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Alumni Feature: Willow A. Faulkner

Willow A. Faulkner

Class of 2012

Tell us a little about yourself and where your education took you?

I attended Syracuse University for my bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Citizenship and Civic Engagement. After completing my undergrad, I pursued my master’s degree in Public Administration with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Conflict Resolution from Syracuse University. While studying, I pursued several internships with local and international nonprofits included UNICEF and Syracuse’s North Side Learn Center. During my graduate education, I worked for the Onondaga County Human Rights Commission and Justice Center Oversight Committee as an information specialist, where I did intake for complaints of human rights/civil rights violations for Onondaga County. In addition to this, I also worked as a consultant with the Burton Blatt institute, where I worked with emergency response agencies across upstate New York to develop and ensure their policies and procedures were compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Following my master’s degree, I consulted with a team of professionals to develop curriculum, lesson plans and training materials that we then trained law enforcement officers in and who in turn, train other law enforcement officers around the world.

Tell us more about your career history?

With the conclusion of my consultancy with the U.S. Department of Justice, I took an internship with the organization Pencils of Promise in Ghana, West Africa. The organization is based in New York City, but works in Ghana, Guatemala and Laos creating and building schools conducive to learning, training teachers on best practices and providing education on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). While my initial internship was for six months, I was then hired on as their "Impact and Development Coordinator." Through this position, I had the opportunity to publicize the organization's work and connect potential donors with P.O.P. This was an amazing experience, where I was given the opportunity to meet numerous incredible individuals. After completing my one-year contract with P.O.P., I decided to pursue a new position. I was hired on as the Communications for Development Officer for Challenging Heights. Challenging Heights is a nonprofit based in Winneba, Ghana, West Africa that works to identify, rescue, rehabilitate and reintegrate youth that are in situations of modern slavery or forced labor. In this position, I worked with a team to plan rescues, identify children who had been trafficked, raise funds to execute the rescues and communicate with donors how their donations would be utilized and ensure that our staff were spending funds appropriately.

Where has life led you today?

After completing my contract with Challenging Heights, I decided to pursue a different opportunity and to develop my Spanish. Since January of 2020, I have been working as a Global Citizenship and Social Studies teacher for Colegio Americano del Sur. In addition to teaching, I also co-founded the organization World Inspiring Network in 2019. We are a collective of individuals across the globe that advocates for greater access and equality in education for all. Currently, we are supporting four rural village in Ghana, and we hope to continue growing and expanding to other countries. If you are interested in learning more about the work, visit

Willow A. Faulkner