Youth in Action is an organization that will help students and young adults transition their life from being convicts to adjusting to society. Through volunteer efforts and partnerships, Youth in Action aims to bring support for these ex convicts by creating a curriculum, where they are able to learn all the material they missed in school, and a mentorship program, so they are able to receive help and a positive influence in their life. This program is created in the hopes to reduce ex convicts from committing crimes and to help bring hope into their lives.
Hana Kim is a freshman at the George Washington University, studying International Affairs. She is involved in Compass Fellowship that helps students learn and apply social entrepreneurship. In addition, she is also involved in The Globe, the only undergraduate international affairs magazine, where she is part of the publicity team and the assistant formatting editor. Hana’s main passion is to help people and especially represent those who may not have a voice in government. After being heavily involved in her city government, she was able to see the wide range of problems and what she could do to help. In the past, she has tutored children living in an underprivileged area, interned for the city government, and was an active member on the Youth Advisory Council for District 1 of San Jose. In the future, she hopes to work in public policy and allow all voices to be heard.
Commitment Name: Game Changers: Building Positive Male Coach & Female Athlete
Team Names: Kirsty Fontaine, Maranda Ward
Game Changers is a public health intervention that aims to curb generational poverty and violence that stems from unstable gender biased relationships. It engages 3 male adult coaches and up to 30 black female student athletes ages 11 to 14 in their middle school teams in Washington, DC in a retreat and refresher session to identify and maintain clear non-romantic roles, expectations, and boundaries for mutually beneficial relationships. The 2016-2017 coach and student athlete program spans one academic school year where the teams commit to building positive values, attitudes and behaviors in their relationships.
Kirsty Fontaine is the Coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences where she is responsible for the The DC Health and Academic Prep Program, a pre-college pipeline program for under-served college-bound DC students interested in pursuing health-focused careers. Prior to her work at GWU, Kirsty worked as a Program Associate and Youth Builder for Promising Futures, developing training manuals and communication materials for new and returning peer educators and youth builders, as well as facilitating their Project AIM curriculum. Kirsty will be graduating from The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health with her Masters in Public Health in December. She received her Bachelors in Science in Health Sciences at James Madison University. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist and a member of the Advocates for Youth Young Women of Color Leadership Council.
Maranda Ward is a doctoral candidate studying Curriculum & Instruction at The George Washington University (GW). As a graduate assistant, she is the Assistant City Director of a youth entrepreneurship program in the GW School of Business that engages all first year business school students in a service-learning project. This PNC and Gallup sponsored program supports GW students as mentors to 4th-7th graders to own, operate, and manage their own business. She also co-founded and directs a community-based youth development program, Promising Futures, in partnership with local non-profits and DC public and charter schools. This program is regionally esteemed as a pipeline given it engages youth in long-term programming as middle school ambassadors, high school peer educators, and college/graduate aged youth builders from ages of 11 to 24. She has served as faculty at the Washington School for Girls and as adjunct for the GW Community Engaged Teaching Program.
Commitment Name: Tailoring Center to Make SHF Self Sustainable
Student Name: Ramie Abounaja
My Commitment to Action is to expand the vocational education curriculum at Set Her Free to include a tailoring program. In the event that the girls require further training, structure, or support, the Tailoring Center will serve to assure the girls who have completed the program at SHF a source of income while easing their transition to the workforce while learning business skills. This safe environment will lessen any impact that may occur after graduation. Once the Tailoring Center becomes fully established, it can be a source of income for Set Her Free.
Bio- Ramie was granted a scholarship in the summer of 2015 through the Global Health Fellows partnership with Globemed, because of his superior leadership skills and dedication to global health. He worked with grassroots leaders to advance health in Uganda and to gain critical psauerspective on community based health issues.
Since his freshman year, he has worked through school as a lab and research assistance at the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine at GW. Here he performed various microbiological procedures aiding in post doctorate work. He has also worked as a teaching assistant for the Department of Biology where he facilitated learning for students in laboratory sections. He is currently club president of Circle K International, the worlds largest collegiate community service organization and he is the financial chair of the GW chapter of GlobeMed.
