Makisa Bronson-Dartmouth College
As an adopted Chinese American woman, I am deeply passionate about social impact and social justice, particularly in the form of education justice. Last year, I interned with Dartmouth’s SEAD program, an education equity and college access program aiming to help prepare first-generation and low-income high school students to succeed in higher education. As an intern, I worked at an under-resourced high school in Upstate New York and mentored a cohort of 11 SEAD students–all first-generation, low-income students of color. During my time at the high school, I quickly realized the extent to which educational racism and other structural injustices prevent these students from receiving the quality education and resources that they deserve. This past summer, I received funding from Dartmouth’s Center for Social Impact to explore these same lessons in education equity in my birth country China. There, I interned at Stepping Stones, a Shanghai nonprofit that aims to provide basic English education to migrant students, who are often discriminated against and prevented from enrolling in the municipal school system. My experiences at SEAD and Stepping Stones have further ignited my dedication to working towards social impact, justice, and civic engagement in all their forms and to pursue a career in the social sector working towards education reform.
Andreas Lyros-Hellenic American University
Hellenic American University has provided me with the opportunity to come in contact with the minorities of Athens, as well as the major issues of contemporary Greece: homelessness, refugees, drug use, issues of discrimination, and overall violations of human rights. With the aid of Hellenic American University’s exceptional instructors, I became an active volunteer in multiple Non-Governmental Organizations in Athens, and I have been lucky enough to serve the populations in need. My services included: teaching unaccompanied refugee minors the Greek and English languages through ‘LIBRA: The Home Project’, aiding the actions of ‘Shedia’, the first and only Greek magazine of the homeless, collaborating with groups focused on the emotional relief of theatre viewers, and more. Through the Internship course provided in the Bachelor of Psychology Program, I was able to serve as an ambassador of the Hellenic American University for US students. I have successfully encouraged my fellow students to offer their services to all the actions I myself have contributed to. Currently, I am going through interviews to become a member of the 11528, a suicide prevention hotline devoted to raising awareness on LGBT issues.
Jacob Plasencia-NHTI, Concord’s Community College
I first became passionate about renewable energy and environmental change when I had the opportunity to take a sustainable energy and design course in high school. Through this course we learned about the importance of renewable energy functions and how large of an environmental impact it has on the atmosphere. Currently I am continuing to pursue more knowledge about this topic by studying Architectural Engineering. After completing this field of study I hope to design both commercial and residential structures that serve as a representation of a self sustainable building that reaches net zero.
Molly Cassidy-Plymouth State University
My passion for service learning evolved during my ten months spent working as an AmeriCorps NCCC Corps Member after graduating high school. Now that I am at Plymouth State University, I’m grateful I can continue pursing this passion as a Student Ambassador in the Office of Community Impact. I facilitate the Angel Tree Project on campus, getting donations out to approximately 300 local children during the holiday season. I am also involved in the Alternative Spring Break Club and the International Service Trip group. Most recently, I traveled to Westmoreland, Jamaica with a group of students to volunteer at the Association of Clubs, and I am currently planning a trip to Pennsylvania to spend a week volunteering at an eco-farm. I am extremely passionate about service learning, as well as inspiring fellow students to advocate for social justice issues. My goal is to pursue a career in a community service related field. I love to volunteer, hike, read, ski, and hang out with animals.
Abigail Roden-Saint Anselm College
For the last two years, I worked on the YWCA NH domestic and sexual violence crisis line as a counselor. I responding to hospital calls, walk-in clients, phone calls, and court needs. During that time, I have worked with resilient survivors who have overcome horrific trauma to take back their lives. Sexual and domestic violence can be experienced by anyone and impacts all of us in some way.
After shadowing the YWCA’s court advocacy program and seeing a client of mine arrested for their own abuse I realized that I had to speak out against the re-victimization of survivors in the criminal justice system. Last semester the YWCA NH and the New Hampshire Coalition of Against Domestic Violence worked to get the Marcy’s Law amendment pass the New Hampshire state floor so survivors could get justice through the criminal justice system. Marcy Law did not pass last year but the skills that I and other volunteers learned working on the campaign will help us push harder for change. I am proud of the work I have done so far and I am certain that after I leave this powerful work will continue to grow.
Kaitlin Griffin-University of New Hampshire
In high school, I learned how education and discussion are central to tackling difficult social issues. As a leader in a group called the Ethics Forum, I helped organize and lead academic conferences where students had the opportunity to talk about meaningful subjects like democracy and censorship, all at no cost to them. Students at these events worked in small breakout groups where they could talk about the material in-depth and explore possible solutions to big problems. I saw how working in an ethically motivated community could produce incredible results. Our largest annual convention, HYPE, hosts around 1000 high school students and is a great place for them to share their ideas while learning from others. This has led me to pursue opportunities on campus with my dorm hall council and the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise that can bring awareness and action to issues like sustainability, community engagement, and social responsibility. By joining these groups, I hope to help improve my community’s well-being and spread discussion on social issues.