Serenity Fan (they/them)
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Current City: Washington, DC
Why did you choose McCourt? I chose the MIDP program specifically because of the small cohort size, and relatively unique focus (amongst other professional programs/schools to which I applied) on the intersection of international development with rigorous development economics. Given that this is exactly my area of professional and personal interest, I was surprised that very few other programs I came across had this particular focus (many were more broad, in international affairs, [domestic] public policy, or similar). More generally, I chose McCourt because of the diverse array of student organizations focused on topics of interest to me; the prestigious/interesting speakers they attract; the scholarship opportunities; and the diverse, international composition of the student body.
What professional/ work experience did you have prior to coming to McCourt? I am an interdisciplinary data analyst, project manager, and proposal writer in the nonprofit & international development sector, particularly in environment, health, and education. With over 4 years of professional work experience - including 8 months of Global South field implementation experience - my skills span earth science research across 4 labs, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, field team survey management & training, programming (MATLAB, ArcGIS), grant writing, partnership development, and communications (14 publications). I've raised $550,000 USD in grant funding for 3 organizations doing rural water supply work in Myanmar, mobile health behaviour change in India, and refugee mental health in Canada.
What has been the best part of your experience so far? Meeting students, professionals, and new friends who care deeply about poverty alleviation in the Global South. Having stimulating conversations with people full of both heart and mind.
Undergraduate University, degree, and major: The University of British Columbia (Vancouver), BSc 2018 (Geophysics)
Interests: Evidence-based WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene)/environmental policy in Southeast Asia.
Hobbies: Jazz improvisation on piano, world literature, bar-hopping, cycling.
Reach out to me about: LGBTQ+, Moving to DC, international student stuff