Student Profiles

Hiranya Bandara

Hiranya is a PhD student in the Organizations and Social Change track. She is interested in understanding entangled relations of work, technology, and power dynamics in contemporary work and organizations. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as a teaching assistant in Sri Lanka. Before entering academia, she worked as a junior business analyst and a strategy intern. Hiranya earned her first class BSc. in Business Administration (with a research component) from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka, in 2018. She completed her professional qualification in Management with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA-UK) in 2015. Her extended research abstract was accepted at the 11th International Critical Management Studies Conference on ‘Precarious Presents, Open Futures’ held in Milton Keynes-UK, 2019, and was also accepted for the 14th Organization Studies Summer Workshop held in Mykonos, Greece.


Paul Case

Paul is a doctoral candidate in the Organizations and Social Change research group, and a member of the inaugural cohort of NSF IGERT Coasts and Communities Fellows at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His research focuses on the connections between social entrepreneurship and sustainable development, and the lived experiences of the beneficiaries of these endeavors. His dissertation centers around transformations in venture contexts related to the introduction of new technologies and practices, and the differing experiences of venture stakeholders regarding these transformations. 

Paul is currently a visiting researcher at the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network in Addis Ababa, where he is researching the impacts of a high-tech intervention in the coffee industry. He is also researching the expansion of a social enterprise in the handicrafts industry. 

Paul consults for businesses on aligning their business models and operations with the sustainable development goals. Prior to joining the Organizations and Social Change program, he worked and volunteered for a variety of organizations in both the United States and Egypt. He holds a BA in English language and literature from Gordon College, and an MBA from Clark University, where he focused his studies on sustainability and social change.


Karla Corres-Luna

Karla is a PhD student studying Organizations and Social Change. She grew up in Oaxaca, Mexico, and moved with her family to California as a teenager. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from California State University in Monterey Bay. During and after her undergraduate studies, she worked in Central California for organizations that provided affordable housing, labor union organizing, and Latinx community advocacy. Karla’s research interests are social impact, social enterprise organizations, B-Corps, and social entrepreneurship.


Yaeli Lif

Yaeli is a PhD student in Business Administration - Organizations and Social Change and an IGERT fellow. Before attending UMass Boston, Yaeli worked at a nonprofit organization in western Massachusetts doing community engagement and best-practice development. She has degrees in criminal justice, psychology, and sociology from the University of Hartford. Yaeli's research focuses on social enterprise and measures of success in the water and sanitation sector in developing countries.


Nishi Gautam

Nishi is a doctoral candidate in the Organizations and Social Change track. She completed her MBA from the University of South Carolina and has an undergraduate degree in engineering from Sikkim Manipal University. Prior to joining the MBA program, Nishi has worked as an Assistant Manager of HR and in the IT sector in India. She has also volunteered for programs relating to child rights and their protection in her hometown of Sikkim. She is currently interested in topics such as diversity and attrition among millennial workforce, foreign worker visa programs and its impact on the US tech industry, and salary disparity between male and female employees. 


Jamila Gilliam

Jamila is a PhD student in Business Administration, Organizations & Social Change track. Jamila’s research interests include studies in social entrepreneurship, barriers to sustainability transitions in developing countries, challenges to sustainable development, and innovation in U.S.-based coastal communities. Prior to joining the Organizations & Social Change Program and National Science Foundation’s IGERT Fellowship, Jamila was a graduate research assistant and teaching assistant in the UMass Boston College of Management while pursuing her MBA with a specialization in finance. Jamila also earned her bachelor of science degree in management with a finance concentration.  

As a research assistant, Jamila has engaged in scholarly research projects concerning, social entrepreneurship, impact measurement, social enterprise incubators, accelerators, and local economic development initiatives. As a teaching assistant in the College of Management, Jamila has guest lectured in MBA MGT courses: Multinational Corporations & Globalization, and, Business & Analytical Writing for Managers. Jamila has also guest lectured in undergraduate courses: Intro to Business, and Business Communications, and was a substitute instructor for a series of classes in Business Environments & Public Policy. Jamila has years of experience working in the Market Research field as a Research Interviewer, Survey Administrator, and Focus Group Recruiter. During her earlier academic work, Jamila was a Supplemental Instructor and Tutor in the Roxbury Community College Learning Communities Program. She was also a Lead Tutor and Mentor to High school students in the Roxbury Community College Upward Bound Program. Jamila tutored in Algebra, Biology, and English Composition. In Upward Bound summer programs Jamila taught Personal Finance, Budget Management, Financial Literacy, and English Composition.  


