presidential election under a microscope, an adventure that culminated in co-authoring the conclusion to Professor Larry Sabato’s post-election roundup, Trumped. He later worked as a research assistant at Pew Research Center, studying income and wealth inequality, educational attainment, student loans, and demographic trends. Anthony hopes to return to Washington, D.C., and advance policies that promote financial literacy. In his spare time, he can be found reading on an impressive variety of topics, attempting to garden, exploring, and missing the Florida weather.