In Washington, D.C. there is an urgent need to provide low-income students with access to high quality schools, and this need can be satisfied by partnering the Latino Student Fund’s (LSF) ACCESS Program with current college students. The college students will each work with five families to guide them through the strenuous process of applying to private and parochial secondary schools in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area (DMV). With this added and individualized help, more families will be able to obtain an exceptional education and perhaps even achieve university education.
Valentina Barrera Vasco has devoted herself to actively serving her community from a young age, and her commitment to service is the cornerstone of her academic career at the George Washington University. She is majoring in Human Services and Social Justice, a program through which she performs around 60 service hours a semester. She is also a brother of Alpha Phi Omega, a community service fraternity guided by the principles of leadership, friendship, and service. Additionally, Valentina serves as the Director of Policy and Member Education for GW’s chapter of Students for Education Reform. Currently, Valentina Barrera is GW’s engageDC leader for the Latino Student Fund, a position through which she supports the interaction between the nonprofit organization, and the universtity’s volunteers.
Annie Gallivan has been actively participating in community service since she volunteered with a service group sending packages to troops overseas. She continued to serve her community throughout middle and high school alongside her student councils. She is currently a freshman studying International Affairs at the George Washington University. Beginning in her first semester at GW, Annie has been volunteering with the Latino Student Fund in both the Listo and ACCESS programs. She assists high school seniors at the Cardozo Education Campus in Washington D.C. with college applications, financial aid, and scholarships through the Listo Program. Additionally, she works with the ACCESS program weekly to aid families in applying to independent and parochial schools for students between kindergarten and twelfth grade.
Commitment Name: Mental Health Promotion Pilot Class
Student Name: Kyrah Altman
Since writing the Mental Health Promotion (MHP) curriculum for MA schools and proposing it to her state Legislature, Kyrah plans to implement MHP at her former high school in the fall of 2016. She plans to use the implementation of the class to test the course’s effectiveness and improve its content. This MHP pilot class will generate data and provide Kyrah with valuable insights to improve the course for schools in MA and promote emotional wellness and stress management in high school students.
Bio- Kyrah Altman, a freshman at George Washington University majoring in Human Services and Social Justice, has been an advocate for lessening social hardships since she was 9 years old, developing a variety of events and programs to alleviate issues such as domestic violence, mental illness, substance abuse and poverty. During high school, Kyrah founded and directed LEAD, a community service organization that provided over $10,000 to the community through fundraisers and service programs. During her senior year, she led LEAD in rewriting the Health Education curriculum taught to all MA high school students. The new course, called Mental Health Promotion (MHP), will be taught at her former high school this fall as an alternative to the required Health Education class. MHP was also proposed to the State Legislature for review in 2015 and is currently pending as a bill at the State House to make mental health education a statewide resource. Kyrah has also spoken about mental health education at various state conference and has recently become a Compass Fellow at GWU, striving to make positive change through social entrepreneurship.
Alison Spillane will reach out to local academic and hospital-based nursing programs to provide a two-hour opioid overdose prevention training for student and novice nurses new to the field. This training will cover drug use stigma and provider bias, local street use terminology, harm reduction strategies, expanding access to treatment support, physiological signs and symptoms of overdose, and acute pharmacologic intervention. Training activities will encompass prevention and acute intervention approaches to reduce opioid overdoses in the Washington, DC region.
Bio- Alison Spillane is a returning student obtaining her nursing degree after nearly a decade working with vulnerable populations in the field of Social Work. After losing a close family friend to heroin overdose in 2008, she became aware of the stigma of drug use and how it impacts the accessibility of care during an acute overdose situation. In 2013 she completed training with local syringe exchange program HIPS, and remains involved in harm reduction outreach and overdose prevention with drug users as an active volunteer Team Leader. Upon entering nursing school, she realized that many of her fellow student nurses had limited exposure to the drug user community, and were misinformed about opioid drug use and overdose contributing factors. She hopes to utilize her experiences and draw from community knowledge to train the next generation of nurses in preventing deaths from opioid overdose and illnesses related to drug use.
