An important part of Service Focus is carrying the service experience into the academic year. Service Focus cohorts are designed to connect peers and faculty mentors in conversation around a specific theme.
Class of 2023 Cohort
Stanley Katz is Lecturer with rank of Professor in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and Director of the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies. He is also President Emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies, the national humanities organization in the United States. Mr. Katz graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1955 with a major in English History and Literature. He was trained in British and American history at Harvard (PhD, 1961), where he also attended Law School in 1969-70. His recent research focuses upon recent developments in American philanthropy, the relationship of civil society and constitutionalism to democracy, and upon the relationship of the United States to the international human rights regime. He also writes about higher education policy and has published a blog for the Chronicle of Higher Education. He is the co-founder and editor of the history of philanthropy blog www.histphil.org. Formerly Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor of the History of American Law and Liberty at Princeton University, Katz is a specialist on American legal and constitutional history, and on philanthropy and non-profit institutions. The author and editor of numerous books and articles, Mr. Katz has served as President of the Organization of American Historians and the American Society for Legal History and as Vice President of the Research Division of the American Historical Association. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Newberry Library, the Center for Jewish History and numerous other institutions. He received the annual Fellows Award from Phi Beta Kappa in 2010 and the National Humanities Medal (awarded by Pres. Obama) in 2011. He has honorary degrees from several universities.
Senior Fellow: Grey Collins
Junior Fellow: Emma Treadway
Civil society is the space between the government of the state ("public") and the institutions of the market sector ("private"). In the United States, civil society is made up of what Americans call "nonprofits" -- organizations that address problems that neither the state nor the market can (or will) deal with. From churches to food pantries, country clubs, schools, little league baseball, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Black Lives Matter, civil society forms a network that is often invisible even to those participating in it. But as both government and business fail to adequately address the current pandemic, it plays an even more essential role in the health of our communities and our democracy. In this cohort we will explore civil society’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by looking at the problem locally - both in the Princeton-Trenton region and in your home communities.
- What are local nonprofit and voluntary organizations doing -- or what might they do -- to help America successfully survive the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Is this a time when civil society needs to step to the fore? Does civil society have the material (and human) resources to meet such a huge challenge? What is the role of civil society in response to disasters?
- And, finally, since universities are central to civil society, what role can and should Princeton University play in addressing the needs created by the pandemic?
Guest speakers will include community partners from local and national non-profit organizations. Each student will be asked to study one or more nonprofit organizations in the Princeton area (or in his/her home area) to discover what it is currently doing to address the conditions created by the pandemic. We will invite (by Zoom) the directors and workers from local nonprofits to speak with us about what they and their organizations are doing to respond to the pandemic – these will include food pantries, women’s and children’s organizations, environmental organizations, religious organizations, local political action groups. We will also invite some of the organizations from your home communities to speak to us. We will also speak with administrators in our University who are planning the University’s pandemic responses – as well as the administrators of Princeton University’s civic engagement units (such as the Pace Center and the Office of Religious Life.
- Preeti Chemiti ‘23
As a recipient of the John C. Bogle ‘51 Fellowship in Civic Service, Preeti worked to write, design, and publish a free and comprehensive mental health guidebook as a resource for students, teachers, and administrators in the midst of COVID-19! Her publication, "Mind Matters", is an 80+ page resource with specialized sections for high school students, college students, the BIPOC community, and also features a teacher support section. She features over 150 student interviews in her work and has received over 2,000 downloads from students and teachers in various schools and universities across the nation, including Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, and many
- Angela DeSantis ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Angela worked remotely at Forum della Meritocrazia in Milan, initiating an economics-based research on COVID-19. Angela studied how the COVID-19- induced ICT revolution in Italy will increase meritocracy in the working place throughout the country through surveying the working population in small to medium businesses. After collecting the data and organizing it with the help of the meritocracy indicators exclusively experimented by the Forum researchers. e.g. the Meritometro and Meritorg, Angela is in the process of producing a research paper, in the hope that her study will help a faster recovery of Italy from the ongoing pandemic-induced economic crisis.
- Kate Gross-Whitaker ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Kate worked with Oakland Promise, an Oakland-based organization which partners with OUSD to provide college advising services and information to students in local high schools. She supported their College Access and College completion teams, worked to support them in moving their work online and remote for the fall.
- Danielle Jenkins ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Danielle worked with the Education Equity Delaware Coalition where a variety of organizations that are committed to a better and more equitable public education system in Delaware. She used the policy research skills she has gained during her freshman year to create reports and do research that supports the policy goals of these organizations.
- Clara Kim ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Clara created a remote college mentorship program to connect alumni to current rising seniors in her low-income district; this program will offer students free assistance and support in the college application process.
- Ally McCormick ‘23
In the aftermath of COVID-19, Ally was acutely aware of the serious issues facing the undocumented immigrant community in her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Due to severe xenophobia and lack of aid and protections from the government, these communities have faced the greatest hardship as a result of the pandemic. With the support of the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, she wrote an informative op-ed piece to be published locally to bring light to the stories of those living undocumented in Tulsa, as well as publicize the active platforms of politicians running for election: the end goal being to inform local voters of this pressing issue.
- Celine Pham ‘23
Supported by the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship in Civic Service, Celine worked for D.C. Central Kitchen’s Healthy Corners Program, a social venture that distributes fresh and nutritious foods at a wholesale price to corner stores in D.C.’s low income neighborhoods. She wrote and developed an online training program that includes operational, nutritional, and financial knowledge that will help store owners more successfully offer nutritious items and support healthier communities around their stores.
