Sarah Averback
Former Scholar Reflection

CURRENT SCHOLARS

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ENRIQUE ARCILLA, UCSD

Project Title: Brentwood Learning Garden Project

At the Brentwood School of Environmental Studies in ex-urban Victorville, CA, the Brentwood School Garden has provided second graders experience with fresh food, connection with nature, and opportunity to see their class lessons in a tangible, exciting environment for the past three years. However, with one of its lead teachers retired and the other retiring next year, the Brentwood School Garden is facing the same challenge encountered by community gardens all across California. Namely, how does this vital, vibrant community project sustain itself when its leaders must move on? The Brentwood Learning Garden Project will preserve the second grade program and expand the valuable services that the garden offers to the rest of Brentwood’s students. At the same time, it will pioneer a model of network-building community garden development that can improve the sustainability of this movement into the future. As we add educational signs, rainwater harvesting, an annual mural project, and a composting system, we will run a comprehensive engagement process that will allow us to nestle the garden within the existing habits and values of the Brentwood community. In addition, we will develop community fundraising events to ensure the garden’s financial sustainability for the future. Ultimately, this project will significantly improve environmental education for youth in the underserved city of Victorville, while at the same time testing a method of connecting physical improvements with social bonds that will serve the community garden movement long into the future.

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AUDREY BOGOSIAN, UCSD

Project Title: Educlinics: Empowering the Armenian Population through  Health Education

Populations in Armenian villages are highly affected by non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic pulmonary disease. In addition to chronic illnesses, the lives of the villagers in Armenia have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and conditions during the recent Nagorno-Karabakh War. In order to combat the lack of health education and resources available to Armenian villagers, educational clinics, or “Educlinics,” will be established through two existing health clinics in the villages of Nerkin Karmiraghbyur and Achajur, Armenia, which will establish a program to support Armenians’ health. Partnering with the Paros Foundation and the Hidden Road Initiative chapter at UC San Diego, the Educlinic will provide desktops at the clinic for nurses to track the families’ health information and for families to receive health education from a team of volunteers. The goal of my project is to empower families to monitor their health by supporting each other and becoming more educated on how to better their health. The involvement of volunteers will motivate young adults to continue to provide service to Armenian village communities.

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ADA CHUNG, UCLA

Project Title: NeuroConnect: Better Supporting Neurodivergent Individuals Seeking

                    Employment

Those with developmental disabilities have historically been stigmatized and underrepresented in the workforce. The NeuroConnect program aims to be the first program to serve as an online networking and support hub for neurodivergent job seekers. NeuroConnect uses the visionary and inclusive neurodiversity model to promote the strengths of neurodivergent individuals. The program will provide one-on-one mentoring from volunteers and neurodivergent professionals, neurodivergent specific job searching and workplace navigation tutorials, and annual networking events. NeuroConnect utilizes uniquely designed web interfacing that meets the sensory stimulation needs of neurodivergent individuals. The UC-Leadership Education in Neurodiversity (LEND) Clinic supports this project through constant referrals and professional advisory from workers in health care and education.

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STEVEN GONG, UCI

Project Title: California Health Advocacy Network Student Ambassadors: Improving the   

                    Healthcare coverage of the underinsured through Micro and Macro-level

                    Youth Civic Engagement

California has the greatest number of uninsured residents in the nation, with 1 in every 5 Californians lacking adequate health insurance coverage—in the city of Santa Ana alone, only 33% of undocumented, workforce-age immigrants are health-insured, compared to 79% of the native-born population. To address both disparities in health coverage and a lack of youth representation in the health legislation space, the California Health Advocacy Network (CHAN) aims to leverage a generational problem to politically solve a healthcare one, by engaging youth to advocate in health insurance coverage campaigns. Through micro and macro-level engagements, college students will advocate in healthcare policy campaigns and guide local underinsured populations through health insurance enrollment, starting on the University of California, Irvine (UCI) campus. A unique ambassador model will guide the project’s sustainability and recruitment, with ambassadors enrolling Santa Ana’s undocumented immigrant community and while executing digital health campaigns. With both micro and macro-level health advocacy experience, ambassadors will be well-equipped to undergo a year-end lobbying trip to further the vision of comprehensive, equitable healthcare and while utilizing the Strauss network to grow sustainably. Ultimately, CHAN will not only expand health coverage on an individual and systematic basis, but will engage the future of healthcare through a much-needed collective voice.

