Aïda-Léna Ndiaye (Co-President Michaelmas 2021)

Aïda-Léna NdiayeAïda is a current MPhil student at the Centre of Development studies. She recently completed her undergraduate degree (MA) in Economics and Management at the University of St Andrews. Her research interests include the role of culture and institutions in creating sustainable and equitable development, but she also has particular interests in nutrition and health, especially pertaining to the African continent. Aïda has experience in conducting research on sustainable energy provision in West Africa, in advancing women’s empowerment through her time volunteering at various NGOS, and in researching various aspects of nutrition and health for a medical practice.

Ella Rechter (Co-President Michaelmas 2021)

Ella Rechter - website photoElla Rechter worked for two years in the UK civil service on a range of policy areas before beginning the MPhil in Development Studies. She holds an undergraduate degree in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and has work experience in NGOs based in Cairo and Beirut. Her interests lie at the intersection of democratic engagement, digital technology and urban development.

Andrea Komova (Treasurer Michaelmas 2021)

AndreaAndrea is a MPhil student in Development studies, focusing on the relationship between data, technology and society as well as on the socio-economic development of Central Asia. She received her MA in Politics and Central and East European studies from the University in Glasgow, worked for various NGOs and international organisations (such as the EU) and throughout her professional life has been deeply focused on empowering young female students. She stands behind many Slovak student initiatives and is secretly a tech geek.

Grace Smith (Editor in Chief Michaelmas 2021)

​​Grace SmithGrace is a current Development Studies MPhil student. She previously completed her undergraduate degree in history at University College London, focusing on the intersection of gender and society in the Old Babylonian period in Mesopotamia. Her interests lie in the impact of gender and education on development in Afghanistan and the Middle East, as part of which she helped co-found an educational website for children in Afghanistan in the Dari language.

Simonna (Shimeng) Li (Outreach and Communications Officer Michaelmas 2021)

Simonna LISimonna is a current student in MPhil in Development studies. Having participated in the Fudan International Development programme and the United Nations Global Compact, she developed a fascination with the Global Value Chain approach and inclusive capability building. Built on her previous engagements in various international fora, in Cambridge, Simonna started to explore the socioeconomic impacts of low carbon innovations in Southern Africa. Generally, her research interest lies in global technology diffusion and holistic indigenous development.

Jeremy Lim (Journalist Michaelmas 2021)

JeremyJeremy has worked in public policy for 5 years before joining the MPhil in Development Studies program. During his tenure at the Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development, he has worked on issues ranging from energy policy to electoral studies to Malaysia’s indigenous peoples. His research interests are political economy and capitalist development in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. He is also secretary of a history research project, Imagined Malaysia, and a writer for the youth collective, Malaysia Muda.

Severin Baker (Podcast Host Michaelmas 2021)

Severin CAMSED Website PhotoSeverin Baker is currently a student on the MPhil in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on border violence and the role of the state in the criminalisation of migration. Severin also has experience in non-profit organisations, including working with asylum seekers and refugees in Thessaloniki.

Katie O’Neill (Podcast Researcher/Analyst Michaelmas 2021)

Katie O'Neill HeadshotKatie is a MPhil student in Development Studies. She completed her undergraduate in International Relations at Claremont McKenna College in the US, during which time she conducted research on gender quotas for national legislatures in Latin America. She has worked for non-profits in Morocco, Switzerland, and the US. Her research interests include gender mainstreaming in political institutions and generating sustainable economic opportunities for women. 

Lara Shirra-White (Co-President Michaelmas 2020)

img_6091Lara is a current MPhil student at the Centre of Development Studies. She completed her undergraduate degree at Cardiff University in Linguistics, focusing on language in politics and identity. Her previous experience includes work for the UNDP (Mongolia) and Amnesty International, and her research interests lie in the role of institution and mechanism design in tackling challenges facing development at the local and global level.  

Jodi-Ann Wang (Co-President Michaelmas 2020)

123570580_363500618233076_871985058637020404_nJodi-Ann is a current MPhil in Development Studies student at the University of Cambridge, where she focuses on the socio-environmental implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. She completed her BA in International Studies from Kenyon College in the US, during which she also spent 12 months in China and Ghana researching bilateral entrepreneurial migration. Jodi-Ann is interested in climate resilience-building, inclusive policy-making, and equitable growth within the South-South framework.

Brianna Seecharan (President – Lent Term 2020)


Brianna is a MPhil student at the Centre of Development Studies researching Caribbean socioeconomic development policy. She completed her undergraduate degree at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study concentrating on development in the Americas. Her previous work experience includes working for a local municipality, a non-profit, and a small business. Brianna is Guyanese-American.

