Puja Pujaningsih


Ed.D Student

Education Leadership/Special Education

University of Northern Iowa

from Indonesia

2018 MMEG grantee Puja is working towards her Ed.D in Education Leadership/Special Education Directors at University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, and expects to graduate mid-2019.

Sensitized by her own early difficulties in achieving literacy, Puja chose her post-graduate path motivated by the awareness of the growing number of children with disabilities in public schools, and the current inadequacies in teacher training to address the diversity in learning ability of students in inclusive classrooms. 

She plans to return to one of the Indonesian university where she holds a lectureship to improve the training of student teachers so they are better able to teach, and are also more confident of their own abilities to educate those with special needs. Puja aims to promote inclusivity, and help realize the potential of each child, by enhancing the quality of education services for children with special needs through teacher preparation, research and management of public disability services.

In addition, prompted by her experiences in the US, after returning home, Puja intends to devote time and energy to improve the quality of both pre-service and in-service training for teachers. In addition to this, she also will continue to support existing local community-based women’s initiatives for early childhood education, and incorporate life-skills components such as time-management, and how to foster good mental well-being. In the past, to improve the income of local women, Puja has undertaken marketing support for their woven products. 

Carmen Mestizo-Castillo


PhD Student

University of Arizona

International Law and Indigenous People

from Colombia

With a solid academic grounding in history and law, Colombian native Carmen Mestizo-Castillo, a 2018 grantee, expects to graduate with a Doctorate degree in mid-2019 from University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. Carmen’s dissertation examines International Law and Indigenous People.

Carmen has a demonstrated passion for defending human rights. As a lawyer, she won important procedural protections for rape victims in the Colombian Constitutional Court. She has led a law clinic on the rights of victims of armed conflict, and of child soldiers. Her law clinic incorporated studies of the legal protections and rights of child soldiers into the Law School curriculum at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. 

Future goal is to continue work, as a university professor, on the human rights of vulnerable groups such as women, children, and indigenous peoples. Carmen also aims to utilize her broad expertize in International Law and activism to influence the Colombian legal system.

Cecilia Gebruers

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PhD Student

Human Rights and Legal Theory

Cardozo Law School, Yeshiva University

from Argentina

Argentinian 2018 MMEG grantee Cecilia Gebruers is studying for a PhD in Human Rights and Legal Theory at Cardozo Law School, Yeshiva University, New York, and expects to graduate mid-2020.

As an academic, Cecilia has worked since 2012 on the intersection of women’s issues and the law, and to ensure that women’s studies become an integral part of legal curricula in her native country. The focus of her dissertation extends these passions to address a hitherto neglected topic, strengthening an intersectional framework in human rights law to address the impact of land-grabs on indigenous women, whose livelihoods, health and welfare are thereby imperiled.

Her future plans are to continue her human rights advocacy, academic work on legal and political theory, and also to create a law school course that ties together women’s rights and the treatment of indigenous peoples.

Tendai Mvuvu


PhD Student

Dept. of Global Health, Columbia University

from Zimbabwe

Tendai Mvuvu is a Zimbabwean international pursuing a doctorate in Global Health at COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY in the City of New York, USA.

Her commitment to women is recognized in her current work, in her home country of Zimbabwe. She is Co-Founder of IMPAKT Trust Zimbabwe ( founded in 2017 to help young girls from low resources families have access to menstrual hygiene products. She is also a trustee to Environmental Buddies Zimbabwe, a nonprofit that aims to promote sustainable forests resources management and waste management in Zimbabwe.

Tendai plans to pursue a career in program planning and implementation of maternal and child health interventions that meet the needs, desires and requirements of women and children. She is a firm believer that women have the capacity to shape and determine their own health. She hopes to launch programs that are steered and shaped by women—who for a long time have been marginalized as passive recipients of health care.

Patricia Watson

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PhD student

Dept. of Sociology-University of Missouri

from Jamaica

Patricia has fought extraordinarily hard to protect the rights of girls. For this reason she is advancing her career to pursue a Doctorate in Sociology at the University of Missouri, specializing in sexual violence against adolescent girls in Jamaica.

As the Executive Director and Co-founder at EVE for Life ( an NPO) which focuses on vulnerable women’s and girls' issues such as sexual violence, reproductive rights and people with HIV, for years Patricia has been instrumental in advancing the rights of women and girls. She also Conducted ‘Nuh Guh Deh’ (Don’t Go There), a campaign to end the sexual abuse of female children. Ultimately, Patricia's interests lie in playing an even greater role in advocacy ensuring that the rights of girls are protected and upheld at all levels of society.

Yvonne Goh


PhD student

Dept. of Human Nutrition -McGill University, Canada

from Ghana

Yvonne is a dedicated, talented young scientist pursuing a Doctorate degree in Nutrition at McGill University, Canada, specializing in Infant and Young Child Feeding.

As a senior field research assistant, Yvonne supported the International Lipid-based Nutrient Supplements Project for infants and conducted research in poor rural communities in Ghana on the association between maternal HIV and child health outcomes. Yvonne also pioneered a young professional women's group to reach out to vulnerable women and children in Ghana.

Her research work and hands-on experience show her firm commitment to improving the nutrition and health of women and children in the world starting with Ghana, where 23% of children are stunted in growth and 57% are anemic. Her future career goals are to teach Human Nutrition-related courses at the University of Ghana and carry out more research to improve infant and young child feeding practices.