- Grace Rocker ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Grace spent her summer volunteering for several COVID-19 response initiatives in her home of New York City. Her two most significant experiences included donating homemade masks to Women In Need, the city's largest provider of housing for homeless families, and interning with the Museum of the City of New York to support the creation of a public art installation about New Yorkers' lives during the pandemic.
- Serena Starks ‘23
Working off her experience on the Princeton Disabilities Awareness Board, Serena spent the summer with the Special Olympics in Southern California to create virtual events, community outreach, and increasing social media presence. She created a marketing campaign highlighting inspiring stories that promote inclusion and healthy living during the pandemic. Serena is also heading a Letter Writing Campaign to connect college and Special Olympic athletes.
- Elliot Weil ‘23
Supported by the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship in Civic Service, Elliott worked as a communications and policy intern at Tenants Together, a California renter's rights organizing group, to assist their campaign to pressure Governor Gavin Newsom to cancel rent due during the COVID-19 pandemic, among other projects. This included spearheading a platform to view aggregated oral histories from tenants across the state, interviewed in collaboration with The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. Elliott also interned on the campaign to elect Jackie Fielder as the only socialist candidate in The California State Senate.
Education & Access
Jason Klugman is the director of the Princeton University Preparatory Program (PUPP) and a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology. As director of PUPP, Jason is responsible for the daily operations of the program, including, planning and implementation of the PUPP Summer Institute, academic enrichment programming during the school year, the outreach and application process for new scholars, and the ongoing work of fundraising for the program. He oversees college admissions guidance services and alumni support for PUPP Scholars and develops relationships with PUPP scholars and their families, along with deep partnerships with PUPP’s partner high schools – Ewing, Nottingham, Lawrence, Princeton and Trenton Central (Chambers and West campuses).
Jason has presented papers at a broad range of academic and professional conferences on education, teacher preparation, college access and college admissions and is co-author of the 2008 white paper "Opening Doors and Paving the Way: Increasing access and success for talented, low-income students.” He earned his doctorate in Education, Culture and Society at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education where he studied the process of becoming an urban teacher and taught courses in urban studies and the foundations of education. From 2004 to 2017, Jason was a program associate in the Program in Teacher Preparation. Prior to joining Princeton, Jason was a social studies teacher and department chair at West Philadelphia High School and a leader of that school’s college and career guidance team. He also taught courses in Urban Studies and Education at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University and teacher certifications in secondary social studies and English.
Senior Fellow: Monica Dobrinoiu
Junior Fellow: Hanying Jiang
Education is often considered a crucial gateway to opportunity as well as an engine of societal progress. Yet, education in the United States is highly unequal -- in recent years, disparities in access and outcomes have persisted or grown across many dimensions such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status. This cohort will examine questions such as:
- What are the structures and systems that drive educational disparities in the United States?
- What are practices and policies that can reduce educational disparities?
- What is the relationship between college access and educational equity?
- In what ways does college create particular opportunities and barriers for low-income and first generation students?
- How has COVID-19 magnified and made visible existing disparities in our education system? What new challenges and possibilities does it present?
Guest speakers and practitioners will occasionally join the cohort discussions. Potential partners for a cohort project include: Teachers and administrators from a variety of local schools, partners from community-based organizations such as Trenton Peers, LALDEF, and Trenton College Access Network, University programs such as the Princeton University Preparatory Program and Scholars Institute Fellows Program, Princeton Teacher Prep Program, and alumni working in education.
- Truth Betts-McCullum ‘23
Inspired by her writing seminar, Educational Equities, Truth interned with the Reinvent Stockton Foundation where she worked on enhancing their mentor program. Truth helped design and facilitate workshops that informed students of the value of mentorship, specifically how it can help you navigate college.
- Daisy Bissonette ‘23
Supported by the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship in Civic Service, Daisy interned in the Research and Development department at NuMED, a medical company that primarily creates devices for pediatric cardiology. Daisy worked on the testing for a new stent design that is set to be sent to the FDA for approval soon. She also worked on smaller research projects to improve the production process and other catheter designs.
- Maddy Chong ‘23
Supported by Service Focus, Maddy worked as a website developer to centralize network resources and develop several initiatives for the Greater Trenton College Access Network. She gained valuable experience learning about the inequities in the field of college access and heard from various community partners about the efforts currently in place.
- Sim Chopra ‘23
Supported by the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship in Civic Service, Sim partnered with Education Through Music - Los Angeles (ETMLA), an organization that works with disadvantaged students in Los Angeles. Through a storytelling project , Sim explored establishing music as a core subject in elementary and middle schools. Sim also collaborated with the organization on starting a campus ambassador program to raise awareness about ETMLA.
- Michael Fording ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Michael worked with Bridgeport Mutual Aid this summer, organizing volunteers who delivered food pantry donations to hundreds of quarantined Bridgeport, CT residents during the pandemic. He also worked as a research assistant in Princeton's Religion department.
- Kate Ivshina ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Kate built an online platform to connect high school/college students to remote research opportunities, regardless of students’ geographic location and/or socioeconomic/racial background. The objective is to empower students to engage in scientific research, providing the access to opportunities, tools, and community needed to succeed.
