Michelle came into the MDP after completing a bachelor’s in community planning from Northern Arizona University. Her interest in development practice stemmed from working with a grass-roots nonprofit in Indonesia that facilitated direct trade for poor coffee farmers. Seeing the complexities of poverty and inequality in development has fueled her passion to create sustainable, equitable and culturally-appropriate approaches to the challenges of development.
Throughout her graduate studies, Michelle has become focused on the global refugee crisis and the refugee resettlement process. During the summer of 2018 for her summer field practicum, she was hired to complete a housing evaluation and outreach development plan for the International Rescue Committee in Tucson, Arizona. The housing evaluation consisted of using both qualitative and quantitative research methods to understand the dynamics of the IRC’s current housing partnerships.
Michelle then used the data collected in the evaluation to craft an outreach plan that resulted in securing five new partnerships for the organization. For her Master’s Report, she is interpreting this experience into an institutional analysis of the refugee resettlement process in Tucson. She hopes to contribute to the understanding of refugee resettlement from a political-economy lens, focusing on the increasing shift of resettlement responsibility in the local community.
“My passion is centered around improving the lives of the most vulnerable in our complicated, and in many ways broken, world. I feel honored to be a part of the global development field and I hope I can use my education, experience and motivation to aid in the development of a more equitable world for all humans.”
Bachelor of Community Planning, Minor in Ethnic Studies, Northern Arizona University