Our Students

Current Students

Get to know our students! 

This sample offers just a glimpse of the wide-ranging backgrounds and experiences of our diverse student body.

Minh Pham came to RESD from Vietnam. Before joining RESD, she worked as a journalist at the Vietnam National News Service. Minh is undertaking an ambitious thesis research project as part of her RESD studies. She is investigating consumer protection issues in Vietnam and their relationship to the country’s emerging market economy.

Joann Vaillette is from Massachusetts. She has a B.A. in psychology and worked in the nonprofit sector before entering the RESD program. She has been working as a research assistant on the Lowell Healthy Homes Program, a research study that examines the link between housing conditions and childhood asthma. Joann's thesis research examines the issue of youth homelessness in the state of Massachusetts and explores strategies and interventions that best meet the needs of the population.

Benjamin Osei Mensah was born in Tema Ghana-West Africa. After living in France for some years where he began his university education, Ben moved to the United States and earned his B.Sc. degree in Finance from the College of Management at UMass Lowell. As a RESD graduate student, Ben is greatly inspired by the core curriculum and the program’s concentration in Economic Development & Sustainability. This has nurtured his interest in microfinance in developing economies, an area he intends to pursue in a Ph.D. program. Currently, Ben is a research assistant involved in data collection and analysis for data visualization, a joint initiative between RESD and the university’s computer science department.

Safi Shams came from Israel to join the RESD program. He has a dual bachelor degree in Sociology/Anthropology and English. The main attraction that brought Safi to RESD is the interdisciplinary nature of the program and the integration of theoretical and practical knowledge that it offers. Safi sees RESD as a fertile environment in which he can nurture his interests mainly in the "developing" world and the dynamics of "development."

Emily Vidrine grew up in Leominster, Massachusetts. She earned a B.A. in English at UMass Lowell, and having taken a RESD course as an undergrad, enrolled as a full time student in the program after graduating. Emily enjoys social and political insights that go beyond the realm of traditional economics. She has found that the program offers students the flexibility to tailor their studies to their particular needs. Her research interests include the social, political, and economic impacts of industrialized agriculture.

Lianna Kushi grew up around New England and moved to North Carolina with her family in high school. She returned to Massachusetts for college and got her B.A. in Japanese Language and Literature. After working for three years in a social science research center, she decided to return to school for her M.A. She found that with a background in humanities, RESD's interdisciplinary curriculum was a perfect fit. Additionally, Lianna was attracted to Lowell and the opportunity to become involved in the diverse local community. At RESD she is focusing her studies on gender, development, and migration.

Yin Li came to know RESD quite accidentally when he read a book written by RESD professor Bill Lazonick. He earned his B.A. in Economics from a prestigious university in Beijing, China. Yin joined RESD to do the kind of research he wished to undertake: researching real-world socioeconomic issues in depth without being bogged down in math techniques. Now Yin is a research assistant of Professor Lazonick, and he considers RESD a great place to launch research.