Hafsa is working with Books of Hope, a youth literacy empowerment program that aims to inspire and support the next generation of young authors and performers from Somerville, MA, and the Greater Boston area. Hafsa is supporting Books of Hope programming and assisting in planning performance events. She is also supporting the development of a spoken word team to attend Louder than a Bomb—a friendly competition that emphasizes self-expression and community via poetry, oral story-telling, and hip-hop spoken word.
Lior is working with United for a Fair Economy, a national non-profit based in Boston that supports movements against wealth inequality. She is doing research and developing workshops in the popular economic education department, adding information and activities surrounding how wealth inequality intersects with gender and race. She is working to implement those workshops in organizations.
Kaytie is working with The Sharewood Project, a free health care organization run by Tufts medical students and physicians that offers unscheduled care to the medically underserved populations of the greater Boston area. Her project focuses on educating current clinic volunteers, undergraduate pre-med students and graduate medical students on cultural competency through interactive seminars taught by professionals from around the area with a focus on the cultures that are seen most frequently within the Sharewood clinic. These seminars are intended to help close the gap that often occurs between a patient and a physician at free clinics due to differing cultural backgrounds, while also educating the students on what cultural competency means within a clinical setting, specifically in regard to the patient-physician relationship.
Mariana is a senior Scholar who is working with Community Supported Film, an organization that supports people so they can tell their own stories and advocate for their needs through film. She works on the development and implementation of the New Immigrant and Refugee Voices project, which aims to identify 10 or more passionate new immigrants or refugees within local partner organizations in the Roxbury/Dorchester area and train them in documentary film-making. The end result will be a collection of the short documentary films that trainees produce which can be used to express their story and re-focus the dialogue around immigration to issues that are often forgotten by mainstream media.
Pooja is continuing her focus on Tisch Scholar alumni engagement this year, and is expanding her outreach to the broader Tisch College alumni group. Working closely with Tisch College leadership, the Office of Alumni Relations at Tufts, and engaged Tisch College alumni, Pooja will work towards the creation of a “board of alumni” to direct the Tisch College alumni affinity group. She will also plan events through the year that engage alumni and current students, and will work to make alumni engagement a sustainable part of Tisch College.
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. He is also working on school partnerships with schools in Tufts’ host communities—including Medford High School, Josiah Quincy Upper School, and Prospect Hill Academy—and will be serving on the Boston Advisory Board of Generation Citizen.
Meghan is working with the Somerville Food Security Coalition (SFSC), a group of organizations and individuals in Somerville engaging in food justice work. Meghan will be working to increase the capacity of SFSC by connecting new coalition member organizations, including clubs on the Tufts campus, as well as improving internal systems and processes to allow for better communication and collaboration. Meghan will also be working on direct initiatives to raise awareness about food insecurity and the resources that Somerville has to tackle it, including food mapping, social landscape analysis, youth assessment and data collection, and more.
Emma works with Strong Women Strong Girls (SWSG), an organization that trains college-aged women to teach workshops to local elementary school girls about female empowerment. She is creating a Junior Mentor Program (JUMP) for SWSG that will invite SWSG middle-school alumnae from a few Boston sites to return as junior mentors and assist in facilitating weekly workshops. She is also designing and leading a curriculum for monthly junior mentor team-building sessions that are designed to support the junior mentors as they take on a leadership position, as well as to create a community to discuss their experiences as girls in middle school. The program is designed with the dual purpose of empowering girls who have aged out of the program by providing them with the opportunity to take on a leadership role within SWSG, as well as diversifying the type of role models SWSG provides to the girls in their programs.
Monica is working with the McWayne Research Lab out of the Child Development Department at Tufts University. There, she is working 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.
Jeniece works with a youth mentorship program through the Boston Area Health Education Center. Through bi-weekly Monday sessions from 5-6pm, 2-3 college students and 4-5 high school students meet to discuss all things related to college. This program serves as a resource for high school students who may not have access to information about college or who may have questions regarding college life, academics, financial aid, etc.
