Meet the 2020-2021 Cohort



Anthonia CarterAnthonia Carter Headshot

IIE Centennial Fellowship

Closing the Opportunity Gap Between BIPOC-led Startups and VC Investments Amid the COVID-19 Crisis in Birmingham, Alabama

2017-2018 Fulbright U.S. Student to the United Kingdom

Anthonia Carter, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, is a PhD student in Information Science at Cornell University. She explores research opportunities at the intersection of design-led innovation, machine learning, and visual art to help shape better futures centered around the perspectives of marginalized voices. In 2017, Anthonia was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to pursue a master's degree in Multidisciplinary Innovation at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom. There, she used a design-led approach to help enterprises realize innovation opportunities. Before studying at Northumbria, Anthonia graduated with dual (Bachelor's and Master's) degrees in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art Studio from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Your project and its significance: My project is a series of design-led interventions to identify the unique challenges that BIPOC founders (based in Birmingham, Alabama) face due to the COVID-19 and address the opportunity gap between BIPOC-led startups and venture capital funding. The global COVID-19 crisis has affected every business, but it has exacerbated underlying challenges that BIPOC-owned startups face in obtaining rapid growth and sustainability, including limited access to capital. With this work, I make headway in tackling the venture capital industry's systemic lack of diversity by identifying strategies to increase access to opportunities, funds, and wealth for BIPOC startup founders.


What are you most looking forward to with the project: This project builds upon work done at Northumbria University School of Design during my Fulbright year. I am delighted to work with faculty at Northumbria again and engage in an international research collaboration. I am looking forward to working with BIPOC founders of high-growth potential startups to co-create pandemic-proof business strategies. Additionally, I am excited to use this project as a catalyst for long-term research collaboration with venture capital partners to identify ways to boost investment funds to Black and brown businesses.


Jean Max CharlesJean Max Charles

IIE Centennial Fellowship

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Haiti: Towards a New Perspective for Reducing Vulnerability and Increasing Public Health System Resilience Amid COVID-19

2019-2020 Fulbright US Scholar in Haiti

Jean Max Charles received a Ph.D. in Global Sociocultural Studies from Florida International University with a particular focus on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), political economy, disaster aid, and development. His scholarship is geared towards examining policies and practices capable of helping NGOs to create possibilities for genuine development transformation into their interventions in the wake of a disaster, particularly in the absence of an effective state. During his Fulbright year in Haiti, Jean Max came to realize the necessity for NGOs to empower the subaltern in the communities and build resilience into their projects if they need to create conditions for sustainable development. Jean is Haitian American and lives in Florida.


Your project and its significance: My project is called “Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Haiti: Towards a New Perspective for Reducing Vulnerability and Increasing Public Health System Resilience Amid COVID-19.” Previous research has shown that the public health care system in Haiti is extremely vulnerable. My project aims to investigate the policies, practices, and habits that can help in reducing vulnerabilities and increasing public health resilience in Haiti in times of pandemics, especially during COVID-19. It is significant because it particularly intends to analyze the place of NGOs in this regard, due to the extraordinary role they play in almost every aspect of the country’s functioning.


What you are looking most forward to with the project: I am most looking for good practices, habits, and policies that can allow the Haitian population to face COVID-19 and recover quickly from COVID-19, and encourage NGOs to promote those practices, habits, and policies with the perspective of building a resilient public healthcare system in Haiti. In this way, I am fundamentally looking at what can be done at the community level. This requires a double edge strategy consisting of tackling what makes communities vulnerable in the first place and building in resilience into public healthcare delivery. The role of NGOs is central to the implementation of this strategy.


Moumini Niaone HeadshotDr. Moumini Niaone

Rodman Rockefeller Centennial Fellowship

Radio Health Information Network in Burkina Faso

2016 – 2018 Fulbright Foreign Student to United States

Dr. Moumini Niaone is a medical doctor, specializing in social, community, and behavioral health. He is also a certified health education specialist. He co-created Pull for Progress, a multidisciplinary non-governmental organization that uses intervention based on scientific evidence and driven by theories, to foster sustainable community change within underserved communities. In addition, he teaches at the Department of Public Health at the School of Medicine of the University Ki-Zerbo, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Dr. Niaone also established a collaboration with the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at the University of San Antonio, Texas, to support community health clubs in the Central East of Burkina Faso. These clubs were set up to help save lives by educating communities on important health practices relating to water, hygiene, and sanitation. He is now working on a peace building project using community radios, with the US-based NGO, Developing Radio Partners.


Your project and its significance: My project is about helping my country cope with a growing critical instability issue causing a significant increase in violent incidents since 2015. I plan to use community health clubs that I helped establish beginning in 2014, as peace-building agents using community-based radio. The clubs are made up mostly of women and, in general, women have been most negatively impacted by conflict, insecurity, and the lack of peace in our country. We plan to train a core group of women on how to produce radio programming aimed at sparking discussions on fostering social cohesion.  My project is significant because we are giving a voice to women who are often not heard from in discussions relating to peace and yet they are often impacted more than anyone else. I believe through the radio programs, we can help bring about important discussions on teambuilding as well as problem-solving and, in so doing, have a significant impact on reducing violent extremism and increasing social cohesion.


What you are looking most forward to with the project: I am most looking forward to working with the community health clubs to create a platform for people throughout the community to engage on the issue of violent extremism. We formed these health clubs to help save lives by educating communities on important health practices relating to water, hygiene, and sanitation– and they gained the public’s trust. Now, through this project, Peacebuilding and improving public health through Community Radio, we are extending this in-person engagement to a more public forum – and through radio we will be able to reach a much bigger audience of up to 200,000 people.


Molly McDonough HeadshotMolly McDonough

Rodman Rockefeller Centennial Fellowship

Training Underrepresented Minorities in STEM While Hunting for Animal Hosts of Coronaviruses

2017-2018 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Kenya

Molly McDonough is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Chicago State University where she specializes in bioinformatics and evolutionary biology. Additionally, she holds honorary research appointments at the Field Museum in Chicago, the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and at the Natural Sciences Research Laboratory at her alma mater, Texas Tech University. Molly was a 2017-2018 teaching and research Fulbright fellow in Narok, Kenya where she taught Conservation Genetics at Maasai Mara University and conducted genetics research with undergraduate and graduate students. Throughout her career she has participated in development of infrastructure and implementation of training in mammalian biology across three continents, including the African countries of Botswana, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia. She is passionate about international fieldwork and training the next generation of scientists, particularly underrepresented groups in STEM.


Your project and significance: My project will apply next-generation sequencing technologies to museum specimens housed at the Field Museum in Chicago to better understand the evolutionary history and origins of betacoronaviruses. Typically, viral surveillance involves screening wild populations of animals; however, given that fieldwork has been halted due to the pandemic, unlocking the vault of the vast collections of tissues housed in museum collections provides a unique opportunity to understand the host and viral diversity for coronaviruses. Equally important to advancing our knowledge of this pathogen, this project will also increase opportunities for participation in STEM research for unrepresented groups.


What you are looking most forward to with the project: I am excited about this project because it involves a really collaborative team that includes a combination of early career and seasoned scientists that will work together to train the next generation of scientists. I am especially looking forward to sharing the joys of scientific discovery with undergraduates from Chicago State University. In particular, I am looking forward to engaging with students in multiple settings, through mentorship, wet-lab work, and computational work, including training opportunities at McMaster University’s Ancient DNA Centre (Ontario, Canada) and the Field Museum in Chicago.