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Calliope Desenberg


Major: "Social Justice and Social Policy" (minor in Women’s and Gender Studies)

What is your IIM about? - My IIM looks at existing social inequalities (such as class, race, and gender) and the
structures that create and perpetuate them. Analyzing these problems and their causes has allowed me to examine why
they have existed historically, how they continue to plague the modern world, and where they fit into larger justice issues of
environmental degradation and as barriers to peace. At the same time, looking at the successes and failures of social policy
and other approaches to combat these problems allows not only for a deeper understanding of the issues themselves but also
for the exploration of new and interdisciplinary methods of trying to fix them.

When & how did you begin the IIM process? – Like many people, I spent a large part of freshman and sophomore year
utterly undecided and confused about what exactly I wanted to major in. After exploring many different concentrations and
finding none that fully encompassed my interests, I learned about Brandeis’ Social Justice and Social Policy program. Since
the program was only offered as a minor, I began looking into the IIM as a means of expanding it into a major for myself.
That spring of my sophomore year, I got started by using the SJSP curriculum as my guide and picking out relevant courses
from all different areas of study. Meanwhile, I met with professors teaching the classes and subjects I would focus on to
solicit advice and find advisors. With their feedback, I drafted my proposal over the summer and submitted it the fall of my
junior year.

How are you pursuing the IIM outside of the classroom? – This past summer, I worked as a Sorensen Fellow at
the Centro de Estudios para la Paz (CEPPA- Center for Peace Studies) in San Jose, Costa Rica. There, I helped facilitate
trainings in nonviolent conflict resolution for prisoners, at-risk youth, and educators. The summer before, I interned at the
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, where I contacted organizations serving disenfranchised populations
to set up and conduct presentations in both English and Spanish about discrimination and individual’s civil rights. During
the school year, I volunteer in prisons with the Massachusetts chapter of the Alternatives to Violence Program, continue to
conduct workshops on discrimination both around Boston and on campus, and am active in the Brandeis production of the
Vagina Monologues.