University of Maryland Individual Studies Program

Spring 2017 Graduates

Julia Aepfelbacher
B.S., Health and Social Inequality
Faculty Mentor: Edmond Schenassa, Department of Family Science

Julia Aepfelbacher is honored to be graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a B.S. in Health and Social Inequality. Through the Individual Studies Program, Julia was able to able to combine her passion for health and medicine with her desire to understand and mitigate the root causes of inequalities.

To complement her major, Julia has worked as a clinical research intern at Georgetown University Hospital where she studied racial health disparities in stroke outcomes. She also worked as an online hotline volunteer for RAINN, an organization that works to prevent sexual violence and volunteers at the K-Street farm, an urban farm with the mission to provide fresh produce to underserved areas in D.C. Julia has completed a clinical internship with Dr. Claudia Martin, where she was able to gain valuable experience working with patients and observing surgeries and procedures. For the past two years, Julia has been working on an independent research project under the tutelage of her Faculty Mentor, Dr. Edmond Shenassa, where they have found an association between the Gender Inequality Index and infant mortality in 127 countries.

Post graduation, Julia will be working as a post-baccalaureate fellow at the National Institutes of Health. She will be working in the Laboratory of Immuno-regulation where she will be conducting clinical research to study the long-term effects of anti-retrovirals. Julia plans to attend Medical school in the future.


Shabnam Ahmed
B.S., Global Public Health and Development
Faculty Mentor: Donna Howard, School of Public Health

Shabnam Ahmed is grateful for the opportunities and experiences she was able to pursue at the University of Maryland. After being introduced to IVSP her freshman year, completing her IVSP major has been the highlight of her undergraduate experience. Her studies have enabled her to understand the multiple dimensions of global health academically, as well as engage in local community and international experiential learning opportunities.

Throughout her time at UMD, Shabnam has participated in and led Alternative Breaks experiences, as well as served as a Trip Leader for the Adventure Program. She also was a Facilitator for the Maryland LEAD program. Shabnam had the pleasure and privilege of co-founding a financial literacy organization, Moneythink Maryland, and serving as the Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Student Government Association.

Shabnam is extremely grateful to Dr. Burton, Lori Praniewicz, and her peers in the IVSP and Global Fellows Program for welcoming her into such an incredible community. She has learned a lot and is constantly inspired by this community. Shabnam would also like to express her stout appreciation to her parents and family, without the support of whom she would not have been able to pursue all that she did.


Prabhleen GraduationPrabhleen Aneja
B.S. Global Health and Women
Faculty Mentor: Donna Howard, School of Public Health

Prabhleen Aneja is grateful that she will be graduating from University of Maryland, College Park as a Global Health and Women major and a Global Poverty minor. After a first-hand experience of healthcare practices towards women in India, she decided to create her major through the Individual Studies Program. This major has provided an interdisciplinary approach to health outcomes that not only includes the community health component, but also psychology, family science, biology and chemistry. For her senior thesis, Prabhleen wrote a literature review describing the effects of interventions on pregnancy outcomes in Punjab, Pakistan. She learned access to healthcare is one of many reasons why the maternal and infant mortality rate is high.

In addition to her coursework, Prabhleen had the opportunity to intern at the Pregnancy Aid Center. This center provides obstetric and gynecological care to low-income women in Maryland. Prabhleen witnessed how increasing access to care can improve health outcomes in minority populations. After graduation, Prabhleen will continue her studies at the George Washington University School of Medicine. She plans to pursue her passion as an OB-GYN and help women around the globe who do not have the resources to receive proper healthcare.


Devona Austin
B.S., Entrepreneurship
Faculty Mentor: Pamela Armstrong, Department of Decision, Operations, and Information Technologies

Devona Austin is honored to be graduating with a degree in Entrepreneurship. She designed her own interdisciplinary curriculum with the goal of creating her own business. Her degree focused on Workplace Management, Entrepreneurial Design and Development, and Accounting and Economics. For her capstone thesis, Devona analyzed the political and economic challenges in the fledgling cannabis industry in Maryland.

While at the University Maryland, Devona not only learned the foundations of business operations, but, most importantly, she understood the role of an entrepreneur and innovation. She believes that the best way to succeed in any venture is to analyze your audience; identify their needs; and address them. With her entrepreneurial skills, Devona sees great opportunity to pursue a career in the cannabis industry. As a traditionally marginalized industry, Devona feels strongly that she can make a difference and be successful.


Sade Ayinde
B.A., Global Economic Development (IVSP)
B.A., Economics
Faculty Mentor: Stacy Kosko, Center for International Development and Conflict Management

Sade Ayinde will be graduating from the University of Maryland with a major in Economics as well as her IVSP major in Global Economic Development & Policy. Sade’s capstone project focuses on labor market outcomes and demographics in the informal and formal sector of Nigeria.