- Madison Mellinger ‘23
Motivated by the lack of representative academic discussion about rural areas, such as her hometown in the Appalachian Mountains, Madison used her position as a John C. Bogle ‘51 Fellow to research youth perceptions of inequality and social mobility in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Nurturing the connections she made through this research, she was able to directly serve her community as well by working with The Gleaning Project of South Central PA, Racial Reconciliation Franklin County, and the Franklin County Info Hub. She also jointly received a COVID-19 Response Grant with Kelton Chastulik '21 which they used to host service cohorts of college and high school students in Chambersburg, discussing themes of food insecurity, educational justice, and activism through the arts.
- Gigi Pacheco ‘23
Through the Office of Religious Life's (ORL's) Faith-Based Internship Program, Gigi worked at the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department as a Community Relations Intern. She communicated critical COVID-19, U.S. Census, and general government updates to individuals and families involved in the foster care and/or juvenile justice systems of New Mexico. Additionally, she conducted oral history interviews for the ORL's Religion and Resettlement Project. Gigi researched resources for resettled refugees in the Denver area and completed long-form oral history interviews with refugees. These oral histories were being placed in an archive for future research and policy creation.
- Angelica Qin ‘23
Inspired by her experience in high school leading a mental health education program, Angelica interned with Community Access, an organization in New York that provides affordable housing, education/job training, and advocacy for people living with serious mental health concerns. She helped judge films for and organize the Changing Minds Young Filmmaker Competition, an annual film festival that aims to educate young people about mental health and help break the stigma surrounding mental illness. She also helped create content for Community Access's blogs and social media.
- Mandy Qua ‘23
Mandy worked as an intern for the Agro-Tourism Association based in Uganda through Princeton's International Internship Program. The organization has different sectors that focus on agro-tourism development, training and research, business incubation, internship and apprenticeship as well as eco-tourism. Over the summer, she was able to host a webinar for farmers, help with research proposals, as well as edit a few publications about farming as a business.
- Maya Rozenshteyn ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Maya taught Java programming to students at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez. As part of her role, Maya hosted Zoom precepts, online office hours, responded to student questions posted on Ed Discussion, and graded assignments and exams. She strove to demonstrate the power of computer science to her students and inspire them to pursue a career in the field, should they be interested.
Heather Howard is a Lecturer in Public Affairs at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and a faculty affiliate of the Center for Health and Wellbeing. Her courses have touched on topics from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, state and local health policy, public health and politics, and the social determinants of health. She also is director of State Health and Value Strategies, a program that provides technical assistance to support state efforts to enhance the value of health care by improving population health and reforming the delivery of health care services. She served as New Jersey’s Commissioner of Health and Senior Services from 2008-2010, overseeing a cabinet-level agency with a budget of $3.5 billion and staff of 1,700 responsible for public health services, regulation of health care institutions, senior services, and health care policy and research. Previously, Howard served as Governor Jon Corzine’s Chief Policy Counsel, directing his policy agenda. She also has significant federal experience, having worked as Senator Corzine’s Chief of Staff, as Assoc. Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Senior Policy Advisor for First Lady Hillary Clinton, as an Honors Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division Health Care Task Force, and for the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2018, Howard served on New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s transition team and was appointed by Gov. Murphy to the Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium. Most recently, Prof. Howard was appointed by Gov. Murphy to New Jersey’s COVID-19 Restart and Recovery Advisory Council. Prof. Howard also served as a Service Focus faculty mentor in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
- Senior Fellow: Temitope Oshinowo
- Junior Fellow: Mary Davis
Political polarization in the United States has escalated in recent years, creating challenges for progress on a number of policy fronts -- public health and healthcare policies are particularly contested. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the presidential election have highlighted particularly deep fissures in how our country approaches health policy. This cohort will examine questions such as the following:
- What insights can we gain from examining the COVID-19 pandemic as a case study in the challenges of health policy? What are ways to generate bipartisan dialogue and action, and overcome political polarization? How can we better understand how health policy operates at various levels (local, state, and national)? How can health policy better address disparities in health outcomes?
- How can each of us as citizens exercise our influence and make our voice heard as constituents? How do we engage at different levels (local, state, national)? What skills should we develop, and how can we acquire and practice these?
- What are ways to enhance communication and dialogue among researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders in the community on complex topics such as the pandemic?
Guest speakers and practitioners will occasionally join the cohort discussions. Potential partners for cohort activities and projects include: Princeton student groups such as Whig Clio, local municipal governments, advocacy-training organizations, and community organizations.
- Victoria Agwam ‘23
As Queens, New York City native and a frequent Forest Hills, Queens visitor, Victoria Agwam was excited to be working with SFHE(Support Forest Hills Eateries) this summer to help local eateries in the neighborhood through the negative impacts of COVID-19. Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, she used her graphic design and marketing skills to target potential customers, increase community interaction, and centralize resources for both residents and business owners.
- Becca Berman ‘23
Interested in learning more about state government and the criminal justice system, Becca was a summer intern with the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, an affiliated office of the Ohio Supreme Court that researches criminal justice operations in Ohio and advocates for reform. With support from Princeton’s Program for Community-Engaged Scholarship, Becca helped on the Commission's project to document Ohio's response to coronavirus in the criminal justice system. She researched, wrote narratives, and created a timeline of Ohio's executive branch's actions relating to prisons and helped conduct interviews of local judges to track changes and challenges in courts.
- Grace Chung ‘23
Supported by the Keller Center, Grace worked with the Keller Center as a part of the Tiger Challenge Cohort. Using design thinking approach, she worked with her team to analyze the potential of converting the NJ Meadowlands into a climate park through a federal buyout program.