Commitment Name: Hablemos Entre Mujeres
Student Name: Miguel Torhton Granados
Women from indigenous communities in Mexico are deprived of access to political participation by a number of reasons that include culture, traditional laws and social exclusion. This commitment to action aims to open the discussion in some of these communities about the doubts, fears and benefits about the political participation of women. To initiate these provocative discussions, the commitment proposes to bring prominent women from indigenous origins that have participated politically -either as activists, politicians or public servants- to talk within a safe environment in these communities. Thus, empowering more women to participate in the public arena.
Bio- Born and raised in Mexico City, Miguel Torhton is a Master in Public Policy student at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy. He majored in Political Science with a focus on Comparative Politics at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE). For a couple of years, he worked as a pollster for Mexican Congress and as a speechwriter for some of the most prominent political actors in Mexico, including a former President, a Supreme Court Chief Justice a State Governor. Last summer, he interned at a non-profit organization with the mission of developing a survey on gender equality in the slums of Hyderabad, India. He is a feminist, a voracious reader and a unstoppable traveller. Currently serves as a Graduate Senator for the Columbian College at the GW Student Association and as the President of the Mexican Students Organization at GW.
Commitment Name: Clean and Portable Energy Solutions for Developing Regions
Student Name: Md Shahnoor Amin
Much to his surprise, Shahnoor realized that many people in impoverished, inner-city regions here in America lack reliable access to electricity. He spent hours talking to a crying mother of three children in Detroit, whose electricity was cut-off since she couldn’t pay her bills. Inspired by this touching experience, Shahnoor is committed to develop an affordable solar energy solution that can provide electricity and lighting to the needy community in Detroit. Harnessing his engineering education and practical experience in designing electric cars at Ford, he hopes to develop a creative solution to help millions of destitute inner-city families.
Bio- Coming from Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, Shahnoor has experienced the extremes of life. Though he’s blessed to be part of a family where education, diligence and decency are high priorities, he also had the opportunity to view life from different perspectives: the darkness of a poor, uneducated life in his family’s home village, and the prosperity of life in America. He often used to visit his family in their villages, the pungent smell of burning kerosene lamps wafting through the air as hopeful students struggled to squint through what little light they had in an attempt to read their schoolbooks. This prompted him to pursue engineering, which would allow him to develop and architect clean energy solutions for tomorrow. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Systems Engineering at The George Washington University.
Commitment Name: Project Dream Miles
Student Name: Yeshwant Chillakuru, Charles Dorward, Danish Imtiaz
Exercise has a huge ability to improve all people’s quality of life, from reduced risk of cardiovascular disease to decreased symptoms of depression, but there has always been an issue with motivating people to exercise. Project Dream Miles uses incentivized exercise to improve physical activity levels. We are launching a run-tracking iOS app that donates 10Â¢ for every mile you run/walk in the spring as a pilot program. We will partner with local and university health/wellness centers to use PDM to improve community health as well as benefitting charities.
Bio- Yeshwant Chillakuru is a sophomore at The George Washington University studying Economics in a 7 Year BA/MD Program. This past summer, he was studying Preventative Medicine and Exercise at the University of Exeter on an undergraduate Fulbright Award. His experience there furthered the potential of his venture, Project Dream Miles, a run-tracking app that uses charitable incentives to increase people’s physical activity levels. PDM was Yesh’s 2015 CGI U Commitment, with which he won the Resolution SVC. At GW, Yesh is a mentor for the Compass Fellowship, an organization that introduces social entrepreneurship to select freshman. Additionally, he conducts embryonic research at GW’s medical school and has received numerous grants for his work. As an active runner, he competes for GW Club Cross Country and has just finished his first marathon in September 2015. His passion for running and medicine inspired him to start PDM.
Commitment Name: Wasteful Fun(d)
Student Name: Alix Cho
Wasteful Fun(d) is an initiative that enhances GW’s sustainability efforts and ties them to the global communities impacted by e-waste. GW has bins available for e-recycling, but apathy and poor awareness of the need for e-waste recycling is common. Wasteful Fun(d) will offer an e-waste art creation event and exhibition to raise funds to support the E-waste Recycling Center in Agbogbloshie, Ghana. The initiative will partner with the organization Pure Earth to promote better access to safe and profitable recycling market for Ghanaian recyclers working in e-waste dump grounds.
