Current Fellows

Jonthon Coulson | Indonesia | 2016-2018 | Educational Spaces, Moments, & Movement

Jonthon returns to Indonesia to explore the country’s educational spaces, which are increasingly affected by both foreign entrants and governmental decentralization. His particular focus is on the role education plays in the formation of identity wherein Jonthon will examine how educational experiences lead religious and national identities to emerge, converge and diverge.  In using education as a lens, Jonthon will look far beyond schools and schooling to the public pedagogies, endangered languages, and subaltern knowledge which he hopes will offer others insight into “becoming-Indonesia.”  The  world’s fourth-most populous country (and largest population of Muslims in the world) remains a relatively unknown archipelagic nation which is changing rapidly — in ways that have implications for the regional and the global community. Jonthon has taken a leave of absence from his doctoral program at Columbia University Teachers College to accept the ICWA Fellowship.  He previously lived in Indonesia as a Fulbright Scholar and U.S. State Department English Language Fellow.


Onyinye Edeh | Nigeria & Niger | 2016-2018 | Girls’ Health, Education, & Empowerment

A Nigerian-American who earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in the United States, Onyinye is returning to her native Nigeria to examine the urgent issue of girls health, education, early marriage and, most of all, girls empowerment.  Onyinye holds a Masters of Public Health degree from University of Washington-Seattle, as well as graduate-level certificates in the Global Health of Women, Adolescents and Children, and in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research.  Describing the impetus for her project, Onyinye points out that, Niger is presently ranked as the country with the highest percentage of child brides in the world with 76% of girls married before age 18. Nigeria holds the number 14 position with 43% of girls married before age 18As a trained global health practitioner and advocate for adolescent sexual and reproductive health, I understand the power in a girl’s voice and the dangers associated with silencing that voice.  During my ICWA Fellowship I intend to work with young people and their communities to understand the factors that propel child marriage and hinder girls education.  My aim is to identify culturally-sensitive ways to address these critical problems.”

In addition to her academic credentials, she brings field experience in project design and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, maternal and child nutrition and adolescent sexual and reproductive health; Onyinye has worked in both urban and rural/remote locations in Africa and in the US.  What’s more, she is skilled in creating and nurturing cross-cultural and interdisciplinary partnerships.  An emerging young leader, Onyinye has been recognized by the Clinton Global Foundation as a Commitment Maker, was awarded a prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship as well as a Global Opportunities Health Fellowship.  Onyinye’s ICWA Fellowship began in August, 2016 and will continue until August, 2018.


 Karina Piser| France| 2017-2019 | Social Cohesion and Secularism in France

Karina Piser’s research will explore measures to promote French secularism in public high schools in immigrant-heavy areas. Beginning in suburbs of Paris, she will interview students, teachers, administrators, and education-policy practitioners to better understand how the government is targeting schools to improve social cohesion in the aftermath of the 2015 and 2016 terrorist attacks. Prior to receiving the ICWA fellowship, Karina was an editor at World Politics Review, and has previously held positions at the Council on Foreign Relations, the European Council on Foreign Relations, and the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights in Tunis, Tunisia. She holds a master’s degree from Sciences Po Paris, and has written for Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, and World Politics Review, among other publications.


 Jessica Reilly | Central America | 2015-2017 | Climate Change and Adaptation

In a first for ICWA, Jessica and her partner Josh Moman will conduct a seafaring Fellowship, exploring adaption to climate change in coastal communities in México, Central America and the Caribbean.  Sailing the Pacific coast through the Panama canal and into the Caribbean on her 39-foot sailboat Oleada, Jessica will focus on how communities experience climate change impacts. Hazards such as erosion, storm surge, and the spread of disease can be consequences of sea level rise and sea temperature change, and Jessica will examine how these changes tear or build the social fabric. With her background as a research scientist, she has worked as a field biologist at the largest thermal solar plant in the world, mapped renewable energy development for 23 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa with the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, supported satellite-based forest mapping in the Andes-Amazon Region with the Carnegie Institution for Science, and authored multiple reports and user guides to translate science into digestible instruction. With a desire to better connect the science of climate change with stories on-the-ground, she plans to use her mapping experience to build vulnerability maps of the coast while gathering accounts of change and adaptation. Jessica was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to document climate impacts in México; she holds an Ecology degree from Brown University and an interdisciplinary MS from the Energy and Resources Group (ERG) at UC Berkeley, where she also studied video journalism. By harnessing wind and sun to travel, Jessica hopes to access remote locations, share the ocean-bound experience of local communities, and listen to and document the stories of climate adaptation with words, images, and video.