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2016-2017 Tisch Scholar Projects

Each year, students in our signature Tisch Scholars program work with a nonprofit organization in one of Tufts’ host communities, address issues on the Tufts University campus, or tackle social problems through a senior thesis. Check out what Scholars worked on during the 2016-2017 academic year:

Cambridge Multi-Service Center
Ashley Alphonse, A19

Ashley is currently working with the Haitian Services Coordinator at Cambridge’s Multi-Service Center. The Multi-Service Center is one of many programs offered by the Department of Human Service Programs for the city of Cambridge. Ashley’s work with the Cambridge Haitian Services aims to provide an array of social services to the Haitian population in the area. Some of the services include case management, information and referral, Haitian Creole interpretation, as well as immigration and citizenship assistance. For her Tisch Scholar Project, Ashley hopes to lead and develop the current ESOL program that is offered by the Cambridge Haitian Services and provide more opportunities for the success of Haitians in the Cambridge area.

Groundwork Somerville
Joel Pimentel Alves, A19

Joel is working with Groundwork Somerville, an organization that strives to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement and management of the physical environment through the development of community-based partnerships which empower people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, economic and social well-being.  Groundwork Somerville employs a group of high schoolers through the Green Team program. Joel will be helping lead the Green Team in community gardens work projects and discussions that focus on building personal and interpersonal skills, social justice, and healthy living.

DREAM Program
Meaghan Annett, A17

Meaghan is collaborating with the DREAM Program, whose mission is to connect college students and communities of families that empower youth from affordable housing neighborhoods. She is working with the Program Empowerment Director to create a Teen Mentoring Program to engage older youth in the community to build the next generation of mentors. To further build on the infrastructure of DREAM, she is also creating best practices policy manuals and trainings.

Independent Project: Language Justice
Lior Appel-Kraut, A17

Lior is a senior majoring in American Studies, with a concentration in Comparative Race and Ethnicity.  She is currently working on an independent project, implementing strategies to work for language justice in organizing groups at Tufts.  Last semester, Lior’s American Studies Senior Special Project explored the ties between language, race, and more, and how language injustice exists in organizing today. She is now following up on that to give Tufts groups the resources to better incorporate language justice into their work.

Boston Mobilization
Sara Arman, A19

Sara is working with Boston Mobilization, an organization that educates, empowers and organizes students and community members to engage in campaigns for economic, social, and environmental justice, as well as a variety of other issues that teens face. As part of her work Sara will be supporting youth leadership development, social justice education, and community organizing. She will be doing this through the Sub/Urban Justice programs held bi-weekly, training and workshops.

Office of Congresswoman Katherine Clark
Michelle Asamoah, A19

Michelle is working for Congresswoman Katherine Clark to help constituents with their issues on bills that have been passed, their immigration statuses, and more. Additionally, she will be working on a personal project of her choice that will focus on a particular area, such as immigration, and how we can better resolve constituents issues with this.

Somerville Health Agenda
Kavya Boorgu, A18

Kavya Boorgu is a junior at Tufts University hailing from Fairfield, Connecticut. Born in southern India with frequent extended visits back, she has grown up with an interest in global health care, social justice, and culture. At Tufts, she is studying Biology and Community Health. She pursues her passion for science through participation in biological research, both at Tufts and during her summers. Her Tisch Scholar project is at the Somerville Health Agenda, working on food security with a focus on implementing screening in the Cambridge Health Alliance’s primary care for social determinants of health – currently, food insecurity. Kavya hopes to continue her passions in biology and community health with a career in medicine.

Petey Greene Program
Amanda Borquaye

Amanda is continuing her work with the Petey Greene Program, an organization which supports academic achievement in prison classrooms in order to reduce recidivism rates and build stronger communities. The Petey Greene Program envisions a world in which all incarcerated people have access to high quality academic programs and all people recognize their stake in supporting education in correctional facilities. She serves as the head student coordinator of the Tufts chapter of the program, managing all Tufts volunteers at two local facilities and leading on-campus events and initiatives to make mass incarceration and access to education an issue of concern to Tufts students.

Campaign for “Indigenous Peoples Day”
Parker Breza, A19

Parker is working with the movement to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day in Boston. After successful campaigns at Tufts and Cambridge, the time is right for this movement to come to Boston. Parker believes recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day in place of “Columbus Day” is about more than a name change—it’s a refusal to allow genocide to go unremembered and a demand for recognition of Indigenous humanity.

Central Square Theater
Chopper Carter-Schelp, A19

Chopper is working with the Youth Underground Theater program at Central Square Theater. Youth Underground strives to create socially-conscious theater that addresses and gets young people engaged with issues of civic action and social justice. She is the Assistant Director and Stage Manager of the Youth Underground Ambassadors group, which is a troupe of 19-25 year olds that tours throughout Boston.