- Kezia Dickson ‘23
Interested in the intersection between politics and race, Kezia spent the summer working as a Research Assistant for Professor Ali Valenzuela. Kezia analyzed survey responses from participants to understand how they would react to a racially targeted political ad. She will continue this project in the fall, but will shift to propelling people to vote in the November election.
- Esha Jain ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Esha worked collaboratively on a white paper about migrant workers' experiences during COVID-19. They plan to share their work with policymakers to help inform decision-making and push for reform.
- Rosy Jerez ‘23
Supported by Princeton’s Office of Religious Life, Rosmeilyn Jerez worked with the Refugee Religion and Resettlement Project to collect oral histories of immigrants across the U.S. Her work mainly focused on the Cuban population in Miami-Dade.
- Hala Lachguer ‘23
Hala was drawn to the intersections of social justice, faith, civic education, and healthcare. Supported by the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship, Hala worked with an NYC nonprofit organization, Muslim Community Network, to help facilitate the emergence of a Muslim-American identity that transcends gender, ethnic, and class boundaries.
- Leila Owens ‘23
Supported by Princeton’s Office of Religious Life’s faith-based internship program, Leila interned with the Migration and Refugee Services of Catholic Charities Cleveland. Leila worked virtually to create job readiness training materials for recently arrived refugees.
- Taryn Sebba ‘23
Having grown up hearing stories from her Grandfather’s work with USAID in Latin America, Taryn has been concerned with foreign policy and Latin American studies. With support from the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Taryn worked with The HALO Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to armed violence reduction programs and the removal of landmines, to research weapons diversion and security sector reform in the Northern Triangle. In completing this work, Taryn cultivated deliverables for the State Department and the HALO Trust.
- Jen Secrest ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Jen worked as a teaching assistant for a computer science (COS126) summer course designed for students at the University of Puerto Rico. She was excited to learn about this vibrant US territory.
- Brendan Tang ‘23
Inspired by his experience as a former freshman in the Community Action program, Brendan served as a CA Fellow this summer with an emphasis on Criminal Justice and Prison Education. Brendan designed and organized schedules for 150+ first-year students, helping them establish organic relationships while exploring themselves and meeting community partners.
- Savannah Pobre ‘23
Interested in aligning her summer internship with STEAM education, Savannah worked with Children's Scholarship Fund Philadelphia to supply resources to students as they pursued a virtual end to their school year. Savannah also worked hand in hand with the program and outreach teams to film, direct, and edit social media content in the form of educational YouTube videos, interviews with alumni, and a final testimony video that showcased the impact that the scholarship program had on equity in private education.
Health & Care
Sebastian Ramirez received a BA from Queens College CUNY in Anthropology and Psychology and a PhD in Anthropology from Princeton University. His research among internally displaced persons in his native Colombia explores the role of healthcare services in efforts to remake ideas of home and citizenship in the aftermath of violence. His dissertation elucidates how official networks of aid and restitution for victims of the war are remade in the everyday efforts of the uprooted to claim their rights and remake their lives. He is starting a second project that investigates how survivors of social cleansing campaigns forge mental health support networks through artistic projects that commemorate the loss of family and friends. Dr. Ramírez Hernandez also served as a Service Focus faculty mentor in 2019-20, co-mentoring the Health and Care cohort with Prof. João Biehl.
Senior Fellow: Chitra Parikh
Junior Fellow: Ilya Yatsishin
The uneven course of the COVID-19 pandemic, both between and within countries, has highlighted how much work is needed to address structural disparities that leave so many vulnerable. As we recover and rebuild, careful attention to the concepts of ‘health’ and ‘care’ is needed if we are to meaningfully improve. This cohort will critically reflect on your personal and community service experiences of health and caregiving, and explore what it might mean to conceptualize health and care more thoughtfully and humanely. As we consider how biosocial and medical realities shape each other in the context of our current predicament, we will delve into questions such as the following:
- What are the social and medical implications of how we imagine ‘health’ and ‘care’? How do these concepts vary among patients and health practitioners and from community to community, and how are they intertwined with ideas of therapeutic efficacy and wellbeing?
- How is healthcare organized and delivered and which values undergird it? Which structural factors and social markers impact healthcare access and health disparities?
- How do vulnerable communities conceptualize illness and suffering and enact care?
- How are ‘best practices’ in healthcare evaluated? Which kind of methodological toolkits can we assemble that will allow us to better identify people’s needs and create responsive and caring practices?
Throughout the year, we will collaborate with Dr. Bon Ku and his team at Jefferson Medical School’s Health Design Lab in Philadelphia, which is exploring innovative ways to bring COVID testing to underserved neighborhoods in Philadelphia, while at the same time building on their previous work to address community residents’ other health concerns (e.g. the opioid epidemic) in these historically neglected areas. Along with the Health Design Lab and their community partners, students will work to curate and share narratives and data on the lived experiences of city residents and caregivers grappling with the threat of COVID, as well as support residents in accessing social services that are vital during this time. These projects will inform ongoing work on community health and caregiving and contribute to neighborhood development.
- Samantha Chin ‘23
Supported by Princeton’s International Internship Program, Samantha worked virtually with Child Family Health International (CFHI) Ecuador. Samantha interviewed in-country health professionals and applied her knowledge from global health training to write a comparative analysis report on the U.S. and Ecuadorian health systems; the report will be used to assist grassroots global health leaders in understanding and interacting across health systems and to serve as training material for future CFHI interns. Working closely with Dr. Susana Alvear, Samantha also created an infographic guide on the intersection of occidental and traditional medicine for a family health clinic in Ecuador’s Andean region.
