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Dipa Patel

March 15th, 2022

Meet our 2022 Student Ambassadors!

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Dipa Patel

March 15th, 2022

Meet our 2022 Student Ambassadors!

0 comments | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Meet our new Student Ambassadors: Alya, Devon, Donggeun, Johana, Itamar, Katie, Marco, McCoy, Nihal, Nina, Seth, Sibel and Ximena, who will provide mentorship to incoming students for the new 2022/23 academic year. This year, a number of our Ambassadors are further open to answering questions related to their experience with Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), which includes equitable treatment, championing diversity and developing an inclusive LSE. 

You can reach out to our Ambassadors via our email account. To contact an Ambassador directly, please add the Ambassador’s name in the subject of the email:


Full name: Alya Ali Akbar

Programme: MSc Health and International Development

Optional courses taken: HP404 Global Health Policy, Institutions and Actors | HP405 Social Determinants of Health | DV421 Critical Perspectives in Global Health and Development | DV453 International Development Consultancy Project

Home country: United Arab Emirates

Social: Instagram: alia.ali_

Favourite spot in London: Camden Market

My name is Alya and I’m from Bahrain and Yemen, but I live in Dubai. I recently graduated from the University of Sussex where I studied International Relations and International Development. My interest in Health and International Development is a longstanding one that I’ve honed over years of interacting with the healthcare system as a Type 1 Diabetic. In particular, I am interested in the provision of accessible and affordable medication for people with non-communicable diseases.

Outside of my studies, I work as a Health Journalist for Polygeia, a student-led global health think-tank. Being at LSE has been great for pushing me out of my comfort zone of academic essay writing and academic reading, and into other avenues like blogging, recording podcasts and consulting for external organizations. LSE is a great school which fosters holistic and multidimensional practitioners, policymakers, and future leaders. I hope you realize that part of yourself once you come here by immersing yourself in the full extent of what LSE has to offer!


Full name: Devon Leslie

Programme: MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies

Optional courses taken: DV480 Revolution and Development | DV462 Forced Migration and Refugees | DV420 Complex Emergencies

Home country: United States

Social: Instagram: d.leslie02 | LinkedIn

Favourite spot in London: St. James Park

Hello! I’m Devon and in 2021 I graduated from my undergraduate where I studied International Affairs, International Development, and Economics. Prior to coming to LSE I spent time in Croatia and Rwanda where I studied post-conflict reconstruction and development while also being able to explore the countries’ and experience them outside of just as a place of past violence. Some of my favourite memories are from traveling throughout Rwanda and Croatia and I’m always thrilled to talk about it! I’m originally from Baltimore, Maryland in the United States and decided to come to LSE because of the academic reputation and the opportunities offered through the consultancy project. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about the program or would like to talk to a current student!


Full name: Donggeun Song (but you can also call me Tommy as well!)

Programme: MSc Development Studies

Optional courses taken: DV444 Global Health Challenges: Epidemics, Disease, and Public Health Response | DV457 Sexual and Reproductive Health Programmes: Design, Implementation & Evaluation | DV460 Bayesian Reasoning for Qualitative Social Science: A modern approach to case study inference | DV464: Democracy and Development

Home country: Republic of Korea

Social: Instagram: @071oo613 | LinkedIn

Favourite spot in London: “Pubs, bars – just as they are”

Hey y’all! First of all, BIG congrats to all the offer holders!

I studied politics and international studies during my undergraduate years, and I feel studying at LSE has given me so many opportunities to go beyond my comfort zone and let me find out how to enjoy challenging myself. Now, I’m interested in studying not only politics in development discourse but also minority epidemiology and SRH issues!

As a non-EFL international student, I’ve gone through so many challenges, simply from everyday life, understanding the lecture contents, to planning on my dissertation (which I’m doing right now). I think I can give some help and advice to anybody who will be having the same issues in the future.

So, whether it be something academic or just chit-chats, don’t hesitate to hit me up! Will be waiting for the upcoming zoom talks and (hopefully) some coffee meet-ups. And please, be proud of yourself! Sooo many fun and exciting stuffs are waiting for you 🙂

Donggeun is also available to respond to any Equity Diversity and Inclusion questions you may have.


