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University of Alabama at Birmingham
About APLU

Michelle DeFreese

Michelle DeFreese
Leland International Hunger Fellow


  • March 13, 2017
  • October 7, 2016

Michelle DeFreese is a Policy Analyst in the International Programs Office of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) in Washington DC. Michelle comes to APLU as a Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellow where she was based at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania working with the Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative, a USAID-funded Human and Institutional Capacity Development (HICD) project under the Feed the Future initiative. 

Michelle has several years of experience working within the CGIAR system of agricultural research centers as well as international higher education and study abroad programs such as the John Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY) in Nanjing, China. Michelle has worked on interdisciplinary, collaborative research teams to document, evaluate, and assess the impact of nutrition and multi-sectoral development projects in sub-Saharan Africa. She currently serves on the Board of Deeper Missions, a non-profit organization that implements sustainable development projects in Kenya and Sierra Leone and volunteers as a Rutgers Alumni Mentor for undergraduate students interested in pursuing international careers.

Michelle has a BSc in Anthropology from Rutgers University and an MA in International Studies from the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. A polyglot, Michelle has a passion for language learning and enjoys the dizzying process of language acquisition through total immersion.