Ramzi, Allie, and Libby are working at Outside the Lines, an arts-based day program for people with mental disabilities and illnesses. By promoting the artwork of artists at OTL, the three of them advocate for people living with disabilities and/or mental illness who are often excluded from our culture and society. The three Scholars help make the artists’ work more visible in the community by setting up galleries and auctions in local venues. The Scholars also initiate relationships with venues such as coffee shops, offices, and galleries where OTL artists may display their work and hold receptions. Finally, Ramzi, Allie, and Libby assist in building rapport with OTL artists and providing positive reinforcement as they help them engage in the creative process.
Joe and Mariana are working with the Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC) to empower its clients and the residents of the adult shelter to participate in a public speaking program aimed at educating the public about homelessness. The two are building on Joe’s work during the previous year on the curriculum for the Speaker’s Bureau, and they will be carrying out public speaking training sessions at the SHC to establish a group of people who will be available for speeches and talks. Simultaneously, they will work to find organizations, schools, and communities that would like to have speakers from the Bureau and facilitate the event coordination.
For her final year in the program, Ale is improving the Scholar Community Experience. Working with other Tisch Scholars as part of a task force, Ale will be running point to ensure that objectives are completed and all opinion and voices of members within the program are heard and integrated.
Pooja is working with Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center’s college-access program, which promotes and encourages the relationships between colleges and youths in order to foster a college-attending culture. The project allows for access to complete college preparation resources, including workshops, tours, and financial aid assistance.
Ben is partnering this year with Generation Citizen, a non-profit aiming to strengthen our nation’s democracy by empowering young people to become engaged and effective citizens. Ben will be working both as a democracy coach at Arlington High School and as a student leader of the Tufts chapter. In the spring semester, he will work on extending the Generation Citizen program to Tufts host communities, and Somerville and Medford high schools.
As an extension of her membership in the Academic and Community Engagement (ACE) Fellows program, Bianca will focus on introducing the theme of Active Citizenship to first-year students. She will organize 2-3 off-campus trips per semester for new students to engage them in our neighboring communities. These events are designed to increase student’s civic knowledge of the community, give them opportunities to practice advocacy and service learning, and inspire them to continue their involvement in these communities.
Working with the Somerville City Chamber of Commerce, Meghan will conduct extensive research regarding the role of immigrant entrepreneurship in helping Somerville establish a 1-to-1 job-to-workforce ratio. The project will include synthesizing data and information from various resources around Somerville to benchmark the local immigrant and ESL workforce population, and to determine resources that would help to better serve the employment opportunities and advancement of Somerville’s immigrant population. The result of the project will be a presentation to members from different facets on the community involved in immigrant entrepreneurship that will spark constructive conversation on what Somerville can do to achieve these goals.
Verónica is working with the Welcome Project to recruit and train students for the Liaison Interpreters Program of Somerville (LIPS). LIPS provides opportunities for bilingual high school students to learn language interpretation skills and to practice those skills at community meetings and events throughout the city. The training that these students receive at LIPS helps them transform their bilingual skills that are built within their communities into an asset that can be used for their community and beyond.
Anjuli is working with the Boston Police Department to further develop the Boston Reentry Initiative (BRI). BRI works with offenders at the House of Corrections before, during, and after their release to ensure their safe and positive reentry into the community. Anjuli’s project involves researching and planning a new family-centered component to the Initiative as well as strengthening the process of connecting offenders to housing options in the area.
Monica will be working with The Welcome Project, an organization that shapes the collective power of Somerville immigrants. She will be taking part in the YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City project for which she will be promoting immigrant-run restaurants in the city through the YUM Restaurant Card. She will also plan and organize the Yum Celebration and Fundraiser event at the end of the year.
Craig is working with Alyssa on the Calm Breathing and Relaxation Project, a feasibility study being performed by Tufts Medical Center at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School. This study aims to see if children with emotional-behavioral disorders who are taught calm breathing exercises exhibit decreased symptoms of their emotional-behavioral disorders and exhibit improved academic work.