Sade is a Princeton PPIA Fellow, a Rosalie Reilly Public Policy fellow, University of Pennsylvania IDDEAS Scholar, and a McNair Scholar. She is a member of multiple honor societies and a recipient of many awards, including Omicron Delta Kappa and Sophomore Leader of the Year. She has interned at Department of State and studied abroad in India and Thailand.

During her time at Maryland, Sade also balanced multiple jobs and had an active student leadership life. In her free time, she enjoys working with first-generation, low-income underclassmen students through her mentoring program, Student to Scholar. In the future, Sade hopes to seek graduate degree in applied economics. Her professional goals include working in social impact and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa.


Steven Chen B.S., Global Health
B.S., Biological Sciences Faculty Mentor: Donna Howard, School of Public Health

Steven Chen is graduating with double degrees in Global Health and Biological Sciences. He is passionate about finding ways to deliver better healthcare for poor and marginalized populations. His Individual Studies major explored how governments and institutions can work to develop sustainable healthcare delivery systems. For his capstone project, he examined the role of the deservingness framework on conversations about Medicaid and health policy for the poor.

Outside of IVSP, Steven is active on campus. This year, he served as President of the Residence Hall Association, as a Global Fellow interning with the Alliance of Community Health Plans, and as a volunteer with Tzu Chi USA. He enjoys facilitating conversations about the importance of service, and the intersection among service, faith, and character.

Post-graduation, Steven will be a Cancer Research Training Fellow at the National Cancer Institute Center for Global Health. Steven would like to thank Dr. Howard, the IVSP staff, and his family for their guidance and unwavering support.


Gabriella Davis
B.A., Social Entrepreneurship in Latin America
Faculty Mentor: Laurie Frederik Meer, School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies

Gabriella Davis is thrilled to be graduating from the Individual Studies Program with a B.A. in Social Entrepreneurship in Latin America, a double minor in Spanish and Business, and a certificate in Latin American Studies.

Always having been entrepreneurially driven, Gabriella was introduced to social entrepreneurship thanks to a study abroad program through the University of Maryland. Within the program, she travelled to Nicaragua for eight weeks, studied, and worked as an intern with Soluciónes Comunitarias developing an implementation plan for financial literacy programs within rural and remote communities.

During her time at Maryland Gabriella was very involved with social advocacy around campus, serving as the Vice President and General Body Meetings Director of the UMCP Chapter of the NAACP.

Gabriella would like to thank her Faculty Mentor, Dr. Laurie Frederik Meer, Dr. Burton and Lori Praniewicz for their patience, guidance, and support throughout this program.


Zoe Eisenberg
B.A., Expressive Therapy
Faculty Mentor: Karen Bradley, Department of Dance

Zoe Eisenberg is honored to graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Arts in Expressive Movement Therapy. IVSP has provided Zoe with the unique opportunity to study the role of expressive movement in relation to the development of therapies that facilitate psychological wellness.

For her senior capstone project, Zoe implemented and taught a pilot creative movement program at The Pathways School, a school for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. She designed an eight week- long curriculum for five middle school students to cultivate spacial awareness, regulation skills, self- efficacy, and adaptability. Additionally, she observed and interviewed two student teachers from University of Maryland who taught a creative movement class at Northwestern High School, where she learned best practices for individual and community development and engagement. Zoe journaled student’s progress by noting changes in movement patterning choices using the Laban/ Bartenieff system.

During her time at Maryland, Zoe was an active member in Kol Sasson, a co-ed Jewish A Cappella group on campus where she served as President. She planned Israel Fest 2016, Maryland's largest student run event on campus, with over 1,000 attendees. She was also a program assistant intern at A Free Bird, a non-profit organization helping children with cancer through therapeutic arts, as well as a movement instructor at a local high school for students facing trauma.

Zoe would like to thank her Faculty Mentor, Karen Bradley, Dr. Joan Burton, Lori Praniewicz, her friends and her family for their unwavering acceptance, support, and guidance.


Ariana Geller
B.A., Urban Studies, Planning, and Design
Faculty Mentor: Jim Cohen, School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

Ariana is graduating with a B.A. in Urban Studies, Planning, and Design. In her sophomore year, she discovered her passion for studying the dynamic relationship between society and the built environment, and in the middle of her junior year became an IVSP major to nurture her interests. The courses in her major concentrated on architecture and design, society, and sustainability. For her capstone project, Ariana explored the characteristics of a good college town and assessed whether College Park will fit the criteria based on the vision for the City of College Park.

During her time at Maryland, Ariana served as a General Board Member on the Education Committee and as the Chair of Special Events for Ometz, a Jewish group on campus. Ariana was also a 2017 Federal Fellow in the Energy and Environmental Policy concentration and completed her spring internship at the Coalition for Smarter Growth, an advocacy group that promotes walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities in the D.C. region.