Bio- Alix Cho is a graduate student in the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University studying International Development. She holds a B.A. in Portuguese and International Studies from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies located in Seoul, South Korea. Her interest for sustainable development sparked during a field trip to Ghana where she visited various development project sites in urban slums and rural villages. She worked as a temporary assistant for the International Development Cooperation Center at Paik Hospital in Seoul. Alix facilitated capacity building projects for public health officials from Mozambique and Afghanistan. Also, she worked as a cultural diversity program intern at Daum Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Seoul. Currently, she plans to pursue her career in international development with a focus on promoting sustainable livelihoods for the urban poor.
Commitment Name: Mind to Matter Music
Student Name: Conor Gillespie
Mind to Matter Music is a program that provides school music programs with quality 3D printed instruments, which reduces the budget needed for such programs to run. The low cost of 3D printing instruments compared to buying traditional instruments allows schools to keep their music programs alive despite times of budget cutting. The program also provides an option for students to design and print their own instruments in school, which combines the aspects of STEM education with that of the arts.
Bio- Conor Gillespie is a freshman at the George Washington University, studying mechanical engineering. He is a Presidential Academic Scholar at the university, and is a fellow in the Compass Fellowship, an international social entrepreneurship training program. Conor is also a member of the GW SAE Baja team as well as the GW University Orchestra. Aside from being passionate about engineering, Conor is also passionate about music. He has been playing the violin for ten years in numerous advanced orchestras and various styles of music. Playing the violin has been a major factor in the blossoming of Conor’s creativity. Expressing numerous emotions through music has lead Conor to appreciate the quality of creative genius that goes in to writing music, and he strives to bring the same genius to his engineering design projects. Conor hopes to bring the benefits of playing an instrument to everyone through his social venture.
Commitment Name: A Light for Immigration Transition
Team Names: Lujain Al-Khawi, Jammie Garcia
A Light for Immigration Transition (LIT) plans to ease the transition of the announced incoming Syrian refugees into American life by promoting inclusive communities that would avoid cultural clashes. The framework would shed light on American cities accepting refugees through community participation and outreach programs. Through LIT, Syrian immigrants will also benefit from classes teaching the understanding and appreciation of American language and culture so that they may get accustomed with their new lifestyles in their respective communities.
Lujain Al-Khawi is an undergraduate student at the George Washington University studying biomedical engineering on the pre-med track. Although she hopes to commit her life to medicine, she is also passionate about social justice issues. Having previously interned with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ms. Al-Khawi worked with cases related to anti-Muslim sentiments and actions. She worked as a journalist with ThreeSixty Journalism to uncover some of the problems that many of the Muslim immigrant populations were facing in the Twin Cities area.
With the expected arrival of Syrian refugees, Ms. Al-Khawi and Jammie Garcia hopes to work with American communities to create outreach, and volunteer their time in the spring to teach the Syrian refugee populations about American culture and language to ease the immigration transition process for them. Ms. Al-Khawi is fluent in English, Arabic, and somewhat in Spanish. She loves to teach and organize community outreach events such as interfaith discussions and cultural exhibitions to create more inclusive communities.
Jammie Garcia is a Master’s candidate in Legislative Affairs in the Graduate School of Political Management. Jammie is a Legislative Professional and works as a Brand Ambassador for various agencies. Her interest is in helping companies and organizations carry out meaningful purposes to better serve their staff, service, product, and community. She is a deep believer in being proactive for social change.
Jammie received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Minor in International Studies from the University of Wyoming. She also studied public policy at Georgetown University and Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. As a recipient of the Bahrom International Program scholarship, she studied Korean contemporary issues at Seoul Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea. Having an interest in the Pacific, she also studied gender, global change, and development at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji.
