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Scholar Award Cohort: Fall 2018

Damaris Bravo


Damaris was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona and received her Bachelor’s in Health Sciences from Arizona State University in 2014. During her time at ASU, she studied abroad in Florence, Italy which sparked her interest in working internationally. Upon graduation, she received the opportunity to serve abroad with the U.S. Peace Corps in Guyana. Damaris spent 27 months living near the equator in South America where she focused on public health and community development supporting various activities including HIV/AIDS prevention, mental health and suicide prevention. She also helped staff an all-girls camp that focused on women’s empowerment and leadership. Damaris’ favorite part about her Peace Corps service was being on the Peace Corps Guyana’s HIV/AIDS Task Force where she planned and executed PEPFAR-funded HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination workshops for nursing students. She currently works as an Internal Communications Coordinator for Food for the Hungry in Phoenix, an international relief and development organization with operations in more than 20 countries.  


Damaris has found her life’s passion for international development and helping vulnerable populations escape poverty.  Realizing the important role local businesses and business leaders play in the development of communities across the globe, Damaris is pursuing a Master’s in Global Management at Thunderbird. She plans to hone her cross-cultural communication skills at Thunderbird in support of her personal mission to help improve the well-being and quality of life of individuals and communities all over the world. After graduating Thunderbird, Damaris aims to become a business leader that makes a positive global impact. She looks forward to beginning her journey as a T-bird and representing TIAA to the best of her ability.

Lina Safronova


I was born in Siberia, one of the most scenic and inspiring places known for its technological and scientific advancements. I developed a passion for cultures and languages at 14 when my cousin went to the United States and graduated from Arizona State University (ASU). After being selected for two international summer internship programs in the United States, I returned home fascinated by international economics and the forces shaping societies. I earned a Master’s in International Economics and upon graduation and was accepted to a research assistant internship at The George Washington University, School of Business. Working first with a market research firm to expanding its markets into the Middle East, and then with a rapidly expanding 3D printing company to establish a new division in New York, I witnessed the severe consequences of disruptive technologies and mounting automation on local and regional economies. This inspired a shift in focus to community relationship building. Volunteering with the local Rotary and serving as a Delegation Liaison to the Special Olympics World Games let me support others with different strengths and challenges. Later, I began working with David Allen to help thousands improve their personal and organizational productivity.


I continue to seek opportunities to explore new cultures.  In the past two years, I’ve traveled to UAE, Indonesia, Hong Kong, mainland China and Republic of Georgia. I’ve learned Arabic and Chinese through immersion and I’ve taught English to foreign students in both UAE and China. In other words, I have been preparing throughout my life and career to be a Thunderbird. I want to influence the global environment and inspire individuals to act with honesty and integrity, deliver economic development, create jobs and raise the standard of living. I am determined to continue to make an impact in our world and am passionate about joining the cohort on our journey to be the change we wish to see.

Oska Ang'ila


Living in South Africa and Lesotho, Swaziland for two years sharpened Oska’s ability to thrive in a variety of places. While there, he was involved in voluntary work for his religious organization. His colleagues comprised of other young men from Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, the United States, and Canada. He describes this period of his life as fundamental to the formation of a strong personal character since he helped teach principles that encouraged living with integrity. Immediately following his return to his homeland, Kenya in 2010, he began working at Fox International - a Logistics company based in the buzzing hub of East Africa. Employed as a management trainee, he quickly learned the ropes and assumed various key roles within the organization. He was responsible over several client accounts including Embassies and Diplomatic missions located in Nairobi. 


After four and a half years of work at Fox, Oska made a transition that would help him achieve his long-term goal of obtaining a higher education. In April of 2015, he enrolled at Brigham Young University Idaho to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Foreign Affairs. He graduated in July 2018 and delivered the valedictory address for his graduating class. Inspired by his work in Southern Africa, at Fox Logistics, and his educational training, Oska aspires to engage in trade matters at a policy-making level. He would participate in the designing of sound policies that enhance international cooperation. Owing to his experience of living and working in Africa, he has a keen interest to see the continent rise to take advantage of trade opportunities both locally and abroad. As a TIAA scholar, he will build networks that will enhance stronger ties of cooperation with the similarly minded individuals from all over the world.

Quin Roberts


Quin Roberts has worked in politics for the past five years. He spent one year on the Ben Sasse for U.S. Senate Campaign recruiting and managing dozens of student volunteers, then moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a legislative advisor for the Senator. His latest position in Congress was as Senior Legislative Assistant for a Member of the House Ways and Means Committee where he handled a dozen issues including education, homeland security, and small business. Long before politics, Quin lived and worked on a commercial cattle feedlot in rural Nebraska. He received his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska Lincoln where he focused on Political Science and Global Security Studies. Midway through his coursework he spent a summer studying in Japan. This ignited in him an eagerness to understand cultures and see the world. Since then he has enjoyed unique experiences in over 30 other countries. One of these experiences was a 2014 Thunderbird reunion in Dubrovnik, Croatia with his sister, Riley Roberts (2012 alum), where he was introduced to a community of unique voices devoted to sustainable world progress. Over the next four years, Quin would develop a worldview centered on increasing global interconnectedness and free trade. He knew quickly Thunderbird would be his new home once his decision to attend business school was final.


Quin aspires to work in developing economies, has particular interest in South East Asia and Japan and is currently learning Japanese. He hopes to spend at least part of his career working abroad. In his free time, Quin likes to golf, read historical nonfiction, and follow his Green Bay Packers and Nebraska Husker football teams. As a TIAA Scholar, Quin looks forward to promoting TIAA on campus and working with the organization to preserve and further strengthen the Thunderbird Mystique that makes this school so special.

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