Biography - pledesma


Hailing from Bryan/College Station, TX, Pedro grew up a Texas A&M Aggie. His summers were spent on such activities as working on a ranch, orchestra (cello) camps, and biochemistry, engineering, and geology workshops. After graduating from high school, he left home to study Civil Engineering at MIT, living in the Back Bay in Boston, his first "big city" experience.

While at MIT, Pedro had his first opportunity for international travel: visiting Paris with his classmate. Impressed by Boston, Pedro was blown away by Paris. Though it would be several years until his next international adventure, this experience ignited Pedro's insatiable passion for travel.

Upon graduating from (surviving) MIT, he entered the world of finance and technology, joining a tech-focused investment bank in San Francisco. Feeling the call of more meaning in his work (and influenced by Muhammed Yunus' Banker to the Poor), he sought to learn more about a potential role in helping developing countries. 

While also attempting to get in touch with his roots, Pedro tried to learn more about developing countries by spending time in Latin America and South Korea. Before he left in early 2004, he bought his first camera: a point-and-shoot Canon S50. He spent six months volunteering, learning Spanish, and exploring in Guatemala (Antigua) and four months teaching math in South Korea (Seoul). To further help his transition to international development, he studied economics and statistics at Columbia University (New York City). Wondering if he should pursue a PhD in Development Economics, he decided to first gain experience in the field, signing on to manage research projects with the Poverty Action Lab, a network of development economists who run randomized field trials in developing countries. Before he left NYC in the spring of 2007, Pedro bought his first DSLR, a Nikon D80. The camera and international inspiration would mark a turning point in his development as a photographer. 

While working for the Poverty Action Lab, Pedro conducted research for a year in India (Bangalore and Delhi). He was then hired by the World Bank (IFC) to work on evaluations in Indonesia (Jakarta and Bali), where he spent six months. After a brief stint in Washington, D.C., he was sent to South Africa (Johannesburg), where he worked on projects from all over Sub-Saharan Africa. Disillusioned with the whole development industry, Pedro left the World Bank and international development and traveled in Botswana and Zimbabwe, where he volunteered to teach math at a school in Victoria Falls. In these several years abroad, and while immersed in stunning scenery, Pedro developed his photography eye. He returned to the US at the end of 2010. 

Upon his return, Pedro settled for a short time in New Orleans, LA where he began teaching again for Manhattan PREP, a company he taught for during graduate school in NYC. While helping aspiring graduate students reach their goals, his job also allows flexibility in his schedule to pursue photography. Pedro currently does so in the Washington, D.C. area. 


Phone: 504-232-6337

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