Craig works on the Calm Breathing and Relaxation Project, which aims to teach children calm breathing and other biofeedback techniques. The project is coordinated in conjunction with a team of researchers at Tufts Medical Center, and takes place at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Chinatown. The project aims to determine if teaching these exercises can improve academic work and overall quality of life in children.
Soerny is interning at Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE). Based in Roxbury, ACE empowers communities of color and low-income communities in Massachusetts to eradicate environmental racism and classism; create healthy, sustainable communities; and achieve environmental justice. She is supporting the planning and execution of the New England Environmental Justice Summit on October 17-19, in New London, CT. Additionally, she is supporting one of their Youth Organizers through her college application process, and creating a manual and workshop on the current college application process in order to build capacity within ACE to provide this service to more Youth Organizers in the future.
This fall, Jessica will be interning at the Health Promotion Center (HPC), which is a part of the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, which does racial health equity work. It is a space where the social determinants of health, factors beyond the biological basis of disease, are examined and taken into account. Jessica is specifically be working with the Our Generation/ Nuestra Generación program, which provides a community of support for seniors who oftentimes become socially isolated and face barriers to reaching resources. The program focuses on promoting physical and emotional well-being through its Seniors in Action exercise class, nutrition classes, community lunches, and support groups for managing chronic health issues. Jessica is also working on a campaign to increase access to mammograms and HPV vaccinations in the community.
Blaine is working with Community Change, Inc. (CCI), an anti-racism organization in Boston. Through her Scholar project, Blaine is focused on creating a youth advisory board for CCI, which will engage youth and young adults in the organization’s anti-racism education and outreach work, and ensure that the organization and its programming are relevant to younger generations.
Working with SOS Racismo, an anti-racism organization based in Madrid, Carlota is developing anti-racism pedagogical materials, in particular a booklet regarding how racism affects African migrants in Spain, as well as promoting existing materials from SOS Racismo and their partners. Additionally, Carlota plans to organize and hold screenings of short film documentaries to promote existing educational materials in the U.S.
David and Betty are working with Somerville Community Corporation’s Jobs for Somerville Committee. Their goal is to recruit motivated and innovative members in order to realize SCC’s established goals of development without displacement and local jobs for local residents. The Jobs for Somerville committee has two fronts: using the Green Line Extension as an opportunity to create local jobs for qualified local residents, and developing the First Source program as a means to connect local community members to local jobs. Since political power is crucial to gaining leverage to advance SCC’s efforts, the Jobs for Somerville committee requires a stronger foundation to effectively voice community demands to the public and private sectors influencing development in Union Square.
AJ is working with the Prostate Health Education Network, an organization committed to ending the prostate cancer disparity in Black men. At PHEN, he assists with various methods of patient advocacy to inform Black men of their specific needs and options, which are not always directly offered by their care providers. AJ also helps promote enrollment in clinical trials, since many of the treatment guidelines set for prostate cancer are primarily based off of data form white men, and also works with PHEN to create large community events, bringing these voices before physicians, researchers, and lawmakers.
José will be working with Boston Mobilization, an organization that supports youth leadership development, social justice education and community organizing through their Sub/Urban Justice programs, trainings, workshops and consulting. He will provide support and guidance to teens from the greater Boston area as they discuss social justice issues such as racism, classism, heterosexism, and more specific systemic problems (e.g. the school-to-prison pipeline). These discussions will shape the crafting of focused presentations, which José and the teens will lead in community organizations and area universities and colleges. José will organize actions, with the constant input and guidance of the teens, to address issues affecting the area; he will also help Boston Mobilization establish a chapter of their organization in Medford in partnership with Medford High School students, eventually establishing a database of youth-serving organizations that can provide support for teens in Medford as they pursue social justice initiatives.
Antonia is working on a project that builds upon her previous work as a Jumpstart Corps member. She is incorporating the Jumpstart model, classroom research, and teacher suggestions into a program that aims to nurture children holistically. She will then transition this program into a preschool classroom and provide supplementary instruction to a class preparing for kindergarten.
