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Daniella Choi

2nd-Year MPP

Daniella Choi is passionate about social determinants of health on a global scale. This interest led her to study public policy and global health at Duke University, where her thesis on the surprising inverse relationship between an influx of international funding for HIV/AIDS and a decrease in family planning efforts led her to graduate with the highest distinction.

Fluent in Korean, English, and Pulaar, Choi served as a public health volunteer with the Peace Corps in The Gambia. Choi tried out various approaches to impactful community projects in child nutrition and malaria prevention and learned the way of life in a subsistence farming community, where seasons are marked by planting, harvesting, selling, and borrowing—and simultaneously by the seasons of festivities, malaria, and hunger. This experience also demonstrated the importance of underlying cultural context in service delivery after witnessing the dynamic ways people receive goods and information.

Since returning to the United States, Choi has continued to dedicate her work to public service as a federal employee focused on strengthening child nutrition safety net programs. At the US Department of Agriculture, she provided policy guidance and programmatic support to state agencies and local partners to ensure the provision of services to America’s most vulnerable populations.

At The Pearson Institute, Choi is looking forward to sharpening her analytical toolkit to be able to approach complex social problems like poverty alleviation with a nuanced and data-informed worldview. By studying poverty and inequality with a quantitative lens, Choi hopes to play a strategic role in shaping the global social programs of tomorrow.