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Four John Carroll students will get the unique opportunity to gain professional experience at the United Nations World Food Programme this summer. The newly established Hal ’81 and Diane Hawk and Carl Hughes ’79 World Food Programme Fellowship Program allows JCU students to work for two months at the World Food Programme (WFP). Two students are assigned to the U.S. Relations Office in Washington, D.C., and two will be at the WFP’s headquarters in Rome. “This is the exciting, actually just remarkable, brainchild of Carl Hughes ’79 and Hal Hawk ’81 and his wife Diane,” explained Pam Mason, associate dean for social sciences, education, and global studies. “It happened fast, “Mason added. The fellowship program launched in January. The fellowships are open to any student of any major, both undergraduate and graduate, with a preference for graduate students, juniors, and seniors. On-campus information sessions, held in March, attracted more than 90 students. In the end, two graduating seniors and two graduating master’s students were chosen:
  • Claire Grega ’15; bachelor’s degree in peace, justice, and human rights
  • Laura Heaton ’15G; master’s in nonprofit administration
  • Chetan Kapoor ’14, ’15G; master’s in nonprofit administration
  • Natasha Rafidi ’15; bachelor’s degree international business with language and culture
Grega and Heaton will be working at the Washington, D.C., office, while Kapoor and Rafidi will be in Rome. Grega will work with the Donor Relations Officer managing the USDA McGovern-Dole portfolio; Heaton is assigned to a Senior Policy Advisor, conducting research in relation to the World Bank; Kapoor will be in the Young Professionals Programme Unit; and Rafidi will work in the Private Sector Partnerships Division. All four will work from June 1 to July 31, 2015. Heaton explained why she applied for the fellowship: “I have always wanted to gain experience with a global nonprofit organization,” she said. “The opportunity to work with the United Nations World Food Programme was one I never expected would come my way! I felt like I would be a good fit for the opportunity and it would benefit my future career prospects.” Grega said she was very happy to learn she was chosen for the fellowships: “Working for the World Food Programme, an agency of the United Nations and the largest humanitarian aid agency in the world, is an opportunity that few are afforded,” she said. “I feel extremely fortunate to have this experience.” Rafidi echoed Grega’s excitement: “I am excited to be part of an organization that makes a difference on a daily basis,” she said. “The immediate food assistance the WFP provides during times of crises is what makes the organization so remarkable. I am very eager to work and network with individuals who share the same passion as me.”