Organizers

Mark Benedetti, Co-Chair

Mark (he/him/his) is pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School, focusing on International Environmental and Resource Studies and Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization. Prior to Fletcher, he has had experience in education, sustainable infrastructure, and agriculture. Most recently, he had interned with the Carbon Disclosure Project in New York as well as attending the Korean Maritime Institute’s Korea Arctic Academy. Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Salve Regina University.

Gauri Gupta, Co-Chair

Gauri (she/her/hers) is a second-year Master’s student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, where she is studying the intersections of security, environment and technology. She has professional experience across private and public sectors, including a background in entrepreneurship and non-profit work in both India and Michigan. Through the Fletcher Arctic Initiative, Gauri worked on a proposal to encourage artisanal entrepreneurship in the Arctic, which was presented at the Arctic Circle conference in Iceland and the International Arctic Forum in Russia earlier this year. Gauri holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and French from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. 

Emelia Williams, Marketing Co-Chair

Emelia (she/her/hers) is pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School, focusing on International Environmental and Resource Policy, ADMEL, and Business for Social Impact. Prior to attending Fletcher, she worked in the Puget Sound region as a grant writer and community organizer for urban agricultural and environmental non-profits. She also has experience as a newspaper reporter and graphic designer. Most recently, she worked for Sustainable Energy for All in Vienna on their Cooling for All project, researching the state of play of energy access in humanitarian settings. Emelia holds a B.A. in International Relations and Environmental Science from Centre College.

Kendra Poole, Marketing Co-Chair

Kendra Poole, born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, graduated from the George Washington University with a degree in English and Creative Writing. Kendra is a writer and communications specialist who has worked in government, journalism, international development, and education. While living in Washington, D.C., she worked in the U.S. Senate, the Department of State, and a myriad of nonprofits focusing on hunger and homelessness reduction, national parks conservation, and peaceful conflict resolution. After college, Kendra traveled to rural Tanzania to work with the 2Seeds Network on an agricultural and community development project. At the Fletcher School, Kendra studies International Information and Communication and Human Security.

Eric Ja Wong, Finance Co-Chair

Eric (he/him/his) is pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School, focusing on International Trade & Commercial Policies and International Finance & Banking. Prior to Fletcher, he worked as a public finance investment banker where he helped raise over $1 billion for municipal projects throughout California and Hawai‘i. Eric holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.

Connor Boba, Operations Chair

Conor (he/his/him) is pursuing a Master’s in Law and Diplomacy, concentrating in development economics and human security. He has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Connecticut, where his research focused on the bioaccumulation of pollutants in arctic killer whales. After graduating, he worked as a teacher in Vietnam for two years and volunteered for a local NGO.

Wes Hester, Content Co-Chair

Commander Wes Hester (he/him/his) is the US Coast Guard International Security Studies Program (ISSP) Fellow at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. In June 2019 he returned from a two year assignment at US European Command’s forward headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany where he was the Chief of Arctic Strategy.

He has held a variety of staff and operational positions throughout his career, including four operational flying assignments. Most recently completing a tour of duty as the Operations Officer and Chief Pilot of Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod where he directed operations for 40 pilots and 130 aircrew. As the sole aviation unit in the Northeast, he managed search and rescue and law enforcement operations from New York to Canada.

A certified instructor pilot and flight examiner in the HC-130H, his additional aviation assignments include Coast Guard Air Stations Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and Sacramento, California. He was also selected to serve as an exchange pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force (413 Transport and Rescue Squadron) in Greenwood, Nova Scotia.