Start Center - Strategic Analysis, Research & Training Center
START Center



This spring, two Global Innovation Fellows are graduating from the Strategic Analysis, Research & Training (START) Center’s training program. Sydney Garfinkel, MPA, completed her research assistantship and graduated with her MPA from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance in June. Jean François (JF) Seïde, MPP, MSIS, completed his research assistantship and graduated with his MSIS from the Foster School of Business.

Below, learn more about our impressive graduates and the work they completed while engaged with START.


Prior to her graduate studies, Sydney worked at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a United States federal foreign aid agency. At MCC, Sydney built and implemented the monitoring and evaluation framework for a joint MCC-PEPFAR data capacity and health systems strengthening project in Cote d’Ivoire and Tanzania. Last year, Sydney was an intern at PATH where she translated data and evidence into policy recommendations for a maternal, newborn, and child health nutrition project. Most recently, she was an RA in the Department of Global Health on a neglected tropical disease project with the Global WACh team. Sydney is motivated by working with global health organizations and stakeholders in low- and middle-income countries, and translating data and evidence in to actionable, locally-driven policy, messaging and impact. Post MPA, Sydney intends to pursue a career focused on the intersection of policy, business and international development. She holds a BA double major in International Studies and French and a minor in Global Health from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Sydney worked on five projects during her one-year engagement at START, acting as the Project Manager for three of them. Below are highlights from two of the projects Sydney worked on:

  • Gender and the Primary Healthcare System: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) was interested in broadly understanding the application of patient-facing tools that increase digital access for marginalized groups, including girls and women, to primary health care (PHC) in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). This research demonstrates the learning and key results from expanding digital access in LMICs, and how to avoid further neglecting marginalized groups. The report uses insights from other sectors who have pioneered approaches to increase digital access to service delivery in their sectors and how we can translate this to the PHC sector. Finally, the report provides key recommendations for how to make digitization more gender equitable in LMICs. Data collection was completed using a literature review and key informant interviews (KIIs).
  • Giving to Advance Equity: The purpose of this research project was to explore the body of existing research and literature that exists on giving to racial equity and gender equality (G/RE), in addition to current approaches by existing players in this space. The START team conducted a semi-structured literature review and submitted a presentation and excel file with relevant resources aligned with the three project goals: 1. To identify existing literature focused on how or why people give (or don’t give) to G/RE, and what barriers may exist to giving, 2. To develop a landscape of curators, products, and tools that steer people towards giving to G/RE, and 3. To draw out conclusions and form recommendations based on the body of research and tools that exist, in order to inform the Philanthropic Partnerships Team’s strategy at BMGF.

Reflecting on her experience with START, Sydney said, “START was a particularly special opportunity that I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of for a year. I feel grateful for the relationships I made — both professionally and personally — with the staff and clients of START, and it helped me build community in Seattle. It was a joy to work with a group of students who feel equally passionate as me about improving social outcomes both domestically and abroad.”

Sydney is joining Gates Ventures on the Exemplars in Global Health team as a Partnerships and Impact Senior Analyst this August.



JF received a Master of Public Policy from the University of Oxford, in England, and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, with a focus in Operations and Technology Management from the University of Portland, Oregon. After his studies in Oxford, JF went back to Haiti, where he is from, to start his own management and IT consulting firm to help businesses and institutions leverage the power of technology to institute socio-economic change. His work focuses on implementing financial technology projects to increase and improve financial inclusion in Haiti.

JF worked on three projects during his one-year engagement at START, acting as the Project Manager for one of them. Below are highlights from two of the projects JF worked on:

  • Generosity Commission: The START team conducted an updated literature review to better understand the following key questions:
    1. What are the implications for nonprofit organizations and communities of the decline in the number of givers and volunteers?
    2. What are the causes of recent trends in giving and volunteering? What are the possible remedies?
    3. What is the level and social impact of new diverse forms of giving and volunteering?
    4. Where do giving and volunteering fit among different forms of civic engagement?
    5. What is the relationship between giving and volunteering on the one hand and a healthy democracy on the other?
    6. How do changes in participation in giving, volunteering, and civic engagement impact social outcomes and issues such as social justice and racial and gender equity?”
  • Women’s Leadership : BMGF committed $230 million over 10 years to accelerate women’s leadership and influence in the fields of health, law, and economics. Investments will be concentrated in the priority geographies of India and Sub-Saharan Africa. The START team was tasked to seek out further research in order to understand both market dynamics and current literature on women’s leadership across sectors in these geographies.

Looking back on his experience at START, JF said, “my experience at START taught me new skills that will contribute greatly to the next step I take in my career.”

JF is continuing to work at the financial technology start-up in Haiti he started before joining START.


These two START graduates will continue to engage with START’s extensive alumni network, established in 2011. START often invites alumni to share their experiences after graduating from the training program at all-team meetings and, additionally, taps into the alumni network for content expertise on projects. The alumni network is comprised of highly skilled START graduate professionals employed in global health, business, and consulting across disciplines.