The Peace Garden Project at Perry School supports and enhances DC non-profit Little Friends for Peace’s (LFFP) Peace Garden located at the Perry School Community Services Center. The commitment (1) amplifies LFFP’s current peace garden curriculum through gardening activities, environmentalism lessons, and special programming with partner organization DC Greens (a DC food access, education, and policy non profit), (2) installs a rain barrel for educational and irrigation purposes, and (3) provides nutrition education through healthy meal preparation and a spring harvest event.
Bio- Max Grossman is a Junior at George Washington University studying Geography and International Affairs. At GW, Max acts on his passion for community engagement, people, and maps. He implements grant projects and volunteers for a local DC non-profit Little Friends for Peace, serves as a student advisor for the GW Career Quest program to supports classmates’ career exploration, assists as an undergraduate researcher for the GW’s Geography Department and GW Solar Institute, and contributes to GW resiliency mapping student organization the Humanitarian Mapping Society. After college, Max will continue to fulfill his duel role as a civilian and mapper. He will pursue a career and lifestyle dedicated to youth development, community resiliency, and open source geographic tools and data.
Commitment Name: Increasing Sexual Assault Awareness on US College Campuses
Student Name: Saumya Khanna
This commitment seeks to create a platform for men to discuss the issue of sexual assault and raise their voices against it, for this global discussion currently lacks the views and opinions of males, yet they have a lot of power to positively influence the discussion. These discussions will bring more awareness about sexual assault in college campuses, and will allow males and females to reflect upon their own opinions while reading these interviews. This commitment would use social media outlets to promote the discussion on college campuses and reach out to vast networks of people.
Bio- Saumya is studying International Affairs and hopes to work on improving conditions that negatively affect health in developing countries throughout her career. She is planning on working on projects abroad in 2016, including a service trip that works on community health in Costa Rica, as well as a trip to Ghana where she will be a representative for SAHA Global, working on launching water businesses to provide safe drinking water to communities in Northern Ghana. Saumya is currently involved with organizations such as Students Against Sexual Assault and Sigma Iota Rho (honor society for International Studies). Saumya mentors students on behalf of the Latino Student Fund, and is a staff member for GlobeMed, which is a student organization that is currently working with a non-profit organization in Uganda to promote health equity. She has been dedicated to service throughout her life and is a recipient of the President’s Service Award!
Commitment Name: MiClimate
Student Name: Sofia Durrani
MiClimate commits to offer climate control technology to a group of Syrian refugees affected by extreme weather events living in western Jordan. Over the past year, MiClimate has developed a revolutionary technology to enable individuals living in extreme temperatures to heat or cool their clothing for their comfort using a nano climate control device. The goal of MiClimate is to provide displaced refugees with solutions to reduce the number of health related illnesses and deaths that regularly occur in refugee camps due to extreme weather events.
Bio- Sofia is a second year graduate student at Milken Institute School of Public Health in the Global Environmental track. Outside of the classroom she is actively involved in The Interdisciplinary Student Community-Oriented Prevention Enhancement Service (ISCOPES)- a GWU graduate student health focused service-learning initiative. As a team member of the adult health literacy team she has helped plan and implement monthly adult health literacy events at a work bed program for homeless men in the DC area as well as a support group for HIV positive women. She has gained a diverse types of work experience working in West Africa from setting up clean water initiatives in rural communities to working on sanitation research in urban environments in Ghana. These opportunities have helped her gain a better understanding of different communities and the sanitation challenges they face. She enjoys working within teams to create solutions through interdisciplinary collaboration. This is her second year attending CGIU and was able to collaborate with a fellow CGIU commitment maker she met last year on the MiClimate project focusing on new technology and refugee safety.
By guiding curriculum based cross-cultural conversation between college students and Assisted Living residents alike, Di^2alogue forms a mentor- mentee based system. Within this system, Di^2alogue explores and discusses areas of cultural tension as they exist in the world today seeking to simulate Conflict Resolution commitments to intercultural and intergenerational dialogue.
Bio- A self-proclaimed optimist, Madison Cilluffo is a student at the George Washington University. Majoring in International Affairs with a concentration in International Development and Minoring in Sustainability, Madison hopes to utilize her interdisciplinary background to allocate and address the prevailing injustices of the world today. Passionate in matters of youth development and intercultural exchange, she is an active member of GW’s engageDC as well as Project Rousseau. Madison also works with Little Friends for Peace a DC-based nonprofit. Upon graduation Madison hopes to serve in the Peace Corps.
