Students apply to enroll in What Works in Development II: Advanced Topics and Applications. The course attracts students from all levels and diverse disciplines of the University. In fact, the 14 students represent all five of Notre Dame's colleges and both undergraduate and graduate degree seekers. They have gone on to pursue their passions in India, Guatemala, Haiti, the Philippines, and many other places around the world. Read on to learn what alumni of the advanced class are doing and what they have to say about the course.

Spring 2016 Students



Development Advisory Team: Design Thinking Initiative, Notre Dame

"I graduated from Notre Dame in 2016 with majors in Biology with significant course concentration in international development. My interests lie largely at the intersection of environmental conservation, community building, education, and human (especially youth) development. I feel passionate about using my background in life science to creatively tackle complex interdisciplinary problems in development. I have worked extensively on research dealing with natural ecosystem services, evaluating the economic and ecological effects of potential wetland restoration projects in the Kankakee watershed through historical research, data analysis, and land­ user surveys. After graduation, I will serve as a Peace Corp volunteer in Madagascar." 

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 2.51.49 PM.png

Danny Espinoza

Development Advisory Team: Enseña Chile, Chile

"I graduated from Notre Dame in 2016 with majors in International Economics and Political Science. In addition to the Golden Dome, I call La Habra, California my home. As an undergraduate, I studied abroad in Santiago, Chile taking courses at La Católica and la Universidad Alberto Hurtado. While there, I participated in a course focusing on Chilean development and I committed myself to teaching high school students in Cerro Navia at Colegio Don Enrique Alvear. I found my passion for education in Cerro Navia and completed an economic analysis of the effectiveness of Chile’s vouchers for low socio-economic status students. I also spent summer 2015 working in Washington D.C. for a Latino legal civil rights firm conducting data analysis on higher education access for single mothers."

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 3.10.59 PM.png

Lauran Feist

Development Advisory Team: Hagámoslo Bien

"Originally from South Dakota, I graduated from Notre Dame with majors in Political Science and International Economics/Spanish. I was drawn to the International Development in Practice II course specifically because of the opportunity to work with Hagámoslo Bien. My areas of academic interest include Latin American politics, theories of democratization, political institutions and international development. As part of the International Scholars Program through the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, I had done research on electoral volatility and party institutionalization. As an undergraduate, I have spent extensive time in Argentina and Chile, studying abroad and conducting undergraduate research for my Political Science Honors Thesis."

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 3.10.46 PM.png

Magdalena Guzman

Development Advisory team: Hagámoslo bien

"Born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, I graduated from Notre Dame with majors in Economics and Political Science. I am interested in learning how public policy and different sectors of civil society can address issues of security, corruption, and human rights. I have been involved in several projects related to criminal violence and development in Mexico, such as through my work as a research assistant to Professor Guillermo Trejo (Notre Dame) and Dr. Sandra Ley (CIDE), and through the fieldwork conducted with the Consejo Civico and doctorate student Ana Villarreal (UC Berkeley) on issues of community engagement in Nuevo Leon. For my senior thesis, I am looking at the variety of responses from the private sector towards organized crime in Mexico. I plan to start working at Deutsche Bank’s Capital Markets Latin America group in New York City after graduation."


Eryan Gwin

Development Advisory Team: L'Arche

"I am an Architecture major and International Development Studies minor at the University of Notre Dame, originally from Southern California. Through the intensive environments of architecture studios and Manhattan offices, I have gathered experience in tackling large, multi-faceted design problems and communicating effectively through visual means. Becoming part of the International Development Studies community has broadened my perspective and sharpened my understanding of the intricate relationship between the systems that humans design and how they affect individuals." 

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 2.23.34 PM.png

Lily Kang

Development Advisory Team: Design Thinking Initiative, Notre Dame

I graduated from Notre Dame with majors in IT Management, Sociology, and a minor in Actuarial Science. As a third culture kid who was raised in China and has spent most of her formative years in the U.S., I am keen to foster a human society founded on empathy and dignity. During my time at Notre Dame, I have pursued extensive scholarship and leadership related to entrepreneurship education and international development. My learning and experiences have led to my belief that the human-­centered approach of design thinking can bring about human flourishing aligned with the principles of dignity and solidarity. After graduation, I will work as a technology consultant at PTC in Minneapolis, MN.


Philisha Mesidor

Development Advisory Team: Partners in Health, Mexico

"I obtained my master’s degree in Global Health at the University of Notre Dame in 2016. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Miami, majoring in Health Science and Psychology with a concentration in Public Health. My passions include health disparities, empowerment of female and youth populations, and universal social justice. I have worked on community assessments and sexual health interventions in at-risk high schools in South Florida. I am Haitian American and consider Haitian Creole as one of my native tongues."