Kal is completing her senior honors thesis in the American Studies program, with an added civic engagement component. Her thesis explores how Ethiopian immigrants identify racially and whether this is similar to or different from the way other Afro/Caribbean immigrants self-identify. She also investigates whether the way they racially identify affects their civic engagement, perceptions of discrimination, and overall happiness in the United States. She hopes to add to the existing research on immigrants and their identity formation, a topic that has been narrowly Eurocentric over the years.
Eric is working at the Somerville Boys and Girls Club to analyze the Club’s existing programming options and implement new alternatives. He will stay at the Boys and Girls Club until his graduation in 2016, so he will have time to assess the efficacy of the new programs in coordination with the Club staff. Additionally, he works with the Club members to improve their reading, writing, and mathematics skills.
Emani is working with New Profit, a Boston-based organization that helps innovative social entrepreneurs and their organizations dramatically improve opportunities for children, families, and communities. New Profit focuses its portfolio investments on innovative nonprofit organizations with the potential to create significant, long-term impact on the social mobility of low-income Americans. Emani is helping to plan the Community of Leaders event, which brings together the Social Entrepreneurs and Board Chairs from each of New Profit’s current and former portfolio organizations.
This semester, Anna is working with the Somerville Mobile Farmer’s Market to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to traditionally marginalized communities at affordable prices. While at the Market, Anna further works to decrease barriers to access healthy and affordable foods.
Zaroug is working with the Immigrant Service Provider Group at Somerville, a group that focuses on broadening the scope of health care to immigrant communities in the Boston area. Zaroug is specifically working on establishing a flu clinic for immigrant families in Somerville, as well as organizing and coordinating a Muslim Mental Health conference in the Greater Boston Area. He also seeks to set up a peer leader network amongst teenagers in the Boston Muslim community.
Zoe is working with the Green Team at Groundwork Somerville, an environmentally-oriented, food justice organization. The Green Team is a group of high school students paid to work for Groundwork. Zoe is working to organize skills workshops for the Green Team, as well as an intergroup dialogue series on the intersections of food and identity. They will examine and discuss topics such as food and race, food and gender, and more. She also works with the Green Team to care for six gardens throughout Somerville.
Gabriel is working as a research assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is working with the Community Psychiatry Program for Research in Implementation and Dissemination of Evidence Based Treatments (PRIDE) located in Chelsea. The Program’s mission is to reduce the disproportionate mental health burden in underserved, resource-constricted communities by increasing access and quality of care in community-based agencies. Community Psychiatry PRIDE provides a framework for the consultation, training, and supervision of community-based providers in their delivery of evidence-based treatment for mental heath problems. Gabriel’s primary responsibilities are focusing on cultural adaptations and considerations for implementation of evidence-based treatments for Latinos.
Menbere is working with the Communications Departmentat the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights to implement a computer literacy program for clients of the Center. She is planning a kick-off event in which refugees will be chosen to receive computers; from there, she will coordinate and plan workshops in which those who received computers will learn how to set them up and use them. She will also be creating a booklet given to anyone that would like to learn how to use programs like Word and Excel, as well as learn how to use the Internet to find jobs. This project aims to build the skills and knowledge of the participants in order to make them more competitive in the job market.
Stephanie is partnering this year with Launch Your Future’s Launch GED! Program. LYF supports teenagers and young adults who have exited the traditional school system due to a variety of risk-factors. This fall, she is working to promote the program and raise awareness to the organization, organizing a podcast that simultaneously grabs the attention of the extended community and provides valuable insight on career development for the students. Throughout the year, she will help coordinate a mentor program that connects Tufts students with Launch’s students.
Isabel is working with The Conversation Project, a local non-profit that is attempting to transform our culture’s ideas and comfort-level with discussing the often-avoided conversation about dying and our preferences through end of life care. This is done through trainings and workshops in religious congregations throughout the greater Boston area as well as introducing the Starter Kit, a free, web-based educational tool, created to help individuals gather their thoughts and begin the steps of examining their values and perspectives on life. Isabel will be bringing the conversation to the Tufts University campus, organizing campus-wide events to discuss these issues with students. She will be conducting research and using it to create a new Starter Kit for the younger generation.
