Summer 2012 human rights internships are supported by Cmiel scholarships

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The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) is awarding seven students a total of $7,500 to support their internships for human rights organizations in the United States or internationally in the summer of 2012.

These students, seeking a combination of graduate and undergraduate degrees, have received funding as part of the UICHR’s annual Kenneth J. Cmiel Funded Human Rights Internship Program. Program funds cover travel and living expenses for students who have secured an internship with a local, national or international nongovernmental organization or governmental agency engaged in human rights-related advocacy, research or education.

A donation from the Stanley family, the gifts of other private donors, the UI Office of the Provost and UI International Programs funds make the awards possible. Below is a listing of all the students and their summer projects and host organizations.

Andrew Craig, a JD candidate in the College of Law, will work with Defense for Children International - Palestine Section in Ramallah, West Bank. While working for DCI - Palestine, he will monitor UN and other NGO reports, review testimonies from victims, draft case studies based on these testimonies, and assist with research and advocacy projects that focus on protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian children in occupied Palestinian territories. Andrew will draw heavily upon his law school education to date.

“In Israel and the [occupied Palestinian territories], the current situation is breeding future human rights violations. If there is any hope of a solution to this conflict, whether 5, 10, or 100 years from now, it must start with children.”

Neha Dhungana, an MD candidate in the Carver College of Medicine, will intern for for Kanti Children’s Hospital in Maharajgunj, Nepal. KCH is the only children’s hospital in Nepal and it provides free healthcare for families who cannot afford it, while at the same time working toward lowering the child mortality rate of Nepalese children. During the course of the internship, Neha will utilize Nepalese language skills while working in inpatient and outpatient programs, observing patients and recording their health-related experiences.

“Now that I am on my way to becoming a physician, I want to go back and understand the healthcare system of Nepal…My background will also enable me to understand the little things that someone without the knowledge of the culture might find insignificant and thus ignore.”

Jeannette George, an undergraduate student in the College of Nursing and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work for Social and Scientific Systems, Inc., in Kampala, Uganda, a health research company that works closely with the international public and private sectors to increase knowledge of public health issues, as well as connecting policy change to the healthcare field. During her time in Kampala, Jeannette will work with a mentor and partner with physicians at Mbarara University of Science and Technology Hospital to conduct research on Sickle Cell Anemia. Her duties will include designing the research study, recruiting participants, conducting interviews, and collecting data, in addition to developing cost effective and culturally appropriate Sickle Cell Anemia education and awareness programs.

“…It is up to me to determine what happens in the future. Education has become my weapon for fighting the powerlessness over life and my drive for becoming a great nurse and activist.”

Ethan Gingerich, an undergraduate student in the College of Engineering, will participate in the Bridges to Prosperity project in Jucuapa Occidental, Nicaragua, an NGO whose goal is to provide previously isolated communities with access to healthcare, educational, and economic opportunities by constructing footbridges that serve to greater connect these communities to their surroundings. Ethan’s role for B2P’s summer project in the Jucuapa Occidental agricultural community of Nicaragua will be to oversee the quality of concrete during construction, which will ensure that the bridge is sustainable. In addition, Ethan will assist with the construction of the footbridge.

“There is no justice in the fact that the people of Jucuapa Occidental must spend the rainy season without access to education, healthcare, jobs and employment. It is their basic human right to have access to these things…There is so much to be gained by all parties involved in the building of this footbridge.”

Hunter Harig, an MPH candidate in the College of Public Health, will intern at the Latino Commission on AIDS, a New York City based NGO that works on the prevention of HIV and AIDS within the Latino population by providing education programs, counseling, testing, and other medical and social services. As an intern at this organization, Hunter will work in the Research & Evaluation Department, where his primary tasks will be assisting in data analysis, developing a three-day training institute that focuses on HIV prevention through cultural competence, and assisting with the planning of National Latino AIDS awareness Day and the International AIDS conference.

“I look forward to gaining more experience with the Latino population and non-profit organizations through the Latino Commission on AIDS. My internship will be challenging and rewarding and I look forward to aiding the prevention of HIV for people all throughout the country.”

Adrianna Jarosz, an undergraduate student in the College of Engineering, will participate in the Bridges to Prosperity project in Jucuapa Occidental, Nicaragua, an NGO whose goal is to provide previously isolated communities with access to healthcare, educational, and economic opportunities by constructing footbridges that serve to greater connect these communities to their surroundings. Adrianna’s role for B2P’s summer project will be to oversee the geotechnical components of the bridge, as well as to act as a supervisor for the construction schedule. She will make sure that the bridge is built on suitable terrain, therefore ensuring that the bridge will be able to function during the region’s rainy season and allowing the community to remain connected to schools and healthcare facilities.

“Those of us that live in Iowa City recognize the importance of bridges. The Iowa River segregates our town into an east and a west side. Without bridge infrastructure connecting the two parts of this town together, our access would be significantly limited…There are many underdeveloped places in the world that experience this kind of frustration on a daily basis.”

Gregory Pelc, an MD/MPH candidate in the Carver College of Medicine and College of Public Health, will divide his time between two organizations in India: the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement in Karnataka and Pallium India in Kerala. Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement focuses its attention on providing healthcare services to the most marginalized populations in the state of Karnataka. Pallium India is an organization that provides palliative and pain relief care to the community of Trivandrum in Karnataka. While working with these two organizations, he will shadow clinical staff and provide assistance in exams and with interviews, and research how NGOs combine community outreach and clinical practice.

“I believe learning and working with these successful organizations will enhance my medical education, exposing me to healthcare disparities, delivery methods, and disease conditions that I would not learn in the United States.”

For more information on the Cmiel Funded Human Rights Internship Program, visit http://blogs.law.uiowa.edu/uichr.

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