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Bard Center For Civic Engagement Announces Winners of Community Action Awards For 2014

Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Bard Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) announces more than 50 winners for the 2014 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 100 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 non-governmental organizations; media, public policy, and non-profit organizations; and educational projects or programs.

Internship sites this summer include Legal Aid Society (New York), National Cancer Relief Society (Nepal), LGBTQ advocacy group Black and Pink (Massachusetts), Center for American Progress (Washington, DC), Port-Royal des Champs museum (France), Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station Eco and Science Camps (U.S. Virgin Islands), Human Rights Watch (New York), Institute of Nature and Society in Oaxaca (Mexico), Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) in waste management sector (Peru), youth development program Moving in the Spirit (Georgia), and Gay and Lesbian Aids Education Initiative GALAEI (Philadelphia). 

Internationally, students are working to understand global perspectives on issues related to poverty, human rights and civil society. Dev Abhishek ’15 is a biology and economics major working as a research assistant for the project People Power in Nepal. The project is aimed at raising the voices of dalits (untouchables) and janajati (the aboriginal people). For the first two weeks of his internship he will be in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, and will familiarize himself with the old Nepali constitution. Abhishek will then travel with the group to five different districts of southern Nepal (where dalits and janajatis are concentrated) and will engage with them directly.  

Ana Felicia Doni ’17 is human rights major and joined the Soros Foundation Moldova for the summer. After Moldova gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, it has suffered from many social inequalities. The program’s mission is to promote social justice and democratic civil society. The Soros Foundation addresses issues of education, ethnic minority rights (with a focus on Roma issues in Moldova), LGBT rights, human trafficking, and female empowerment.

Many students chose to stay in the Hudson Valley to support local community agencies and organizations like Bard Branches Summer Camp, Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, and Wilderstein Historic Site. John English ’16 and Andrea Szegedy-Maszak ’16 organized a science camp for the local communities around Bard. Their goal is to “provide an educational summer camp experience for families that typically would not be able to enroll, either due to financial strains or lack of availability in the area.” Their goal is to also be promoting science outreach from Bard to the greater community and fostering relationships with the local school system. 

Tina Wack ’15 is a rising senior majoring in written arts. She works at GALAEI, which is a LGBTQIA Latino non-profit organization based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. GALAEI is hosting an alternative prom, and Wack is helping to organize this event. “The prom is a safe space for LGBT youth to go and bring their actual dates without feeling ostracized by school policies. Honestly, it sounds a lot better than most high school proms,” says Wack, who is enjoying her internship. “My office is a wonderful place. People are inviting, and there is always laughter along with high spirits. I feel like the longer I’m here this will stop feeling like just a job and more like una familia.”

Ki Won (Billy) Kwon ’17 is utilizing his computer science major to work as a teaching assistant at the nonprofit Girls Who Code based in New York. The organization works to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. Its goal is to promote girls to actively reach out and participate in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) related fields.

Caley Cross ’16 is a human rights and sociology major and is spending her summer working at the International Rescue Committee in New York City. Last summer she traveled to the West Bank with Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative and ran a youth camp. Cross explains that this experience gave her the opportunity to teach and work with children who had very different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds than she did. She had to find ways to communicate with the children because they did not speak the same language. This experience has transferred to her summer internship, in which she works to help newly arrived refugee youth to develop skills in English literacy, math, and learning. The International Rescue Committees goal is to teach the refugees important skills that will help them succeed in the public school system.

Julia Gordon ‘17 is an intended political science major and is spending her summer interning at New York State Senator Daniel L. Squadron’s Manhattan District office. This internship gives Gordon the opportunity to begin exploring future career options. “I am still quite unsure about what career I would like to go into and thought it would be extremely valuable to spend a summer experiencing the inner workings of local politics,” she says. She also appreciates the issues that Senator Squadron’s office is dealing with such as, public housing, hydraulic fracturing, and gun control.

A full list of student summer internship awards as well as photos 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 07-24-2014