Commitment Name: Buy Local GW (BLGW)
Team Names: Zachary Komes, Noah Wexler, Ben Adusei, Archana Kannan
Buy Local GW will grow local business revenues by connecting GW student organizations with vendors in low-income neighborhoods. The initiative will develop, publish, and distribute a Buy Local Guide to help organizations purchase catering, materials, and other services from vendors located in Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8. The guide will be released at a vendor fair that will showcase listed firms. By shifting a portion of the $1.75+ million GW student organizations spend every year to local businesses, BLGW will show the benefits of local purchasing to encourage broader university-wide institutional changes for economic development in the long-term.
Zach Komes is an aspiring urban economic development innovator and Economics senior at GW. Growing up in Milwaukee and seeing the impact of deindustrialization on neighborhoods, his primary interest is scaling local businesses to make cities both equitable and competitive in the globalizing economy. As Emerging Fellow for the Roosevelt Institute, the nation’s largest network of millennial thinkers and doers, Zach is lobbying DC government to become an intermediary to connect the purchasing power of local anchor institutions with competitive, local businesses located in low-income areas of DC. On GW’s campus, he led an advocacy campaign that successfully encouraged the university to deposit $250,000 in impact investments in a local community development bank. At 10, he co-founded the E-Z Coffee Stand, a social entrepreneurship venture that raised $13,000 for causes in Milwaukee. Zach is a Truman Scholar Finalist, YP4 Fellow, and has been named Milwaukee Hero of the Week.
Noah Wexler is a freshman majoring in International Affairs with a likely double major in Economics. He is interested in local economic development and reducing inequality and equity. He hopes that Buy Local GW will make GW students more aware of their surrounding economic environment while helping those in need.
Ben Adusei is a native of Worcester, Massachusetts. A student in the Class of 2019, Ben intends on majoring in Political Science and Economics. He is a member of GW’s Roosevelt Institute and sits on the Economic Development committee. He enjoys playing golf, reading, and exploring D.C.
Archana Kannan is a sophomore majoring in International Affairs, with a concentration in International Economics and a minor in Public Health. She currently serves as the Roosevelt Institute’s Economic Development Policy and Advocacy Center Director. Her policy interest of urban, and in particular, small business development motivated her to play an active part in RI’s Buy Local DC campaign, so that we could leverage our roles as GW students to give back to our greater DC community.
Commitment Name: V-Education
Student Name: Minh Tran
In Vietnam, some people’s reality of living under the poverty line pushes them into sending their under-aged children to work at construction sites, where they are exploited, instead of providing them an education. V-Education is committed to increase literacy rates among children by holding Vietnamese language classes to provide basic written communication skills, which can be capitalized on for future studies. Additionally, V-Education aims to empower youth with decision-making tools to evaluate safe versus unsafe environments, and to find pathways to advance their education.
Bio- Minh understands the needs of children dealing with poverty in the Vietnamese community where his commitment, V-Education Project, will take place. His experience has imparted insight into how to foster student motivation, confidence, and effective learning skills. Since 2012, Minh has worked with the Adam Khoo Learning Center as a coach advisor to over 200 learners. He contributed to the growth of the center by supporting 36 new coaches and the creation of three educational products. Through the learning center, he gained additional experience in market analysis and sales. In summer 2015, Minh served as the Head of External Relations for G.R.A.C.E Camp, an N.G.O organization. His team built a network for the organization, including establishing partnerships and maintaining relationships with a network of sponsors, which generated over 30 million VND within 28 days.
Teaching middle school students in Ward 8, one of the most impoverished wards in DC, is an important step to their continued intellectual growth and success in entering high school and eventually either college and a career. The GIS FYE commitment is teaching students from May 2015-May 2016 to use open-source geographic software in order to map their community. The commitment then helps the students implement their identified project after the year-long technological and analytical training. The project will be decided in March 2016 and could take the form of initiating a recycling program or garden for their school.