Daniel Olivieri

Development Advisory Team: Partners in Health, Mexico

"I am a member of the class of 2018  at the University of Notre Dame studying Science-Business and International Development Studies. I have conducted independent research on the Effectiveness of Community Health Workers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and have performed healthcare service-learning projects in Ecuador and Nicaragua. At Notre Dame, I am a co-founder of Partners In Health Engage, where I currently serve as the Director of Advocacy. I am very involved in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and perform research on social movement futures in Latin America. In summer 2016, I am conducting independent research on the relationship between ownership and healthcare in Nicaragua."


Hind Ourahou

Development Advisory Team: L'Arche

"I grew up and schooled in Morocco where I obtained my National Baccalaureate in Math and Sciences in 2012. I then joined African Leadership Academy (ALA) in South Africa to further an education in experiential learning focused on Entrepreneurial Leadership and African Studies. During the two years I spent at ALA, I worked on various student initiatives including the Youth Basketball Network – a program introducing the paradigms of leadership in sportsmanship to the Basketball community of Johannesburg in partnership with NBA Africa. My most noteworthy achievement however is co-founding and presiding the National Entrepreneurial Challenge, a Moroccan based organization that seeks to develop a generation of job creators, rather than job seekers through entrepreneurship training and self-leadership coaching."

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 2.23.41 PM.png

Maria Oviedo

Development Advisory Team: Design Thinking Initiative, Notre Dame

Originally from Nicaragua, I graduated from Notre Dame in 2016 with majors in Political Science and a minor in Business Economics. I am interested in the fields of global education and workforce development and am excited to pursue a career in the non­profit sector to work on these issues. With internship experience in think tanks, my strengths are in research and analytical writing, but I also enjoy working in teams to develop creative solutions to challenging problems. For instance, as former co­-president of the International Development Research Council, I co­-created a program where students advised three small non-profits using best­ practices research. After graduation, I will work with Catholic Relief Services in Baltimore, Maryland. 


Joel Ostdiek

Development Advisory TeamL'Arche

"I graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2016 with a double major in Economics and Film, Television, and Theatre with minors in the Glynn Family Honors Program and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. I became fascinated by development in my undergraduate through two summers of research in Uganda, work as a Kellogg International Scholar, and by leading an educational initiative with the Harvard Cultural Agents. I am passionate about performing and has performed in musical theatre productions on campus, in New York City, and in London. After graduation, I will join McKinsey & Company as a Business Analyst." 


Andrew Petrisin

Development Advisory Team: Design Thinking Initiative, Notre Dame

"I am a senior Civil Engineering student who is passionate about design thinking as well as interdisciplinary and practice-­oriented education. In 2015 Fall semester I was part of a DAT team that successfully delivered a plan for a “Global Engineering in Practice” minor to the College of Engineering­­. After graduation, I will be working for Atkins, an international design firm. Notre Dame Students Empowering through Engineering Development (NDSEED) played a major role in my life at Notre Dame, working with rural Nicaraguan communities to provide safe crossing over flooding rivers through design and construction of footbridges. This experience has shown me how engineering development can create a shared human experience with communities a world away. I am also interested in how rapid urbanization will continue to shape both developed and developing countries over the course of this century, and how we can use design thinking to create equitable and sustainable urban development."


Ena Solórzano

Development Advisory Team: Enseña Chile, Chile

"Originally from El Salvador, I graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2016 with majors in Economics and Political Science. I have experience working on several development projects in Latin America from doing research for a think-tank in El Salvador and working with social microentrepreneurs in Salta, Argentina to working for an educational non-profit in Washington, D.C. Throughout my time here at Notre Dame I have developed strong analytical, organizational, and leadership skills all of which have been important in my involvement organizing Notre Dame’s annual Human Development Conference. I have taken various quantitative analysis classes and have done several projects trying to understand soft skills Finally, I will be doing Teach for America in Chicago after graduation."


Spring 2014 Students


Development Advisory Team: Engineering2Empower, Haiti

"I graduated in May 2015 in Political Science and Peace studies. I have since come back to South Bend and currently work as an AmeriCorps Vista member with the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County as a Development and Marketing Associate. Many of the topics we covered in Steve’s International Development in Practice II class definitely tie to some of the challenges we face as an organization addressing the needs of struggling students in South Bend. I am also working on a social venture idea assisting campuses and communities to develop strategies to address and engage in diversity issues through storytelling. Steve's class has been incredibly helpful in just about every aspect from the problem of my own personal relationship to the issue of diversity."


