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Laura Benrey

2nd-Year MPP

Having fled Colombia in her teenage years, Laura Benrey is intimately familiar with the impact of conflict on migration and families.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Cincinnati studying international affairs, Benrey studied and analyzed reintegration programs for child soldiers in Colombia. This process and her field research opened her eyes not only to the shortcomings of existing reintegration programs for children in Colombia but also to the dearth of existing research and practice in this area. Benrey also completed an internship with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, where she researched a State Department-funded Trafficking in Persons Report Heroes Global Network and worked on an anti-trafficking-in-persons database of organizations around the world. This experience studying forced and coerced movement deepened her interest in investigating the complexity of global migration.

Following graduation, Benrey began working with war-affected victims in her most recent position at Kentucky Refugee Ministries. In her role as a legal case worker, she was responsible for helping refugees and asylum-seekers navigate the federal government’s evolving policy regarding refugee family reunification and contacting local representatives to advocate the expedition of their cases in foreign US Embassies.

As a student at Harris Public Policy, she co-edited a white paper for the Inter-Policy School Summit to be published by the Aspen Institute and worked as a teaching assistant for the course "International Environmental Policy." Along with Pearson Fellow Lauren Lochocki, she traveled to Malawi to conduct an impact evaluation study of an anti-child labor in tobacco growing communities program. In summer 2019 she will serve as a Fellow with the Cook County Government's Economic Development Bureau. 

Baidoa, Somalia

Makeshift, temporary shelter made of plastic and clothing at a refugee center in Baidoa, Somalia.