PPIA Program

“Diversity & Leadership in Public Service”

Alumni Chapter Leadership Bios

Meet the outstanding alumni who are working to ensure that our fellows have access to a robust network and ongoing professional development long after their time at a Junior Summer Institute comes to a close!




Kurston Cook

Kurston Cook is the Special Programs Manager for Generation Progress, the youth division of the Center for American Progress. Prior to joining Generation Progress, he worked as a union organizer with United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). His work involved organizing non-union charter school teachers into UTLA while assisting contract negotiations and mobilization efforts. Prior to this work Kurston managed the AFL-CIO’s Next Up Young Work Program. He was responsible for empowering and mobilizing 3.5 million union members under the age of 35 and assisting the development of young worker programs at affiliated unions.

He came to the AFL-CIO from the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network where he worked their Deputy Director. Kurston graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and History.


Michael Manansala

Michael Manansala serves as the DC Alumni Chapter Director for the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Program. In this capacity, Michael organizes and implements alumni activities with the DC Alumni Chapter’s Executive Committee. Michael is also a member of the PPIA National Alumni Relations Committee.

In addition to his role at PPIA, Michael is the Africa Region Assistant at Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI). He delivers financial, contractual, and operations support for the Food and Enterprise Development Program in Liberia, USAID’s largest Feed the Future project in Africa.

Prior to DAI, Michael was a Research Analyst at Optimal Solutions Group. He completed project deliverables for two programs under USAID’s Learning, Evaluation, and Analysis Project (LEAP): a population-based survey in Liberia, and a performance evaluation of the Investment Development and Export Advancement Support (IDEAS) project in Macedonia.

Michael received his Bachelor’s degree from Macalester College with a major in Political Science, a minor in Geography, and a concentration in International Development. As a Bonner Community Scholar and the founder of the Macalester Development Group, Michael facilitated the creation of student-led projects and events on international development. He received the 2010 Davis Projects for Peace grant, which enabled him to implement a community-based, urban farming program at a landfill in Manila, Philippines.

While in Manila, he also served as a legislative intern for Juan Ponce Enrile, the Senate President of the Philippines. In 2011, Michael spent a semester abroad at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and participated in the PPIA Fellowship at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy.


Claire Morel

As an Education Consultant at the World Bank Group, Claire Morel provides project management and analytical support on economic and education sector projects in West and Central Africa, focusing on education access, quality, and labor market relevance. She focus on competitive funds, education-to-employment interventions, and youth entrepreneurship.

Previously, Claire worked in the World Bank Group’s International Policy and Partnerships Group, where she provided analytical and technical support on macroeconomic policy issues in the context of institutional partnerships (UN, IMF, and OECD) and collaboration with shareholder groupings (G7/8, G20, G24, and APEC). In this role, she contributed to publications on investment financing and the Post-2015 Development Agenda and managed the Development Grant Facility’s grant to the G24 Secretariat.

A native of Austin, Texas, Claire attended the University of Texas and obtained her B.A. in Economics, Government, and French. She went on to earn a Dual Master of International Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po Paris), specializing in International Economic Policy and Management. In addition to her current work in Guinea, the Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau, Claire has research and project management experience in Senegal, Cameroon, and Ethiopia.

Claire tutors and mentors refugee youth with the International Rescue Committee in East Riverdale, Maryland, and serves as a counselor at Camp Hope in Texas and Maryland, a summer program that keeps kids connected with incarcerated parents.