Intellectual Exchange

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Japan Travel Program Fellows 2009

Participant Bios

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Theodore (Ted) Alcorn

The Johns Hopkins University, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Affairs
Ted Alcorn is a joint MA/MHS candidate at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and Bloomberg School of Public Health. His academic focus is on systems-design for the provision of social services such as health care and water supply. He has a BFA in Film and Television Production from the New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and previous to his current studies, he worked on Ken Burn’s documentary miniseries, The War, which tells the story of the American experience during the Second World War.

Harvey Beasley
Tufts University, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Harvey Beasley is currently pursuing his Master’s degree at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. His studies focus on the diplomatic relationships between the United States and East Asia. After graduating from Fletcher, he will work as a U.S Foreign Service Officer in the Department of State focusing on Public Diplomacy. He plans to spend the majority of his career working in East Asia. Harvey attended Indiana University Bloomington for his undergraduate studies in Japanese and Information Technology. He also spent one year studying Japanese at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan during his junior year. After graduating from Indiana University, Harvey worked for GE Japan for 4 years splitting his time between Tokyo and Osaka. He later spent one year studying intensive Japanese at IUC Yokohama, and then worked for one year as a technical translator in Osaka.

Sarah Berke
University of Minnesota, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
Sarah Berke is a Master of Public Policy student at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, concentrating in economic and community development. Originally from Nebraska, she graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a BA in political science and Russian in 2003. She studied in Velikiy Novgorod, Russia, as a Fulbright student fellow in 2004-2005. Berke has five years of professional experience in community economic development and access to financial services. She has managed communications and fundraising at the Chicago Community Loan Fund, served on the supervisory committee of the North Side Community Credit Union and volunteered as a tax preparer for low-income Chicago residents. She is now a consultant for the Center for Financial Services Innovation (an affiliate of ShoreBank Corp.) and the Native American Community Development Institute. Berke has academic and professional interests in public-private-nonprofit collaboration, access to credit and financial services for low-income communities and households, and comparative international learning.

Scott Hartley
Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs
Scott Hartley is a joint-degree policy and business graduate student at Columbia University, holds a BA in Political Science from Stanford University where he served as a Director of Stanford in Government, and earned fellowships to Ecuador and Japan. A former Google employee, he launched global products, spent a year in India founding a team, and lectured on entrepreneurship as a Google.org business development consultant in East Africa. He has held research positions at Stanford Medical, Columbia Business, and Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center, and interned in the U.S. Department of State in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the White House National Economic Council. He is a participant in the Young Leaders program at Pacific Forum CSIS on US-China Trade, has co-authored a report under sub-contract to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and has published at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and in Foreign Policy. Interested in sports and travel, he competes in Ironman 70.3 triathlons and has visited over 50 countries.

Samuel Lederer
University of Washington, Henry M. Jackson School of International Affairs
Originally from New York City, Samuel Lederer graduated from Dartmouth College in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History and English. After graduation, he taught English in Kawane Town, Shizuoka Prefecture on the Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Program for two years. He is currently a Japan Studies Master of Arts in International Studies candidate at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington (Seattle). His research interests include Japan's renewable energy technology industries, geothermal power plant industry, colonial government policy during the occupation of Korea, early Meiji era newspaper woodblock prints and general Japanese art history. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, hiking, live music and art.

Timothy Little
University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies
After attending high school in Deltona, FL, Timothy Little enlisted in the Army. He was first stationed in Korea for a year before going to Texas. He later attended Florida State University receiving a BA in International Affairs with a focus on Asia. Following graduation He went back into the Army as an officer serving again in Korea and doing 2 tours in Iraq. Currently he is attending the University of Denver working on his MA in Global Finance Trade and Economic Integration (GFTEI). His area of focus continues to be Asia with a country specific focus of China. Naturally, Chinese is his second language with an intermediate level proficiency.

Ross Matzkin-Bridger
Georgetown University, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
Ross Matzkin-Bridger is a Master's student at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, studying international affairs and security. As an undergraduate student he studied at George Washington University, receiving a Bachelor's degree in Asian Studies and Japanese Language and Literature. He spent four years living in Japan, two as a student and two working for a local government. He speaks, reads and writes Japanese. After graduating from Georgetown, he hopes to work in the public sector promoting further partnership between the U.S. and Japan.

Nicole Nakagawa
University of California, San Diego, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies  
A native of California, Nicole Nakagawa grew up in the Central Valley and Sierra Foothills. Her love of the outdoors and family’s detention in WWII internment camps sparked interest in the environment and Japanese studies. Nicole is a Master’s candidate at UC San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) specializing in International Environmental Policy with a regional focus on Japan. Prior to IR/PS, Nicole worked as a research assistant in the Environmental Studies Department at UC Santa Cruz where she made policy recommendations on open space conservation and sustainability issues. In 2008, she received her BA in Environmental Studies and Biology from Santa Cruz. This summer, she is working as a field biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species Division. She is also continuing her work as a Marketing Director for the student-run organization Strategic Community Consulting.

Kevin O’Driscoll
Georgetown University, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
Luke Schoen is entering his second year of studies for a Master's degree at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He is focusing on International Environmental Policy and Sustainable Development Economics with a regional concentration in East Asia. Currently a NNEMS Fellow at the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, his research focuses on comparing regional air quality management systems and diplomacy in China and the United States. Prior to graduate school, Luke taught English in Yamagata Prefecture for three years with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, worked for CNN's Beijing bureau, and lived in Germany for one year as a high school exchange student with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program. He holds a BA in Anthropology and Asian Languages and Literature from Dartmouth College.

Karen Hoiyan Tam
University of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy  
Karen Hoiyan Tam graduated from the University of Chicago in 2006. After graduation, she worked for a healthcare consulting company, helping hospital executives understand the changing economic and political influences that affect the finances and welfare of their services in the U.S. and abroad. Her career goal is to research, develop, and implement global solutions to solve global challenges by engaging businesses, policy makers, and non-profit organizations. She is particularly interested in understanding U.S. and international health policies that affect the delivery of health care to the general public. Currently, she is pursuing her dual Masters degrees in Business Administration and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Over the summer, she is working for the Access Project that aims to improve the access and quality of healthcare by teaching business management skills to health providers in rural parts of Rwanda.

Michael Verba
Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Michael Verba was born in Ukraine and grew up in Colorado. He entered the world of public policy after graduating from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Government. He first worked for a nonprofit organization assisting the homeless population of New York. More recently he has worked as an Assistant Economist in the Regional Affairs Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He is currently a student at the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, where he is a candidate for a Master’s degree in the Economics and Public Policy Program. This summer he is working on a project for the National Planning Department of the Republic of Colombia, the aim of which is to inform government policy in the area of technology and innovation.

Lisa Vura-Weis
Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Lisa is currently a Master of Public Affairs student at Princeton University, where she is focusing on Economics and Public Policy, with a Certificate in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy. She was born and raised in Southern California, and left her home state to attend Harvard University, where she graduated with an AB in Economics. After graduation, Lisa worked for the New York Attorney General’s Office, where she calculated economic damages in financial wrongdoing, antitrust, healthcare, and civil rights cases. She spent a year conducting health and development economic research at Princeton University then moved back to New York State government. At the New York State Insurance Department, she worked on health, workers’ compensation, and medical malpractice reform.

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