About Us

Our Mission

This organization exists to expand the international development network among graduate students and to provide them with resources to succeed in their global endeavors. We are focused on students interested in forming global partnerships, participating in development projects, and facilitating engagement opportunities.


President: Rachel Gehr, EEE PhD Student

Rachel Gehr

Rachel is a PhD student in Environmental and Ecological Engineering researching UV-based processes for defluorination of PFAS. She also helps lead a project that provides safe water access and WASH education to rural communities of the Dominican Republic. In her free time, Rachel enjoys hiking, yoga, and playing piano.

Operating Officer: Abhishek Ajmani, CE Masters Student

Abhishek Ajmani

Abhishek is doing Masters/PhD in Innovation Science, which is about utilizing the tools and methods that can help an organization achieve a high-impact grand-vision in the most productive and economically viable way possible. As his primary project, he is helping the US Department of Energy harness the ocean renewable energy with the goal of powering a blue economy. He is using structured methodologies to eventually create a R&D; portfolio that will advance the pace of hydrokinetic technology and drive innovations in a variety of markets. On the side, he will be utilizing Innovation Science tools to map out a growth model in the context of a developing economy. Outside work, he enjoys biking, meditation, and swimming.

Treasurer: Shaiza Sajjad, EEE MS student

Shaiza Sajjad

Shaiza Sajjad is a Masters student in Environmental and Ecological Engineering. Her interests lie in wastewater treatment technologies, water management and sustainable development. She did her undergraduate in Environmental Sciences. Outside of her work, she likes watching science fiction movies.

Funding Chair: Nick Salts, ME PhD Student

Nick Salts

Nick is a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering and works at the Herrick Labs as a thermal systems researcher. Nick has been involved in multiple international development projects through Purdue and is currently working on a project with Engineers Without Borders to develop off-grid refrigeration systems for emerging markets. Nick is excited about serving on the GRID leadership team to help grow the network of researchers in international development at Purdue.

Career Opportunities Chair: Edwin Kpodzro, ME PhD Student

Edwin Kpodzro

Edwin is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering, and also Ecological Sciences and Engineering. His current project involves the development of an economic recovery strategy for critical materials in end-of-life electric vehicle Li-ion batteries. Edwin is interested in pushing the barriers of academic research out of the lab and into developing economies, particularly in the food-energy-water nexus. He can be found playing soccer, dancing, or checking out a new food joint when he is not in the office or taking a nap.

PACMAN: Romika Kotian, CE PhD Student

Romika Kotian

Romika is a PhD student in Innovation and Leadership Studies. Her work is interdisciplinary and focuses on applying innovation science principles to investigate large scale socio-technical challenges. She has worked on development challenges such as food security, WASH, maternal and child healthcare, and basic education in East Africa; youth Development, the Venezuelan migration response and integrated rural development in Colombia; and business competitiveness, air and water pollution in Vietnam. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, painting and learning new skills.

Outreach Chair: Danielle Wagner, CE PhD Student

Danielle Wagner

Danielle’s studies in the architectural engineering department have given her a wild ride, from accessorizing seats in her own office to understand student occupancy, to sampling woodsmoke in clay-based kitchens in western Kenya. Her favorite part of this work, and often the most difficult, is working with people to figure out how they interact with their environments. Her most important realization is that everything is an ongoing process and success doesn’t come by just developing a great product or technology. She loves climbing trees and was entirely charmed by the plentiful guava, avocado, and mango available for a satisfying climb in Kenya.

Seminar Coordinator: Nilavani Jeyasunderam, EEE MS student

Nilavani Jeyasunderam

Nilavani is a graduate student in Environmental and Ecological Engineering. She did her undergraduate study in Civil Engineering with academic projects focused primarily on sustainable building materials. Her academic interests include sustainable urban systems, green buildings and life cycle analysis. When she is not busy with schoolwork, she loves to take photographs, watch documentaries and cook!

Advisor: Diana Harbison, GEPP Assistant Director for Int’l Development

Are you interested in joining the GRID leadership team? Our elections take place over the summer, but if we have an open position, we are happy to fill it anytime! Send an email to GRID@purdue.edu to learn more.

Calendar of Events

All of our upcoming events are posted to our Facebook page – keep an eye out for upcoming seminars about funding, career opportunities, current projects, and more!

Have an idea for an event you would like to see? Send an email to GRID@purdue.edu so we can put it together for you!

Previous Events:

Kenya Experiences Seminar

Did you know that quite a few of Purdue’s researchers are working in Kenya? Come hear about four different projects that are making a big impact in this beautiful country!

Funding and Grant Writing Seminar

Have you ever had a difficult time finding a grant that applies to your research? Need some tips for how to prepare a successful proposal? Join GRID and Lisa Nielsen as we explore Purdue’s funding resources and learn how to write a grant that will receive funding.

Get Involved!

Join the GRID! Send an email to GRID@purdue.edu so we can add you to our email list. You will receive updates about upcoming events, funding and career opportunities in international development, and news about our Project Advisory Councils (PAC).

Do you want to join a PAC? Fill out the application and we will assign you to a group to help resolve challenges in your project or for you to advise others on how they can overcome what they are facing in their projects.

Interested in a PAC consultation? Sign up here for a one-on-one meeting with a PAC member to discuss your interest!

Connect with us on social media!

Facebook: Graduate Researchers for International Development - GRID
Instagram: @purduegrid
Twitter: @purduegrid
LinkedIn: Graduate Researchers for International Development (GRID)

Funding Opportunities

Our Funding Opportunities Chair keeps an eye out for international development grants and fellowships and distributes them to GRID members. Join our email list by sending a quick note to GRID@purdue.edu to stay in the loop!

We keep a resume list that we provide to international development employers upon request. If you would like us to share your CV or resume, upload it to our folder. Need to update one you’ve already submitted? Re-upload to the folder and let us know you’re replacing an old copy!

Researcher Highlight

We love to highlight our members on social media to spread the word about international development work taking place at Purdue. Fill out our brief survey to let us know about your project!