Post Classifieds

Students win Sorensen award

By Danielle Gross
On February 6, 2012

Last week, the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life published the list of six undergraduates who have been awarded Sorensen Fellowships. Jesse Hart '14, Rachael Koehler '13, Mangaliso Mohammed '13, Karia Sekumbo '14, Robyn Spector '13 and Andrea Verdeja '14 are the six students selected to receive a $4,000 stipend to cover all expenses for a summer internship anywhere outside of the United States, or $3,500 for one inside the United States.

In an interview with the Justice, Marci McPhee, associate director of the Ethics Center, explained the application process. "The students must apply through a very competitive process, which begins when they have an internship in mind," she said. "The students begin the application process in November for the following summer, so they already need to have the internship lined up. Ten students are selected, six fellows and four alternates," she continued. The students chosen must enroll in a spring class to fulfill the intellectual side of their internship. This is to prepare them for the internship process. Once the students return from the summer internship experience, they are all required to take a related writing intensive class, which aids them in documenting and explaining their experience.

The only requirement for the summer internship is that the chosen organization must deal with issues of ethics and international significance.

Hart will be doing his internship with The Playhouse Theatre in Northern Ireland, a community theater that hosts progressive programs concerning the arts and conflict resolution in the region. In an inteview with the Justice, Hart reflected that winning the scholarship made him feel "excited and extremely relieved." Hart, who is from Worthington, Ohio, said that this will be his first time out of the country, which makes the internship that much more exciting for him.

Verdeja will be working for a non-governmental organization in Israel, Paidia International Development, which is a "community development program in Bethlehem. Basically, they work with children during the afternoon to provide them teamwork and leadership skills. They do this through working with gardening, construction work, and teaching English," said Verdeja in an interview with the Justice. She is taking two classes in preparation for her experience this summer: "War and Revolution in the Middle East" and "Sociology of Israeli and Palestinian Confrontation."

Mohammed will be interning with the Municipal Council of Mbabane in Swaziland. He will work on several projects, including finding suitable renewable energy sources for low-income households and reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS, according to BrandeisNOW.

Koehler will work with Beyond Skin in Belfast, Northern Ireland, an organization that works to promote racial and religious coexistence. She will plan her own coexistence festival and produce a religious understanding radio show.

Karia Sekumbo will intern with Opportunity International, a microfinance organization in his home country of Tanzania. According to BrandeisNOW, he hopes to "gain a more concrete understanding of the workings of microfinance and its important role in global poverty alleviation."

Robyn Spector will report and take photographs for The New Times, an English-language newspaper in Kigali, Rwanda, according to BrandeisNOW.

This program began in 1998 to honor Theodore C. Sorensen for his commitment to public service and to commemorate his 10 years as chairman of the Center's International Advisory Board, according to a BrandeisNOW press release.

When asked what she hoped the chosen students would accomplish and get out of this experience, McPhee replied, "I hope they rock the world. I hope that this experience will allow them a broader and sharper focus in their professional lives—broader in the context of more professionalism in their work, and sharper in understanding particular regions and issues."

—Sam Mintz contributed reporting.

Editor's note: Robyn Spector '13 is a Justice associate editor.  


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