Home Newsroom Student News New Class of Ph.D. Students Join UMD School of Public Policy This Fall

New Class of Ph.D. Students Join UMD School of Public Policy This Fall

The University of Maryland welcomed 12 new doctoral students this fall. The following is a brief biography and description of the research interests of the incoming class, as written by each student. Please join the school in welcoming these new Ph.D. students!

Cynthia Boruchowicz, a national of Argentina, is a first year Ph.D. student at SPP. She holds a B.A. in economics from Universidad del CEMA (Argentina) and a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Chicago. Boruchowicz's field at SPP is international development, with a particular emphasis on social and financial inclusion. 

She has been working at the Inter American Development Bank for the last four years. She was a Research Fellow at the Research Department working on issues related to housing, urban development and crime in Latin America and the Caribbean. She worked then as a development effectiveness officer within the private sector of the bank, where she provided development impact analysis for the operations of her division. Prior to the bank, she worked for the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) in Chicago and Washington DC, and at the Economic Section of the Embassy of the United States in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Devin Entrikin is an incoming Ph.D. student in the ISEP concentration with a focus on the intersection of global governance and international security. He holds his B.A. in political science: international relations from the University of California, San Diego and his M.A. in international affairs from The New School in Manhattan. After completing his undergraduate studies, he spent time in the Peace Corps working as a municipal development adviser in a small town in Guatemala. Prior to coming to College Park, he worked as a senior analyst for a global market research firm in NYC, conducting business strategy research for clients in the technology, retail, finance and healthcare sectors. In his free time, he enjoys getting exercise whether it be going for a run or playing pick-up basketball. He is also keen on learning to play guitar, though he is doing a very poor job of it so far.

Linlang He is a "world traveler." She was born and raised in China until she was 15, and studied in Singapore for four years before going to Canada for his undergrad studies. She graduated with joint honors from McGill University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in economics and finance, and started to study environmental policies in 2011, as a master’s student at Brown University.

At Brown University, she was a teaching assistant for "Environmental Economics and Policy" and "Environmental Law and Policy." She was a member of the Climate and Development Lab, with which she traveled to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP17. Also, she co-authored a briefing paper on climate adaptation funding, which was published by the International Institute for Environmental and Development. For her master’s thesis, she evaluated the potential impacts of RGGI-funded energy efficiency programs on low-income population and worked with New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) on their low-income residential energy efficiency programs, finding out factors that had impacts on these programs’ funding distribution and cost-effectiveness.

She hopes to continue exploring climate and energy issues. She would like to focus my Ph.D. research on the main policy drivers for low-carbon investment decisions, energy efficiency policies and low-carbon technology innovation policies, with an emphasis on the challenges to effective policy formation around these in the developing countries.

Christopher Hickey is a U.S. Army officer and Ph.D. student specializing in international security and economic policy. He has served as a U.S. Army infantry officer and strategist in Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and Europe. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies from The Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a master’s in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. His military qualifications include the Ranger Tab, the Senior Parachutist Badge and the Combat Infantry Badge. His primary academic and professional interest is in assessing and improving the effectiveness of the liberal capitalist democracies in the use of military force to accomplish morally sound objectives at the policy and strategy levels. He is also interested in game theory, grand strategy and trends in the distribution of wealth and power within the international system. His wife, Kate, is a teacher, and they have three children. They have recently returned from seven years living in Germany, Italy and Norway. After completing coursework, he will serve as professor at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA, in the Department of Military Strategy, Plans and Operations.

Ara Kim is from South Korea. Kim majored in environmental science at the Kyung Hee University in South Korea. This fall, Kim will start Ph.D. courses at the School of Public Policy and will study environmental policy, especially climate change mitigation and adaption. To be specific, Kim would like to develop decision-making tools for connecting research and climate policy set-up. Ultimately, Kim would like to research about the same field in international agencies like UNEP. In the past, Kim interned in a nonprofit organization called Green Korea United and investigated the garbage problem caused by paper cups and conducted a campaign to improve mug use. Kim also worked at the Korea Marine Environmental Management Corporation and I researched the climate change vulnerability of Indonesia and Vietnam.  

Eric Luedtke is a Maryland native, and earned both his B.A. in government and history and M.Ed in secondary social studies education from the University of Maryland. He has worked for a decade as a classroom teacher and currently serves as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing District 14 in Montgomery County. Eric will be starting with the School of Public Policy’s Ph.D. program this fall focusing on public leadership in the legislative context with particular reference to decision-making on social policy.

Sergio Pinto intends to focus on International Development and Social Policy issues, and his research focus will be centered on inequality and subjective well-being. In particular, he is interested in their interactions with and impacts on other areas of society (such as poverty, social mobility, and political participation), and in the effect of public policies that are expected to mitigate income and wealth inequality (for instance, minimum wage, cash transfers, unionization rates and worker bargaining power). He is a graduate of SPP (2013 class) and spent the following two years working at the World Bank, on SME financing and bank restructuring in Latin America. Prior to that, he had work experiences in Portugal, Luxembourg and Sri Lanka, spanning the private, public and NGO sectors. A Portuguese native, he also holds a B.A. in business administration and a MSc in economics from Universidade Catolica Portuguesa.

David Thomas is a lieutenant colonel and has served in the U.S. Army for almost 29 years. He is currently assigned to the University of Maryland in order to complete a Ph.D. in policy studies. He has served for the past seven years as a nuclear counterproliferation officer, most recently working in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan developing training teams focused on chemical weapons interdiction along Jordan's northern border. Prior to this, he led interagency training teams working with U.S. partner nations in the Balkans and Black Sea regions. Over his career, David has conducted military missions in 14 countries across Europe, Asia and Africa.

He plans to research how international security politics and regional conflicts increase or decrease the likelihood of nuclear weapons employment, and he hopes to analyze best practices for promoting global and regional stability among nuclear-armed states. He previously attended George Washington University, completing a master’s degree in international policy and practice, and holds an M.A. in English and a B.S. in education from Southeast Missouri State. He's been married to his high-school sweetheart for 25 years, and they have four teenagers.

Zhongsheng Wu comes from a small town in the central part of China. Wu’s intended specialization is nonprofit management and leadership. Wu received a master’s degree from Beijing Normal University, majoring in nonprofit management and did undergraduate work in Huazhong University of Science and Technology from 2008 to 2012, majoring in social work. Wu has been a visiting master student in School of Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania from August 2014 to April 2015. Wu also interned or volunteered at several nonprofit organizations, such as the China Foundation Center.


In addition, the following students have also joined SPP this year as Ph.D. candidates: Poorti Sapatnekar, Andres Schwarzenberg and Shijie Yang.