Career Panel on International Development

Tuesday, September 29th, 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

Careers in international development with Duke alums.

Panelists include:

  • Ticora V. Jones, PhD, Director, Center for Development Research, USAID (formerly Division Chief, USAID Higher Education Solutions Network)
  • Michelle Kirby, Fuqua ’16, Independent Consultant (formerly Chief Program Officer, MyAgro; Program Manager at One Acre Fund)
  • Muyatwa Sitali, MIDP ’14, Program Specialist – Country Engagement (Sanitation & Water for All), UNICEF (previously at World Bank, Oxfam); current board member, Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center
  • Wendy Taylor, T’90, Vice President, Technical Leadership and Innovation, Jhpiego (formerly Rockefeller Foundation Fellow; founding director of Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact, USAID/GH); Duke Global Health Institute, Board of Advisors


Ticora V. Jones is currently the Director of the Center for Development Research. She manages research and development programs for the Agency that build bridges between development professionals and universities through a multidisciplinary lens on science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Beginning in 2009 as a AAAS Diplomacy, Security, and Development Fellow, she helped manage the establishment of an Agency-wide agenda for science and technology through policy and programming designed to elevate USAID’s presence in this area.

Prior to joining USAID, Dr. Jones served as the 2008-2009 Materials Societies Congressional Fellow for Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI) where she worked on energy and environment issues. Before beginning her congressional fellowship, Dr. Jones conducted post-doctoral research focused on creating and characterizing nanoparticle/composite-based functional materials at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Dr. Jones earned her BS degree in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT and her PhD in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Michelle Kirby is an international development professional committed to financially sustainable solutions to poverty alleviation. She is interested in impact-oriented organizations managed by sound business principles and offering useful goods or services to the bottom of the pyramid.

Michelle has 14+ years of professional experience including engagements in Senegal, Rwanda, Mali, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Brazil. Most recently, she served as the Senegal Country Director and then the Chief Program Officer for myAgro, overseeing their growth from 3,700 to over 60,000 farmers. Michelle was also part of the startup team for One Acre Fund Rwanda. She has experience in agriculture, reproductive health, and nutrition. Michelle is a skilled leader who loves coaching, human-centered design, and investing in teams.

Michelle earned her MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business where she completed a concentration in Social Entrepreneurship and received a Certificate in International Development Policy. She is a William G. McGowan Fellow and a CASE Scholar. Michelle graduated summa cum laude from Bates College with a BA in Francophone Cultural Studies.

Muyatwa Sitali is a development policy and advocacy specialist who has worked for UNICEF, World Bank, Oxfam and Jubilee Zambia in multiple sectors and countries including Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, United States and Zambia. Currently he works for UNICEF hosted Secretariat of the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) Partnership where he is involved in initiatives for mobilizing and engaging partners in almost 70 countries. Sitali has more than 12 years of experience and is interested in development finance, multi-stakeholder partnerships, peace and development, and the connections between humanitarian and development programming. He has a Master of International Development Policy from Duke University, a graduate certificate in Peace and Conflict Resolution from the University of North Carolina and a Bachelor of Science, Forestry from the Copperbelt University in Zambia.

Wendy Taylor, Vice President for Technical Leadership and Innovation, directs a multidisciplinary team of more than 70 staff focused on driving impact across a wide range of health areas. She is responsible for working across technical teams and nearly 40 country teams to prepare the organization for transformational innovations, from technologies and systems innovations to data science and actionable insights. She joined Jhpiego following a two-year fellowship with The Rockefeller Foundation, where she explored how to leverage advances in artificial intelligence, digital health and data technologies to transform global health, including how advanced outbreak analytics can be used to better prepare for and respond to a global pandemic.

Prior to the fellowship, Ms. Taylor worked for two decades within and outside of government, catalyzing innovations to tackle some of the world’s toughest global health challenges and scaling up market-based solutions for impact. At the US Agency for International Development, she founded and led the Center for Innovation and Impact, which applies innovative, business- minded approaches to accelerate the development, introduction and scale-up of priority global health innovations. There she spearheaded multiple strategic partnerships, including Saving Lives at Birth, a $100 million, multi-stakeholder Grand Challenge; created the agency’s first advance purchase commitments to stimulate investments in vaccines and diagnostics; and built multiple public-private partnerships with corporations to expand and strengthen health markets.

Previously, she held senior positions with several global health nonprofits—including Bio Ventures for Global Health, which she founded—and served in both the executive and legislative branches of the US Government, including the Office of Management and Budget and the US House Committee on Ways and Means.