Student Stories

Over the years, hundreds of Yale students have developed professional connections and maintained personal friendships with World Fellows.  These relationships have benefited students in their work, research, and travel across the globe.   Below are a few of their stories.


Beth DickinsonA meeting over coffee between Beth Dickinson (Yale College ’07) and World Fellow Hauwa Ibrahim blossomed into a close friendship when Dickinson moved to Nigeria to work as a foreign correspondent for The Economist. “[Hauwa Ibrahim’s] encouragement was elemental in my desire to work in West Africa as a journalist,” says Dickinson, who was inspired by Ibrahim’s work as a human rights lawyer. “I have never forgotten what Hauwa taught me: that there is no injustice too small to fight and no cause so great as the dignity of our fellow man.” Dickinson is a contributing editor at World Affairs, and a foreign correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and The National, reporting from the Middle East and Africa.
Photo courtesy of Beth Dickinson


Matt Sherwin

In 2004, World Fellow and Filipino Congressman Neric Acosta invited Matt Sherwin (Yale College ‘05) to join his office in Manila. Sherwin spent the next year working for Acosta and interning with a network of Asian democratic political parties. Along the way, he taught a university course on Law, Politics and Society, and traveled throughout the region, meeting up with other World Fellows including Nay Win Maung in Myanmar. The World Fellows Program was Sherwin’s first link to life outside of the US. “My fellowship with [Acosta] led directly to a number of other work opportunities in Asia, providing me with experiences and friends I would not otherwise have had…. I owe a good deal of gratitude to everyone at the [World Fellows] Program for serving as a catalyst.”
Photo courtesy of Matt Sherwin


Kathleen PowersWhen Kathleen Powers (Yale College ’12) met World Fellow Fares Mabrouk at a dinner in October 2010, she told him about her interest in studying revolution. He smiled and said, “That’s funny, we’ve never had a true revolution in Tunisia, though we’ve tried.” Three months later, Kathleen found herself again discussing protests with Mabrouk. But this time, it was in the context of actual revolution in Tunisia. Mabrouk invited Powers to travel in Tunisia for eight weeks, where she interviewed revolutionaries and conducted ethnographies. “I think my entire encounter with [Fares Mabrouk] exemplifies the success of the World Fellows Program and its capacity. To say that I am grateful for what Fares did would be quite the understatement,” writes Powers.
Photo courtesy of Kathleen Powers


Sabrina HowellWhen Sabrina Howell (Yale College ’07) went to China to conduct research, she looked up World Fellow Rui Chenggang in Beijing. “He took me to some amazing events at the Olympics and introduced me to people in my sector, energy, that I never would have gotten into otherwise.” They met again in Shanghai a few years later, when she was working for a micro-finance firm. “Getting to know Chenggang, and visiting him on two occasions, definitely transformed my view of China and helped shape the research I did for the Studies in Grand Strategy Program my senior year,” Howell says. She is currently a Ph.D. Student in Political Economy and Government at Harvard, studying energy policy and economics with a focus on energy security in China. Pictured Rui Chenggang and Sabrina Howell.
Photo courtesy of Sabrina Howell


Whitney Haring-SmithWhitney Haring-Smith (Yale College ‘07) spent the summer between graduating from Yale and embarking upon a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford traveling in Iraqi Kurdistan. There, he met World Fellow Ali Sindi, who was leading several break-through organizations in the region, including two hospitals and Kurdistan’s first school for public administration and governance. Haring-Smith began serving as a pro bono consultant to these organizations in 2007 and 2008, assisting with external communications and donor management. This effort became the beginning of a lasting partnership that continues today. In 2009, Sindi was appointed Minister of Planning for the Kurdistan Regional Government, and Haring-Smith returned there to support his work. “Dr. Sindi provided a remarkable perspective on the Kurdistan region, filled with experiences I never could have imagined,” says Haring-Smith. “Dr. Sindi has been a key mentor, helping me to understand the challenges and joys of the remarkable progress made in the Kurdistan Region.”
Photo courtesy of Whitney Haring-Smith


Diana FrancisFor a class assignment, Diana Francis (SOM ’11) interviewed World Fellow Vusi Gumede, the former chief economic advisor to the South African president, Thabo Mbeki. “Having access to a business leader who comes from a very different background than me in South Africa was amazing. Vusi was involved in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa and then became incredibly successful in his career as an economist. As a result of that interview, we’ve kept in touch and he’s helped me along the way, connecting me with people in South Africa….In my second year, I was a Yale World Fellows Affiliate. This is just one example of the mind-blowing access to amazing people and incredible talks here at the University.”
Photo courtesy of Ben Mattison