When apathy is more deadly than the pandemic
These eight seniors have spent the last four years making the most of the Social Innovators program. The extraordinary work they’ve done, supported by the College's funded internships, has laid a strong foundation of social change these students will continue to build on after they graduate in May.
Economics and east Asian studies double major, Posse scholar and aspiring diplomat, Brandy Darling has been building an impressive track record of social change since she first set foot on campus. Recently, she was selected as a 2019 Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellow. The Pickering Fellowship provides two years of financial support for graduate study as well as professional development and mentoring to prepare fellows for a career in the U.S. Foreign Service.
Jermaine Doris, an anthropology and Africana studies double major, has used the Social Innovators funding to write a book entitled Vineyard Blacklight: Interactions of Class, Race, and Existence on Martha’s Vineyard 2016-2017. A lover of the arts, he interned at the Kennedy Center and the organization Americans for the Arts, and hopes to continue using his creative talents to help advance marginalized individuals and cultures in America.
In May, Cheikh Gaye will graduate with a government and global Islamic studies double major and a minor in Arabic. The Social Innovators program has provided him with opportunities to live and work abroad in countries such as Jordan and Lebanon, and to intern with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, a program that offers support services to more than five million Palestinian refugees.
Allie Girouard met fellow social innovator Kate Stockbridge during the program’s first year seminar, and the two used the funding to help found BOLD, a nonprofit that creates after school programs to teach media literacy and offer mentorship to empower girls to use their voices for positive change. Girouard, a sociology and American studies double major, says the Social Innovators program was a major factor in her decision to choose Conn.
A psychology major and economics minor, Sophia Mobayed used her Social Innovators grant to intern at Learn to Cope, a nonprofit that provides peer education and support for families of people struggling with addiction. She has been accepted into several top graduate schools, including Columbia University and NYU, and plans to pursue a career as a clinical social worker.
As a film studies major, Sam Simonds knew he wanted to make a film that highlighted the struggles of the Haitian people. With the help of the Social Innovators program, he was able to produce a documentary titled From a Valley in Talol, which was filmed on location in Haiti and explores the untold stories of former “restaveks”—a term used to describe a system of child servitude in Haiti where parents send their children to work in a host household as a domestic servant, considered by many to be a form of modern-day child slavery.
Kate Stockbridge is executive director of the non-profit BOLD, which she cofounded with her fellow social innovator Allie Girouard. A government and American studies double major with a passion for politics and public policy, Stockbridge hopes to continue expanding the reach and impact of BOLD after she graduates from Conn.
Martha Willey used her Social Innovators grant for a project that aligned perfectly with her major in American studies. She and a friend teamed up to produce a podcast that brought them all across America interviewing ordinary citizens who authentically reflected the social, political and economic views of their particular areas of the country.