Diane is starting a yoga program at the Boys and Girls Club of Medford. Yoga is a fun way for kids to get active while building relaxation skills they can use for the rest of their lives. However, yoga classes are usually expensive and only accessible to people of high socioeconomic status. This free program is intended to increase access to exercise and mind-body programs for children of all backgrounds.
Ramzi is working with the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts as a Gerald Gill Fellow, a program where students develop a research project with the aim of generating a discussion about race, civil rights, and democracy on campus and in the broader community. His project for the fellowship involves archiving and creating an interactive platform for the works of the late Professor Gerald Gill, who did extensive research on the history of civil rights in Boston and on the Tufts University campus.
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 is serving as Campus Executive Director of the Tufts chapter this semester, working to improve the support system for college “democracy coaches” on campus, institutionalizing the group at Tufts, strengthening the group image on campus, and developing new techniques for chapters across Greater Boston. Ben is also working on school partnerships with schools in Tufts’ host communities, including Medford High School, Josiah Quincy Upper, and Prospect Hill Academy.
Bianca is currently conducting a Senior Thesis in the Tufts Social Identity and Stigma lab as her third year project. Her research investigates how women of color experience discrimination towards their gender and race, and how identity salience affects prejudice attributions. By empirically examining the intersection between gender and race, she hopes that the results of this study will shed light on some factors that support or undermine decisions by women of color to speak out against discrimination.
Meghan is working with Slow Money Boston to further their mission of building a more sustainable food system by connecting entrepreneurs and investors who uphold sustainable food principles. Specifically, Meghan will work with the Boston leadership team to host an Entrepreneurship Showcase. She will also build and expand their website to make it a platform for connection and resource/news sharing for entrepreneurs and investors at local, regional, and national levels.
Biz’s senior year Scholar’s project is a continuation of the work she began as a sophomore. This fall, she is continuing to manage a one-to-one mentorship program between Tufts students and youth members at the Boys and Girls Club of Medford. Mentors will come to the club for one two-hour session each week to spend time with their mentee, working to provide academic, behavioral, and social support. Mentors undergo a thorough screening process including an application process and interview. She conducts a youth orientation for mentees and a workshop for mentors to help assist them in understanding the role of being a mentor and a mentee. In the spring, she will work towards making this a sustainable program and will try to recruit and train a replacement so that the mentorship program can continue to improve and expand after she graduates.
Monica is working with the McWayne Research Lab out of the Child Development Department at Tufts University. There, she will work on the RISE project, which improves school readiness for dual language learners by strengthening connections between home and school and coming up with new approaches to learning through hands-on science, technology, and engineering.
Jeneice, Craig, and Norihito are working on the Calm Breathing and Relaxation Project, a feasibility study being performed by Tufts Medical Center at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School. This project aims to determine if teaching calm breathing exercises and other biofeedback techniques to children can improve their academic work and result in an overall improvement in quality of life.
Soerny and Deepa are working on Atsa for Opportunity a project that provides college access programming to Navajo youth in Shiprock, New Mexico. Through a variety of college and scholarship application workshops, a college fair, guidance resources, and continued mentorship, Soerny and Deepa work to increase the number of students from the reservation that pursue higher education. An integral part of their project is organizing the First-Year Trip in which first year scholars travel to Shiprock in the spring to implement Atsa’s programming. By increasing Navajo youth access to higher education, Soerny and Deepa hope to directly impact the larger progress of the Navajo community in Shiprock. They hope that this will be the first of a yearly commitment that will become institutionalized into the Tisch Scholars Program.
Jessica is working with the Eagle Eye Institute, a nonprofit organization that focuses on encouraging students from urban, low-income communities to spend time in the natural world while learning about the importance of caring for the environment. At Eagle Eye Institute, Jessica is responsible for planning and facilitating the after school program, Eagle Cub, at the Healey Boys and Girls Club. Eagle Club meets for an hour each week and consists of environmental lessons, outdoor recreation, nature related games and stewardship projects. Additionally, Jessica helps document programming through photography, videos, and quotes and also works to recruit Tufts undergraduates to serve as volunteers or guest speakers for the Eagle Eye afterschool programming.
Alayna is working with the Medford Family Network, which provides parenting education and childcare services to families with children aged seven or younger. She is specifically working to expand the ESOL program to include more community-building and networking opportunities. One end product of her project will be a directory of resources for the ESOL parents; she is also helping to enrich the curricula for both the adult class and the childcare program, which is offered to parents during the twice-weekly ESOL class.