Jordan Dashow is working as an Education Intern at Keshet, a national grassroots organization working for the full inclusion of LGBTQ Jews in Jewish life. At Keshet, Jordan has worked on an impact assessment of Keshet’s work and a “Best Practices” resource document on how to make institutions more inclusive and reflective of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions.
For his senior year project, Brendan is continuing his work with the Tufts After School Teaching and Enrichment (T.A.S.T.E.) at the Mystic Learning Center. Brendan is focusing his attention on the junior staff, which is made up of teenagers who live in the Somerville Housing Authority and work part-time at the after-school program. He is extending the mentoring component of T.AS.T.E. to this dynamic group of youth, so that every junior staff member has a Tufts student who will serve as an academic and personal role model. Brendan oversees not only special evenings, when the Tufts students can present interesting work and research they may be doing, but also nights focused on college preparation and other possible opportunities after high school.
Leah is working with CitySprouts, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating and maintaining gardens in Cambridge Public Schools. She is collaborating with biology teachers, food service personnel, and CitySprouts staff to develop a garden at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Additionally, she is working in elementary school classrooms, in school gardens, and with school officials on fundraising and outreach.
Caroline is working with the Doula Program at the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), a program dedicated providing the service of trained women to support and accompany women during birth. The doulas come from many backgrounds and speak many languages. Their goal is to bridge the cultural divide and provide encouragement during a woman’s pregnancy. Caroline’s project will be to compile a set of digital stories detailing the role of CHA doulas in a woman’s pregnancy. The stories will address issues such as the role of a doula as an intermediary between recent immigrants and the American health care system, and the impact of doula assistance on the experience of giving birth.
Emani is working with Root Cause, a nonprofit research and consulting firm that partners with nonprofits, philanthropic organizations, the government, and businesses to make progress on today’s toughest social issues. Emani focuses on Root Cause’s project with Open Society’s Foundations Campaign for Black Male Achievement. She assists in the research and implementation of the Leadership & Sustainability Institute (LSI), a network of leaders in the Black Male Achievement field committed to improving the life outcomes of black men and boys. Additionally, Emani aids with the support and research for other Root Cause consulting projects as needed.
Ilana is a research assistant at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA), a security-focused research organization. She is involved in a few of the IFPA’s research projects and plans IFPA events. Ilana’s project is in conjunction with her senior honors thesis on the relationship between terrorist organizations and the drug trade.
Claire is working with ISPG/H to organize an annual free flu clinic targeted at immigrant communities in Somerville. This year a survey will be conducted at the clinic in order to connect immigrant populations with high-contact jobs and prove the importance of vaccinating this particular population. The clinic will also provide tuberculosis testing, HIV testing, cholesterol readings, and eye examinations.
For her senior honors thesis, Lura chose to explore the private prison industry’s incentives behind worsening community trauma and violence. Through her research, she hopes to analyze and build on the historic relationship between trauma and incarceration and between incarceration and poor community health outcomes. She will interview key informants and community stake holders in the Boston area as well previously incarcerated adults.
This year, Katelyn will be working with Groundwork Somerville’s Food Justice Team. The Food Justice Team works with Winter Hill’s middle school students on gardening in the school’s plant beds, cooking, teaching food justice-related topics, and more. Katelyn will be the Food Justice Team teacher and will further educate them about issues of food justice.
Victoria is working with the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC), an organization comprised of students from 39 high schools that aims to promote student voice and action within the Boston Public Schools. Within BSAC, Victoria’s role is to facilitate college readiness and access. Her work with the students involves co-facilitating college-related workshops, organizing college tours, researching college scholarships, and creating a college resource book.
This year, Ryan is working at the Somerville Department of Health with both the Director of Mental Health and the LGBT Liaison. He is creating a curriculum of sensitivity training for LGBT teens who are dealing with mental health-related issues, and he is compiling a directory of mental health resources for LGBT teens living in Somerville with the ultimate goal of organizing a community event.
Eric’s project has been leading the Institute for Political Citizenship (IPC), which develops leaders in public policy from within the Tufts community by facilitating intellectual discussion of political issues and by increasing community members’ involvement at all levels of the political process and their understanding of its implications. The IPC organizes discussions, speakers, and get-out-the-vote initiatives.