Mahlet is working as a research assistant under Dr. Kelly Irwin at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Psychiatric Oncology Program. She is researching lung cancer rates among individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The goals of the research are to systematically track smoking rates and cancer screening rates to help clinicians approach smoking cessation with their patients effectively; to develop a systematic way of identifying individuals with schizophrenia and cancer at the time of diagnosis; and to decrease the inequities in cancer outcomes.
Katelyn is continuing her work with the Tufts First-Generation Student Council, a student-led initiative to support those who are the first in their families to go to college. Building upon a successful pilot year, she continues to do outreach to first-gen students at Tufts and plan programming that supports and empowers the first-gen community. Katelyn will also develop a plan for the Council to continue to develop after her graduation this year.
Norihito will work to design and produce a project that builds on particular interests and skills, while gaining experience in STEAM education programming for the community. Many of the activities will be in areas such as computer programming, physical programming, electronics, alternative energy, graphic design and digital fabrication.
Victoria is working at the SPARK (Supporting Parents and Resilient Kids) Center, collaborating with a number of other institutions and organizations on an international public health initiative focused on child development. The team aims to use video segments as a strength-based, culturally-authentic teaching tool for caregivers and parents. Her project will be primarily focused on the English-Spanish linguistic and cultural translation and interpretation that is necessary when working with a Spanish-speaking community partner abroad.
For his senior Scholar project, Ryan is conducting independent research through CIRCLE at Tisch College. Specifically, he is conducting a nationwide online study that looks at the effects of subtle forms of racial discrimination on mental health in college students. Once the study is complete, Ryan hopes to make his conclusions accessible to the greater Tufts community through a workshop or public presentation.
Cecilia is working with the Somerville Department of Health and Human services to make mental health resources more available to a wider range of community members. This work focuses on preventative sustained models of mental health support. Cecilia is paying particular attention to middle school students and questions of LGBTQ health, working with students and community partners to identify effective practices.
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 student mentors from Tufts with the children at the MLC and ensuring that all mentorship relationships are healthy and effective.
Hannah is working for a second year with Groundwork Somerville, an organization that aims to improve the health of the community and environment in Somerville. This year, her project is focused on improving Groundwork’s vermicompost system, and implementing a composting curriculum that will prepare all Groundwork staff to assist community members in setting up their own vermicomposting systems. In this project, she hopes to empower individuals to take action to reduce their food waste and improve the green spaces in Somerville.
Verónica is currently working as a communications intern at Dominican@s por Derecho (Dominicans for Rights, a.k.a DxD), a platform that exists within OBMICA—a Caribbean migrants organization—but collaborates with a number of different NGOs, think tanks, social movements and individuals who defend the rights of Dominicans of foreign descent impacted by a recent judicial ruling that restricts citizenship. Verónica works to update and maintain the DxD’s social media platforms and website, particularly the English content, and supports the organization and diffusion of DxD events and projects, including but not limited to making documentaries, campaigns, tours, and large-scale events. She is also working on her thesis on the topic of the denationalization of Dominicans of Haitian descent in the second half of the year.
This fall, Yaritsa is working with Teen Empowerment (TE), a Somerville organization whose mission is to empower youth and adults as agents of individual, institutional and social change. Yaritsa is coordinating Teen Empowerments’ monthly Café Nights, where youth to present original poetry, songs, raps, and other performances for their peers. Most of the performances highlight issues that affect community youth, reflect youths’ personal experiences and ideas for social change. Yaritsa also helps TE to increase the level of youth leadership involved in creating and implementing these monthly events, as well as increase the number of youth participants and youth serving organizations that participate.
Tal is a writer and researcher at Issue One, a campaign finance reform organization that seeks to catalyze a broad shift away from the destructive effects of big money in politics. By building a large, diverse coalition of American citizens who are ready to engage in reform, and by funding programs that bring new energy to this issue, Issue One seeks to restore the integrity of our democratic institutions. Tal contributes through intensive research on the impact of money on policy decisions and by drafting reports that delineate the ways this influence costs taxpayers, stifles industries, and shuts out the voice of public will.
