2013 Sorensen Fellows


2013 Sorensen Fellows group photo

L-R: Abie Troen, Hannah Young, Cynthia Wangui Charchi, Damiana Andonova, Hailey Magee, Nelly Schlafereit

Damiana Andonova ’15, from Chicago, Illinois, is an aspiring obstetrician majoring in Health: Science, Society and Policy. She explores her interests in obstetrics through many disciplines including art, literature, philanthropy, and research. She is the founder of the Brandeis University March of Dimes Council, is a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, and has been involved with several women's health NGOs including Expanding Lives, a charity aimed at educating and empowering Nigerian girls, Haitian Health Foundation, the March of Dimes, and Partners in Health. In summer 2013, Damiana traveled to Bulgaria for an obstetrics internship at hospital in Blagoevgrad, and collected health narratives of community members, patients, health policy makers, and health workers in an effort to generate discourse and discussion and explore the use of literature as a healing form of the arts.

Cynthia Wangui Charchi ’14, from Nairobi, Kenya, is double majoring in Health: Science, Society and Policy and Economics with a minor in Environmental Studies. Having lived in several countries including Kenya, the U.S. and South Africa, she has become aware of the disparities in healthcare access and treatment. Her passion for sustainable and equitable distribution of resources, particularly in the slums of Kenya, led her to intern with Kenya Social Ventures (KSV), which supports local projects in the slums. Cynthia assisted the Power Women’s Group, which provides HIV-positive women the technical skills, materials and market to sell craft items. Cynthia documented the stories of the women in order to humanize the experience of HIV, while also putting a face to their products.

Hailey Magee ’15, from Stillwater, New Jersey, is double majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies and Politics and minoring in Social Justice and Social Policy. She is the president of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, a member of the Ethics Center Leadership Council, and a blog contributor for the non-profit organization About-Face. Hailey did her Sorensen internship in NYC with NARAL Pro-Choice New York. Hailey worked at the intersection of policy and grassroots organizing, advocating for the Women’s Equality Agenda, an omnibus bill presented by NY Governor Cuomo to advance the status of women regarding health policy, sexual harassment, discrimination, and more. Hailey also researched State Representatives’ and mayoral candidates’ policy stances and wrote memos on current legislation.

Nelly Schläfereit ’15 is originally from Germany but has lived in Geneva, Switzerland for most of her life. She is majoring in Anthropology and International and Global Studies, and is currently serving on the executive board of the Anthropology Club. On campus, Nelly works as a German BUGS (Brandeis Undergraduate Group Study) tutor and is involved with the Center for German and European Studies. Her passion for working with children has brought her from Switzerland to Costa Rica to Senegal, where she spent a semester before beginning at Brandeis as a midyear. It was in Senegal, interning at a shelter for women and children, that she first discovered her interest in Africa. For her Sorensen internship, Nelly returned to Senegal and interned with Pour Une Enfance, a humanitarian organization that works with young street children and child beggars attending Koranic schools.

Abie Troen ‘14, from Jerusalem, Israel, is majoring in Film Studies. Abie studied at the Israeli Academy for Sciences and Arts together with Jews and Arabs, and became particularly interested in artistic creation within a politically and socially complex reality. After serving in the Israeli Defense Forces as a Combat Paramedic, he attended the Sam Spiegel Film Academy in Jerusalem where he worked as a photographer and cinematographer in projects that dealt with social inequalities within Israel.  Over the summer he interned with KENASVIT, the Kenya National Alliance of Street Vendors and Informal Traders, creating a documentary database of film, photos, interviews and clips of their projects on the ground.

Hannah Young ’15, from Branford, Connecticut, is majoring in Anthropology and International and Global Studies with a minor in African and Afro-American Studies. She currently serves on the boards of the Brandeis African Students Organization and the Anthropology Club. After interning with Sports Helping Empower Women in South Africa (SheWinS) in Memel, Free State during the fall of 2011, Hannah became interested in community development and women’s empowerment in southern Africa. She presently serves as the secretary of the SheWinS board. With the hope of gaining a broader view of the African continent, she traveled to Kampala, Uganda for her Sorensen Fellowship. There, she worked in the Education Centre of Uganda Youth and Women’s Effort Fighting AIDS (UYWEFA), in an attempt to provide equal education opportunities to orphans and vulnerable children who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS.