Jake Schurmeier graduated cum laude from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Spanish. During his time at UCSB, Jake researched the comparative effects of migration policies on economic performance. Prior to UCSD, Jake was a research trainee with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, France where he worked on research pertaining to Latin America and the long-run determinants of export sophistication. Currently, he is pursuing a Master’s degree in International Economics with a regional focus in Latin America. Jake is excited to apply his working knowledge of Spanish and hopes to assist in the implementation of sustainable solutions in the El Barril community.
Elana Leonard graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Global Studies and a minor in Spanish. She spent one year abroad studying in Barcelona at Universitat Autonoma. After graduation, Elana spent two years in Guatemala as a Peace Corps volunteer, where she worked in elementary schools implementing health and sanitation initiatives, and undertaking water infrastructure projects and the sustainable dispersal of hundreds of water filters for the schools and local residents. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in International Development and Non-Profit Management and International Economics at UC San Diego. She hopes to apply the lessons learned from Guatemala to the Baja Project in Mexico in order to contribute to the sustainable development of the town of El Barril.
Leila Ahlstrom graduated from UC Berkeley in 2001 with a degree in History. After many years in the legal field, first as a litigation paralegal for a large corporate law firm, then as Director of Contracts and Intellectual Property for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants in San Francisco, Leila decided to change fields and pursue her Master’s in International Affairs. While at IR/PS, Leila intends to focus her studies on International Development and Environmental Policy in Latin America. After graduating, Leila hopes to work on food security issues. She is thrilled to contribute towards sustainable development projects in the community of El Barril through her involvement with Baja Project.
Liz Batty graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Latin American Studies and a minor in International Development. As an undergraduate, she lived in the Dominican Republic and Mexico and gained fluency in Spanish. During her time abroad, she taught micro-enterprise education and conducted research on entrepreneurship in developing countries. As an undergraduate Liz was heavily involved with the Micro-Enterprise Education Initiative at the BYU Marriott School’s Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance; she wrote a successfully awarded grant proposal for entrepreneurs in Mexico and conducted a randomized controlled trial on necessity and opportunity entrepreneurship in the Philippines.
Currently, Liz is pursuing a Master’s of Pacific International Affairs at UC San Diego with a focus on International Economics and regional emphases in Latin America and Southeast Asia. She is particularly interested in designing field experiments to analyze the impact of development initiatives on emerging economies.
Henrique Barbosa holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Brasília, Brazil, and read economics for a semester in Stockholm University in Sweden. After graduating, Henrique worked for about two years for a consultancy on technology in developing countries, carrying out work in research and projects in countries such as Brazil, the UAE, and Morocco. In 2014 Henrique decided to pursue a master’s program at IR/PS in order to understand better the connections between technology and international development, and how can ICT contribute to get communities out of poverty.
Amanda Darlington graduated from UC San Diego in 2009 with a degree in both Sociology and International Politics. As an undergraduate, she spent semesters studying and volunteering abroad. As a volunteer in South Africa, she taught underserved school children in a poor urban setting and organized educational activities for foster children impacted by the HIV-epidemic. After graduation, she worked as a Development Coordinator at a leading nonprofit organization serving women, children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS in the San Diego border region. Amanda is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Development and Non-Profit Management with a regional focus in Latin America. She is particularly interested in impact evaluations of sustainable social and environmental development projects in the area of public health. She is honored to be able to learn and work with Baja Project and the community of El Barril in continuing the advancement of community-driven sustainable development.
Alicia recently graduated from Santa Clara University (SCU) with a degree in Political Science and minor in Spanish Studies. During her time at SCU, she studied abroad in Barcelona and received a fellowship to intern at Aarti Home, an orphanage for girls in India. Her experiences abroad, coupled with her role as a SCU Health Educator ignited her interests in International Development. She is currently focusing on International Development in Latin America — specifically issues relating to education, public health, and gender equality. Alicia is excited to be working with the community of El Barril along with other members of the Baja Project. She someday looks to apply these experiences to work in Corporate Social Responsibility or for the United Nations.
Jonathan Liu graduated from George Washington University in 2005 with a degree in international affairs and minors in Chinese and graphic design. After working as a graphic designer, Jonathan was commissioned as an artillery officer in the United States Marine Corps and deployed to Afghanistan and the western Pacific. In addition to his duties as a forward observer in Afghanistan, Jonathan was responsible for civil affairs and development projects in his company’s area of operations ranging from microgrants to infrastructure improvements and construction of schools. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in international economics and development at the UCSD School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and is looking forward to working with the residents of El Barril and members of the Baja Project.
Baja Project Alumni
(2013-14) Shannon Morrison, Ana Quiroz
(2012-13) Angela Park, Megan Shaw, Caitlin Keenan, Claire Springer, Olive Gabriela, Whitney Caruso
(2011-12) Santiago Bunce, Natalie Foxworthy, Amy Cortina, Ayal Margalith, Amanda Lasik
(2010-11) Tenille Beseda, Peter Nagle, Casey O’Toole, Jarrod Russell
(2009-10) Greg Lestikow, Annie Schowalter, Priscilla Venegas, Jeremy Rode
(2008-09) Kim Ascoli, Shannon Pallone, Preston Sharp, Hallie Stohler
(2007-08) Josefine Durazo, Nicola Hedge, John Kucharski, Matthew Owens, Lori Webste r
(2006-07) Elisa Adelman, Rachael Cleghorn, Dylan Mann, Rory Mays, Laura Tierney
(2005-06) Nicole Alexiev, Andrew Curry, Lyzel Sydiongco, Dion Ward
(2004-05) Joe Bassett, Jeremy Eckstein, Leslie Hooper, Hoa Tran
(2003-04) Christopher Casado, Kristen Drobinski, David Emmons, Angela Hogg, Neil Mendenhall, Julie Pohlig