TCI Staff

Dr. Prabhu Pingali

Dr. Prabhu Pingali

Dr. Prabhu Pingali is the Founding Director of the Tata-Cornell Institute and a Professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, with a joint appointment in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University. Prior to moving to Ithaca in June 2013, he was the Deputy Director, Agriculture Development Division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from 2008-May 2013. Dr. Pingali was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as a Foreign Fellow in May 2007. He was the President of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) from 2003-2006. He was elected Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association in 2006 and of the International Association of Agricultural Economists in 2009. Additional information about Dr. Pingali can be found on his profile page and this latest publications page.

150Dr. Bhaskar Mittra

Dr. Bhaskar Mittra is the Associate Director of the Tata-Cornell Institute and manages operations in India from Mumbai. He has worked extensively on issues of agriculture development, soil and water management, market-based institutions and community-based natural resource conservation. He has published extensively on institutional, economic and ecological aspects of communities living in the forest fringe areas in India. He has been associated with several well-known civil society organizations working at the grassroots level in different parts of India. Prior to joining the TCI, he spent seven years with the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust in Mumbai.

Jessica Ames

Jessica is the Tata-Cornell Institute Program Manager. She is responsible for coordinating the research of the TCI scholars and staff and for offering strategic guidance and support for project implementation, evaluation, and overall program development. She also oversees the summer internship program and TCI communications and outreach. Prior to working for TCI, Jessica worked as the Program Assistant to the Masters of Public Administration in Development Practice (MPA-DP) Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). She also graduated from this program in 2014 with a concentration in nutrition policy and global health. Previously, Jessica supported the UN REACH (Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger and undernutrition) initiative on improved nutrition governance in Ghana. She worked as a refugee resettlement case manager in Houston and served as a Community Health Educator for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Peru. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and Bachelor of Arts in International and Area Studies from The University of Oklahoma, and as a native Texan, she has a passion for hospitality and good Mexican food.

Mary-Catherine (M.C.) French

Mary-Catherine (M.C.) provides administrative support to the Tata-Cornell Institute. She first began working at Cornell University in 1982 and has held a number of positions in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and most recently in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. M.C. was raised in a military family and had the opportunity to travel often (moving 12 times before she graduated high school). She holds a degree in Agronomy and Environmental Protection and is also a licensed, Registered Nurse. She and her husband, Dan, have two daughters and three beautiful grandchildren. They live on their organic cash crop farm in Lodi, New York.

Megan Witwer

Megan is a Research Support Specialist for TCI, where she carries out data analysis in support of the program’s research goals and collaborates with TCI Scholars and Fellows on a variety of projects and studies. She also supports high-level staff through the preparation of topical briefs and lecture materials. Prior to joining the TCI team, Megan spent three years at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, where she worked to implement the Monitoring and Analyzing Food and Agricultural Policies (MAFAP) program in Sub-Saharan Africa, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FAO, USAID, Dutch and German Development Cooperations. As a Policy Analyst at FAO, she supported partner countries in the analysis of agriculture-related policies and their impact on price incentives for producers, consumers and other actors in key commodity value chains. She has worked closely with research and government institutions in Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania, as well as regional economic communities and civil society organizations to foster evidence-based policy reform. She holds a Master of Regional Planning with a concentration in international studies from Cornell University.

Sandy Stickler

Sandy is an administrative assistant at the Tata-Cornell Institute. In her role, she supports the team with travel, reimbursements, and visa applications. She is also responsible for budget monitoring, expense reporting, vendor requests, and processing accounting transactions for the TCI program and its grant projects. Prior to working at Cornell, Sandy worked for a large corporation for 32 years. She began her career there as an administrative assistant, and then was promoted up to several different business, engineering, and financial analysts positions. The last few years of Sandy’s corporate career was spent in workload and overhead planning, program financial control and corporate auditing and compliance. She has held a variety of challenging and interesting positions and is a very strong believer in excellent customer service and high program performance. Sandy looks forward to using her skills and experience to support the growth of TCI. She is eager to learn and apply Cornell’s policies and procedures and also hopes to meet, interact, and build strong relationships with other Cornell University personnel.