IPED’S U.S. Government Virtual Career Day 2021

For this semester’s U.S. Government career day we hosted speakers from the: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

Our first speakers were Sean Cox, Jane Wilkins, and Andres Romero from USDA, all three are IPED alumni.

Speaker’s Background:

Jane Wilkins works for USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and serves as a Financial
Analyst in the GSM-102 program, which is an international trade finance program for agricultural
commodities. Previously, Jane worked on the Food Assistance programs for agricultural development
projects overseas. Jane was a Presidential Management Fellow in 2005.

Sean Cox is the Agricultural Attaché and current head of the USDA office at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Rome where he works with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) representing the United States on a number of different committees. Prior to Rome, Sean was the Agricultural Attaché in Guatemala covering Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Belize. Sean also worked at USDA in Washington covering North African and European trade issues. Before USDA, Sean was a Fulbright Public Policy Fellow in Guatemala. Sean was a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador and a Coverdell Fellow at Fordham. He has a B.s. in journalism from Boston University and two MAs from Fordham University in international political economy and economics.

Andrés H. Romero is an international development professional with over ten years’ experience of domestic and international project management in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Mr. Romero is a program manager with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service and manages multi-million-dollar USAID and State Department funded projects. He is currently the program manager for the Cacao for Peace program funded by USAID/Colombia, among other programs. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with an international relations focus from Stanford University, and a master’s degree in international political economy and development from Fordham University. Mr. Romero attended Fordham University as a Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow and worked at the University Neighborhood Housing Program where he developed and spearheaded a free income tax preparation service.

Our next speakers were: Tracy O’Heir, Matthew Potracio, Sarah Weber, and Majda Sedej, all IPED alumni representing USAID.

Speaker’s Background:

Tracy O’Heir is Division Chief for East Africa for the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance Africa Office of USAID. The division is responsible for managing several complex humanitarian crisis responses for the US Government, such as those in Somalia and Ethiopia.  She has served on multiple USAID disaster responses, including Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia Drought, West Africa Ebola outbreak, N.E. Nigeria, and DRC Ebola outbreak. Before coming to USAID, Tracy worked for InterAction as Senior Program Manager for Humanitarian Response, and the Jesuit Refugee Service and Catholic Relief Services in Sudan, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda. She has a MA from Fordham University in International Political Economy and Development and studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo. Her first career was in social work as a medical case manager for people living with HIV.

Sarah Weber is a Senior Analyst on the Multilateral Affairs Team within USAID’s Bureau of Policy, Planning, and Learning (PPL). Sarah wears a number of hats in her current role, including serving as a member of the US delegation to Executive Boards of certain United Nations agencies conducting organizational capacity assessments of key multilateral partners and coordinating with multilateral organizations on strategic USAID priorities such as protection from sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment. Prior to joining PPL she spent four years as a Senior Multilateral Advisor in USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS within the Global Health Bureau. Sarah also spent a decade working with Catholic Relief Services in various management and technical positions related to global health, supply chain management, and humanitarian assistance. She is fluent in French and has professional experience in West and Southern Africa.  Sarah holds a M.A. in International Development from Fordham University, a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College.  

Majda Sedej works as a Freelance Consultant specializing in Pubic Financial Management and Public Policy advising. Majda has a strong track record of successfully implementing public sector reforms resulting from advisement on strategic planning, financial management, IT solutions and capacity building. Majda has held positions with the World Bank, Cardno International Development and USAID. Majda holds a dual Masters from Fordham, in IPED and Economics. She also holds a B.A. in Computer Science from Univerzitet u Novom Sadu. 

Our speakers from the U.S. Department of Commerce were: Cathy Gibbons, Natasia Harrison, Samantha Kinney, all IPED alumni.

Speaker’s Background:

Cathy Gibbons is a Senior International Trade Specialist for the U.S. Department of Commerce. Cathy is a 1997 IPED alum.

Natasia Harrison graduated from Florida State University in 2009 with a bachelors in Economics, minoring in Chinese Language and Culture. She then taught English in China for 2 years in the cities of Songyuan and Ningbo. She then became a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia as an educator. A month after completing her service, she started her Masters in IPED at Fordham University. After graduating in January 2020, she started her career as an International Trade Compliance Analyst for the International Trade Administration in the Dept. of Commerce.

Samantha Kinney is an International Trade Analyst at the Department of Commerce. Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Samantha worked as a Senior Financial Counselor at Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners in New York City. Samantha graduated from Fordham in 2018 with dual Masters in IPED and Economics and is an RPCV from the Dominican Republic.

Our final speakers, from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, were Adam Keally and Sarah Lane, both IPED alumni.

Speaker’s Background:

Sarah Lane is a Director at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. She also serves as an Adjunct Instructor in Global Human Development at Georgetown University. Prior to joining MCC, Sarah was an economist in the USAID Office of Economic Policy. She worked as a development economist for nearly a decade in USAID’s Asia Near East Bureau and Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment. During that time, she worked extensively on the economic analysis of development projects with a particular focus on cost benefit analysis. She holds a B.S. in Mathematics and International Relations from the College of William and Mary, an M.A. in International Political Economy and Development from Fordham University, and an M.A. in Economics from Georgetown University.

 Adam currently works at the Millennium Challenge Corporation as a Program Officer in the Department of Compact Operations, Africa Division. Adam recently graduated from Fordham University with a Dual Master’s degree in Economics and International Political Economy and Development. During his time as a grad student, he interned with Kimetrica’s Applied Science and Modeling team working on food security and market modeling projects. Prior to graduate school, Adam lived and worked in Senegal for about 4 years, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer (Agricultural Extension Agent) and then as a Program Associate with myAgro, designing and managing agriculture and microfinance projects.