Award Recipients

Matthew Baharmast
Matthew Baharmast and Maggie del Re

Maggie del ReThese two Brandeis undergraduates are presenting information about youth climate action with a focus on positive solutions and hope for the future at the UN Climate Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. As a result of this project, Brandeis University has been named a partner institution for the Youth Environmental Alliance in Higher Education (YEAH) program, which annually sends higher education students to the COP.  Thus, future Brandeis students will have similar opportunities to learn, collaborate, and share with climate leaders from across multiple institutions around the world.


Harsha Bhamidipati
Harsha BhamidipatiHarsha is a dual Master's student in the Heller School's Programs in Sustainable International Development and Conflict Resolution and Coexistence. His project will be implemented over the winter break (January 2023) in collaboration with the Bangalore Creative circus. It entails creating a walking tour and a space for discussion around issues of “justice” and “inequity” in accessibility to safe water in Bangalore. It will also explore the social and political ecology around the ‘burning lakes’ phenomenon in Bangalore through poetry, visual arts, and murals.
María Fernanda Cabezas Astorga

Maria CabezasFernanda is a Masters's student in the Heller School's Program in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence. Her project seeks to understand how universities can fulfill justice gaps in a transitional justice process by including the community in building ways to deal with the past. Specifically, she will work with the Catholic University of Chile, focusing on truth-telling, memorialization, and institutional acknowledgment in the aftermath of human rights violations.

Heller Myanmar/Burma Advocacy Group

Heller grad students from MyanmarThese Heller graduate students represent diverse minority groups from Burma and have personally experienced conflict in their home country. They will collaborate with the Karenni Refugee Peacebuilding Team, created previously with Karpf Hahn funding, to implement economic development activities for refugees living along the Myanmar/Thailand border. The project aims to economically empower the twenty most vulnerable and poorest refugee youth or young adults. The economic development project will be carried out in Karenni Refugee Camp One and Daw Noe Ku (a new camp for internally displaced persons).

Jolecia Saunderson
Jolecia SaundersonJolecia, a Brandeis junior, will create a curation project called The Crown Collective, inspired by the recently-passed Massachusetts legislation known as the Crown Act. This new law protects the right to wear natural and diverse hairstyles in the workplace and classroom. Through testimonies, a collective activity, a signing event, as well as art, members of the Crown Collective will engage with the importance of the Crown Act and encourage it to be passed federally. This project will be displayed on campus after being collectively curated with a Memory Book documenting activities, experiences, and lessons learned.
Ava Shusterman
Ava ShustermanAva will conduct archival research for her senior thesis in Dublin and London on post-World War II era affordable urban housing in Ireland and Britain. Afterward, she will work closely with the head of WATCH CDC, a local organization that helps Waltham residents know their housing rights, in order to inform the campus community about various aspects of affordable housing.
Jessica Umanoff

Jess UmanoffJessica will use her funding to support a senior thesis project in theater. It will be a culmination of monologues, scenes, short plays, and spoken word poetry that explore themes related to race, gender, and sexuality.  The entire show, which will be performed on campus, will be comprised of original works created by women and femme artists who share her passion for using the performing arts as a means of social change.

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