The Gephardt Institute for Public Service selected twelve sophomores for its 2017 class of the Civic Scholars Program. With its mission “to cultivate the next generation of civic leaders,” the program seeks students with exemplary scholarship, leadership, and commitment to community engagement.
Civic Scholars enroll in two years of academic coursework related to civic leadership and receive mentorship to prepare them for a life dedicated to public service. Additionally, the scholars are provided a $5,000 grant to carry out a civic project in the summer between their junior and senior years. These funds are provided in part by donors to the Gephardt Institute for Public Service. This year marks the first year with a “Study Abroad” cohort, whereby students connect one semester of study abroad with their Civic Scholar coursework. Eight will form the “Classic” Civic Scholars cohort and four will form the “Study Abroad” Civic Scholars cohort.
Class of 2017 Civic Scholars:
- “Classic” Cohort:
- Nicholas Annin of Madison, WI, is majoring in environmental policy in the College of Arts & Sciences. He is interested in addressing global climate change through city scale policy.
- Lucy Chin of Bethesda, MD, is majoring in global health and the environment and American culture studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She hopes to address issues of healthcare literacy among disenfranchised St. Louis communities.
- Suhas Gondi of Chantilly, VA, is majoring in neuroscience and economics with a minor in healthcare management in the College of Arts and Sciences. He plans to partner with Missouri organizations to expand access to health insurance.
- Jacob Metz of San Antonio, TX, is majoring in political science and American culture studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. He intends to identify and address causes of food insecurity in St. Louis.
- Yaala Muller of Portland, OR, is majoring in international and area studies with a minor in educational studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She plans to work with the organization Seeds of Peace to better understand how youth can contribute to international conflict resolution.
- Sarah Nesbitt of Coppell, TX, is double majoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies and international and area studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She hopes to apply community-based approaches to sexual assault mitigation in St. Louis refugee communities.
- Norah Rast of Ann Arbor, MI, is majoring in global health and the environment in the College of Arts & Sciences. She hopes to research cross-cultural responses to sexual assault and domestic violence.
- Maria Ruiz of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, is majoring in global health and the environment with a minor in healthcare management in the College of Arts & Sciences. She plans to use educational programs to ease the transition of Latin@ immigrants into St. Louis.
- “Study Abroad” Cohort:
- Alexandra Barrett of Laurel, MD is majoring in environmental earth science with minors in photography and African and African-American studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She intends to study abroad in Tanzania, and later partner with residents of East St. Louis to expand the urban farming movement.
- Sakurako Oyama of St. Louis, MO is majoring in biology and global health and the environment in the College of Arts & Sciences. She intends to study abroad in Madagascar, and later return to implement sickle cell community education programs.
- Laken Sylvander of St. Louis, MO and Singapore, is majoring in French and women, gender, and sexuality studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She intends to study abroad in Morocco and return to St. Louis to connect immigrants with social services in the region.
- Neena Wang of Memphis, TN, is majoring in international and area studies in the College of Arts & Sciences and minoring in art and architecture in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. She intends to study abroad in Jordan and later create a film on St. Louis neighborhood life.
- Having completed their first year of coursework, the Class of 2016 Civic Scholars are about to embark on their summer projects in cities including Nairobi, St. Louis, and New York. Their projects have been refined through a year of preparation, during which they have partnered with community organizations and written detailed proposals. They will begin their projects as soon as this spring semester concludes.
Students interested in the Civic Scholars Program can apply in the spring of their sophomore year. For more information, please contact Jenni Harpring, program manager, at (314) 935-8182 or email@example.com.