- Allison Chou ‘23
Through her involvement with Community House After School Academy at Princeton, her own experience and interest in computer science, and supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Allison worked with COS faculty member Dr. Kaplan and fellow peer students to teach COS126 to students at the University of Puerto Rico. Allison was involved in running and teaching the course as well as actively engaging with the situation and the problems currently affecting the often-forgotten-colony's daily life.
- Nelson Chow ‘23
Supported by the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship in Civic Service, Nelson worked at the Freeport Recreation Center to expand access to courses centered around life-saving skills. Nelson worked with Aquatic Solutions to provide American Red Cross CPR/AED/First-Aid/Lifeguard courses and certifications to low-income students across Long Island. Nelson also helped students secure Nassau County certifications so that they can work as lifeguards throughout Long Island.
- Ashley Chung ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Ashley worked with Dr. Arbel Griner in order to gain exposure to new perspectives on health-related matters, which has become increasingly relevant given the current global pandemic. By establishing a dialogue on health in various cultural, geographic, and social settings with the help of experts in the field, Ashley was able to promote conversations and offer new insight on health-related topics in the US.
- Rish Deshide ‘23
Rish was supported by Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS) and did a remote internship with The Office of Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. She researched health, economic, and environmental policies with a focus on how COVID-19 has compounded racial and socioeconomic inequities present in these issue areas.
- Neyci Gutiérrez Valencia ‘23
After discovering the exciting possibilities Computer Science offered her when taking COS 126, Neyci decided to share her recently acquired knowledge with others. Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, she worked with students from the University of Puerto Rico in an abridged version of the popular Princeton course. She was excited to face this challenge and get to know and help her students using Computer Science.
- Maryam Kamel ‘23
Interested by the interplay of religion and resettlement due to her own personal experiences, Maryam joined Princeton’s Office of Religious Life’s Oral History Project on Religion and Resettlement, which aims to better understand and respond to the role that religion plays in the lives of refugees as they resettle and integrate into the United States. Through this project, Maryam collected the oral histories of various refugees in her local community.
- Tanvi Nibhanupudi ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Tanvi worked with Campus Compact, a national nonprofit that seeks to strengthen civic engagement on college campuses, as a Development and Communications Support Intern. She planned the logistics and created educational/promotional materials for the Safe Elections Project, a systemized initiative to recruit 300 college student volunteers who oversaw community outreach to attract poll workers. Additionally, she researched grant opportunities to sustain the nonprofit's work in light of the pandemic as support from member institutions' dues became increasingly uncertain.
- Oyinade Oyenusi ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Oyinade Oyenusi spent her summer researching the racial disparities of COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths. Specifically, she did a critical analysis on how historical trauma and medical racism is impacting black people’s access to mental health services during this time.
- 2Pi Pham ‘23
In 8th grade, 2Pi Pham created a science fair project on direct reprogramming stem cells. Over the summer, with support from the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant and in partnership with an accomplished alumni, she further pursued her study of tissue engineering through a literature review on microspheres and microcarriers (specifically on cartilage tissue engineering) and how these two tools can have societal relevance in regards to modern healthcare.
- Caroline Subbiah ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Caroline interned with the nonprofit Texas Women in Business to help them plan and develop the Not on Our Watch event, a fundraiser to stop human trafficking that will be held in conjunction with the state government. Texas is the #1 state for human trafficking, and as a Texas native herself, this project holds special value for her.
- Andrew Tran ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Andrew worked with Common Denominator to help under-resourced middle school students enjoy math and build confidence through tutoring and supportive mentorships. On top of recruiting prospective tutors and students, Andrew will act as a substitute math tutor and additional administrative help during the weekly summer tutoring program. Andrew's main task centers on designing and conducting a longitudinal survey to assess the long-term impacts of the program on former students.
- Vian Wagatsuma ‘23
Driven by her passion for service and science and supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Vian worked with an alumna on composing a review article on 3D printing of PEG-based hydrogels for clinical purposes.
- Dana Waitman ‘23
Supported by Princeton’s Center for Jewish Life and Service Focus, Dana worked remotely at Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Greater Mercer County. During her internship she assisted in the creation of virtual programming for students in both middle and high school, specifically relating to Jewish heritage, preparing for university, and life amidst Covid-19.
- Yaakov Zinberg ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Yaakov spent the summer working with his grandfather – the rabbi of a prominent Manhattan synagogue – in compiling and digitizing the thousands of pages of his notes for a lifetime's worth of speeches, sermons, and classes. Yaakov wrote several full-length essays based on some of the notes, which he hopes to continue throughout the coming year when time permits. Eventually, Yaakov hopes to publish a book containing these essays, to be shared with the extended family, his grandfather's congregation, and the broader Jewish community.
Sigrid Adriaenssens is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University, where she directs the Form-Finding Lab. Her research addresses how to transform the engineering design framework for a future-oriented built urban environment, with an emphasis on environmental sustainability and resilience. Prof. Adriaenssens previously worked as a project engineer for Jane Wernick Associates, London,UK and Ney + Partners, Brussels, Belgium, where her projects won (inter)national architectural and construction prizes. She has interests in the intersection of engineering and the arts and co-developed courses such as “Extraordinary Processes” and “Transformations: Engineering and the Arts,” which was co-taught in Fall 2015 with Professor Joe Scanlan, director of Princeton’s Program in Visual Arts. Along with Maria Garlock, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton, she co-leads the Princeton University Resilient City Lab, a project dedicated to examining complex and interrelated urban systems and how they respond to extreme events. On the Princeton campus, her research group has designed, researched, engineered and built the spiraling rammed earth wall at Forbes Garden. As a recipient of the Princeton Environmental Institute Climate and Urban Grand Challenges, she leads research projects dedicated to examining interrelated urban and social systems and how they respond to extreme events (such as storm surges) and pollution. Prof. Adriaenssens served as a Service Focus faculty mentor in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
- Senior Fellow: Tobi Ayeni
- Junior Fellow: Ritvik Aghihotri
Building a sustainable and resilient world is one of the most pressing and intersectional issues of the day. As we rethink the way we approach topics like urban planning and community development to increase sustainability, there is an added need to ensure these conversations are infused with a lens of equity and social justice.
