2016-2017 Kirchner Food Fellows

Kate Collins

Kate Collins is a dual MBA-MPA student at MIT Sloan and Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Kate’s interest in agriculture developed while working as a development consultant in Malawi, where she developed public private partnerships between multinational commodities companies and smallholder farmers. During graduate school, Kate completed a project for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa based in Nairobi, mapping the systemic challenges hindering grain markets in East Africa and developing foundation-backed solutions. With the support of MIT’s International Development Innovation Network and MIT’s Africa Initiative, Kate and a classmate are conducting research on smallholder agricultural supply chains in Uganda.

Kate spent three years at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, working in U.S. foreign policy research before taking on management positions. She has also worked as a summer associate at Bain & Company, based in Chicago. Kate graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University with degrees in International Relations and History. She is a Dean’s Fellowship recipient at MIT Sloan and a JFK scholar at Harvard Kennedy.

Sydney Herndon

Sydney currently holds bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and Art History with minors in Spanish and Sustainability from Auburn University, where she graduated with honors in 2013. She has spent the past three years working for the World Food Programme, a UN organization committed to improving global food security by providing assistance during conflicts and disasters. Sydney conducts operational reviews of WFP’s major operations, including the ongoing conflict in Central African Republic, the 2014 Ebola Virus Outbreak in West Africa, and the 2015 Nepal Earthquake.

While recognizing the role that humanitarian organizations can play in ameliorating some of the world’s most pressing issues, Sydney believes that social enterprise can spearhead sustainable and results-based innovations that will tackle global food insecurity. Sydney will be starting a Masters of Development Practice (MDP) at Emory University in Fall 2016, where her research will focus on the social and cultural impacts of small and medium social enterprise.

Faridah O. Ibrahim

Faridah is an MPA in Development Practice candidate at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs [SIPA]. At SIPA her study is focused on innovative methods of using agriculture to reduce poverty in Africa. She attended the American University of Nigeria, receiving a BA in Economics & Comparative Politics and serving as President of Student Government.

Prior to SIPA, she was at an African agricultural impact investment firm, where she worked to improve the productivity and incomes of thousands of rural smallholder farmers. Faridah is an alumna of the inaugural class of fellows at the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, and is a fluent Hausa speaker.