Daniel Fletcher
Faculty Director

Daniel Fletcher is Faculty Director of the Blum Center, Founder of the Health Technologies Collaboration Laboratory, Purnendu Chatterjee Chair in Engineering Biological Systems, and a Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Between 2015 and 2019, he served as Chair of the Bioengineering Department. His research focuses on the biophysics of cell movements and the cytoskeleton and development of biomedical devices, specifically for developing regions. He received a DPhil from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. His research has received an NSF CAREER Award, a National Inventors Hall of Fame Collegiate Award, and was designated “Best of What’s New” by Popular Science magazine. In 2010, he won the Bioengineering Teaching Award for Outstanding Instructor in the Bioengineering Honor Society. He is currently serving as Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator.

Alice M. Agogino
Associate Director of Education

Alice M. Agogino is Associate Director for Education of the Blum Center, Chair of the Graduate Group in Development Engineering, and the Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering. She is an Affiliated Faculty member of  the Haas School of Business, the Energy Resources Group, Women and Gender Studies, and Studies in Science, Engineering and Mathematics Education (SESAME). She has served in a number of administrative positions, including Chair of the UC Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate, Associate Dean of Engineering, and Director of the Instructional Technology Program. She also served as Director for the Synthesis Engineering Education Coalition and continues as PI for theDesignExchange educational portal. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and has served on a number of committees of the National Academies, including the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine. With over 280 peer-reviewed publications, Agogino has supervised 157 MS projects/theses, 50 doctoral dissertations, and numerous undergraduate researchers. She has won numerous teaching, best paper, and research awards, including 2017 ASME Design Theory and Methodology Award, 2015 ASME Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Design Educator Award, 2013 AAAS Lifetime Mentoring Award, 2011 Pi Tau Sigma Professor of the Year, 2010 Chancellor’s Community Service Award, and the 2007 Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring.

(510) 642-6450 |

Brad DeLong
Chief Economist

Bradford DeLong is Chief Economist of the Blum Center, a Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley, and as a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He served in the U.S. government as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy from 1993 to 1995. Before joining the Treasury Department, he was Danziger Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Harvard University. He is a prolific writer of academic papers, books, and blogs on economic history, macroeconomics, economic growth, and finance. He earned his PhD in Economics from Harvard University.

Matthew D. Potts
Associate Director for Sustainable Development

Matthew D. Potts is Associate Director for Sustainable Development of the Blum Center, Vice Chair of the Graduate Group in Development Engineering, an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, and S.J Hall Chair in Forest Economics. He has a broad, interdisciplinary background with formal training in mathematics, ecology, and economics, and more than two decades of experience in resources management issues in low- and middle-income countries. His interdisciplinary lab focuses on the co-production by human and natural systems of ecosystem services and natural pathways for carbon sequestration. In 2013, he was awarded the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources’ Young Faculty/Cooperative Specialist Award, and most recently served as a coordinating lead author on the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment.

Amy Pickering
Assistant Professor of Development Engineering

Amy Pickering is an Assistant Professor for the Development Engineering program. She has over a decade of experience in multidisciplinary research in development, high quality scholarship, and an impressive record in both teaching innovations and diversity, equity, and inclusion contributions. She received a BS from Cornell University in Biological Engineering, a MS from UC Berkeley in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and a PhD from Stanford University in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment & Resources. Her current and proposed research directions are in developing novel water and sanitation technologies, impact evaluation of scalable interventions on child health and development, and environmental surveillance for infectious diseases. She also has been Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on 22 current or completed research grants from the NIH, NSF, USAID, the World Bank, and foundations including the Thrasher Research Fund, Saint Anthony Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Givewell. She has 15 years of field experience in development in Bangladesh, Benin, India, Kenya, Mali, Malaysia, Mexico, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania.

Maryanne McCormick
Executive Director

Maryanne McCormick is the Executive Director of the Center. She leads a team of professional staff bringing together academics, scientists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders to make a positive social impact. The Center facilitates interdisciplinary research and education, and equips the next generation of problem-solvers with the skills they need to make a difference. She has a JD and an MBA, and is a member of the California Bar.

Gladys Khoury
Director of Finance

Gladys Khoury directs all financial aspects of the Blum Center including accounting practices, budgeting, financial planning, financial analysis, and monitoring of financial performance. From 2006 through 2009, Khoury was a Senior Research Administrator and Program Manager for the TRUST Center in UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering. From 2001 through 2006, she was Senior Contracts and Grants Officer, at UC Berkeley’s Controller’s Office, and from 1989 through 2001 she was Controller and Office Manager for California Engineering in San Francisco. Gladys holds an MBA in Finance, with a BA in Accounting and Finance from the University of California, Berkeley. She is also an active member with the California Association of Realtors as a Real Estate Broker licensed by the state of California.

