Meet our two new interns: Srujana Penumetcha & Colin Huerter

We our happy to welcome our two newest interns, Srujana Penumetcha and Colin Huerter. Both will be joining us as international program interns, and both are about to begin the second year of their Master of Public Policy degrees at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. We will put their bios on the GKI website soon, but in the meantime we thought we would ask them a few questions about themselves as a means of introducing them. They are both smart, well-read, and are appropriately enthusiastic about coffee.

Srujana Penumetcha

Srujana Penumetcha

Srujana Penumetcha:

1. What motivated you to get involved in international development?

“I first became interested in international development through my work with Amnesty International as an undergraduate. Having learned about various human rights issues and development challenges, I found myself searching for ways to make a more direct impact. My interest in international relations and eagerness to learn more about economic development and poverty alleviation led me to focus my senior independent study on conditional cash transfer programs in India. This helped pave the way for my involvement in international development.”

2. What has been your favorite graduate school class thus far (in your first year), and why?

“My favorite class in graduate school so far has been Development and Foreign Assistance, which was taught by Professor Steven Radelet. It was a comprehensive study of the role of foreign assistance in economic development and provided a foundation to think critically about the complex and inherent problems of the aid industry. The class was highly engaging and gave me an opportunity to learn more about the current debates on foreign assistance and aid reforms.”

3. What is the best development/policy related book or article that you have read recently, and what did you like about it?

“One of the best development policy related books I recently read is The Bottom Billion by Paul Collier. It offers important insights and analysis of the underlying causes of poverty and focuses on the often overlooked group of small countries that make up the poorest one billion. Collier uses extensive research, anecdotes, and rigorous economic analysis to explain how these countries fall into a set of “traps” that hinder their development. In comparison to other books that address poverty, economic development, and the role of foreign assistance, Collier presents a more balanced assessment of the effectiveness of aid and persuasively argues for a combination of policy interventions that should be context specific depending on the country and the particular trap.

4. If you could work in one country outside of the US, in which country would you work?

“This is a hard question because there are so many places I would want to work in! If I had to choose one though, I would have to say China.”

5. How do you take your coffee (assuming you drink coffee – if not how do you take your tea)?

“Strong with a splash of skim milk and a packet of sugar.”

Colin Huerter with Moroccan artisans

Colin Huerter with Moroccan artisans

Colin Huerter:

1. What motivated you to get involved in international development?

“I decided to enter the development field because it combined everything that I was looking for in a career: the satisfaction of working towards something greater than myself, constant opportunities for learning and growth, the chance to challenge myself personally and professionally, and the prospect of becoming familiar with different countries and cultures around the world.”

2. What has been your favorite graduate school class thus far (in your first year), and why?

“I was required to take a Comparative Public Management course and wasn’t really sure what to expect, but it turned out that I really enjoyed it.  It made me think more about the practical constraints of working in developing countries, and some of the lessons that have been learned other peoples’ experiences.  The class was very challenging, but very rewarding.”

3. What is the best development/policy related book or article that you have read recently, and what did you like about it?

“I originally read William Easterly’s The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics some years ago when I was an undergraduate.  I picked it up again recently, and it seems more appropriate than ever.  It stands out as easily accessible amongst the generally academically-focused, and often boring, literature on international development.”

4. If you could work in one country outside of the US, in which country would you work?
“This is a tough question!  I have not been to South America or Sub-Saharan Africa yet, so I would pick a country in one of those areas.  Maybe Peru or Cameroon?”

5. How do you take your coffee (assuming you drink coffee – if not how do you take your tea)?

“Black, of course, no sugar.”

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