2014 Sorensen Fellows


T-B: Ibrahima Diaboula,
Elad Mehl

Download "From Looking to Bearing Witness," which highlights the Fellows' experiences.

For PDFs of each essay, click here.

Ibrahima Diaboula
’16 majored in international global studies and anthropology, and minored in French. He was born and raised in Conakry, Guinea. His passion and determination for national unity sparked when he interned at the International Institute of Rhode Island. There, he worked closely with refugees affected by the aftermath of the genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda. Yet his impact in the Guinean community began when he was elected by the Guinean Youth Association of Rhode Island as president. He gained valuable experiences at the three-day conference of the Clinton Global Initiative University where he was placed as a semi-finalist over more than a thousand student change-makers from all over the U.S. He secured an internship for his Sorensen Fellowship summer with Qui Veut Peut, a Guinean non-profit organization that focuses on children's rights and education. His objective during this internship was to promote national unity by teaching basic computer literacy and basic English proficiency. He also conducted recreational activities such as poetry, drawings, poems, and plays during local soccer tournaments. Ibrahima's objective was to improve ethnic relations in Guinea, which had been dramatically unstable since 2009, by bringing children from different ethnic groups together. It is worth mentioning that Ibrahima is half Mandinka and half Fulani; these two groups are the largest and the most competitive groups in Guinea.

Shimon Mazor ’16 is majored in economics and computer science. He was born in Kiev, Ukraine but has lived in Petah Tiqva, Israel for most of his life. After serving in the Israeli Defense Forces as a combat soldier and commander, Shimon worked in sales and marketing management, and volunteered in Paamonim, guiding and mentoring a family in financial debt. Shimon now serves as the supervisor of the WATCH Housing Advocacy Clinic in Waltham, where he collaborates with other students to prevent homelessness, helping local community members with affordable housing searches, understanding Massachusetts housing law, and assisting with evictions and health-code violations. He was awarded the Louis D. Brandeis Social Justice Scholarship for his work at WATCH. On campus, Shimon works as an IT help desk technician, he is a Brandeis-Genesis Institute Fellow and an Experiential Learning Fellow. For his Sorensen Fellowship Shimon interned with Kenya Social Ventures, consulting to small businesses and social enterprises in the slums of Kibera, Nairobi. Shimon worked on capacity building and business development to help alleviate poverty, promote economic empowerment, and raise social awareness to pertaining issues and problems in the slums.  

Elad Mehl ’16 majored in IGS and Business. He is originally from Kfar HaOranim, Israel, but has spent many years of his life living in Poland, Turkey, and Uzbekistan due to his father’s diplomatic missions representing Israel. Coming from a Polish Jewish family, and living in Poland as a young child, he developed a strong curiosity for the culture and the Jewish life in Eastern Central Europe and in Poland particularly. Prior to joining Brandeis, Elad served as a commander in the artillery forces of the IDF. He is currently a Community Advisor in East Quad, and also works in the Office of Advancement Services. Over the summer he worked in the educational program of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, where he created workshops about contemporary Poland for Israeli high school students, led groups through the exhibits, and helped connect the museum with other organizations.

Ngobitak Ndiwane ’16, from Malden, Massachusetts, is an aspiring dentist who majored in health: science, society and policy. She was an English Language Learning coordinator and tutor at Brandeis, as well as a mathematics tutor to a local Waltham elementary school student. She has had the opportunity to travel to countries such as Ethiopia, Cameroon and Honduras, and is interested in addressing healthcare disparities both internationally and domestically.  Ngobitak’s tutoring experiences, as well as her passion for improving healthcare quality standards, led her to her internship with Atorkor Development Foundation in Atorkor, Ghana. In Ghana, she was a teaching assistant for elementary and high school aged children, as well as an intern at the local medical clinic. Ngobitak educated the students about oral hygiene and many different public health topics through lectures, creative writing, crafts and games.

Sneha Walia ’15, from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, double majored in politics and psychology and minored in social justice and social policy, and education studies. She was President of the Undergraduate Student Union, an undergraduate department representative for the Social Justice and Social Policy Program, and a member of the Steering Committee for this year's ’DEIS Impact “festival of social justice.” Sneha did her Sorensen Fellowship internship at the Department of Education in Washington D.C., working with their College Access initiative in the Office of the Secretary of Education. During her internship, she was able to conduct research on college access needs, participate in meetings related to college access programs, and provide support on events coordinated by the initiative. Additionally, she had the opportunity to work on many events through different areas of the Department, including the Department's National Summer Learning Day celebration featuring First Lady Michelle Obama, their summer series of Let's Read, Let's Move events, and a College Opportunity Summit through the Office of the Undersecretary.

Shane Weitzman ’16, from Leominster, Massachusetts, is majored in anthropology with a minor in South Asian studies. He has a special interest in the confluence of gendered practices, religion, and the impact of colonial histories within South Asia. In the summer of 2014, Shane traveled to Hubli, India to work with the Deshpande Foundation, an organization that employs a “bottom up” approach to inspire local entrepreneurship in service of helping to solve systemic social problems. He has received the Brandeis Academic Achievement Award and a grant from the Brandeis-India Initiative. He also has had experience volunteering with Afternoon Enrichment, a Waltham Group club that facilitates afterschool activities and homework help for local middle schoolers. His essay, “(Re)Imagining ‘The Illusion of Inner Sex’ in Livingston’s Paris Is Burning” appears in the 2013-2014 edition of Write Now!, a Brandeis University publication used in first-year writing seminars. In his spare time, Shane enjoys knitting, reading, and playing with his chocolate lab, Judge.