Full name: Johana Bretou-Klein

Programme: MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies (Part-time student)

Optional courses taken: DV420 Complex Emergencies | DV455 Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots activism

Home country: France/Luxembourg

Favourite spot in London: Walking along the canal from Angel to Broadway Market

Social: Instagram: jobretou | LinkedIn

Hi I’m Jo! I’m originally from Paris (most beautiful city in the world, but maybe I’m biased), but I’ve done my undergrad in Canada at McGill University (the coldest city in the world, but maybe I’m biased). I’ve come to LSE straight from my bachelors’, so I have unfortunately less tips to give on professional path. However, I’m doing my programme as a part-time student and work in a French boulangerie in London on the side, so I do have tips on baking!

What has impressed me the most about the IDHE programme is that it is so rich in content and that there is about a million opportunities to take as a student there -even online. It can be a little bit overwhelming sometimes, but everyone is here to help us and that truly makes a difference! If you feel lost there will always be someone you can talk to -us ambassadors especially!

I’m mostly interested in researching the intersection between climate change and humanitarian action, which I’m lucky to research on for our consultancy project.

Overall, I just want to say a huge congratulations to offer-holders! Don’t hesitate to reach out 😊.


Full name: Itamar Carrillo Barba

Programme: MSc Health and International Development

Optional courses taken: DV456 Population, Health and Development | DV453 Consultancy Project | DV490 Economic Development Policy I | DV492 Economic Development Policy III

Home country: Mexico

Social: LinkedIn

Favourite spot in London: Brick Lane and markets in East of London

Hi, I’m Itamar! I am a medical doctor from Mexico and before coming to LSE I worked as a research assistant at the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico. After gaining clinical experience I realised I wanted to be outside the walls of a hospital and work towards the overall health and wellbeing of the population.

I chose LSE because of the uniqueness of the HID programme. The intersection between health, development and policy is not only exciting to study, but also to very applicable and necessary nowadays.

When I’m not studying, I am cycling around London, discovering every corner of this amazing (and sometimes chaotic) city, wandering around markets or meeting my friends for a drink.

Congratulations on receiving your offer to study at the International Development Department! It is truly a diverse and lively department, where you have the chance to meet students from every corner of the world, with very interesting backgrounds and excellent professors! I am so excited for you to start your LSE journey.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about HID, LSE or even what it is like to cycle in London.


Full name: Katie Kim

Programme: MSc Development Studies

Optional courses taken: DV456 Population, Health, and Development: Evidence and Projections | DV428 Managing Humanitarianism | DV462 Forced Migration and Refugees | DV455 Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots Activism

Home country: United States

Social: Instagram: kd_kimm | LinkedIn

Favourite spot in London: Hyde park! There’s Kensington Palace, beautiful trees, parrots, and cute dogs. What else do you need?

Hello! I’m Katie, a Korean American that grew up mostly in Bangkok, Thailand. I came straight here after graduating from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah studying Sociology and International Development. I had the opportunity to intern at a couple of non-profit organizations before moving to London. I speak English, some Korean and Mandarin Chinese.

I chose to study Development Studies at LSE because I wanted to gain a more well-rounded understanding of development through the lens of policy and economics. Also, being able to live in London and attend a world-class institution is an absolute dream! I am passionate about change processes and development issues related to racial inequality, gender inequality, and the environment.

What I love most about studying here at the LSE are the people I’ve been able to meet within my program and department! Everyone here has such diverse work, school, racial, etc. backgrounds and I have learned so much from working with and becoming friends with them. There is always something to do here and I am a foodie so you can always find me at museums or on the hunt for great restaurants to eat at. I know that there may be feelings of excitement but also of fear and anxiety surrounding studying here at the LSE. I have also experienced those feelings before, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions that you have!

Katie is also available to respond to any Equity Diversity and Inclusion questions you may have.