The E3 Project: Educate, Engage, Empower is composed of two parts: a quidnunc course in the Tufts University Experimental College during the fall semester, in which students can earn 0.5 credits, and an after-school service learning curriculum for students at Somerville High School during the spring semester. Neethu collaborates with the Tisch College and the Cambridge nonprofit organization Barakat, which strives to educate women and children in South and Central Asia. The purpose of the quidnunc course is to provide members of the project with a chance to finalize the curriculum through their own investigation of the presented issues, as well as through the creation of a high school manual for the students in the spring semester. Each student is responsible for learning and “mastering” one section of the curriculum, and practicing teaching it during the quidnunc course. Each student then teaches his or her section of the curriculum to the high school students in the spring.
For her senior honors thesis, Erica will be working under the field of Critical Race Theory, which is devoted to the analysis of the role that race plays in law. Specifically, she will attempt to create a theoretical framework for analyzing multiracial people’s place in United States law and society. This process will include creating a number of points that define the tenets of the subfield, Multiracial Critical Theory. She is also exploring legal cases that have led up to the current state of affairs as well as current legal cases that may shape the future of multiracial people in the United States.
Emily is expanding Connect 2, a digital storytelling project at SCALE (Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences). Connect 2, which was modeled after NPR’s Storycorps, gives students and staff at SCALE the opportunity to record and share their life stories with the community, an experience that aims to improve literacy and empower participants by giving them a voice. Emily is filming new digital stories and building the Connect 2 website with new graphics and formatting. She hopes to share the life stories of students from a wide range of backgrounds and to increase the visibility of their stories by marketing Connect 2 to the Somerville community.
In the fall of 2012, Annie completed her American Studies capstone research paper entitled “‘Bullied to Death’: The News Media’s Tale of Homophobic School Bullying.” In the capstone, she explored how dominant discourse conceives of homophobic school bullying, and analyzed how the news media frame this type of bullying. She argued that the media tell simplistic and selective stories that serve to perpetuate heterosexism and reinforce hegemonic notions of masculinity. This semester, Annie is interning for Governor Deval Patrick’s office. She is working specifically in the office of the Judicial Nominating Commission. She assists in the judicial application review process by drafting executive summaries and memoranda, and by preparing for weekly Judicial Nominating Commission meetings.
Thomas is working with the Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC) to develop and implement a plan for tenant engagement within ACDC housing. He is administering a survey to better understand the needs of ACDC housing tenants.
Maya is the coordinator of the Tufts After School Teaching and Enrichment (T.A.S.T.E.) program. In this program, children living in the Mystic Housing Development in Somerville are matched with Tufts students who act as their personal buddies. Each pair of buddies spends two hours a week together in the Mystic Learning Center doing homework and various activities. Over time, the buddies develop a positive mentoring relationship, giving the children a much needed support system and the Tufts students a highly rewarding experience.
Sarah is working with a Simmons graduate student at the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) to create and facilitate Group Art Intervention for children of the Brazilian community who have been exposed to and/or traumatized by domestic violence. The project incorporates thoroughly researched art projects used for strategic therapy, child development, Sarah’s major, and clinical psychology, Sarah’s co-facilitator’s area of study. Sarah will also create a survey used to determine the success of the group therapy programs offered to women who have experienced domestic violence and/or sexual assault.
Lia is working with the Somerville Promise Alliance (SomerPromise) to create a manual highlighting the organization’s mission and its work within the community. SomerPromise, following the model of the Harlem Children’s Zone and President Obama’s Promise Neighborhood initiative, works to provide support beyond the reaches of the classroom to Somerville’s students. Through her work, Lia hopes that SomerPromise will be able to provide many children with the resources that they need in order to receive an outstanding education.
Alyssa is working on the Calm Breathing and Relaxation Project, a feasibility study to see if children with emotional-behavioral disorders who are taught calm breathing exercises exhibit decreased symptoms of their emotional behavioral disorders and produce improved academic work.