Jay Sullivan ( Vice President – Lent Term 2020)

thumbnail_DSC_0958Jay Sullivan is currently an MPhil student in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge focused on climate change, development, and American foreign policy.  Prior to Cambridge, he led business development and research at a startup innovation and technology company that worked in the field of environmental conservation in Washington DC, completed a State Department Fulbright Grant in Malaysian Borneo teaching at a low-performing secondary school, and interned at the White House in the Obama administration.  He graduated from Duke in 2016 where he studied public policy, environmental science, and innovation & entrepreneurship.

Nabila Idris (President – Lent Term 2019)

Profile photo Oct 2018

Nabila Idris is a PhD student at the University of Cambridge’s Centre of Development Studies, where she researches the politics of development policymaking, with a focus on social protection policies in Bangladesh. A Khazanah scholar at Cambridge, she has previously worked in the UK, China, Thailand and Bangladesh

Cément de Rivas (President – Easter Term 2018)

LinkedinClément is a second-year PhD student in Development Studies. His research focuses on how industrial policy can promote industrial upgrading and structural change, in a context where global value chains are increasingly important. Clément previously worked for the French Treasury for two years.

Paola Velasco Herrejón (President Michaelmas Term 2018)

Paola Velasco PhD Profile CDSPaola is a PhD student at the Centre of Development Studies University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on indigenous led participation for the development of renewable energy projects. Her previous experience includes working at the Women’s National Institute in Mexico, the United Nations Development Programme (Mexico), and as Corporate Social Responsibility coordinator of a wind energy firm.

Isabel Estevez (President – Lent Term 2017)

Foto IE

My academic background ranges from economics and philosophy to anthropology and political science, but I have always been guided by an interest in social and economic transformation (locally and globally) and the role of academia in that process. My Ph.D. research at the Centre of Development studies is focused on economic relations between the Global North and the Global South, with a focus on Latin America.

Amir Lebdioui (President – Michaelmas Term 2017)

I am currently pursuing a PhD in Development Studies which focuses on the political economy of natural resource abundance and issues of economic diversification. CAMSED offers a great platform to hear different perspectives on social and economic development, and I have decided to get involved with CAMSED within this team because we all share a common vision about how to take on this initiative and deepen its outreach within the university and beyond.

Gracelin Baskaran (President – Eastern Term 2017)


I’m a PhD Candidate within the Centre of Development Studies; my work is guided by an interest in labour market development in Sub-Saharan Africa. My current research examines organisational behaviour as a means of promoting equitable employment outcomes in emerging markets. I previously worked as a Fulbright Scholar in Rustenburg, South Africa. Outside of the research space, I’ve worked and consulted for organisations in Houston, Johannesburg, New Delhi, and Sydney.

Isabella Weber (Vice President 2017)


I studied economics, political science and China studies in Berlin, Beijing and New York and gained extensive practical experience in both student movements and the management of public development cooperation projects before joining the PhD programme in development studies. My work is guided by my interest in the connection between theoretical reflection, concrete political practices and structural economic dynamics.

Shreyashi Dasgupta (Secretary 2017)


I am a second year PhD student at the Centre of Development Studies and my research work focuses on the politics of urban informality in cities of the Global South.  Before joining the University, I have worked  for three years on a wide range of developmental issues that centered on water and sanitation, housing, land-use, spatial planning and urban governance in India.

Kiryl Zach (Outreach Officer 2017)

PhD student in the Centre of Development Studies, previously studying Economics and Politics in Sheffield. Campaigned in Rethinking Economics, International Student Initiative for Pluralism in Economics and Prof. Robert Skidelsky’s Economic Curriculum Committee. Former intern at Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance and RBS. Study interests: industrial developments in Poland after 1989, original institutionalist school of economics, Amartya Sen’s theory of justice, the role of power in economic sphere and too many related topics.

Anna Bilous (Academic Events Officer 2017)

My academic interests range from economic development and social transformation, to German philosophy and conflict studies. . Prior to my graduate studies at Cambridge, I worked in policy-making, NGOs and charitable organisations, as well as an academic researcher.

Josh Platzky Miller (Communications Officer 2017)

joshIn my academic life, I work on educational contestation by politicised groups from transdisciplinary perspectives, having previously studied politics, philosophy, economics, and anthropology. Due to my involvement in other organisations in Cambridge, including the African Society (ASCU), Cambridge Defend Education (CDE) and Decolonise Cambridge, and others outside of the university, I have offered to bring people and groups together to think through critical issues from broader perspectives, and pursue an engaged form of scholarship that can help dismantle oppressive institutions which inhibit social and economic development.

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