AJ is working at Medford High School to restructure their community service requirement into a program that integrates active citizenship and service learning. He will help connect them with serval partners through Tisch college and in the local area and help find projects that meet both the needs of the community and the interests of the students. He is also planning a reflection period through the guidance counseling deptartment that will help students talk about their experiences and what they have learned through by working in clusters of students who have taken on the same projects.
Will is working at Outside the Lines, a local arts studio that runs an arts-based, alternative day program for adults with developmental and physical disabilities. The mission of Outside the Lines is to provide a creative, supportive community where each individual can make the most of their unique creative potential in a way that best suits their interests, talents, and learning styles. He works directly alongside clients two days a week as a facilitator, helping artists develop their individual styles and gain proficiency across multiple media. Will also assists with fundraising and promotion, writes and publishes a monthly newsletter, and organizes and curates gallery shows for the artists.
Joscelyn is working at the Liaison Interpreters Program of Somerville (LIPS) at the Welcome Preject where her main role will be to help the students with college access. In LIPS, students receive Interpretation training to use those skills in community events in order to help their community. In addition, they will receive academic help and Joscelyn will be a role-model and mentor figure, helping students with any needs. She will also work alongside the program coordinator, helping set up workshops for college access and interpreter training.
Eric is working with the Boys and Girls Club of Somerville, which provides after school activities and supplemental learning to K-8 students in Somerville. His role is to recruit Tufts students as mentors for specific children who need extra assistance and ensure that the mentors’ relationships with their mentees are successful for both sides.
Wen is partnering with Matahari, a greater Boston organization of women of color, immigrant women, and families who organize as sisters, workers, and survivors for personal and societal transformation, justice, and human rights. Matahari provides counseling and access to legal, housing and health resources, and mobilizes on a city, state, and national level for domestic workers’ rights. Wen will be doing outreach and advocacy work on domestic violence, which includes helping to capture survivor stories. She will also be handling basic intake and case coordination.
Anna and Lyla are working at Books of Hope. Books of Hope is a Somerville based organization that provides literacy empowerment programs that bring creative writing and spoken word workshops to at-risk, urban and immigrant youth in the communities where they live. Their mission is to develop the next generation of poets and writers. Through Books of Hope, youth aged 13-23 learn to express themselves through written and spoken word. Books of Hope offers opportunities to write, publish, and sell their own books as well as learn from professional writers and artists, community leaders, and educators through workshops. Anna and Lyla are working to implement marketing strategies to increase youth book sales and community awareness of the program, as well as working one-on-one with Books of Hope youth to improve their writing.
Jenna is working with United for a Fair Economy, which raises awareness that concentrated wealth and power undermine the economy, corrupt democracy, deepen the racial divide, and tear communities apart. The organization supports and helps build social movements for greater equality. Jenna’s project includes updating curriculum existing materials for trade agreements, global economy, and immigration workshops and producing a final curriculum to combine the three areas in order to facilitate dialogue in communities about the effects on jobs, wages, and immigrant communities in the U.S. and trade partner countries.
Claire is working on her thesis, which attempts to broaden the substrate specificity of four bacterial strains for DBT compounds, the main sulfur-containing compound found in diesel fuels. Her research aims to provide an alternative method to a currently energetically inefficient and costly process of removing sulfur from diesel prior to it being burned for energy. When diesel oil is burned, sulfur dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere which reacts with water vapor, producing acid rain. With the increasing human population and pollution, acid rain is currently leading to severe deforestation problems and increased prevalence of asthma. The study of desulfurization of diesel fuel is important in order to decrease deforestation around the world and to increase quality of breathing.
Kimberly works with the Eagle Eye Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering urban people from low income communities, especially youth of color, to play a positive role caring for our environment. Kim helps coordinate Eagle Eye’s eight-week long after-school program called Eagle Club. She also helps facilitate each week’s lessons and activities with the support of the Eagle Eye Program Manager and a natural resource professional. Each semester will have a theme (water, trees, recycling) around which all eight lessons and activities are organized.
In an effort to increase support for First Generation students at Tufts and as a First Generation college student herself, Najeia will be working with the Office of Undergraduate Student Transition. The Office works to aid new students at Tufts so that they have a meaningful and enriching experience by connecting them to academic, social and civic resources. Her senior project will consist of collecting stories from current First Generation students about their experiences and advice they have to give to other First Generation students. These narratives will be put into a book to be given to incoming first generation students. This resource will serve as a form of cultural capital that students may not have access to otherwise. Additionally, she will be helping to put together a website that is specifically tailored to support First Generation students.
