One World. One Cup.

Erika holding a coffee cup.
Erika Koss PhD candidate in International Development Studies

It was a combination of British and African literature, and her work as a barista, that contributed to Erika Koss’s pursuit of a PhD in International Development Studies. “The Saint Mary’s International Development Studies program was the perfect way for me to link my background in literature and human rights,” Koss says.

“If we care about the future of coffee, then we also need to care about climate change and gender equity.” That is where Erika’s work comes in. Her research will help people understand the political and cultural impacts of the global coffee trade, with a focus on the challenges faced by coffee farmers in East Africa, particularly women.

With the help of scholarships and bursaries, Erika is currently in Kenya conducting field research for her PhD through archival research and interviews with various members of Kenya’s coffee supply chain. “It’s great to feel supported to study what I am passionate about. I’m living my dream right now.”

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