Six students named 2011 Sorensen Fellows

Undergraduates to work abroad on social change and justice

A group of Brandeis undergraduate students, whose summer internships will include work with refugees in Israel, at-risk youth in Costa Rica and child laborers in Ghana, have been awarded Sorensen Fellowships to enact social change and justice.

The International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life has named Calliope Desenberg '12, Jessye Kass '13, Sarah Michael '12, Shani Rosenbaum '12, Piyawat "Paul" Sukijthamapan '13 and Sarah Van Buren '13 as 2011 Sorensen Fellows.

The six selected sophomore and junior fellows receive a $4,000 stipend to cover travel and living expenses for a summer internship anywhere outside of the United States, or $3,500 for one inside the U.S.

This spring, the fellows take a course of their choosing as academic preparation for the internship. Over the summer, the students intern at a selected organization anywhere in the world involving issues of international significance. In the fall semester, the students regroup and take a course together providing perspective on the internship experience.

The program is sponsored by The Ethic Center's fellowship program. The program honors Theodore C. "Ted" Sorensen's (1928-2010) commitment to public service and for his 10 years as founding chairman of the Center's International Advisory Board.

Sorensen was policy advisor, legal counsel and speechwriter to President John F. Kennedy. He practiced international law for four decades, and was a widely published author on the presidency and foreign affairs.

Sorensen spoke at Brandeis days before President Barack Obama's inaugural address in January 2009 at an event hosted by the Ethics Center at Brandeis. He discussed his service for President John F. Kennedy and reflected on recent inaugural addresses, "From ‘Ask not...' to ‘Yes we can,'
 JFK's Speechwriter on What Makes Inaugural Addresses Great." (Watch the video on BrandeisNow.) 

The 2011 Sorensen Fellows:

  • Calliope Desenberg '12, from Sarasota, Fla., is a social justice, social policy major with a minor in women and gender studies. She will work with the Centro de Estudios para la Paz (CEPPA - Center for Peace Studies), in San Jose, Costa Rica, facilitating workshops for prisoners, at-risk youth, educators and survivors of domestic violence.
  • Jessye Kass '13, from Concord, Mass., is double majoring in anthropology and African and Afro-American Studies with a minor social justice social policy. She will work for the Attukwei Art Foundation in Accra, Ghana, which aims to bring art projects to students living in underprivileged areas, as well as to students who have been victims of sex slavery or child labor.
  • Sarah Michael '12, from Keller, Texas, is a health: science, society and policy major. She will intern at Coptic Orphans, working with disabled children in orphanages in Cairo and El Beheira, Egypt (circumstances permitting).
  • Shani Rosenbaum '12, from Seattle, Wash., is majoring in Near Eastern and Judaic studies with a minor in creative writing. She will work with the Hotline for Migrant Workers in Tel Aviv, Israel, a non-profit devoted to promoting the rights of migrant workers and refugees and eliminating human trafficking in Israel.
  • Piyawat "Paul" Sukijthamapan '13, originally from Central Thailand, now of Arlington, Mass., double majors in biology and health: science, society and policy. He will intern with the Bairo Pite Clinic in East Timor, in South East Asia, an organization providing free health care to the East Timorese as well as working to guide the nation in the recovery from conflict by building a self-sufficient health system.  
  • Sarah Van Buren '13, originally from Tokyo, Japan, currently of Falls Church, Va., is a double major in biochemistry and international and global studies. She will intern with Wildflower Home in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which serves as a shelter, clinic and school for women who have been victims of sexual abuse and the sex trade.

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