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SOO HYUN KIM, STANFORD

Project Title: Healing Stroke: Community-based Art Therapy for Stroke Survivors &

                    Caregivers

Post-stroke depression and anxiety affects about a third of all stroke survivors, hindering functional recovery, therapy engagement, and leads to lower quality of life. In comparison to a wide range of inpatient rehabilitation resources, few outpatient resources exist to support mental wellness for stroke survivors and their caregivers. To address this issue, in early 2019 I established Healing Strokes -- an art therapy program for stroke survivors and caregivers -- with the goal of cultivating empathy-based communities, mitigating depressive symptoms among stroke survivors, and increasing relief amongst caregivers. During the pandemic, Healing Strokes has continued to operate virtually, shipping art supplies nationwide to survivors and meeting weekly on Zoom. Since our launch, our program has been experiencing growing demand that exceeds our current capacity for participants, in addition to receiving strong interest from participants for our program to be offered in-person once the pandemic passes. Thus, this project aims to expand the work of Healing Strokes to increase program access for survivors nationwide as well as contribute to the current dearth of literature in art therapy as a clinical healing medium. Overall, this project will allow Healing Strokes to establish university chapters across the United States for expanded virtual and eventual in-person services, add new services through a research-to-practice feedback loop, and cultivate deepened relationships between universities and their local communities’ small businesses.

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NARYEONG KIM, STANFORD

Project Title: ASSIST: Immigrant Legal & Mental Health Relief Clinic for Migrants in South

                    Korea

ASSIST will provide mental health and legal relief clinics for undocumented and documented migrant populations in South Korea. Migrants in South Korea are often exposed to hazardous workplace environments, sexual exploitation, and domestic abuse. In many circumstances, legal proceedings are detrimental to an individual’s psychological well-being. ASSIST aims to provide support in both legal and mental health sectors. ASSIST will partner with the SeongNam Migrant Center, Chung Hospital, SeongNam Love Psychiatric Hospital, and high-school/undergraduate communities to achieve three goals. First, ASSIST will provide professional legal help to migrants. We connected with 3 pro bono lawyers and prelaw students who have agreed to provide case consultations and legal representation in proceedings. Second, ASSIST will connect migrants to mental health services at the SeongNam Love Psychiatric Hospital. We have established an MOU with 3 part-time psychologists at this facility. ASSIST will provide monthly visits to psychologists and weekly tele-sessions. Third, ASSIST will provide 70 general health visitations through Chung Hospital. We established an MOU for reduced-cost medication and health visitations with this facility. ASSIST will also engage high school students and undergraduate pre-law students in South Korea, creating a multiplier effect.

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JISEON KIM, UCLA

Project Title: Brentwood Learning Garden Project

At the Brentwood School of Environmental Studies in ex-urban Victorville, CA, the Brentwood School Garden has provided second graders experience with fresh food, connection with nature, and opportunity to see their class lessons in a tangible, exciting environment for the past three years. However, with one of its lead teachers retired and the other retiring next year, the Brentwood School Garden is facing the same challenge encountered by community gardens all across California. Namely, how does this vital, vibrant community project sustain itself when its leaders must move on? The Brentwood Learning Garden Project will preserve the second grade program and expand the valuable services that the garden offers to the rest of Brentwood’s students. At the same time, it will pioneer a model of network-building community garden development that can improve the sustainability of this movement into the future. As we add educational signs, rainwater harvesting, an annual mural project, and a composting system, we will run a comprehensive engagement process that will allow us to nestle the garden within the existing habits and values of the Brentwood community. In addition, we will develop community fundraising events to ensure the garden’s financial sustainability for the future. Ultimately, this project will significantly improve environmental education for youth in the underserved city of Victorville, while at the same time testing a method of connecting physical improvements with social bonds that will serve the community garden movement long into the future.

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CHIDUBEM NNAJI, UCD

Project Title: Using Solar Power to Empower 

Amurri is a rural community in Nkanu West local government area of Enugu State, Nigeria. Because of mass poverty, residents travel 5-7 miles daily in order to get usable water for the day. My project will install a solar-powered borehole. The project aims to 1) Make sure the community in Amurri will have readily accessible clean and safe water for the people, 2) Remove the stress and risk factors associated with traveling long distances for water while enhancing economic activities in the village, and 3) Educate families, teachers, and young students about the importance of exercising sustainable water practices. The project aims to be self-sustaining in producing its own energy while providing a better living condition for members of the community.