Joshua Hall
B.A., Digital Media in Society
Faculty Mentor: Jason Farman, Department of American Studies

Josh is enthusiastic about graduating from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media in Society. With a longstanding passion for media creation and storytelling, Josh crafted the Digital Media in Society major to study the history of technology, how to use it, and how it affects us. For his senior capstone project, he created a narrative mobile application entitled Heartless, which explores how new technology has influenced dating culture and romance, and takes advantage of new methods for storytelling and production.

During his time at the University of Maryland, Josh found a home in the Digital Cultures and Creativity Honors Program, which inspired his studies and academic focus. When he was not engaged in his creative side projects, Josh was involved in the Office of Sustainability and other environmental groups on campus. He also completed research on site-specific storytelling as part of the Maryland Summer Scholars program, and created a location-based storytelling application for the University of Maryland campus. Josh traveled abroad for a semester to live and study in Canterbury, England. He spent his senior year working part-time at Long Story Short Media, a production company based in Washington DC. He would like to thank the extremely supportive staff in IVSP, and the fellow IVSP students who inspired him and educated him on more than one occasion. He would also like to thank his Faculty Mentor, Dr. Jason Farman, for his guidance, advice, and expertise, which has been crucial to Josh’s success and the completion of his studies.


<Saarah Javed
B.A., Global Development Policy in the Middle East
Faculty Mentor: John McCauley, Department of Government and Politics

Saarah Javed is graduating with a double major in Global Development Policy in the Middle East and Government and Politics, as well as a minor in International Development and Conflict Management. Through the Individual Studies Program Saarah designed an interdisciplinary curriculum that explored the global challenges of the developing world as well as the practice and policy of international development with a focus on the Middle East. For her capstone thesis, she analyzed the existing historical best practices of NGOs working with militant or insurgent groups.

While at University of Maryland, Saarah interned at the Office of U.S. House of Representatives in the office of Representative Derek Klimer, the Smithsonian Institution, and the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. She also completed the innovative internship program, Global Fellows in Washington, DC, with a concentration in Responses to Global Challenges. Saarah speaks French, Urdu, Arabic and Farsi, and was a part of the UMD Persian Flagship Program.


Gurleen Kaur
B.S., Global Public Health and Development
Faculty Mentor: Elisabeth Maring, School of Public Health

Gurleen is graduating with a degree in Global Public Health and Development. She gravitated toward the Individual Studies Program during her sophomore year where Lori and Dr. Burton welcomed her with open arms.

The Global Public Health and Development major combined Gurleen’s passion for public health, science, and international development. It included an understanding of global health issues and development concepts, as well as a foundation of biological science. Together these topics combine into a major that attempts to make sense of what we can do to make a difference in this great big world, especially in regards to improving health in developing nations. In her capstone, Gurleen analyzed the connection between patriarchal Punjabi culture and women’s health. Gurleen received a Gilman Scholarship to study post-apartheid South Africa. She realized there is so much we can empathize from the collective human experience. She is a recipient of the Critical Language Scholarship and will study Punjabi in Chandigarh, India this summer. Gurleen hopes to one day become a doctor to serve and empower all women.


Susan Price
B.A., U.S. International Relations (IVSP)
B.A., Government and Politics Faculty Mentor: John McCauley, Department of Government and Politics

Susan is obtaining a dual degree in U.S. International Relations and Government and Politics with a French minor. The major of U.S. International Relations studies modern-day affairs and how states behave in the world by focusing upon the subjects of terrorism, international development, and topics in foreign relations. For her capstone, Susan wrote about how Boko Haram has affected the national security and development of Nigeria.

On campus, Susan was involved as an ambassador for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and as a peer mentor for the Honors College. She was in Maryland Images as a tour guide and worked as a peer educator for CARE to Stop Violence through the University Health Center. She served on the Student Health Advisory Committee for the University Health Center, as well as the recruitment team for her sorority. She is an University of Maryland Global Fellow with a concentration in.

In addition to her on-campus activities, she also interned three times. Her first internship was on Capitol Hill for the office of Senator Barbara Mikulski. Her second internship was for START, where she worked to create a database that will hopefully be able to predict terrorist behavior based off their ideology. Her third internship was for the U.S. State Department in the Bureau of African Affairs, Office of Economic and Regional Affairs. She also had the opportunity to study abroad in Montpellier, France for her French minor. She will be extending formal graduation for one year because she has been awarded a Boren scholarship to study Swahili in Tanzania.

Susan is grateful to the IVSP office, for the incomparable experience they gave her throughout her time at UMD, and also her mentor, Dr. John McCauley, for all of his help as a mentor and as a professor.