Under the guidance of the project supervisor, as well as other staff in the Education/Career program Mahlet will tutor students part of the Bridge Over Troubled Waters program. Students taking the GED will be able to receive one-on-one attention to strengthen their skills in math, social studies, science, reading, and writing. She will also provide support to current college students in the Boston area who would like to reinforce their skills through tutoring. Throughout the course of the 8 months, Mahlet will be responsible for recruiting volunteer tutors and building a library of resources that volunteers can draw on when working with future students.
Katelyn is working as the coordinator for Tufts’ First Generation College Student Council. The Tufts’ First Generation College Student Council’s mission is to bridge the gap between Tufts’ resources and first generation college students. The council will bring Tufts’ resources to the students so no first generation college student is left behind and alone, and will create a space for those students to feel empowered and supported on campus. The council will also create a support network for first generation college students in order to make sure that each student is able to excel. Additionally, there will be a mentorship program between Tufts students and high school first generation students, as well as a mentorship program on campus between students and first generation faculty.
Chi-Chi is working with The Emerging Black Leaders, in particular the Sankofa Youth Project, which examines the roots of various socioeconomic and racial disparities that affect black Americans in society and desires to generate proactive ideas, critical tools, and solutions to help address this crisis with a renewed sense of urgency. The mission is to provide black Americans with resources to make their academic goals in higher education a reality. The program not only assists them with reaching their goals for higher education and civil service, but also focuses time on cultivating leadership, and stimulating professionalism. This year’s activities will include film screenings, professional development workshops, facilitated discussions, and other meaningful activities organized to motivate its program participants to become socially-conscious citizens and responsible community leaders. As an additional component, there will be an alumni structure created for the first time in order to track the progress of former Sankofa Birds (Sankofa youth project students) and how the program influenced their college transition.
Emily and Liz are working on an oral history project at the Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences (SCALE). SCALE offers free ESL and GED classes to immigrants throughout the Boston area, for many of whom storytelling provides a great way to share their life journey with other members of the community. The project, called Connect2 Digital Storytelling, was modeled after NPR’s Storycorps program and founded on the premise that every person has an important voice in society that deserves to be heard. Throughout the year, Emily and Liz will be working to encourage students to participate in Connect2, record their stories, and spread the word about Connect2 throughout Somerville. They will also create a new website for Connect2, where all stories will be posted.
Ryan is working at the Somerville Department of Health, presenting his workshop on LGBTQ Sensitivity and Awareness to various community and school groups. Additionally, he is working on Somerville’s new Jail Diversion Program, researching and connecting various community organizations to create integrated systems of care for the program’s clientele.
Maddy is volunteering at the YUM Project run through the Somerville Welcome Project, which empowers immigrants in Somerville through English language and advocacy programs. At the YUM project, Maddy works closely with immigrant run restaurants in Somerville. Through YUM cards and the YUM event in the spring, the YUM project aims to promote cultural exchange through food.
Enxhi is working with Somerville Community Corporation (SCC), a local community development non-profit. Enxhi is creating an online database where community members, including many recent immigrants, can create an employee profile with their qualifications and education. Then SCC, through its community partners, will list all available jobs in the community and try to match them with the community members. Enxhi is also updating the Interactive Somerville website, an online social site where community members can add pictures and participate and start discussions around issues in Somerville.
Hira is coordinating the TASTE Project (Tufts After School Teaching Enrichment Program), which takes place at the Mystic Learning Center (MLC) in Somerville. The MLC serves as a support center for the residents of the Mystic Public Housing Developments and the surrounding neighborhoods in East Somerville. Its mission is to help enhance the lives of low-income families by providing a comprehensive after school program for children that incorporates academic support, mentoring, and community activities. Hira’s role as the project coordinator is to organize the TASTE Buddy Program by pairing Tufts students with the children at the MLC. The Tufts buddies serve as mentors, academic support, and friends to their buddy.
Hannah is working with Groundwork Somerville’s Greenteam. The Greenteam is made up of high school students who spend the summer running gardens in Somerville elementary schools and selling the produce at local farmers markets. During the school year, Hannah will be working with Greenteam around issues of food justice and sustainability. She will also help them with facilitation and leadership skills to empower them to implement change around food and sustainability in their communities.
