Master of Arts in Sustainable International Development

Student Profiles

Heller SID students are simply amazing. We believe that our program attracts people who are uniquely driven to pursue sustainable international development with a focus on people and the environment, in addition to the economy. Our students come to Heller with an already-impressive array of skills and experiences, from military veterans and humanitarian aid professionals, to Peace Corps members and local government officials. 

Maamie Oye Appiah

Maamie Oye Appiah, MA SID/MS GHPM’24

Recipient of the Heller Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship

Appiah has for years researched how environmental issues impact public health. At Heller, she aims to build on those skills to help marginalized populations around the world. When researching graduate programs, she looked for a program that would allow her to focus on both environmental issues and public health.

“When I looked at Heller, I noticed that they were very focused on recruiting people from different countries for international development, global health, and coexistence and all these things that are key to development,” she says. “This is important because they teach the people who should be working to make changes in their communities.”
Lah Soukkaseum

Lah Soukkaseum, MA SID’23

Open Society Foundation Fellow

Soukkaseum is one of few Khmu women from rural backgrounds working in development and public policy in Laos, and she has worked closely with rural communities, NGOs, and government on issues ranging from disaster risk reduction, emergency response, education, human trafficking, green cities, and women empowerment. Her experience has inspired her to create a community where other young women could learn skills to become financially independent, called "Talampam."

“True to Heller, there are a lot of classes where I can learn and connect with people, and through these connections, I can find opportunities to apply for grants that will support my project – and my community – back home in Laos,” she says.
Adriana Neira Caamano

Adriana Neira, MBA/MA SID’24

Neira is interested in exploring topics like income disparity, access to healthcare, access to education, and human rights in general. With the skills she is gaining through the MBA and MA SID programs, she hopes to be involved in working with these issues after graduation, and wants to have an impact on international policy. Neira is still exploring the options available to her at Heller and beyond, but she is happy to dive head-first into projects that make a positive difference in the world.

“I knew I wanted to work in policy, because policy affects every aspect of every person’s life. And once I started looking at Heller, I realized the school’s values aligned with mine,” she says.

Monique DeSimone, MA SID/MBA’23

Monique DeSimone, MA SID/MBA’23

Recipient of the Reaching Out MBA Scholarships (LGBTQ+)

DeSimone came to Heller eager to build off her financial services expertise and learn more about program management and equity-centric frameworks. She is pursuing dual master’s degrees: an MA in Sustainable International Development and a Social Impact MBA with a concentration in social entrepreneurship and impact management.

“I hope to redirect funds from traditionally capitalist institutions back into Black and indigenous communities of color,” she says. Leveraging those resources to address and adapt to the climate crisis will not only increase local climate resilience but will also help address historic inequity.
Neh Meh, MA SID/COEX'24

Neh Meh, MA SID/COEX‘24 (Myanmar/Thailand)

Recipient of the Heller Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship

As a former refugee herself, Neh Meh understands the challenges many refugees face when trying to obtain an education in the U.S. Now she’s hoping to make that process more equitable for others.

“Right now, a lot of refugees in camps receive an education, but it’s not a standardized education or an education accepted by the host country, which limits their economic growth potential and job opportunities,” she said. “That’s something I’d like to try to change.”
Leopoldino Jeronimo, COEX / MA SID’22

Leopoldino Jeronimo, MA COEX/SID’22 (Mozambique)

Leopoldino Jeronimo started the “Thinking Through with LJ” podcast during his time at Heller to help relate what he was learning in class to current events that he and his classmates were experiencing both in the U.S. and in their home countries.

After graduation, Jeronimo aspires to become a think tank facilitator and continue to bring together subject matter experts on conflict resolution. He says his experience at Heller connecting with people from around the world has helped him establish an international network.

Zari Havercome ’16, MBA/MA SID’22

Zari Havercome ’16, MBA/MA SID’22

AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumnus, Recipient of the Heller Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship

“Shirley Chisholm said, ‘Service is the rent you pay to live on earth.' I want to support communities that are disenfranchised, under-resourced, taken advantage of—the people experiencing cyclical poverty and hunger. We have come too far for people to still suffer from things they don’t have to.”

That's why Havercome has dedicated her life to service, from distributing canned goods and school materials in her grandmother’s home country of Guyana as a child, to working for AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps after graduating from college.

Chad Marvin, MA SID'22

Chad Marvin, MA SID'22

Jake Jagoda Memorial Endowment Recipient

“My goal is to have a human-based approach to solving environmental problems. I knew I wanted to be globally focused and I saw Heller’s core values of looking into the root causes of social injustice and inequality and where poverty comes from. I loved it. Now that we’ve started classes, everyone has such great insights. The best moments of my day are in Heller classes, where I get to hear new insights from the professors and of course my fellow students, who all have such amazing perspectives. It is such a good space to be in.”