The Laspa Center for Leadership at Scripps College has awarded six We Act Action and Research Grants for 2018. Each student recipient will execute a summer-long, self-designed project to “transform knowledge, passion, and ideas into action, demonstrate creative and effective problem-solving, create partnerships in the public or private sector, and produce outcomes that make a positive impact.”
The Laspa Center was established in 2015 to support Scripps students in bringing the values of leadership, service, integrity, and creativity into action. The center provides students with opportunities to work closely with extraordinary leaders, especially women, in diverse areas such as art, science, business, education, media, government, and social entrepreneurship through strategic national and international partnerships and a visiting practitioners and scholars program.
The 2018 We Act Action and Research Grants Recipients:
Major: Anthropology Major
Partner organization: Supportive Housing Works in Fairfield, Connecticut
“I am partnering with the non-profit Supportive Housing Works in Fairfield County, Connecticut, one of the most economically segregated areas in the country. Looking at the intersection between the coordinated access network and the juvenile justice system, I will investigate the institutional barriers and protective factors for youth (18-24 year olds). My aim is to amplify the voices of clients so that the form of services better addresses the experienced needs of this particular demographic. Through a cultural review of the invested players, I will provide a contextualization and background that can better inform policy decisions for this invisible population. Additionally, I will organize community events to engage with homeless youth and better understand preferred outreach methods.”
Partner organization: Within Our Lifetime â€“ United for Palestine in New York, New York
“I intend to pursue a career in academia as a historian in Latin American studies. I am passionate about utilizing history as a tool for building community and leadership amongst marginalized communities. Over the summer, I hope to expand my work on the intersections between marginalized groups throughout history and how to effectively use visual mediums to facilitate the process of mass-education within local organizations.”
Major: Double Major in Sociology & Spanish, Latin American and Caribbean Literatures and Cultures, with a concentration on Culture
Partner organization: Mexico Solidarity Network in Chiapas, Mexico
“My project over the summer will involve working with the Mexico Solidarity Network (MSN) and their study abroad program. The first part of my project will be spent participating in MSN’s program through the Autonomous University of Social Movements (AUSM) in Chiapas, Mexico. The second part of my project will be spent supporting that same program by focusing on outreach efforts, alumni networks and creating a sustainable recruitment plan for future years. Through my project I hope to develop leadership skills and a greater understanding of international solidarity.”
Major: Double Major in Neuroscience and Interdisciplinary Humanities in Culture.
Partner organization: Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California
“I will be conducting lab research, dissecting the brains of mice, as well as literature review to investigate the nature of institutional and systemic marginalization (in sociocultural and economic spheres) on vulnerability to alcohol and drug dependency. My research interests stem from my own experience as a minority and with academic and interpersonal marginalization as well as the tangential experiences of my queer, colored and otherwise impacted peers, friends, and family. I am most interested in research opportunities in neuroscience and cognitive science, which acknowledge sociocultural, behavioral, genetic, cellular and neurological bases in discussing and analyzing disordersâ€“specifically anxiety, mood, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors. I hope to develop my focus and growth as a scientist and understand better clinical and cultural phenomena at play in my own life and the lives of those around me, as a precursor to and influence upon strong medical practice. More specifically, I hope to begin research that I may later publish concerning the potential links I have discussed. The publication of research on this topic contributes to greater awareness and a marked increase in interpersonal and institutional empathy towards at risk communities and individuals, and moves society in a more equitable and compassionate direction.”
Major: Double Major in French and Environmental Analysis, with a concentration on Society and Environment
Partner organization: Web and Development Foundation of Cameroon in Bangoua and Batoufam, Cameroon.
Hannah Skutt is a Dual Major in French Studies and Environmental Analysis (Society & The Environment Track). She ties these two fields of study together by looking at the legacies of colonization as they relate to current environmental issues and development pressures in Africa today. Hannah is very passionate about sustainable solutions that are accessible and linked to human rather than capitalist values. With the help of the We Act Grant, Hannah will be returning to the site of her study abroad in Cameroon to partner with a Cameroonian-led NGO, the Web and Development Foundation on a social cartography project. This project will involve making a map of various sustainability initiatives in the rural agricultural villages of Batoufam and Bangoua, in terms of social, economic, cultural and environmental sustainability. This project will inform Hannah’s senior thesis, and will create an online resource for village members, Cameroonians, and global citizens to learn about sustainable projects from a population that is particularly invested in seeing both quality of life and environmental stewardship improve today, not by 2050.
Partner organization: Gender Concerns International in Tunisia
Madison Wagner is a rising senior, majoring in French Studies and minoring in Africana Studies (although she admits to frequently dabbling in history, politics, and gender studies). Madison has worked in a variety of reproductive justice spaces in Seattle, becoming passionate about the importance of comprehensive and accessible reproductive health care. This summer, with the help of Laspa Center, Madison will be working with an NGO in Tunisia that is dedicated to empowering women in the government. In addition, she will be conducting research for her thesis, which will focus on the long-standing success of Tunisia’s reproductive healthcare system, as well as recent developments since their 2011 Jasmine Revolution