Jenna Ahn 

Development Advisory Team: Partners in Health, Mexico

"After graduation, I spent 10 months in Guatemala and Honduras working with an NGO called Farm of the Child. This past summer, I moved to the Bay Area and started working on a start-up initiative surrounding affordable and sustainable housing for developing countries (focused in Indonesia and in El Salvador). Now I work in community-based learning initiatives at Santa Clara University and work on the start-up when I can."


Ana Dionne-Lanier 

Development Advisory Team: Rubia, Mali

"After graduating in 2014 I worked at a nonprofit Boston called BEST Corp. Hospitality Training Center as an executive assistant for the year. I also worked closely with an organization working with Haitians. I am now at American University Washington College of Law. I've yet to have a similar experience in which I was learning not only just from a professor but also from the experiences of my peers. Together we cultivated amazing conversations about international development and how we wanted to shape our roles in the field." 


John Gibbons  

Development Advisory Team: BRAC; traveled to Cambodia

"Following graduation I participated in the American India Foundation’s Clinton Fellowship, a 10-month program where Indians and Americans are placed in NGOs or social enterprises across India. I was placed with, a tech-based social enterprise based in Bangalore that serves as the largest informal and entry-level formal sector jobs marketplace in India. The International Development in Practice II course is probably the reason why I was able to get the fellowship I participated. I use a lot of the learning from the class in my work still."  



Development Advisory Team: Fundacion Nueva Notre, Bolivia

"I majored in Economics and Political Science at ND and after graduating in May of 2014 I worked with Save the Children's Typhoon Haiyan response in the Philippines. I came back to the Washington D.C. area in August of 2015 and now work at the Latinum Network, a marketing consulting firm. There is nothing more valuable than getting the "raw" experience with a client and trying to find solutions that will make an impact. I've been able to apply what I learned during the Development Advisory Team (DAT) project and what I learned in the classroom (such as finding a balance between a prescriptive and elicitive approach) to my work in the non-profit and for-profit worlds. I hope the students in this course take full advantage of learning from their peers and their DAT projects so that this course can make as big as a difference in their post-grad life as it did in mine."


Erik Jensen

Development Advisory Team: Engineering2Empower; traveled to Haiti

"I am currently working towards an M.S. in civil engineering at Notre Dame. My research supports the work of Engineering2Empower, an organization housed at Notre Dame which designs with aspiring Haitian homeowners to pave a unique path towards an engineered, affordable home. In our Innovation Incubators, I have facilitated designthinking workshops with Haitian entrepreneurs to recognize patterns in human needs to create elegant solutions to the complex challenges of poverty in a new way, one rooted in empathy. I still think about this class ALL THE TIME -- take advantage of your incredible peers in this class, they are your biggest resource and will become infinitely valuable when you enter the field. They continue to challenge me to think about my role in development differently. I also went on an AMAZING research trip to Haiti for this class, a crucial component of my DAT project as well as my entire Notre Dame experience. "


Mitch Kochanski   

Development Advisory Team: Enseña Chile, Chile

"At Notre Dame I studied mechanical engineering and political science. Since taking International Development in Practice II and graduating, I have spent ~1.5 years with the Bridgespan Group, a non-profit strategy consulting firm. My projects have touched a few different sectors (public health, human services, youth employment) and capabilities (theory of change, implementation, measurement, organizational design). International Development in Practice II was without question among my favorite courses from my five years at Notre Dame: the content is fascinating and relevant, the learning community is engaging, and the DAT project is challenging and rewarding. In this course I learned as much about pedagogy and client services as I did about 'development' (a convenient buzzword that this course will push you to scrutinize and define for yourself!)"


Anna Kottkamp 

Development Advisory Team: Fundacion Nueva Notre, Bolivia

"I graduated this past May with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in International Development Studies. Currently, I am serving with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest in rural Oregon. I partner with an environmental education organization that is committed to place-based education and giving kids opportunities for meaningful experiences outdoors. I can honestly say that there is no other class like ILD2 at Notre Dame. I loved the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the class. The philosophy of accompaniment, for example, has been a foundation for my work with marginalized populations this year. This class continues to challenge me to think about how I present myself and my ideas. It was also a launching point for my International Development Studies Capstone and Thesis around the processes and perspectives that shape international development organizations."


Megan Olson 

Development Advisory Team: BRAC; travelled to Cambodia

"During my time at Notre Dame, I studied Political Science and also graduated with minors in Brazilian and Portuguese Studies and International Development. Since graduation, I have spent the past 1.5 years working at Landesa, which partners with governments, communities, and other stakeholders in more than 50 countries to advance pro-poor, gender-sensitive land rights reforms using law and policy tools. At Landesa I work as a Program Coordinator, focusing on business development, project management, and communication. I frequently apply concepts discussed during our coursework including developing project theory of changes, designing and sequencing program activities into "logical models", and negotiation."


