Mount Holyoke Students Bring Home Awards

Mount Holyoke students have recently been awarded prestigious scholarships that will enable them to study and undertake projects abroad.

Caledonia Moore ’14 and Marielena Lima ’15 have been awarded a Davis Projects for Peace grant to train community health workers in first aid treatment in Lima, Peru. Michelle Espinosa ’14 has been selected to participate in the 2013 Humanity in Action Fellowship in Europe in June and Emily Usher Shrair ’08 has been granted an award from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to pursue a master’s degree in gender and development at the University of Sussex in England.

Moore and Lima (pictured) will use the $10,000 grant from Davis Projects for Peace to coordinate several first aid training courses for female community health workers (promotoras) who work in two of Lima’s poorest communities, San Juan del Lurigancho and Carabayllo. Lima and Moore, who are trained emergency response technicians, will join forces with the community health organization Socios en Salud (SES) on the project.

“Over the next two months we’ll secure housing and programming space in Lima, order supplies, and coordinate with our local partners,” said Moore. The students leave for Peru in early June.

Davis grants are awarded to college students who have designed projects that promote peace and address sources of conflict. By providing first aid training, the students hope to empower promotoras to peacefully and proactively respond to the marginalization they and their communities have suffered for many years, said Lima.

Espinosa, a politics major with a Nexus minor in education and society, will join students and recent graduates from the United States and Europe this summer to explore human rights and resistance to injustice as a Humanity in Action fellow.

Through the fellowship, which will be based in Warsaw, Espinosa hopes to gain a better understanding of the way laws and legislations can work to resolve discrimination across the world.

“I hope to create a space where my thoughts and ideologies will be challenged and perhaps even be changed,” she said. “The opportunity to travel and learn with like-minded peers will be absolutely life changing.”

At the University of Sussex, Shrair plans to examine barriers to the participation of socially marginalized women in the process of slum-upgrading, an area of study inspired by her experience as a Davis Projects for Peace grant recipient while studying at Mount Holyoke.

Joan Cocks, professor of politics at MHC, supported Shrair’s application, writing that Shrair is “deeply attuned to the complexities of race, religion, and culture that complicate struggles to improve women’s situations around the globe.”

Since graduating from MHC as a gender studies and international relations major, Shrair has worked as a grant writer for several nonprofit organizations. After completing her Fulbright study, she plans to work as an intermediary between grassroots women's organizations and policy makers in cities throughout the developing world.

The Fulbright award for study in the United Kingdom is the most competitive of all Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards. This year 706 students applied for 46 awards to the United Kingdom, with only one of those designated for the University of Sussex.