Chase Siegel
B.A., Real Estate Development
Faculty Mentor: Jim Cohen, School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

Chase Siegel majors in Real Estate Development with a focus on urban environments and the human condition. His capstone focused on the real estate development of the Capitol Riverfront in Washington D.C. in regards to affordable housing.

During his time at the University of Maryland Chase worked on campus as a lab technician for the Bio Process Scale Up Facility. He is also a brother of the Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity and held the executive position of Philanthropy Chair. Chase’s internships included working as a retail strategist for Streetsense in Bethesda Maryland. While working for Streetsense, he worked closely with clients providing retail placement consulting.

After graduation, Chase plans on working for a few years in real estate development. Afterwards he plans to attend graduate school to pursue his MBA. He would like to thank his faculty mentor, Dr. Jim Cohen, and Dr. Joan Burton for their support throughout his time in the Individual Studies Program.


Irene Solaiman
B.A., International Relations
Faculty Mentor: Todd Allee, Department of Government and Politics

Irene Solaiman is incredibly grateful to the IVSP office and its staff, without whom she would never have made her own path. Her International Relations major consisted of courses in politics, global issues, and cultural context. This includes studying anti-human trafficking efforts and languages. Irene's capstone project is a paper titled "Mitigated Sex Tourism Capitals' Profits from Human Trafficking. It studies how the Dutch and Thai governments are gaining revenue from sex trafficking through prostitution and sex tourism and provides policy recommendations to ameliorate the situation.

At UMD, Irene served on five student boards, including as Cofounder and President of the Honors College Student Board. She is also a mental health counselor at the Help Center Hotline. She has studied abroad short-term in Germany and Japan, as well as studied abroad for one semester each in Seville, Spain, and at the National University of Singapore. Irene has interned for the U.S. Department of State for five consecutive summers with the Pathways and U.S. Foreign Service Internship Programs. Notably, she worked on U.S. policy to Libya in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and then was posted to the Political/Economic Section at the U.S. Embassy Tanzania. She most recently interned in the U.S. Senate Republican Conference as part of the Global Fellows Program.

After graduation, Irene will study Bangla with the Critical Language Scholarship in Kolkata, India. Then, in fall 2017, she will begin pursuing her Master of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.


Camila Uechi
B.A., Biomedical Engineering, Bioethics, and the Law
Faculty Mentor: David Tomblin, Director of Science, Technology, and Society

Camila Uechi is very grateful for the Individual Studies Program, which has enabled her to graduate with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Bioethics, and the Law. For her Senior Capstone, Cami created and proposed a Bioethics and Oral Communications hybrid course for the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland.

During her time at the University of Maryland, Cami has been able to delve into a wide range of fascinating subjects and has loved a great deal of them, but her favorite class by far was Dr. Butler’s Honors course on the Harry Potter series. In addition to her coursework, internships, and programs, Cami has been involved in many experiences on campus. She has portrayed Olivia in Twelfth Night with the Maryland Shakespeare Players, served as captain of the saber squad on the UMD Fencing Club, and given a TEDx talk on the influence of accents and language on social standing.

Cami would like to give a heartfelt thank you to all those who have supported her throughout her college years; a few include Dr. David Tomblin, Dr. Joan Burton, Lori Praniewicz, Dr. Victoria MacDonald, Dr. Todd Cooke, her friends, her parents, her sister, Andrew, and her cat, Errol.


Lianna Wittick
B.A., International Development in Latin America (IVSP) B.A., Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture
Faculty Mentor: Stacy Kosko, Center for International Development and Conflict Management

Lianna is excited to graduate with a double degree in International Development in Latin America and Spanish Language. Her coursework and experiences have given her an understanding of what it takes to create meaningful social change, an understanding of doing development work in cross-cultural contexts, and a passion to pursue a career founded on service. Lianna’s IVSP Capstone examines the educational ecosystem in Peru and its effect on children’s rights and well-being. Thanks to the generosity of the Steven Leonard and Family Scholarship for IVSP students, she traveled to Peru to do research during her senior spring, where she gained insight into education in Peru and the many facets to improving children’s lives overall.

Meaningful parts of Lianna’s undergraduate career include her time in the Honors Humanities Living-Learning program, her semester abroad in Santiago, Chile, and her year as a Global Fellow. Other significant experiences included interning with CIY Engage, CASA de Maryland, and the Consulate General of Peru; participating in the America Reads*America Counts program; and leading two Alternative Weekends trips.

Lianna would like to thank Dr. Joan Burton, Lori Praniewicz, and Dr. Stacy Kosko for all of their support. She would also like to thank her parents for encouraging her in all of her endeavors and for making everything possible.

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Individual Studies Program  Campus Location: 2407 Marie Mount Hall
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IVSP is a degree granting academic program of the Office of Undergraduate Studies
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