(510) 664-4880 |

Chetan Chowdhry
Director of Student Programs

Chetan Chowdhry manages and serves as the Lead Academic Advisor for the Global Poverty & Practice Minor. Prior to joining the Blum Center team, Chetan served as a Graduate Coordinator with the University of Maryland Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy Office. He holds a Master’s degree in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Environmental Analysis & Design from UC Irvine.

(510) 664-4423 |

Phillip Denny
Phillip Denny
Director, Big Ideas Contest

Phillip Denny serves as the Senior Program Director of the Blum Center for Developing Economies, a position he assumed shortly after the Center was established in March 2006. He manages the Big Ideas Contest–one of the oldest and most respected student innovation competitions in California. In this capacity, he has encouraged and supported approximately 2,500 interdisciplinary teams to develop creative solutions to today’s most pressing social challenges. Under Phillip’s direction, the Big Ideas Contest has helped secure millions of dollars in seed funding for student start-ups, expanded the contest to 18 campuses, and recruited over 1,500 industry, government and non-profit experts to judge ideas and mentor participants. He has also been integral in developing key partnerships across academia, private sector organizations, and entrepreneurship networks to strengthen social innovation initiatives on campus. As recognition for his leadership of Big Ideas, he received UC Berkeley’s Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award in 2015. Prior to joining the Center, Denny held leadership roles in multiple successful grass-roots and political campaigns, specializing in research and communications strategies for both candidates and organizations.

(510) 666-9120 |

Karenna Rehorn
Program Manager, Big Ideas Contest

Karenna Rehorn is the Manager of the Health Technology CoLab and the Program Manager for the Big Ideas Contest. She recently graduated UC Davis in June of 2021 with a bachelors in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Technological Management. At UC Davis, she led the BioInnovation Group, a student-led research group, and launched several programs providing resources for students to begin or advance their scientific career. In her spare time, you can find her exploring new restaurants, hiking, or trying out a new recipe.

Sam Goldman
Administrative Officer

Sam Goldman is an administrative officer at the Blum Center, where he oversees much of the center’s communications, including website stories, social media, and a couple newsletters. He is also class scheduler for the center’s development engineering programs, for which he also assists with communications; assists top center faculty with their scheduling; and oversees the center’s branded merchandise. Sam spent several years as a professional journalist before arriving at the Blum Center in 2021 and has a BA in geography from UC Santa Barbara and a master of journalism from Berkeley. When not officiating administration, is off somewhere reading, writing, running, or rooting on his favorite sports teams.

Yael Perez
DevEng Program Director

Yael Perez is the Development Engineering (DevEng) Program Director at UC Berkeley’s Blum Center for Developing Economies, managing the DevEng Masters and the DevEng PhD Designated Emphasis. Yael holds a PhD in Architecture from UC Berkeley with a scholarship on co-design methodologies and technologies to support and empower communities and design practitioners in fostering sustainable development. For over a decade, she has been collaboratively leading CARES—Community Assessment of Renewable Energy and Sustainability—a team of UC Berkeley faculty and students working with Native American Citizens in their pursuit of sustainable development. Recently, this initiative grew into the Native FEWS Alliance, a cross-institutional collaboration working to significantly broaden the participation of Native American students in Food, Energy, and Water Systems (FEWS) education and careers to address critical challenges facing their communities. Before joining the Blum Center, Yael was a visiting scholar at IIT Mandi (India). 

Syreen Ponferrada
Program Support Manager

Syreen Ponferrada is a Program Support Manager for the Blum Center, the Big Ideas Contest, and the AMENA Center. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2017 with a BS in Nutritional Sciences: Physiology and Metabolism. Previously, she worked as a Financial Analyst Assistant at the Institute for Business Innovation at the Haas School of Business and, following graduation, as the Institute’s Program Coordinator. At Cal, she was an active member of multiple Pilipinx-American organizations, helping to spread awareness of Filipino culture, and supported first-generation immigrant students like herself. Growing up in the Philippines and having attended college in the United States, she is a student of the differences between underdeveloped and developed countries and hopes to give back to her Philippine community through economic development. 

Adrianne Johnson
Adrianne Johnson
Career Development Director

Adrianne is the Career Development Director for the M.DevEng program. She has lived and worked in Russia, Ukraine, Thailand, San Francisco, and Washington DC. Adrianne has more than fifteen years of broad experience working in executive recruitment and talent development for US Government contractors, NGOs, start-ups, SMEs, and educational institutions. Adrianne served in the US Peace Corps in Ukraine and has a BA in Russian Language and Literature from the University of Oklahoma and an MA in International Development from American University in Washington DC. She is a Certified Executive Career Coach and is focused on student career development as well as alumni and employer engagement for the department. When she’s not engaging with alumni, employers, or students, Adrianne volunteers for the International Rescue Committee and enjoys hiking and trivia.

