May 12, 2014

Three Chosen as African Women Public Service Fellows (Oprah Scholars) for Fall, 2014

NYU Wagner is delighted to announce that three incoming students with highly impressive education credentials, leadership skills and accomplishments in public service have been chosen as African Women Public Service Fellows beginning in Fall, 2014.

The African Women  Public Service Fellowship program, made possible by a donation from the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, expands the opportunity for African women to prepare for careers in public service in their home countries. At NYU Wagner, the Fellows study in one of two graduate programs: the two-year Master of Public Administration or the one-year Executive MPA. They are committed to returning to their respective home countries at the conclusion of the program with the goal of assuming a leadership position on the continent where they can meaningfully contribute to the challenges currently confronting Africa.

Congratulations to the 2014 Fellows - Safina Shao, Lois Aryee, and Samrawit Melles.

Safina Shao (MPA PNP, May 2016):

Safina Shao was born in Kenya on the 24th of November 1985. Her humble upbringing inculcated in her lessons and values which she still carries to date. After completing her high school studies, she went on to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations at the United States International University-Africa where she graduated with cum laude.

Safina has worked in various capacities in the Private and Nonprofit sectors as a Program Assistant, Communication/Research Officer and one of the Founders of Ustawi International. In the course of her work, she has persistently advocated for programs that enhance support for women and the girl child to realize their socioeconomic potential, worth and political strength.

Safina’s passion of fostering women’s rights and empowering the girl child to realize and exercise her rights and freedoms is a lifelong journey to permanently alter the dire state of gender equality in Africa.

Lois Aryee (MPA PNP, May 2016):

Lois Aryee works with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) as an Evaluation Coordinator on the National Apprenticeship Program. At IPA, she works closely with researchers and economists to rigorously assess the apprenticeship program being implemented by the government of Ghana to provide skills training to secondary school drop-outs.

Lois graduated from DePauw University in May 2012 with a BA in Economics. During her undergraduate study, she spent a semester at New York University in London, where she took classes in International Economics and Renaissance Art.

She also worked for ClearlySo, a company that connects Social Businesses and Enterprises with potential investors looking for opportunities to be involved in the social sector. Lois received a Franklin Howes Grant from DePauw University which sent her home to conduct an independent research study on Microfinance in Ghana. Lois enjoys cooking and loves spicy food. She also enjoys working with children, and reading.

Samrawit Melles (EMPA, May 2016):

Samrawit Melles has more than seven years of experience in both the government and non-governmental sectors working in the gender and gender-based violence (GBV) fields in Ethiopia. Samrawit is currently working with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) as a Women’s Protection and Empowerment Assistant Coordinator based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

She has worked with the IRC in Ethiopia in different capacities toward improving the wellness of women and girls, particularly those residing in refugee camps throughout the country. Samrawit has worked directly with refugees from Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, providing direct case management and psychosocial support services and coordinating with different agencies to support survivors GBV. Samrawit is the IRC Ethiopia focal person for GBV information management system in more than 10 refugee camps.

She is an engaging facilitator on various topics and one of the IRC global team’s key staff equipped to train on SASA!, an innovative prevention strategy aimed at ending violence against women and HIV. Samrawit consistently seeks opportunities for learning, exposure and experience, seeking to continue her work to improve the lives of the most at-risk populations.

We wish the 2014 African Women Public Service Fellows great success at NYU Wagner and beyond!


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