Bio- Eleanor Davis is a motivated, enthusiastic leader at George Washington University. In the past four years, Ellie has interned with the National Parks Conservation Association, NASA, and the GW Office of Sustainability. She has spoken at numerous conferences on youth empowerment, sustainability, and technology. Ellie also runs the Humanitarian Mapping Society at GW which partners with the USAID, Red Cross, and the US State Department to help aid disaster relief. At the White House Student Sustainability Conference, Ellie spoke and became a member of the National Student Working Group on Climate and Sustainability. In partnership with the French Embassy, Ellie directed the 6th Annual Inter-University Climate Change Negotiation that brought together 80 students from 10 universities to simulate the UNFCCC COP 21 negotiations. Working hard to ensure that the next generation of leaders will have a strong voice in creating a sustainable future, is both Ellie’s specialty and passion.
Commitment Name: Project Engaging Men and Boys
Student Name: Nanda Ruiz
Project Engaging Men and Boys (Project EMB) is an initiative to create awareness of gender-based violence and gender equality in predominantly Latino communities in Washington, DC. The project will tap into the already established, meaningful partnerships between GW’s Spanish program service-learning faculty and students (Operacion Impacto) and their community partners (CentroNia). Project EMB will engage GW students in promoting the prevention of gender-based violence by developing and offering guidelines for engaging men and boys, along with learning activities and trainings in how to share the material.
Bio- Nanda Ruiz is a M.A candidate in International Development Studies at the GW concentrating in gender and development. She is a Michelle Manatt Fellow for her work in gender and recently began working at Save the Children US as a Guyer Gender CI Fellow. She worked with Human Rights Watch in the fall of 2015 conducting research on gender-based violence in the Americas. Ms. Ruiz completed a summer internship in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with International Development Enterprise (iDE), where she applied a gender governance toolkit to current and proposed iDE projects. Previously she worked as a Youth Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru where she implemented projects supporting women’s empowerment, financial literacy, and healthy lifestyles. Ms. Ruiz has also worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Albuquerque, N.M. She received her two Bachelors degrees from the University of New Mexico with B.A in Political Science and a B.S in Sign Language Interpreting. She is fluent in Spanish and American Sign Language
Commitment Name: HubLift
Student Name: Brittney Mateus
HubLift is a not for profit, service providing organization focused on eliminating the harsh symptoms of systemic poverty in our nation’s capital. We create small intimate pop-ups that provide a variety of service sanctuaries where our most vulnerable citizens have access to healthy snacks, bathing, laundry services, medical and dental care, and computers with high speed internet, while also getting assistance with employment and housing services.
Bio- Brittney Mateus is a special education teacher currently studying children with emotional and behavioral disorders in graduate school. Encountering many students and families living in less than ideal situations, she has focused much of her time on education, human rights, poverty alleviation and public health. Brittney believes everyone should have access to the basic necessities (i.e shelter, food, water, clothing and education). She has worked with the Transitional Housing Corporation (THC), So Others Might Eat (SOME), Laron Landry’s Leadership for Life, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and many more.
This will launch a faith-based leaders initiative, targeting countries that have high levels of homophobia associated with strong homophobic religious rhetoric. This should be coordinated with non-profits to maximize expertise and reach of the program. The program will amplify the voices of LGBT-affirming religious leaders and create a dialogue in developing countries with high levels of homophobia.
Bio- Gidon Feen is a junior at the George Washington University. He is majoring in International Affairs with a concentration in Security Policy. On campus Gidon helped orchestrate the largest TEDx college event in the world, served as a resident advisor, and led the student body in advocating for sexual assault prevention training. Gidon brought homosexuality to the forefront of his Memphis Jewish community when his high school newspaper published the article: The End of Gay Slurs. He has since continued to champion LGBT rights within the Orthodox community, joining the organization Eshel’s speakers bureau. Gidon has been invited to speak at Brandeis University, the University of Maryland, and to numerous parent groups and communities. Gidon has worked at the White House and on Hillary Clinton’ presidential election campaign. In his spare time he enjoys watching movies, running, and FaceTiming his little sister.