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Bard Center For Civic Engagement Announces Winners of Community Action Awards For 2013

Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Bard Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) announces more than 60 winners for the 2013 Community Action Award program, which supports student efforts to engage with communities locally, nationally, and internationally by providing funding for participation in internships that address issues impacting people around the world. Nearly 120 Bard undergraduates applied to defray the costs of unpaid internships in their chosen fields. Worldwide internship placements include community organizations; local, state, or national government agencies and offices; international governmental and nongovernmental organizations; media, public policy, and nonprofit organizations; and educational projects or programs.

Internship sites this summer include Human Rights Foundation (Turkey), Capital Good Fund (Rhode Island), Future of Diplomacy Project at the Kennedy School (Massachusetts), Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence (Cairo), Make the Road (New York), ArteEast (New York), African Center for Migration and Society (South Africa), Suffolk County District Attorney (New York), OYE Organization for Youth Empowerment (Honduras), Let’s Get Ready (New York), and the National Park Service (California).

Internationally, students are working to understand global perspectives on issues related to poverty, human rights, and civil society. Siddhartha Baral ’14, a double major in anthropology and math, is working directly with communities impacted by human trafficking in his home country of Nepal. The Human Trafficking Vulnerability project (based at Vanderbilt University’s Political Science Department, Stanford’s Center on Democracy, and Stanford Law School) is a policy evaluation project that examines the impacts of different forms of anti-trafficking narratives, such as graphic novels, radio dramatization, and other media messages, on attitudes and behaviors pertaining to human trafficking. “My interest lies in exploring how I can apply my education in causes that demand tangible action,” says Baral. “This project brings me into the field.”

Aliya Daniels ’14, originally from Toronto, Canada, is one of two students interning in South Africa. “In Johannesburg, I am exposed not only to different cultures, but also a different way of thinking about humanity, politics, and life in general. The challenge of living in and getting to know a new society has become an exciting one for me,” says Daniels. She is focused on a research project investigating the impact of foreign workers on the South African labor market. “I am excited that my work will fulfill a part of a bigger project, bringing it closer to its goals for implementing change,” she says. Nina Kamp ’14, a native of San Rafael, California, is working in the Legal Resource Center (LRC). “My responsibilities include researching the rights to HIV drugs and working directly with the head of LRC, Janet Love, on a comparative study on the selection process to the bench of South Africa in comparison to other developed and developing democracies,” says Kamp.

Many students chose to stay in the Hudson Valley to support local community agencies and organizations like the Astor Home in Rhinebeck, Tivoli Fire Department, and Red Hook Library. Madeline Scholl ’14 of Houston, Texas, and Christina Baal ’14 of Mamaroneck, New York, are working at Montgomery Place, a historic home on the Hudson River and neighbor to Bard campus. An American studies major, Scholl is interested in understanding how Montgomery Place engages contemporary audiences. Baal draws on her studio arts background to sketch and map the Montgomery Place landscape as part of an effort to tell the story of its past by creating permanent displays for a garden restoration project.

Virginia Hanusik ’14, a resident of Dover Plains, New York, joins Hudson River Housing as its Community Building and Neighborhood Revitalization intern. Hudson River Housing is the only nonprofit in Poughkeepsie that strives to serve current and future homeowners by developing and preserving affordable housing opportunities through initiatives designed to build strong, sustainable communities, reduce the devastation of homelessness, and improve access to quality housing. Additionally, she will join the Fall Kill Restoration project. Her dedication to civic engagement began when she started working with Bard’s New Orleans program in the Broadmoor neighborhood two years ago. She now brings her work back to her native Hudson Valley.

Dai Cao ’14, an international student from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and a philosophy major, works with the prestigious Marcus Graham Project in Texas dedicated to diversifying the communications field through mentorship, exposure, and career development. The summer boot camp helps selected teams provide pro-bono consultancy for select nonprofit organizations as pop-up agencies. Cao is focusing on Falling Whistles, a program developed five years ago as a campaign to promote peace in Congo by selling whistles as a symbol of protest (whistleblowers for peace). Over 50,000 whistles have been sold.

Jared Rankin ’14, a philosophy major from Frederick, Maryland, is coordinating a project called Partners in Philosophy, geared toward prisoner education at the maximum-security facility Jessup Correctional Institute in his home state. A prison clemency program, Partners in Philosophy offers college-level classes to incarcerated men. “Having spoken with many of the men over the past two years, it seems to me that many crimes are not committed because these men are of low intelligence, or because they are ‘bad’ or ‘evil.’ Rather, they were committed because of lack of thought,” Rankin says. “Partners in Philosophy fulfills its mission by offering a variety of philosophy courses, which challenge students to think critically. These men then gain the tools to begin to reflect upon their own lives, past and present, which in turn, helps to reduce violence and animosity within the prison, create leaders, and prepare men for life post-release.”

Karimah Shabazz ’15, a sociology major from Atlanta, Georgia, joins Let’s Get Ready, an organization dedicated to preparing low-income and disadvantaged high school students for the SAT in an effort to close the achievement gap and enable more students to attend college. Shabazz says, “My work is an important step in closing the achievement gap. Youth everywhere deserve the best education that will give them access to the careers and lives they desire to have. Through educating our youth, we can potentially end the perpetual poverty that plagues underserved communities.”

Morganne Sample ’15, a sociology major from Gentry, Arizona, works with the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF), whose mission is to remember that every statistic represents a living, breathing child. Sample is working to assess the needs of children in the juvenile justice system by conducting research, tracking legislative developments, and fundraising. “My study of sociology has provided me with the ability to connect individual experiences with broader social structures and issues. This will help me to contribute to AACF’s mission to realize individual experiences while addressing them in a larger context,” says Sample.

A full list of student summer internships awards can be found on our blog at and our Facebook page at



About the Bard Center for Civic Engagement (CCE)

Civic engagement is at the core of Bard’s identity. The College undertakes initiatives that reflect our belief in the link between liberal education and democracy, and further Bard’s mission as a private institution acting in the public interest. The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) supports students in Annandale by focusing on student-led initiatives and internships, developing community partnerships, and expanding science and sustainability efforts. Beyond the Annandale campus, the center works closely with Bard’s vast network of programs and partner institutions in the United States and abroad. We engage with important issues, whether with local service organizations, New York State prisons, public high schools, or in universities around the globe.





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This event was last updated on 08-15-2013