Student Bios

Erik Morinaga
MPA2
I - International Relations
University of Pennsylvania, 2016
Political Science, B.A.
Kaneohe, Hawaii
Erik is a 2nd year MPA candidate who seeks a career in one of the international relations arms of the U.S. government where he hopes to meaningfully contribute to conflict resolution and prevention. This summer, Erik learned R programming at the Political Violence Lab in D.C. where he was able to work with Department of Defense data from Afghanistan to find the impact of Taliban leadership removal through targeted killing by coalition forces. Before coming to Princeton, Erik served for six years as an enlisted Marine Corps infantryman, with combat deployments to Iraq & Afghanistan, and finished his bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania after completing community college. Born and raised in Hawaii, Erik enjoys surfing and exercising regularly.
Maria Moscoso
MPA1
I - International Relations
Smith College, 2015
Economics, B.E.
Miami, Florida
Maria Alejandra Moscoso, born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, was raised in Miami, Florida. She graduated cum laude from Smith College in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in global south development studies after transferring from the Honors College of Miami-Dade. Her recent experiences include fellowships with the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria, the Atlantic Expedition in Germany, the KAKEHASHI Bridge Project in Japan, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Maria was most recently a program specialist for stabilization and development with Creative Associates International. As a 2019 Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow with the U.S. Department of State, Maria is eager to represent and serve her community through a career in the Foreign Service.
Meghana Mungikar
MPA1
II - International Development
Lady Shri Ram College, 2016
Economics, B.A.
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Meghana was born and raised in Chennai, India. She has an undergraduate degree in economics from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi University. Upon graduation, Meghana joined IDinsight, a research and advisory firm that uses data and evidence to help policymakers make more socially impactful decisions. At IDinsight, she worked on various projects across agriculture, sanitation, health, and education with a diverse set of partners both in the nonprofit sector as well as the Indian government. Her work spanned across Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand. Meghana is interested in how different social contexts and gender shape economic development. While at Princeton, Meghana hopes to continue exploring ways to use evidence in policymaking.
Malini Nambiar
PhD
Columbia University, 2015
Earth & Environmental Engineering, B.S.
Frederick, Maryland
Malini is a first year Ph.D. student in the science, technology, and environmental policy (STEP) program at WWS with a background in air quality modeling and climate change mitigation. Malini grew up in Frederick, Maryland, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental engineering from Columbia University. Prior to Princeton, Malini was based in San Francisco, where she was a senior consultant at Ramboll, specializing in air quality modeling, climate change mitigation, and human health risk assessment. She is interested in the air-climate-health tradeoffs of energy policy decisions, particularly in rapidly urbanizing regions of Asia.
Paul Nix
PhD
University of Lausanne, 2016; University of Geneva, Lausanne, 2018
Geology, B.S.; Geology, M.S.
Lausanne, Switzerland
Paul is interested in investigating to what extent the efficiency of adaptation to climate change-aggravated natural hazard risk may be shaped by the discourse of governmental authorities and the general public with one another. He is also exploring how governance risk evaluation/acquisition mechanisms may be useful in refining the ability of societies to implement adaptation measures. He graduated from the University of Geneva and Lausanne with an M.S. in geology, and after completing his Ph.D., looks to work within an NGO with the aim of improving coastal communities’ adaptation potential with respect to climate change related processes.
Alexander Pachman
MPA2
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Indiana University-Bloomington, 2012
Finance, B.S.
Weston, Connecticut
Alexander began his career working as an equity research analyst for Barclays in New York City. After three years of building financial models and authoring company research reports, he decided it was time to make a positive impact on the world. He left his job in finance and joined the Peace Corps, where he lived and worked in Macedonia for 27 months. Alexander’s work focused on local economic and community development initiatives. This past summer, he interned at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in Washington, D.C., where he helped structure impact investments in social enterprises located in developing countries. Following his studies at the WWS, he hopes to contribute to the reduction of global inequality in a role that combines his passion for international development and economic markets. In his free time, Alexander enjoys meditating, reading, hiking and cheering on the New York Giants.
Anita Pan
MPP
I - International Relations
University of British Columbia, 2009
Marketing Co-op & International Business, BComm
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Anita is a foreign service officer with the Canadian Foreign Service. She has worked in Tokyo and Seattle covering a variety of files such as science, technology, and innovation policy, industrial research collaboration, and foreign investment attraction, as well as on Canada's multilateral engagement in the context of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the G7. At Princeton, Anita hopes to further her understanding of U.S. foreign policy towards the Asia Pacific, as well as the intersection of public policy, politics, and international trade strategy. In her spare time, Anita enjoys playing violin and piano, trying new restaurants, visiting waterfalls, and pretending that she knows how to figure skate.
Eric Parolin
MPA2
IV - Economics and Public Policy
Boston College, 2013
Economics/Mathematics, B.A.
Amherst, New Hampshire
Born and raised in New Hampshire, Eric moved to Boston to attend Boston College where he majored in both economics and mathematics. Influenced by the financial crises during his time at BC, he left for Washington, D.C., after graduating to work at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in the Office of Financial Stability Policy and Research. While at the Fed, he researched the use of credit derivatives, worked to analyze the CCAR bank stress test submissions, and helped produce financial stability analysis to the Board of Governors. Eric continued on to the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the Office of Financial Research, where he worked to assess financial stability, including the construction of a public, quantitative tool to assess financial system vulnerabilities. This past summer, he worked as a graduate policy intern with the United States Senate Committee on Finance. At the Woodrow Wilson School, he hopes to supplement his professional experience with practical training in policy administration to pursue a career in addressing domestic inequality and promoting economic development. In his free time, Eric enjoys playing volleyball and basketball, learning to cook, and reading science fiction.