Jessica Peck 

Development Advisory Team: Rubia, Mali 

"As the baby of the class, I'm still hanging around ND until May 2016 finishing my degree in Romance Languages and my IDS minor. So if anyone knows of any opportunities in the fields of development or sustainability...

I would say that the best part about this class is that a lot of the lessons learned are very broadly applicable. They will help you to think critically about development projects, but they will also help you in almost any field that you go into and countless situations you will encounter generally in life."


Megan Reineccius

Development Advisory Team: Engineering2Empower, Haiti

"I am in the Bay Area and work for an urban design and architecture firm called Opticos Design. We work on architecture projects, master plans, and zoning codes that support the development of walkable, economically diverse, and sustainable environments often around the Bay area but also throughout the country. "Design thinking" is something that comes into play every day in my job. Outside of work, I've been preparing a paper exploring the appropriateness/utility of international design build projects by looking a past research project with Building Tomorrow.I think the interdisciplinary nature of Steve’s class was very beneficial in training for the "real world." It was truly humbling to work with such a gifted and passionate group of people.  Those are the teams I look to work with in my professional work and it taught me how to communicated more effectively with interdisciplinary consultants." 


Alexandra Searle

Development Advisory Team: Partners in Health, Mexico

"Following graduation, I enrolled as an MPH student at Johns Hopkins with a concentration in International Health. After about nine months in the classroom, I received funding to do independent field work in Mali. I then spent five months in Mali, where I had the privilege to collaborate and work alongside Malian doctors and PhD students. My work in Mali utilized qualitative methods to describe local understandings of and reactions to prescription medications during pregnancy among HIV-positive women. Currently, I am finishing up my thesis and a manuscript for publication using data from Mali. Upon graduating next month, I plan to stay at Hopkins as a Research Program Coordinator. In that position, I will be directing a study using MDR-TB as a paradigm case to develop a social justice model for decision-makers to use alongside the age-old cost effectiveness analysis when deciding where and how to unroll novel treatments."


Denise Umubyeyi

Development Advisory Team: Partners in Health, Mexico

"Following graduation in May 2014, I stayed in South Bend for the summer serving as an AmeriCorp member at the Robinson Community Learning Center. That same summer, I had the awesome opportunity to TA for Steve and teach on the concept of Accompaniment to a group of Latin American Law Degree seeking students. Two very important things I learned in the IDS class: 1) the concept we all know very well of accompaniment and most importantly 2) teaching and explaining a concept in a way other people who'd never heard of the concept could understand. The most special thing about this class for me was the fact that many of us had such different backgrounds from one another and this really enriched conversation and brought different perspectives to the table."


Stephen Zerfas 

Development Advisory Team: Enseña Chile

"Following five months in Santiago, Chile working with Ensena Chile as an Impact Analyst after graduation, I'm wrapping up a full year as an Associate Consultant at The Bridgespan Group, the management consulting firm that advises nonprofits and philanthropists. International Development II shaped both my career aspirations and my ability to pursue those aspirations."


Course Instructor

About Me

I, Steve Reifenberg, am the co-director of the Keough School's Integration Lab, strategic advisor, and faculty fellow of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Before coming to Notre Dame in February 2010, I had worked for nearly two decades on international educational, negotiation and development issues at Harvard University. From 1996 to 2002, I served as the Executive Director of Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS). In 2002, the University asked me to establish Harvard’s first-ever, university-wide office overseas. In August 2002, I moved with my family to Santiago, Chile and set up the DRCLAS Regional Office which manages Harvard’s student programs in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, as well as coordinates Harvard faculty research projects in areas ranging from architecture and archaeology to biology and public health in these countries. The Regional Office has become the model for Harvard initiatives in other parts of Latin America and in Asia.

I was the former Program Director for Latin America of the Conflict Management Group (CMG), an international non-profit organization created from the Harvard Negotiation Project at the Harvard Law School. I served as the Director of the Edward S. Mason Program in Public Policy and Management, jointly administered by the Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard Institute for International Development from 1990 to 1993.

In the early 1980s, I lived and worked for two years at a small orphanage, Domingo Savio, in Santiago, Chile. I have written about his experiences in Santiago’s Children: What I Learned About Life Working at an Orphanage in Chile published by the University of Texas Press. I continue to be actively involved in Domingo Savio, and also serve on numerous non-profit boards in Chile and the U.S. that deal with innovation, education, conservation, and expanding opportunities for poor children.

I am a graduate of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government where I earned a Master in Public Policy. I also hold a Master in Print Journalism from Boston University and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. I currently live in South Bend, Indiana, with my wife, Chris Cervenak, and three children, Natasha, Alexandra and Luke.

(Last updated: 9/1/2017)