Verónica works as a research assistant evaluating Massachusetts Healthy Families Evaluation Second Phase Early Childhood (MHFE-2EC) as part of the Massachusetts Home Visiting Initiative (MHVI), a federal-funded program administered by the MA Department of Public Health (MDPH). MHFE-2-EC, examines the long-term impacts of the Massachusetts Healthy Families home visiting program on children and families. Verónica’s repsonsibilities include collaborating with a team of researchers to translate consent forms, intake documents, and research interview materials from English to Spanish, contacting participants, and organizing and executing trips to locate past participants.
Yaritsa is working at Sociedad Latina. Sociedad Latina aims to end cycles of poverty, health inequities, and lack of educational and professional opportunities in the Mission Hill community. Their mission is to empower Latino youth from Mission Hill, through the art and music. This semester, Yaritsa is working closely with the Visual Arts program to facilitate discussions on social justice issues that Latinos face. She hopes to increase their understanding of various social justice issues and ways that they can represent them in their pieces. In the spring, Yaritsa will introduce a theater component to the program.
Safiya is working with the Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health (ISPG/H) in Somerville, a coalition of direct service providers and health care professionals who are immigrants or represent agencies serving immigrants. In the fall, Safiya will work on ISPG/H’s primary fall health task, providing free flu immunization for Somerville’s immigrant communities. In the spring, Safiya will help ISPG/H build a relationship with the Muslim immigrant community with the goal of providing increased access to health and social services.
Maya is working with the Mystic Learning Center, which provides after school care for about 35 children living in and around the Mystic Public Housing Development in Somerville. Along with Scholar Hira Qureshi, she is managing and developing the Tufts After School Teaching and Enrichment program founded five years ago by a Tisch Scholar, Christina Lasala. This program matches Tufts students with children at the Mystic Learning Center in one-on-one “buddy” pairs. Tufts volunteers tutor and mentor their “buddy” in order to foster their academic, moral, and social development while serving as role models. Maya will be focusing on the development and implementation of new in-depth training for the mentors at Tufts University, as part of the effort to better support Tufts volunteers and improve retention.
Sarah is currently taking the fall semester at Georgetown University through the Semester in Washington Program in the Public Policy track. She is interning at the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee in the Education Policy Office under Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). Sarah is working on memos, drafting hearing documents, attending briefings, and learning more about educational advocacy policy and how to contribute to top-down, strategic and positive change on the Hill for Americans.
Fiona is completing her senior honors thesis in the Community Health Program, with an added active citizenship component. Based on interviews she completed while studying abroad in Chile last year, she is assessing the barriers to health care access and the practice of good health behaviors for the Peruvian immigrant population living in Santiago. Her project will culminate in the formulation of policy recommendations to address these barriers, and the communication of these recommendations to Chilean bureaucrats and Peruvian immigrant community representatives.
Molly is working at Common Impact, a consulting firm that accelerates the solution to social problems through innovative cross-sector program design. Common Impact fosters and facilitates collaborations between for-profit and non-profit organizations so that each may benefit from one another’s networks, methodologies, and organizational procedures while working jointly towards addressing social ills. Specifically, Molly will be working with the organization’s Director of Strategic Partnership to manage the agency’s fundraising and marketing strategy, conduct research on nonprofit management strategy and skills-based volunteerism, and oversee consulting initiatives that create cross-sector collaborations, buttress leadership within both sectors, and help organizations set goals and strategies to scale their social impact.
Lia is working at the Boston Opportunity Agenda, a city-wide community change effort involving area foundations, businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, and government to secure a cradle to career pipeline for students citywide. Lia’s project is to research and create a public awareness campaign in Boston to promote the importance of reading for children ages 0-8.
Wayne is partnering this year with Generation Citizen, a non-profit organization aiming to strengthen our nation’s democracy by empowering young people to become engaged and effective citizens through advocating for systemic change. Wayne shares Generation Citizen’s dream of a democracy where every citizen participates in the political process that directly affects their lives. Wayne will be working as a Democracy Coach to an eighth grade class at Josiah Quincy Upper School in Downtown Boston’s Chinatown. Wayne will also be joining the executive board of the Tufts Generation Citizen chapter to help reach out to more schools in the Tufts host communities–Medford, Somerville, and Boston’s Chinatown.