Michelle is working with the Immigrant Service Providers Group/ Health, a coalition of direct service providers who are immigrants, and health care professionals that represent health care agencies serving immigrants. During the school year, Michelle is working toward helping plan and implement health flu clinics and health fairs to increase free immunizations for the immigrant community of Somerville.
For his senior year project, Thomas Stack is returning to work with the Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC), where he worked as a Scholar during his sophomore year. Based in Chinatown, ACDC develops physical assets such as affordable housing, promotes economic development, fosters leadership development, and advocates on behalf of the Asian American community in Greater Boston. Thomas is working with ACDC staff to create and implement a community engagement strategy based on community-identified needs. As part of this strategy, he will organize educational workshops related to issues of low- and moderate-income family housing and political advocacy.
Safiya is working to strengthen and expand the Tufts University Refugee Assistance Program (TU-RAP), a social support network of volunteers and mentors for recently resettled refugees in the greater Boston area. TU-RAP also aims to educate the broader Tufts community about topics related to refugees, human rights and immigration. In the fall, Safiya is working with TU-RAP’s partner organizations to expand the volunteer base. In the spring, Safiya will seek out and train future leaders of TU-RAP with the hope of building a sustainable program.
Maya is conducting her senior honors thesis based on research she conducted while studying abroad in Salvador, Brazil. Her paper will discuss how young lesbian women navigate the Brazilian paradox in which legislation is progressive, but many institutions, including families and the Christian church, continue to harbor prejudice against lesbians. Her paper will also explore the social support systems they rely on, such as fictive kin networks, and the groups and places in which they feel safe, such as Afro-Brazilian religious groups and activist groups. She is hopeful that her research can shed light on an infrequently discussed issue and contribute to efforts to better understand and support lesbian women in Latin America.
Michael is working with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, whose mission is to ensure that the children, youth, and families in Chinatown have the resources and supports they need to achieve greater economic success and social well-being. Michael will provide support to the community health needs assessment of the Asian immigrant population in the Chinatown neighborhood. Moreover, through the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Michael is working to facilitate the revamping of the coalition of local childcare centers.
Anissa is working with the Somerville branch of LIFT, a national organization whose mission is to help community members achieve economic stability and well-being. LIFT works to establish a new standard for holistic and enduring solutions in our country’s fight against poverty. Through her project this year, Anissa serves as a member advocate, meeting one-on-one with LIFT members to to build the strong personal, social and financial foundations they need to get ahead. In addition, Anissa is updating the Exchange Knowledgebase, LIFT’s internal online platform containing information on core service areas such as housing, employment, public benefits, and education. The project involves creating tools for member service, and creating training tools for fellow volunteer advocates specific to a particular area of member service, such as employment, healthcare, immigration and public benefits.
Marcus is working at the South End Tech Center, a nonprofit organization that seeks to increase the number of people of color working in the technology sector. Marcus is developing a new course focused on LED arduino for the South End Tech Center’s Learn to Teach, Teach to Learn Program. The course will be taught to 30 youth teachers, who will in turn teach over 600 elementary students in the Boston area during the summer of 2015.
Before going abroad to Hong Kong in the Spring semester, Wayne is working with the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) in Boston’s Chinatown. CPA is a grassroots community organization which works for full equality and empowerment of the Chinese community in the Greater Boston area and beyond. Wayne is working on the Chinatown Stabilization Campaign, which focuses on stabilizing the working class residential core of Chinatown as the neighborhood expands and changes. Wayne is focusing his work on collaborating with the Chinatown Cultural Center, a committee of community members working to launch a community cultural center that provides library services to Chinatown in conjunction with the Boston Public Library. Wayne will continue to engage the broader community in planning, advocacy, and support activities, as well as participate in planning discussions with City of Boston officials and the CCC board. He hopes to engage the Tufts community at-large in addressing the issues one of the university’s host communities has been battling.