Hozami Helwani

Prior to joining the program, Hozami worked as a university instructor of business administration for King Saud University for Girls in Saudi Arabia. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in public administration from KSU in S.A. Understanding ethical decision-making in business organizations and creating sensitivity to the implications of business decisions are her main current interests.  Hozami is a mother of five children and currently resides in Brookline. 


Steve Loren

Steve has been associated with the financial community in New York since the 1990s and has achieved both an MBA in Finance and Investments as well as the CFA Charter and Financial Risk Manager Designations. Prior to embarking on the path to Wall Street, Steve studied philosophy and psychology and developed a strong interest in social theory, which led him to take some doctoral classes in philosophy while still an undergraduate. Long active in environmental and consumer organizations, Steve has always thought and acted at the intersection of Business and Society.  He has chaired the Sustainable Investing Committee of the New York Society of Securities Analysts and has worked to advance the use of Environmental, Social and Governance metrics and criteria into the investment management process, including asset selection and portfolio construction. In his role at NYSSA, Steve has organized conferences featuring world renowned financial practitioners and academics who are leading the way to creating a more just and sustainable society.


Patricia Tiimah Naya

Patricia is a PhD Business Administration- OSC track and a Commonwealth Shared Scholar. Her research interest focuses on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, Green Human Resource Management, and Sustainable Prosperity. Her current research explores how organizational statements and pronouncements on racial and social justice differ from practices and its implication for social change. She holds an MSc in Prosperity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (Distinction) from the University College London (UCL); her dissertation titled "Era of Inclusivity: Employee driving Green Human Resource Management toward sustainability" won the best dissertation prize. She also holds a first-class in Bachelor of Commerce (Human Resource Management) (First-Class) from the University for Development Studies Ghana. 


Aynur Nabiyeva

Aynur is a doctoral student in the Organizations and Social Change track program. Her current research interests include social entrepreneurship and hybrid organizations and how organizations respond to social and economic impetus. Prior to her doctoral studies, she was a research assistant at psychology labs at Columbia University and Duke University and conducted original research in Nepal and the United States. Aynur earned her MS in Nonprofit Management from The New School University as a Fulbright scholar. Before entering academia, she worked in different sectors, including a think tank, NGOs, IGOs, and financial institutions – experiences that broadly shaped her research interests. 


Matthew Urdan

Matthew is a PhD student in Business Administration, Organizations & Social Change track. Matthew earned his BA in Social Sciences, Summa Cum Laude from Ashford University, and his MBA from Quinnipiac University.  

Prior to joining the Organizations & Social Change Program, Matthew worked as a Library Aide, a High School Debate Coach, a Restaurant General Manager, a Program Director of the International Whitewater Hall of Fame, and a Project Manager for the Nantahala Outdoor Center—where he researched and compiled a benchmark environmental stewardship assessment for the company and conducted a complete statistical analysis of its energy use to determine if the company was utilizing its energy resources efficiently. He is co-founder of the MBA League—an organization connecting MBAs across all professional backgrounds, and in 2012 he published his first novel: The Siren’s Call. He has extensive environmental volunteer experience, chairing the Sierra Club’s Michigan Rivers Committee, representing the Mackinac Chapter (Michigan) of the Sierra Club on the eight-state Midwest Regional Conservation Committee, and the Binational Great Lakes Committee, where he presented testimony on behalf of the Sierra Club to the International Joint Commission and served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Sierra Club’s Third International Assembly which was held in Ann Arbor in 1989.

Matthew’s research interests center around the intersection of business and climate change in general, and specifically executive compensation and corporate governance as they affect corporate sustainability initiatives and sustainability transitions.


Christopher R. Whynacht

A native of Nova Scotia, Chris’s family has close ties to the fishing and coal mining industries which have historically driven the local economy. He attended Dalhousie University in Halifax, before beginning a career in business development.  After 15 years as an entrepreneur and general management consultant, he returned to Dalhousie for a Master of Environmental Studies (MES) degree to gain a better understanding of environment and resource management. His research interests revolve around the intersection of business and sustainability. Chris has worked with numerous businesses across a wide variety of industries and regions, including some of Canada’s top franchise companies and financial institutions. Chris has also worked in partnership with various economic development agencies, First Nation communities, and has served on several Team Canada Trade Missions to the U.S.

Chris chose to investigate methods of integrating environmental dimensions in economic development and strategic planning.  He studied strategic environmental assessment and produced a thesis titled Planning a SEA Change. Chris is interested in building on his more nuanced understanding of environmental management to research the dynamic economies of coastal communities.