Tyler Patrick
MPA1
II - International Development
Georgetown University, 2015
International Economics, BSFS
Columbus, Ohio
Ty graduated from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in 2015. Though he intended to begin his career in Beirut, by a strange and circuitous series of events Ty instead found himself in Yap and its Outer Islands, where he spent two and a half years working first as a high school teacher and later in school administration, typhoon reconstruction, and community-centered marine biology. Enamored by island life, but troubled by the threat climate change now poses to it, Ty returned reluctantly to the U.S. to pursue a joint MPA/J.D. at Harvard Law School and the Woodrow Wilson School. After graduating from the Woo, he intends to return to Oceania to work on the unique international law and policy issues that small island states face as a result of climate change. Ty spent the past summer interning at the Legal Office of the U.N. World Food Programme in Rome. He loves badminton and is always down for a match.
Tamara Patton
PhD
University of Washington, 2010; Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, 2012
International Studies, B.A.; Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, M.A.
Kahalu’u, Hawaii
Tamara’s research interests center on resolving the policy and technical challenges of nonproliferation, arms control and disarmament. She has studied and worked in this area for over six years, first in her B.A. and M.A. degree programs, and afterward as a fellow at the U.N. Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, an NGO researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in Sweden and most recently at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) in Austria. Her latest work has focused on meeting international nuclear weapon related treaty verification needs through emerging technologies, including new satellite Earth observation systems, information fusion tools and virtual reality platforms for designing and simulating verification systems. Tamara is also interested in solutions to humanitarian arms control challenges in developing countries, and has previously led research on the civilian and development impact of antivehicle landmines, with field studies conducted in Cambodia and South Sudan.
Liza Paudel
MPA1
II - International Development
Colgate University, 2015
International Relations, B.A.
Kathmandu, Nepal
Born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal, Liza studied international relations and women’s studies at Colgate University. While at Colgate, she conducted independent research projects studying the political rehabilitation of Maoist ex-combatant women after the Nepali civil war, and documenting oral histories of Bhutanese-Nepalese refugees in upstate New York. After graduation, she worked in the financial industry before joining MDRC, a nonprofit social policy research organization. At MDRC, she worked on randomized controlled trials of federal workforce development programs working to provide un- and under-employed workers and individuals receiving public assistance, access to jobs in high-demand sectors. Liza is passionate about human rights and technology policy, and she enjoys traveling, cooking, swimming, attempting to speak French and having too many houseplants.
Liqun Peng
PhD
Beijing Forestry University, 2013; Tsinghua University, 2016
Forestry, BAg; Environmental Science and Engineering, M.S.
Beijing, China
Liqun is a third-year Ph.D. candidate in science, technology and environmental policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Prior to arriving at Princeton, she earned a master’s degree in environmental science and engineering at Tsinghua University with a focus on Chinese air pollution. Her research involves residential fuel use and emission estimates, the impacts of electric vehicles on air quality, public health and economic impacts from China’s international trade and local air pollution prevention and control action plans. Liqun is interested in assessing potential co-benefits of pollutant mitigation policies to air quality, climate change and associated human health impacts.
Renee Peterkin
MPA1
III - Domestic Policy
Spelman College, 2017
Political Science, B.A.
Jacksonville, Florida
Renee is a U.S. Navy veteran from Jacksonville, Florida. She served as a Persian Farsi language analyst for six years and helped lead a division of more than 50 sailors. She earned an Associate of Arts in Persian Farsi from the Defense Language Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Spelman College. She is a 2016 Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow and a member of Phi Alpha Theta history honor society. Renee currently resides in Atlanta and works for the Atlanta Community Food Bank as a community advocate. In this position, she works directly with underserved groups. Her policy interests include hunger, health and urban development.
Jeffrey Phaneuf
MPA1
I - International Relations
Harvard University, 2010
History/Literature, B.A.
North Andover, Massachusetts
Jeff grew up in the woods north of Boston and studied history and literature at Harvard. He taught high school history before leading U.S. Marines as an infantry platoon commander. In 2014, he managed Rep. Seth Moulton's first campaign for congress, then returned to active duty to deploy to Iraq in the fight against ISIS. He enjoys hiking, writing and mixing cocktails for friends.
Daniel Ponton
MPA1
II - International Development
University of Virginia, 2015
Political and Social Thought/Religious Studies, B.A.
Altadena, California
The son of Ecuadorian natives, Daniel was born and raised in Southern California. He attended the University of Virginia for undergrad and graduated with a degree in religious studies and political and social thought. After graduation, Daniel moved north to Washington, D.C., to work in connecting students around the world to engage in dialogue about their religious and cultural backgrounds. Driven to continue working with students and to reconnect with his cultural roots, he moved south to the Ecuadorian Amazon where he spent two years serving in the Peace Corps and working with parents and schools on childhood development. Daniel plans to use his time at Princeton to study the psychology and economics behind sound development policy and hopes to contribute to education reform and other development policies across Latin America upon graduation.

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