Full name: Marco Colpo

Programme: MSc Development Management (Double Degree in Political Economy of Development with Sciences Po)

Optional courses taken: DV490 Economic Development Policy I | DV492 Economic Development Policy III: Government Policy Analysis | DV415 Global Environmental Governance | PP4J5 Fiscal Governance and Budgeting

Home country: Italy

Social: LinkedIn

Favourite spot in London: Mercato Metropolitano

Hey there! I’m a 25 years old student of Development Management, also part of the cohort of the Double Degree with Sciences Po. I did my undergrad in International Affairs and Economics at the University of St. Gallen, and then worked and did internships for one year before starting my Masters. I chose LSE because of both the unique curriculum of my programme and the university’s academic excellence.

Besides having learnt a lot, I have had a great time here in London and tried to get out everything possible from my last year as a student. Student societies, pub quizzes, weekly football with the ID cohort, dinners at ethnic restaurants… they all have contributed to making this a year to remember. 

I will be most happy to help you navigate through all the opportunities and challenges, and am looking forward to meeting you all. Cheers! 


Full name: McCoy Cantwell

Programme: MSc Development Studies

Optional courses taken: DV407 Poverty | DV413 Environmental Problems and Development Interventions | DV433 The Informal Economy and Development | GY438 Urban Asia: Cities and Social Change

Home country: United States

Social: Twitter: @garlic_enjoyer | Facebook

Favourite spot in London: The Victoria & Albert Museum

Hello to all you offer holders! My name is McCoy, and I’m from Chicago, though I had been living the last four years in California so I had all but forgotten what cold felt like until living here in winter (don’t worry, you’ll be fine with just a good coat!). I came to LSE straight from undergrad at UC Berkeley, where I majored in Political Economy and minored in Spanish language and literature. I’m also a marathon runner currently trying to make the jump to triathlete (London is a great place for exercise!) and love cooking all manners of foods and learning new recipes. London is a fantastic place to be, a cosmopolitan city where each neighborhood has its own vibe and features, so that no matter what you’re looking for, somewhere in the city can serve your needs! Despite what preconceptions you may have about food in England, London has cuisine from just about anywhere on the planet, and it’s bound to be delicious.

At LSE, I’ve had the ability to pursue studies related to many of my interests, such as labour rights issues, climate-conscious development, and agricultural studies. There are lovely lecturers and many wonderful opportunities to engage with the leaders in many academic and professional fields. Plus, with the university-wide open-door policy, you can meet with and get insight from professors outside your department and course list!

I’d love to get to know any of you and answer any of your questions related to LSE, tips for international movers, living frugally in London, or whatever else you can throw at me. Look forward to welcoming you in!


Full name: Nihal Sherif

Programme: MSc Development Studies

Optional courses taken: DV428 Managing Humanitarianism | DV407 Poverty | DV462 Forced Migration and Refugees | DV455 Advocacy, Campaigning, and Grassroots Activism

Home country: Egypt

Social: LinkedIn

Favourite spot in London: St. James Park

Hi everyone! My name is Nihal, I’m Egyptian. I studied a BA in Psychology and Sociology at The American University in Cairo and have been engaged in community development initiatives since I was in high school. My passion for development issues have grown through my work in non-governmental organizations focused on child protection and safeguarding. I’m interested in migration and refugee studies, and the evolving role of aid organizations to alleviate human suffering.

In my free time, I like to do yoga, contemporary dance, visit museums and explore new book shops.

I chose the LSE because of the diversity of courses, passionate professors, and amazing opportunities to expand and learn. So far, I am challenged and growing everyday, and I hope sharing my experiences will help you navigate both academic and personal life at the LSE!

Nihal is also available to respond to any Equity Diversity and Inclusion questions you may have.


Full name: Nina Lacroix

Programme: MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies

Optional courses taken: DV454 Gender, labor market, and social change in the Global South | DV457 Sexual and Reproductive Health Programmes: Design, Implementation, and Evaluation | DV462 Forced migration and refugees

Home country: France

Social: LinkedIn

Favourite spot in London: Soho/Covent Garden

Hi! My name is Nina, I’m French but I did my undergrad in Politics and IR in the UK at the University of Essex.

During those three years, I got very drawn to international development and humanitarian studies, so the MSc IDHE presented itself as the perfect degree as it combined my two areas of interest.