Matt Podolsky
Matt Podolsky
Program Coordinator,
Digital Transformation of Development

Matt Podolsky is the Program Coordinator for the Digital Transformation of Development NSF Research Traineeship program, in addition to his roles as a UC Berkeley research scientist and the Managing Director of Research Technologies for the Digital Transformation Institute. Previously he served as the Managing Director of the UCB Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions group and the Associate Director for Data Analytics at the Development Impact Lab (DIL). As part of his role with DIL he managed the multi-institution Mezuri Data Platform project and served as the data collection expert. He has over 25 years of networks research and development experience, and since 2005 he has worked on emerging regions technologies projects that include rural grid connectivity, solar and microgrid technologies, open data, a cloud-based data management platform, inexpensive rural cellular communications, and long-distance wireless data backhaul. These technologies have been successfully deployed in India, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Indonesia, Panama, and the Philippines.

Valerie Moss
Valerie Moss
Student Advisors & Program Manager

Valerie is the Student Advisor and Program Manager for the Masters of Development Engineering and Global Poverty and Practice Minor at the Blum Center. Before joining the Blum Center, she worked on many higher education initiatives supporting Minority Serving Institutions and underserved communities across the United States. Additionally, Valerie has spent over four years researching human communication tactics, neurological data processing, and financial policy. Her experiences have provided her with an interdisciplinary understanding of students and the greater bureaucratic elements of higher education institutions. Valerie has a BA in Cognitive Science and Psychology from the University of California, Merced, and an M.S.Ed in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. Outside of her work in student affairs, you can find Valerie baking, trying to find the best cup of coffee in the Bay Area, or at the local farmer’s markets.


Each semester, the Blum Center is fortunate to work with many talented students at UC Berkeley. Since the Center began in 2006, we’ve supported over 320 graduate students and 120 undergraduate students — who’ve worked with us as researchers, instructors, designers, writers, peer advisors, and office assistants. We are grateful to all the students who have chosen to work with us in Blum Hall.

Graduate Students

Sudeshna Naik
Sudeshna Naik
Communication & Social Media Manager

Sudeshna is a graduate student pursuing her master’s in Development Engineering. She is also a member of the Student Organisation Committee of the M.DevEng program’s first cohort. In her first semester, she was awarded the UC Berkeley x CARE Fellowship, where she worked as an Impact & Innovation Fellow for CARE International (one of the largest international humanitarian agencies) to solve the complex global problem of sustainable, affordable housing in four developing countries – Ecuador, Sierra Leone, Burundi, and Nepal. Her current work is in the direction of improving the medical training facilities for rural health clinics. She is working with the 4th Medical Battalion, a unit of the U.S. Marine Corps, facilitated by NSIN (National Security Innovation Network) and the Development Engineering Program to build a sustainable digital intervention that helps the medical team receive optimized training in the austere environment. In her free time, she enjoys painting and baking.

Undergraduate Students

Diana Fan Headshot
Diana Fan
Design Associate, Big Ideas

Diana is a senior majoring in Cognitive Science, minoring in Computer Science and pursuing a Certificate in Design Innovation at UC Berkeley. As a designer and illustrator based in the Bay Area, she is passionate about design education and working on multidisciplinary solutions for socio-economic innovation. In her time at Berkeley, she’s enjoyed teaching student-run classes, including an Introduction to Illustrator and Photoshop Decal as well as the Web Design Decal. Outside of academics and extracurriculars, Diana enjoys taking care of her plants, cooking Korean food, drawing in her notebook, picnicking, and laying in patches of grass.

Rio Hayakawa
Rio Hayakawa
Design Associate

Rio is a junior studying Computer Science and Design Innovation at UC Berkeley. Growing up in the middle of nature within the Santa Monica Mountains, he hopes to help create a positive impact on the environment and sustain its beauty through technology and design. Outside of classes, Rio enjoys playing tennis and drawing with his trusty Pentel Fude Brush Pen.

Judah Marsden
Judah Marsden
Judah Marsden is a junior at UC Berkeley in the College of Letters and Sciences. He grew up in Madrid, Spain and later Silicon Valley, where he completed an extensive array of video work with entities such as NASA TV UHD. Judah is interested in studying how artistic visual representation can be applied to the sciences to improve education and action about climate change.
Sara Siddiqui
Web Design & Content Manager

Sara is a senior studying Applied Mathematics and Data Science. She is passionate about web development and has garnered technical experience through her involvement in several student organizations here at UC Berkeley. Currently, she assists Dr. Yael Perez in developing the InFEWS website and is excited to learn more about the phenomenal programs hosted by the Blum Center.  In her free time, she enjoys cooking, practicing her calligraphy, and spending time outdoors.

Sarah Mosley
Sarah Mosley
Research Associate

Sarah Mosley assists the Blum Center’s development and poverty alleviation research initiatives. Previously, Sarah interned with a social impact venture supporting its annual study of gender diversity on private company boards. Prior, she worked as a research assistant for UC Berkeley’s Department of Economics to evaluate the long-run effects of the Opium Wars on China’s labor force. Sarah plans to graduate this fall with a B.A. in economics and history. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, digital collaging and recreational tennis.

© 2021 Blum Center for Developing Economies

Design by Joseph Kim