Somerville Community Corporation
Evan Cook, A19

Evan is working at the Somerville Community Corporation (SCC), a nonprofit organization that works to preserve and enhance the economic, racial, and ethnic diversity of Somerville, MA. Evan is helping support the Union United campaign, a grass-roots coalition of local stakeholders working to ensure that the Union Square redevelopment results in tangible benefits for the community, not displacement of residents. Union United is working towards a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), a contract signed between the City and the master developer that will create a diverse, sustainable, and equitable Union Square. Evan thinks that a CBA is essential in protecting vulnerable residents and breaking down systems of power during the redevelopment process.

Books of Hope
Audrey Fernández, A18

Audrey is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Books of Hope, a program that offers a platform for young authors to express their passion and lived experiences while learning time management, public speaking, and entrepreneurship skills through the performance and publishing of original work. Audrey’s role within the program includes managing mailing lists, social media, workshop materials, and providing general program support. The overall goals for this semester are to facilitate mentoring relationships between young artists and Tufts students as well as to compile an anthology from works completed in writing workshops.

Democracy Matters
Alexandra Fognani, A19

Alexandra is interning with the non-partisan campus-based national student organization Democracy Matters. The organization works to remove big private money from politics and bring people back in. She is working on running a student club on campus that focuses on informing the Tufts community on private money in politics and its effects on democracy. The club brings guest speakers, hosts film screenings and discussions, and helps with the voter registration initiative with other clubs on campus.

Alternatives for Community and Environment
Betty Fong, A17

Betty is a senior scholar working with Alternatives for Community and Environment. ACE’s mission is to build the power of communities of color and low-income communities in Massachusetts to eradicate environmental racism and classism, create healthy, sustainable communities, and achieve environmental justice. Betty is working with ACE’s Roxbury Campaign Committee to mobilize residents and community members around issues in Dudley Square and work on a plan to influence development without displacement in Roxbury.

Attorney General’s Office, Fair Labor Division
José Ángel García Acosta, A17

José is working with the Attorney General’s Office’s Fair Labor Division (FLD) supporting a  first-of-its-kind wage theft legal clinic. The clinic combines the talents, skills, and perspectives of law students, government agencies, private attorneys, and community members/non-profits to help provide legal consultation—and hopefully legal representation—to workers who have had documented complaints of wage theft. Moreover, he supports FLD investigators to determine future cases of wage theft and learns about other contributions to labor justice through the AGO.

JumboVote 2016
Sarah Gargaro, A18, and Lily Hartzell, A18

Sarah Gargaro and Lily Hartzell worked with JumboVote 2016, an effort led by Tisch College to increase political participation around the election. Both Scholars assisted in efforts to improve voter turnout by registering students to vote and informing them about how to do so. Lily and Sarah hosted a forum to inform the wider Tufts community about Proposition 2. Both Scholars are abroad this Spring but appreciated the opportunity to both make a difference on campus and contribute to election preparation at Somerville City Hall.

Research at Tufts University School of Medicine
Zaroug Jaleel, A17

Zaroug Jaleel is a Senior studying Biochemistry and Art History. As a Tisch Scholar this year, he is working with researchers at the Tufts University School of Medicine to understand the effects of Civic Engagement on medical school student attitudes towards patient care with an emphasis on the fields of health disparities, health care competency and health literacy. The research will be used to further improve programs such as the Community Service Learning requirement at Tufts Medical School.

St. Stephen’s Youth Program
Alexander Jeremiah, A17

This year, Alexander is working with St. Stephen’s Youth Program to assist the Junior Counselor in Training leadership development program. He is creating programming that will provide high school students with the tools they need to succeed in high school and beyond. As part of this initiative, Alexander empowers 9th-graders to mentor younger students, lead initiatives in the community, and embrace the ideals of active citizenship.

Institute of Community Health
Menbereselassie Kebede, A17

Menbereselassie is a senior studying Community Health and Africana Studies. This year she is working with the Institute of Community Health in partnership with the Cambridge Health Alliance to help the Mayor’s Task Force produce a contextually sound and sustainable five-year health improvement plan for the City of Lawrence.

Medford High School Black Student Union
Anjalique Knight, A19

Anjalique Knight is currently the advisor for Medford High School’s Black Student Union. This group aims to celebrate the diversity of the African diaspora while bringing awareness of issues that affect the black community to Medford High School and the larger Medford community. Anjalique mentors students and shares her insights as a near-peer college student.

Chinese Progressive Association
Kyle Lui, A19

Kyle is working with the Chinese Progressive Association, a grassroots non-profit organization in Boston’s Chinatown working for the full equality and empowerment of the Chinese community in the Greater Boston Area. Kyle is working on the Chinatown Stabilization Committee, contributing to the work done to secure affordable housing units and combat eviction and displacement. He also canvassed and organized the Chinatown community to vote for the Community Preservation Act in the 2016 election.