I am passionate about gender issues (as is reflected by my choice of optional modules) and specifically about the field of gender-based violence (GBV). In fact, as part as my consultancy project, I am working with UNOCHA and the IASC on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.

LSE was my dream university, but I remember last year how nervous I was about joining. I had 100 questions and ambassadors had been really helpful to me then, so it is important for me to past it forward to next cohort.

Feel free to reach out with any questions!


Full name: Seth Joshua Kamens

Programme: MSc Development Studies

Optional courses taken: DV423 Global Political Economy of Development | DV490 Economic Development Policy I: Applied Policy Analysis for Macroeconomic Development | DV492 Economic Development Policy III: Government Policy Analysis | DV455 Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots Activism

Home country: United States

Social: LinkedIn

Favourite spot in London: Namak Mandi (best food I’ve had in London)

Hi everyone! Before coming to LSE, I completed a BSc in Chemical Engineering at WPI in the United States. After this, I spent five years in Ghana where I taught high school science and worked for a social enterprise that produces localised, daily weather forecasts for tropical climates. Through these experiences, I came to better understand some of the challenges associated with development, and the Development sector in particular. Passionate about working towards addressing barriers to development, a master’s degree seemed like a logical next step and I ended up here at LSE!

Overall, I definitely feel more prepared to, at the very least, try to address these barriers to development and fight for a more equal world as a result of the courses I’ve taken as well as the experiences I’ve had interacting with my coursemates and others at LSE… And when I’m not too busy with coursework, I’ve especially enjoyed seeking out the best affordable food (visit Edgeware Road and thank me later), playing pickup football, and enjoying the incredible amount of live music that I’ve spent way too much money on. Anyways, congrats on your acceptance and feel free to reach out if you have any questions!


Full name: Sibel Dbila

Programme: MSc Development Studies

Optional courses taken: DV423 Global Political Economy | DV464 Democracy and Development | DV454 Gender, Labor Markets and Social Change in the Global South | DV483 Information Communication Technologies and Socio-Economic Development

Home country: Azerbaijan

Social: Instagram: sibeldbila

Favourite spot in London: Duke of York Square Food Market

Hello, my name is Sibel and I am from Azerbaijan and Morocco. I did Sociology for my undergraduate degree and Development Studies for my masters, both at LSE, so you could say that I am a veteran here!

My primary interests are in digital development, more specifically the role that ICT plays in making development more efficient and productive.

LSE has been my second home for the past 4 years, making me a reliable and approachable point of contact for you, the brilliant incoming students, so please feel free to reach out!


Full name: Ximena Altamirano

Programme: MSc Development Management

Optional courses taken: DV490 Economic Development Policy I: Applied Policy Analysis for Macroeconomic Development | DV492 Economic Development Policy III: Government Policy Analysis | PP448 International Political Economy and Development | DV455 Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots Activism

Home country: Peru

Social: Instagram: xaltamirano | LinkedIn

Favourite spot in London: South Kensington / Primrose Hill

I’m originally from Peru and coming from a place with such high levels of inequality I was always interested in development. Keeping in mind that this depends on context I went for an undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester of which I graduated in 2019. After that I went back to my home country for a gap year – that became two because of the pandemic – and made the most out of that time by joining a volunteer initiative run by the government where I acted as a trainer and leader for groups of volunteers in projects involving health and social protection awareness.

I chose the LSE because the sheer amount of diversity among staff and students (which definitely helps when studying a degree like ours) and Development Management in particular because of the practical aspect the consultancy project offers. I also liked the idea of the specialism and am currently on the Applied Economics path – and really enjoying it.

Outside academic aspects, I love London because you’ll never run out of things to do. From live music, shows at the west end, art exhibits and museum lates (my personal favourite) there is something for everyone.

Ximena is also available to respond to any Equity Diversity and Inclusion questions you may have.


The views expressed in this post are those of the author and in no way reflect those of the International Development LSE blog or the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Photo credit: Gusti Ayu Sri Gayatri, Student Ambassador 2020.

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Dipa Patel

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