Alumnae receive Fulbright-Clinton fellowships

Congratulations to Meghan Arakelian, MPA-DP ’15, and Abigail Gregg, MPA-DP ’15, newly named recipients of Fulbright-Clinton Fellowships for 2015-16.

According to the U.S. State Department, which administers the fellowship program, Fulbright-Clinton Fellows “serve in professional placements as special assistants in foreign government ministries or institutions and gain hands-on public sector experience in participating foreign countries while simultaneously carrying out an academic research/study project.”

Arakelian and Gregg — recent SIPA alumnae who account for two out of just 19 fellowships awarded overall — are both awaiting placement in Timor-Leste.

Official biographies (courtesy Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship program)

Meghan Arakelian holds a master of public administration in development practice from Columbia SIPA and a bachelor of arts in international affairs from the George Washington University. Her graduate studies were guided by an interest in nutrition policy. She completed an independent study as a member of the core writing and data analysis team for the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Global Nutrition Report. Working with a team of graduate student consultants for the World Food Programme, Ms. Arakelian drafted country synthesis reports on nutrition governance for Bangladesh, Nepal, Rwanda, and Uganda. She also completed an internship in Nepal with the World Food Programme, working with the UN REACH Partnership on nutrition governance and multi-sectoral approaches to nutrition.

Prior to graduate school, Arakelian worked at Philantropia, a development consultancy based in New York, engaging with NGOs working in international development and human rights. While at Philantropia, she designed fundraising plans, researched prospective donors, and provided strategic resource mobilization advice for organizations in over forty countries. Ms. Arakelian has co-led NGO capacity building trainings in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.

As a Fulbright-Clinton Fellow, Arakelian hopes to gain experience developing policies to reduce stunting and malnutrition in Timor-Leste. She plans to research holistic approaches to nutrition, specifically operational and technical synergies across relevant ministries.

Abigail Gregg holds a master of public administration in development practice from Columbia SIPA. She received bachelor degrees in anthropology and English (creative writing) from the University of Southern California.  Gregg is a wilderness emergency medical technician certified by the Wilderness Medicine Institute of the National Outdoor Leadership School.

At USC, Gregg conducted fieldwork in South Los Angeles, Cambodia, and Brazil. Her work in Los Angeles explored food security and environmental health issues, and community response to these problems. In Cambodia, she worked with the Shoah Foundation and the Documentation Center of Cambodia, recording testimony from survivors and perpetrators of the Cambodian genocide. In Brazil, Gregg produced an ethnography of street food vendors and their role in cultural and economic identities.

While at Columbia, Gregg returned to Brazil to work with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the Amazon and their host, the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation. Her coursework at SIPA primarily focused on crisis prevention and response though environmental management. She is currently a research fellow for the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, where she is part of a joint research team with Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute, addressing Papua New Guinea’s mining sector.

As a Fulbright-Clinton Fellow, Gregg intends to focus on natural disaster risk and preparedness in Timor-Leste’s conservation areas and explore options for joint conservation and resilience initiatives.

Photographs of Meghan Arakelian (left) and Abigail Gregg courtesy U.S. State Department