Building Understanding through International Learning and Development (BUILD)

2010 Program Leaders

BUILD Program Coordinators

Mike Niconchuk, Class of 2011

Member since: 2008
Mike was born and raised in the Boston, MA area. His parents met in the early 1980s in Guatemala, where his mom was a local medical school student and his father an American missionary. A classic love story ensued, and his parents moved to Boston after they married in the mid 1980s. Mike goes back often to Guatemala to visit his extended family who have made a tremendous effort to immerse him in all of the culture and sights and tastes of his heritage. It is because of them that Mike has truly fallen in love with the land and the people of Guatemala. BUILD has given him the opportunity to gain incredible experience working with NGOs, conducting research, and carrying 50 lbs. of firewood up jungle mountains. Most importantly, through BUILD, Mike has been able to tie together his centers of learning and culture, using all that he has gained at Tufts to pursue frighteningly “real-life” work in the country that is his second home. He is fluent in Spanish, is conversant in Arabic, and at Tufts, and he is studying International Relations with a concentration in International Security. In the near future, he looks forward to using the precedent that BUILD has established to take the program to new places and new cultures that are similarly seeking sustainable solutions to unfortunately ongoing problems.

Kathryn Taylor, Class of 2011

Member since: 2008
Kathryn was born in Houston, Texas. She has moved several times throughout her life, and has lived in Houston, Scotland and the San Francisco Bay Area. She grew up very involved in the Episcopal Church and several service experiences were first responsible for instilling a profound desire to help others and work to alleviate poverty. Upon arrival at Tufts, she became interested in the BUILD program and its mission and, along with Mike, started the first BUILD Guatemala program as a freshman. Creating such an involved organization from scratch, she gained much practical knowledge about development initiatives and the challenge of such endeavors. Coupled with her International Relations and Economics studies, she was able to apply her introductory knowledge to her freshman-year research on the fair trade coffee market, compiling her findings into a research paper that can also be found on the IGL website. After the first trip, Kathryn rose to the position of Program Co-coordinator and continued her work with BUILD, active in designing the Community Development Plan and, specifically, in the design, implementation and analysis of a Socioeconomic survey. After her third trip down to Guatemala, she decided to expand her major to quantitative economics and is on the track to completing a double major with International Relations. She is currently working to expand the BUILD program during the summer of 2010. In her spare time (when there is any) she enjoys reading, spending time with her fellow BUILD members, playing the violin, and drinking lots of tea.

Sasha deBeausset, Class of 2012

Member since: 2008
Sasha deBeausset was born in Guatemala City and lived back and fourth between there her father's shrimp farm in the town of Salitrios, Guatemala until she was five. When she started formal education, her family moved to Guatemala city so she could attend an International school. Sasha remained here until she was 17, when she received a scholarship to attend a two year program at the United World College in Hong Kong to receive her International Baccalaureate Diploma. After two years of an intensely academic program, Sasha deferred her acceptance to Tufts to pursue an education "on the field" working with youth Leadership programs and supplementary education programs in Guatemala. She volunteered at "Los Patojos" ("The Little Ones") Organization in Jocotenango, Guatemala teaching English, Coordinating volunteers, and organizing various youth programs. She also worked with other alumni from the United World Colleges to create a Guatemalan and Latin American Youth Leadership Program, COLOR to facilitate the youth with the creation of their own projects for Sustainable Development in their communities. Sasha is now a member of the class of 2012 at Tufts University, planning to major in Anthropology with a minor in Entrepreneurial Leadership.

BUILD Guatemala Directors

Alfonso Enriquez-Castro, Class of 2013

Alfonso Enriquez-CastroMember since: 2009
Alfonso was born in Ciudad Valles in the state of San Luis Potosi, Mexico. He has been studying in the United States since his freshman year of high school. He plans to major in International Relations. Outside of his major, Alfonso has a great list of interests including Blues, Mexican politics, and philosophy. He is very excited to be a member of BUILD, given that his experience living in a developing country has made him a witness to the abuses and the injustices committed against citizens, in countries like Mexico and Guatemala. In the future he hopes to go back to Mexico and be able to become part of a solution to the problems the country is going through.

Allyson Manning, Class of 2013

Allyson ManningMember since: 2009
Ally grew up in Stamford, Connecticut. At Tufts, she plans to major in International Relations and minor in Entrepreneurial Leadership. Various community service trips and activities have fostered a great passion for combating both the root causes and tangible consequences of poverty. Ally is also a member of Poverty and Power Research Initiative (PPRI), a policy-oriented student group that produces research reports based on multi-level and multi-sector studies of corruption with the purpose of identifying implementable strategies to make decision-making activities more inclusive and conducive to poverty alleviation. Ally is very interested in sustainable development and especially values BUILD's commitment to forging lasting relationships with the communities in which the group works.

BUILD India Directors

Rena Oppenheimer, Class of 2013

Rena OppenheimerMember since: 2010
Rena is a sophomore from Newton, Mass majoring in Anthropology. In January 2011, she traveled to Thottiapatti with BUILD. At Tufts, Rena is also involved in Tufts Dance Collective and teaches ESL to Salvadorian immigrants in Somerville. Her interest in sustainable development was born out of consecutive summers volunteering in rural Tanzania and interning in Udaipur, India. She is also interested in women's issues, health, religious conflict, and peacebuilding. In high school, Rena attended Seeds of Peace International Camp, where she fostered relationships with youth from around the Middle East and broadened her worldview. She has studied abroad in Israel, and hopes to spend next year in Egypt and South Africa. She loves people, learning languages, bindis, experiencing cultures firsthand, doodling, and squat toilets.

Nithyaa Venkataramani

Nithyaa VenkataramaniMember since: 2009
Nithyaa is a sophomore at Tufts, studying International Relations with a focus in Global Health and minoring in Economics with a focus on development. She lives in Andover, Massachusetts and considers Tamil Nadu, India as her second home. She is excited to see the India project run into implementation phase since seeing through its pilot phases in the summer of 2009. Nithyaa enjoys the creativity and passion that BUILD inspires, and is grateful to be working with so many dedicated and talented peers. She aspires to keep learning about the different facets of development, especially in relation to medical, environmental and technological factors. She intends to eventually earn a dual degree in public health and medicine after graduation, with specific focus on underserved populations all over the world. Outside of work with BUILD, Nithyaa enjoys singing and playing music, photography, and writing.

Alexandra Wollum

Alexandra WollumMember since: 2010
Allie Wollum was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She is majoring in International Relations with a possible double major in Community Health. She is very excited to be involved with BUILD to expand her knowledge of sustainable development, particularly how infrastructure and behavior influence health and all around well-being around the world. She is very interested in non-profit work in both domestic and international issues. She volunteers for LIFT Somerville to combat poverty and has interned at a non-profit that advocates for children's issues in policy. In her free time, Allie enjoys people-watching, singing, playing tennis, collaging, and cooking. She also likes spending time in the good ol' Rocky Mountains.