LESLIE SEPULVEDA, LMU

Project Title: Boundless LMU

This program will match undocumented and DACAmented LMU students with companies that best fit their career interests, while receiving a $2,500 financial award, and professional and leadership development training. This program aims to reduce the inaccessibility mixed-status students encounter when applying to internships.

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ZINA PATEL, UCSD

Project Title: This Able: A Platform Empowering Students with Disabilities

This Able is a free online platform that connects differently-abled college students interested in joining the workforce to differently-abled mentors already in the workforce. On This Able, students will gain access to mentors who understand the experiences of being a part of the community with disabilities and who can bolster their job applications by assisting with resumes, interview preparation, and more. The goal of this effort is to guide the next generation of those with disabilities and empower them by providing such mentorship and networking opportunities. We hope that This Able will serve as an avenue to help increase employment rates for the differently-abled community and help cultivate a diverse and inclusive workforce.

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RISHI SHARMA, UCD

Project Title: Endocrine Specialty Clinic at Imani

Imani Clinic is a free community clinic that serves the socioeconomically disadvantaged community of Oak Park in Sacramento. Of the 250 annual patients that Imani sees, over half are diabetic. To address the alarming prevalence of diabetes in Imani and in the rest of Oak Park, I am launching an endocrine clinic. This specialty clinic will provide allopathic services to Oak Park through volunteer endocrinologists from UC Davis Health and possibly other medical centers. In addition to providing high quality medical care, the specialty clinic will also have teams that will help patients apply to financial assistance programs to attain expensive medicine and with lifestyle/nutrition coaching to holistically manage their diabetes.

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MATT SIOSON, UCSC

Project Title: The Walls To Bridges Book Project

The Walls to Bridges Book Project aims to keep system-impacted families together by sending books to children "from" their incarcerated family members. Most of our incarcerated participants are fathers who send books to their children, but we also serve other family members like brothers, uncles, and even grandfathers. Our organization is student-lead and volunteer-run, and all the books we send are of like-new quality and have been donated by members of the community or bookshops which we've partnered with. Our pilot program for the Book Project has sent 1,000 books to 300 kids across California, and requests from new participants come in each day. We're seeking additional funding to continue to fund the project's operations. Our project is special because it maximizes positive impact with small actions; this keeps necessary funding low while reaching as many children as possible.

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ROBSON SWIFT, UCB

Project Title:

This project aims to give students of West Contra Costa County Unified School District (WCCUSD) more agency, voice and power over decisions made at their school site. WCCUSD is a low income district and the majority of its students come from marginalized backgrounds. At each WCCUSD site (as with most districts) students are almost never considered or consulted in decisions that directly impact their education. This can lead to students feeling unheard, apathetic towards their education, demotivated and misunderstood, problems further exacerbated in WCCUSD due to its students' backgrounds. The Student Rights Center (SRC) is an organization that will be implemented at each high school campus in WCCUSD that will be student run and operated. The SRC will be a hub of student activism where students can help other students file complaints against administration and school staff, advocate for students through recommendations to administration on any non-emergency policy, know your rights workshops and other actions aimed at galvanizing student voice and activism. The SRC allows students to advocate for their interests and will allow campus administrators to listen to their students and incorporate their needs and wants into their policies. The SRC aims to revolutionize the student and administration dynamic and student's roles in school site and district politics.

ANTHONY TAN, UCB

Project Title: Educating Student Makers through Maker Workshops an Design Challenges

Student makers are the next generation of tinkerers, creative thinkers, and problem solvers. We are future scientists, engineers, architects, and artists. But unfortunately, traditional secondary school education does not facilitate the career exploration nor the experience building student makers need to be prepared for college. Having few opportunities to do hands-on projects in secondary school, we start exploring options in college, wasting time and money. This lack of opportunity is far too common for those of us at underserved locations. So that’s why my team started the non-profit project Maker Hub Club. Maker Hub Club brings together student makers from all backgrounds, and provides them with hands-on maker workshops, funding for projects, and most importantly, a community where they can share their projects and collaborate with others. Today, we serve student makers from secondary schools all across the United States and are working towards more effective and equitable maker education. At this time, we are looking to expand the impact of our hands-on maker workshops and we are preparing to launch design challenges where students can collaborate with one another and gain real-world experiences. In the 2021-2022 school year, we will develop the foundations of our Workshop Series and Design Challenges, which can provide student makers with hands-on maker classes and real-world collaborative experiences for years to come.