The Conversation Project
Isabel Merrin, A17

Isabel is working with The Conversation Project, a local non-profit organization that works to ensure that people’s end-of-life wishes are known and respected through trainings and workshops in religious centers and introducing the Starter Kit–a free web-based educational tool created to help individuals talk about end-of-life decisions. Isabel brings the conversation to millennials on campus through campus-wide events that bring students together to discuss these difficult topics and personally working with students.

Boston Mobilization Sub/Urban Justice Program
Christihanna Morrison, A19

Christihanna is working with Boston Mobilization’s Sub/Urban Justice Program, dedicated to giving high school-aged youth the space to be leaders and facilitate their own workshops on systems of power and oppression, like race, class, wealth, and gender. Christihanna supports the high school interns who lead workshops and assists them in completing their goals as facilitators and as community organizers.

Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health
Ravali Mukthineni, A18

Ravali is continuing her work with Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health (ISPG/H), a coalition of direct service providers and health care professionals who are immigrants, the heads of immigrant coalitions, or who advocate on behalf of immigrants in the Boston area. Ravali researches and develops materials regarding the implementation of a municipal ID card program in Somerville, MA. Municipal ID cards are issued by the city, community, or county, as opposed to the federal government, and require proof of residence and identity to obtain one. The goal of the municipal ID card is to provide a valid form of photo ID to populations that are otherwise not able to obtain a valid form of photo ID.

Andrew Goodman Foundation
Benjamin Neikrie, A18

Jamie is working with the Andrew Goodman Foundation, an organization established to continue the legacy of Andrew Goodman, a student who was killed by the KKK for trying to register African Americans to vote during the freedom summer. In his name, AGF seeks to expand voting and civic engagement on college campuses. Jamie’s project focuses on the use of issue guide forums, a type of moderated dialogue, to expand knowledge around key electoral issues.

Mission Hill School
Amanda Ng Yann Chwen, A18

Amanda is in her second year helping out at Mission Hill School, a K-8 public school in Jamaica Plain, Boston. She assists with the documentation process of designing Mission Hill High School based on community ideas, and with day-to-day matters in classrooms. She is honored to work in a school whose mission statement includes the line, “We must deal with each other in ways that lead us to feel stronger and more loved, not weaker and less loveable.”

Somerville Food Security Coalition
Maya Shashoua, A19

Maya is studying Community Health and American Studies and working at the Somerville Food Security Coalition, a group of a number of local organizations and community members who work to ameliorate and/or prevent food insecurity in the Somerville area. Maya helps with their monthly meal, Come to the Table, and is researching and developing a new project that will transform an unused industrial kitchen in the basement of Somerville Hospital into a jobs training and teaching/obesity prevention community kitchen.

Asian Women for Health
Avneet Soin, A17

Avneet is a senior working with Asian Women for Health, a non-profit organization that aims to improve Asian women’s health through advocacy efforts and education. Her specific focus is on their campaign Together Empowering Asian Minds. This campaign aims to increase awareness of and de-stigmatize mental health issues as pertaining to Asian Americans and Asian American women. Through her role as a Tisch scholar, Avneet is increasing the social media presence of the campaign, supporting the creation and implementation of a comprehensive resource database, and using visual media tools to promote the campaign.

Community Action Agency of Somerville, Homelessness Prevention Program
Michael Wang, A17

Michael is working with the Homelessness Prevention Program of the Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS). CAAS is Somerville’s legally designated anti-poverty agency and also houses the city’s Head Start program. At CAAS, Michael works alongside housing advocates to conduct research on Boston-area housing trends and provide direct service to Somerville residents.

Josiah Quincy Upper School
Anissa Waterhouse, A17

Anissa is a senior sociology major and third-year Tisch Scholar. This year she is working at the Josiah Quincy Upper School in Boston’s Chinatown, refining the IB Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) Diploma Programme. In addition to working with IB coordinators to develop a weekly CAS curriculum and oversee all CAS activities, Anissa dedicates most of her time at the project site, co-leading the advisory classes for the Juniors and Seniors. She appreciates the time she has interacting with her students during advisory and loves getting to know their hobbies and passions by working with them on CAS and college applications.

Haley House Soup Kitchen
Chris Wingard, A19

Chris is working with the Haley House Soup Kitchen, located in the South End of Boston. As a Tisch Scholar, Chris assists in the preparation and delivery of meals to guests in the soup kitchen. Additionally, he collects and analyzes data pertaining to the operations of the soup kitchen in order to provide recommendations to the Haley House on how they can best and most efficiently serve their many guests.

Petey Greene Program
Wilson Wong, A19

Wilson works with the Petey Greene Program, an organization that supplements academic support in prison classrooms by preparing volunteers to provide free, quality tutoring. The Petey Greene Program hopes to provide all incarcerated people access to high quality academic programs while simultaneously inspiring volunteers to advocate and take on leadership roles that will re-imagine the criminal justice system. He serves as a campus coordinator to recruit and train volunteers and a tutor.