This cohort will be developing the skills and habits of mind necessary to engage with the ethical development and design of our homes and cities through a case study on a topic of particular interest to Faculty Mentor Sigrid Adriaenssen: the way that the design of cities and communities create harmful levels of noise pollution in certain areas. In a recent report from the World Health Organization, researchers found that residents of areas with higher levels of noise pollution lost more than 1 million healthy years of life in Western Europe. This is due to noise pollution’s correlation with health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and other stress-related outcomes.
Alongside online discussions, this cohort will utilize materials to track noise levels in their own communities and explore the implications of sound on the body and structures. With the world watching COVID-19, this cohort will take a different approach; they will listen to it. Students will explore the implications of noise pollution, do noise testing where safe and appropriate, and engage together in developing strategies and solutions around effective advocacy and interventions.
- How are the effects of noise pollution manifesting? How do effects vary depending on socioeconomic, infrastructural, topographic, and built-environment factors?
- How can we use noise pollution as an example of the attention needed to design a future in a safe and equitable way?
- How can collaboration and communication among researchers, governments, and communities be enhanced for equitable and sustainable action?
- Annabel Dupont ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Annabel spent her summer working at the Shipyard Trust for the Arts, a nonprofit based in San Francisco, CA which provides affordable studio spaces and supports the artistic community in the Bay Area. She met virtually with local artists to produce videos that will be used to advertise their work and share the way that they have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
- Britney Guo ‘23
Supported by Princeton in Asia and Service Focus, Britney worked with the Mongolia office of Smart Air, a social enterprise providing free air pollution education and affordable pollution protection. Britney created Smart Air Mongolia's social media plan for the upcoming fall through spring which focuses on pollution education and awareness, and promoting "The world's most cost-effective air purifier."
- Rachel Kulchar ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Rachel worked in partnership with Grace Presbyterian Church to help combat food insecurity within elderly populations in her local community.
- Aaron Leung ‘23
Supported by the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship in Civic Service, Aaron worked at Nautilus to develop a novel remote pedagogical strategy that aims to solve K-16 educational inefficiencies and inequities through innovative principles and technology.
- Marissa Merjia ‘23
Marissa’s love of the environment and passion for education inspired her to serve at Land to Learn, a small nonprofit based in the New York Hudson Valley that aims to grow a movement for food justice and community wellness through implementing interdisciplinary garden-based education programs in public schools. She worked closely with Land to Learn’s communications, marketing, and public relations employees to coordinate and publicize initiatives that reached out to the largely underprivileged communities that Land to Learn works with.
- Rachel Qing Pang ‘23
Building on her experiences in service in her hometown, Singapore, Rachel worked at the Princeton University Tiger Challenge to bring to light the untold stories of underrepresented groups in society. Starting with the Montgomery Township in New Jersey, Rachel is collaborating with historians, activists, residents, and the Mayor herself to serve as a vehicle for underrepresented voices—among them, Indigenous Lenape Natives and Black people in the township—to work together to build a more inclusive community. Over the summer, the work of her team has been featured on the first page of the Montgomery Township’s newspaper and presented live at the town council meeting which was broadcasted on television and online.
- Hetvi Patel ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Hetvi worked at Aspire Prep as a Website Manager/Content developer in a team called "The Quaran-Tiger". The company aims to mentor and tutor young individuals and prepare them to be a part of Ivy League schools. She worked to expand the digital presence and offerings of Aspire Prep by using her web development skills to build/enhance their website and provide any other technical help as required.
- Arielle Rivera ‘23
Motivated by the continuous power outages in Puerto Rico, Arielle worked with the island's first electric cooperative with the goal of bringing clean energy to marginalized communities in the Cordillera Central. With support from the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Arielle helped to plan future institutional partnerships and to develop financial materials that will attract investors to support the cooperative's mission.
- Alexis Sursock ‘23
With support from the Service Focus COVID-19 Response grant and the Princeton Computer Science Department, Alexis worked as an instructor for an introductory CS-course at the University of Puerto Rico. Still reeling from Hurricane Maria, much of Puerto Rico is facing significant economic, social, and educational challenges. Together with six other teaching assistants, Alexis remotely held precepts and helped UPR students transition to college.
- Karena Yan ‘23
Through a PEI internship, Karena worked with a research group in the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences to study terrestrial heat waves. She analyzed climate model data to look at how increasing humid heat due to climate change will affect labor productivity. Karena is passionate about the disproportionate repercussions this may have for developing nations with inadequate workplace cooling access.
