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Paiva wants to advocate for education reform

Lindsay Paiva '12 in Italy, where she is currently studying abroad at The Umbra Institute.
Lindsay Paiva '12 in Italy, where she is currently studying abroad at The Umbra Institute.

Junior Lindsay Paiva is a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a federal scholarship awarded to college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in public service. The scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate school.

Paiva, an English major from Coventry, R.I., is one of 197 finalists from 134 institutions. More than 600 students were nominated for this highly competitive scholarship, which will be awarded to 60 students this year. Paiva is Connecticut College's third finalist in four years.

Paiva plans to pursue a graduate degree in education policy.

"Schools reflect the nation's larger power imbalances, and most educators and policymakers neither identify nor address these apparent inequalities," Paiva said. "I hope that throughout my career, I can reform education so that schools no longer replicate power imbalances, but will instead offer the skills necessary to challenge institutional racism, sexism, classism and homophobia."

Paiva is a scholar in the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy. An avid volunteer, she has served an ESL tutor, an America Reads tutor, a needs assessment researcher with the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut and a volunteer play guide with the Providence Children's Museum. She is also a member of the women's cross country team and a founding member of the College's chapter of Students Against Drunk Driving.

Paiva, who is pursuing her Connecticut teaching certification through the College's Education Department, hopes to make a difference by developing state-level policies and reforms.

"I am not satisfied working within a broken system, and in upholding parameters and rules in which I do not believe," she said. "I hope to use my training in critical pedagogy to advocate for social justice and to redefine schools as sites of liberation rather than oppression."

The Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975 as the federal memorial to the 33rd president of the United States.

March 15, 2011