- Sophie Yangyi ‘23
As an aspiring engineer interested in advancing healthcare, Sophie decided to get a better sense of community health issues by working with and learning from Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, an organization that provides both medical and non-medical services to people living with HIV in New Jersey. With support from Princeton’s Program for Community-Engaged Scholarship, Sophie created a data analysis report that assessed the client population and services provided, including how Hyacinth responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Food & the Food System
Tessa Lowinske Desmond is an Associate Research Scholar in American Studies. She earned her PhD in Literary Studies (2014) and Master’s degree in Afro-American Studies (2005) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She arrived at Princeton in 2017 having most recently served as administrative director and lecturer for the Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, Rights at Harvard University where she helped to develop academic pathways, curriculum, and event series in Ethnic Studies. Her current research focuses on the history of farming in twentieth century America and migrant farm labor. She teaches courses on the American food system and on multiethnic American literature. An extension of her intellectual interests, Lowinske Desmond owns a six-acre farm near Princeton and is active in the local food movement. She has received awards for publicly engaged scholarship and outstanding service to students. She was also awarded the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders in Higher Education award, given by the American Association of Colleges and Universities to recognize scholars committed to academic and civic responsibility. Prof. Desmond served as a Service Focus faculty mentor in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
- Senior Fellow: Toyosi Oluwole
- Junior Fellow: Maya Mishra
Food connects us with others through an intricate and complicated web. Food can be the connective tissue that binds us with our families, friends, cultures, and histories. It is often a vehicle for celebration and exploration. It is nourishing and life-giving. And yet, if we peel back some layers and consider contemporary food production, we might begin to see some worrying trends. Food inequality is rife in the United States and globally. Not everyone has equal access to healthy, safe, affordable food. The industrial food system that delivers endless culinary riches too often relies on practices that exploit farmers, farm workers, and the environment. Profits are tied to processed foods that use our physiology against us, filling our diets with the likes of sugars and trans-fats. We live in a moment when farmers are struggling, our agricultural lands are depleted, and we have soaring rates of diet-related disease. And all this was before COVID-time.
Together, this Service Focus cohort will consider the complexity of food. We will use food as connective tissue, bonding while cooking and eating together virtually. We will explore our own foodways and the foodscapes of our communities. We will examine worrying trends brought to the surface by the current pandemic. And, we’ll reflect and discuss how ideas of service can be woven throughout it all.
- Andra Constantin ‘23
As a member of the Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS) 2020 Solidarity Cohort, Andra participated in virtual workshops that exemplified how other students and alumni have given back to the community through academic, social, and professional support. Inspired by her summer mentorship with a Princeton alumnus and new possibilities for serving while staying at home, Andra began volunteering as a mentor for incoming Princeton students.
- Julia Douvas ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Julia taught a version of COS126 to University of Puerto Rico students. Through this experience, Julia gained experience teaching, learned about Puerto Rico, and connected with students at UPR and Princeton who are passionate about computer science. In addition, inspired by her experience training as an OA leader, Julia trained as an EMT this summer with hopes of volunteering for her local rescue squad in Charlottesville, Virginia in the future.
- Harry Foster ‘23
With support from the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Harry did in depth analysis and research on the insects with high nutritional content (typically protein sources). He worked in previous studies on the biology side, but then took it one step further and attempted to determine which insects could be the most practical economically for real-life implementation and growth. Harry sees massive possible upside as if insects, which are very widely not eaten, could possibly be grown efficiently and in high numbers, they could at least be used for food in commercial fisheries and possibly CAFOs (large factory farms).
- Miguel Gracia-Zhang ‘23
Supported by the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship in Civic Service, Miguel worked at The Mendocino Voice, a local online newspaper in his home-county. He was inspired by his Spring Freshman Seminar, 'What to Read and Believe in the Digital Age', and wanted to learn more and work in local journalism, an industry hit hard by both the digital age and the COVID pandemic. Miguel wrote many reports on press releases, covered local topics ranging from education to healthcare, and compiled data on the county's many special districts.
- Ella Kaage ‘23
Due to special circumstances Ella will be completing her service requirement in the fall semester under guidance from Professor Tessa Desmond with support from Service Focus.
- Emily Perez ‘23
Emily worked this summer as a Community Action fellow, designing a service-focused pre-orientation experience for incoming Princeton first-years. Emily brought together community partners and student leaders to introduce the incoming students to the practice service at Princeton and beyond.
- Karla Perez-Gazca ‘23
Supported by the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship in Civic Service, Karla worked with the nonprofit Proyecto Desarrollo Humano to expand accessibility to their health and nutritional education services in the surrounding South Texas community. Through this experience she gained insight into healthcare disparities and their effects.
- Rooya Rahin ‘23
Expanding on her passion for public policy, Rooya interned at Hunger Free Colorado, working in their public policy department to tackle food insecurity in her home state. With support from the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship in Civic Service, Rooya helped write and research policy memos, letters to elected officials, and action alerts, as well as authoring her own policy memo on SNAP benefits for community college students.
- Carmina Rangel-Pacheco ‘23
With an interest in gardening and farming, Carmina chose to spend her summer working for City Sprouts, a nonprofit urban farming organization with the focus of combatting food insecurity through open community gardens and donations to local food pantries.
- Laura Robertson ‘23
After falling in love with her freshman seminar, "Consuming America," Laura spent her summer interning with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA-NJ). With support from Princeton’s Program for Community-Engaged Scholarship, she connected people to local organic food systems through such diverse projects as researching regulations for farmer's markets in the COVID era; updated a website that mapped organic farms, farmer's markets, and services throughout the state of NJ, and organizing an online tomato festival. She will continue on as staff at NOFA through the academic year.
- Megan Specht ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Megan worked at Groundwork Bridgeport conducting user interviews and learning about UI/UX web design to best develop a database that houses youth service programs in Bridgeport. This database will help students in Bridgeport find and participate in after school programs.
- Lois Wu ‘23
Supported by Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS), Lois completed a remote internship with the Québec-Labrador Foundation, a non-profit organization based in both the U.S. and Canada that focuses on community-based conservation and international collaboration among leaders in environmental stewardship.
- Allison Yang ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Allison tutored underrepresented K-12 students as part of the Princeton Online Tutoring Network. In the wake of a pandemic, many students are having their learning severally disrupted and education is more than ever needed. Allison worked to bridge these learning gaps and help students develop a passion for learning.
Race, Migration & Belonging
Rosina Lozano, is a historian of Latino history with a research and teaching focus on Mexican American history, the American West, migration and immigration, and comparative studies in race and ethnicity. Lozano's first book, An American Language: The History of Spanish in the United States (University of California Press, 2018), is a political history of the Spanish language in the United States from the incorporation of the Mexican cession in 1848 through World War II, with some discussion of the following decades and present-day concerns. The nation has always been multilingual, and Spanish-language rights, in particular, have remained an important political issue into the present. An American Language received the PROSE award in Language and Linguistics (2019) and the First Book Prize from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society. Lozano was featured on Al Punto with Jorge Ramos and has given numerous academic and public talks about her book. At Princeton, Lozano is associated with the Program in Latino Studies, the Program in American Studies (where she is a member of the Executive Committee), the Program in Latin American Studies, the Princeton-Mellon Urban Studies Program, and the PIIRS-sponsored Migration: People and Cultures Across Borders research group.
- Senior Fellow: Remy Reya
- Junior Fellow: Emma Moriarty
The United States is often erroneously described as a “Nation of Immigrants,” which omits the Indigenous communities who first lived in the nation and also suggest all immigrants had a similar experience when they arrived. The reality of course is that many African Americans were forced to come to the United States as slaves, whereas other populations like Asians and Latin Americans have found themselves excluded by federal law from entering the nation. We will consider the ways that race, ethnicity, and citizenship affect the experience of people in the United States. These discussions will include topics such as the militarization of the border, the detention of immigrants, deportation, refugees, voting rights, access to educational and social services. As we consider these questions, we will be coming back to some core questions, such as:
•Who is considered an “American”? How do you become an American? How has it changed over time?
• How is citizenship defined and what rights does it provide in principle and in practice?
• In what ways does race and ethnicity alter the immigrant experience and efforts at belonging?
• In what ways does refugee status intersect or diverge from the experience of undocumented immigrants?
• How does the century-long tightening of the border relate to the lived realities of undocumented migrants, undocumented crossers, and the general public’s perception of them?
- Ana Blanco ‘23
After learning about Princeton students' low voter turnout rates, Ana worked with Vote100 to promote voter/civic engagement among the undergraduate community. Ana is particularly interested in promoting local political engagement so she helped organize a discussion with local Princeton politicians about the importance of down-ballot voting and active community involvement.
- Jessica Lee ‘23
Jessica interned with The Sextant Foundation (affiliated with Mazzetti), which focuses on providing clean energy and water to healthcare facilities. She was able to develop her own projects based on her educational interests.
- Kate Liu ‘23
Supported by the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship in Civic Service, Kate worked with the YWCA Princeton and joined Princeton Mutual Aid to bring resources and aid to affected members of the community. From COVID-19 centered relief to social justice initiatives and civic engagement, she shared with and learned from her community in meaningful ways. Additionally, Kate was a judicial intern for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court, learning about the judicial system and exploring important questions about judicial philosophy and the institution of punishment.
- Liam Longergan ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Liam worked with Support Forrest Hills Eateries to connect eatery owners with public and nonprofit sector resources. Liam focused on digital outreach to Forest Hills area residents regarding how best to support local eateries during the pandemic.
- Riley Martinez ‘23
Riley's interests of social justice and nonprofit work led him to intern at the Special Olympics International headquarters this summer. Supported by Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS), he worked with regional leaders across the globe to conduct operations in order to engage youth to advance work relating to Intellectual Disabilities. Riley harnessed his passion for unification and social justice to fuel his work throughout the summer.
- Brandon McNeely ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Brandon worked closely with the Young Scholars Institute in Trenton, NJ, an organization that provides low-cost college preparatory and educational material for students. His work consisted of making a website for the organization, offering remote tutoring, and managing their social media.
- Halle Mitchell ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Halle worked with high schools in her county to develop voting resource materials as a supplement to their current curricula. As someone who has worked multiple elections in her county, she is very passionate on voter education and aims to encourage local students to be more civically engaged.
- Rose Nguyen ‘23
As a first-generation, low-income student, Rose chose to work with Trio Upward Bound, a college guidance program for first-generation, low-income student. With support from the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellowship in Civic Service she worked as a Peer Mentor and was able to host a college panel to motivate students to broaden their college search and lead 13 students in group bonding activities.
- Hana Widerman ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Hana worked as a literature review intern for a forthcoming book on the issue of homelessness, co-authored by the Founder of the Burnes Institute for Poverty Research at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy and the CEO of Miracle Messages.
- Julie Wilson ‘23
Supported by the Service Focus COVID-19 Response Grant, Julie worked with Pace Center Coordinator Evan Schneider on "Let's Talk About...", a podcast featuring Princeton students who are passionate about service. Julie started by writing interview questions and editing episodes. Towards the end of the internship, she conducted interviews and produced entire episodes on her own.