Students (spring 2014)
Shahwar Ali is from Pakistan, a country which is misunderstood for girls having no rights of freedom to get education. Certainly this is not true, though there are areas where girls face hardships in accessing education, but this does not necessarily mean that every girl is stopped from going to school. In order to promote educational opportunities in areas where school enrollment rates were low, Shahwar was involved in projects spreading awareness about why education in important for all. In particular, she volunteered with “Liberating the Girl Child Foundation” back in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. LGCF is a program which promotes education for girls beyond secondary level, especially for those who come from an underprivileged background. Shahwar has been a part of various fundraising campaigns for building and renovating schools for girls in areas where there were no schools for girls. Her leadership and community service passion led her to attend Berea College where she is a rising junior majoring in Communication and minoring in Broadcast Journalism and Business Administration. Shahwar works as a ‘College Preparation Specialist’ for Partners for Education, a non-profit which helps poor students in Kentucky accessing good quality of education for a better future. She is also actively involved with on campus organizations like Debate and Speech Team, Berea Ambassadors, Student Government Association (Vice President for Finance) and Muslim Students Association. Shahwar aspires to be a diplomat and pursue Public Policy and/or Public Administration in her graduate school and improve the education system in Pakistan.
“Extracurricular activities have always played an important role in my life, starting as early as an altar girl for my community church. Before coming to Berea College, I worked in Bolivia for an organization called ‘Exposaludable.’ This group holds an annual fair to promote a healthy lifestyle. They offer healthy products and services so the citizens know what was available to them. My two years with EBAES led me to discover my passion for sustainability practices. During my first year as a Bonner Scholar at Berea, I was responsible for making a presentation about something I was passionate about; I made recycled paper and talked about the importance of taking care of our natural resources so that future generations can also enjoy the environment. I plan on continuing my focus on sustainability practices, so that more and more people realize the importance of this movement for the good of our society.”
Katie Boyd is a native of Birmingham, Alabama and is currently a senior at Berea College pursing a degree in Sociology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. Prior to her transition to college, Katie graduated from high school as number four in her class with a 4.1 GPA. Also to mention, she served as President of the National Honor Society. On top of many of her achievements, Katie has been featured on FOX 6 News, Cox Radio, Birmingham News and AL Magazine to discuss her success story as a Cristo Rey Alumni. She is a proud Bonner Scholar and active alumni of Cristo Rey, Emerging Scholars and the ACE Program. Katie is a recent graduate of Inroads, a program designed to help business gain greater access to diverse talent through continuous leadership development of diverse students and placement of those students in internships at many of North America’s top corporations, firms, and organizations. She has worked for her sponsoring company, Vulcan Materials Company, through Inroads for four consecutive summers. Katie started her first internship at the age of 15 and she has obtained experience and knowledge in fields such as Accountants Receivables, Procurement and now in Human Resources. Katie plans to further her education by obtaining her MBA and PhD to accommodate her career in Human Resources and Criminology. Through her Summer of Service as a Bonner Scholar she established “Rising Scholars,” a program designed to enhance teenagers from urban communities with the skills and resources to become successful in their future endeavors. Through her labor at Berea College, she is the Student Director at the Center for Excellence in Learning through Service (CELTS). Berea College has been a great experience for her and she is very thankful for all of her mentors and professors that impacted her life. Katie quotes “The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise,” (Maya Angelou). Every day, Katie strives to reach hearts of others through service.
I am currently a sophomore Education Studies major, intending to pursue a doctorate in Education Leadership. Being born and raised in a developing country – Vietnam – I understand deeply the crucial role of good education in fostering both society and individual liberty.
I was the co-founder of Vietnam Youth Education Support Center, an organization aiming at creating more opportunities for Vietnamese students to participate in extracurricular activities. Besides, growing up in an environment that did not favor women as those who take care of things beyond their home, I am intensely passionate for raising awareness of women’s capacities. My life goals are to reform the rigid Vietnamese education system, to build the schools where students are excited to learn and teachers are hapy to teach, and to have a happy family as many other women dream about.
I am a Sophomore Agriculture and Natural Resources major with a minor in Sustainability and Environmental Studies. When I was in elementary school, I went with my mother to volunteer at a local church that makes and delivers sack meals to people in low-income housing. After a brief break while I was in early middle school, I started to volunteer with the program by myself and continued there until I left for college. Here in Berea, I’ve participated in the First Year Bonner Program as a mentor to elementary schools children, and I volunteered with People Who Care’s End It movement. I currently work for HEAL in CELTS, through which I coordinated the Chinese Moon Festival that took place in September of this year. I hope to use my Agriculture major to bring community gardens to low-income, urban areas, or to implement farm programs at domestic violence shelters for supplemental income and to give women a therapeutic experience with nature.
Mira Denton is a Senior Political Science major with a minor in Philosophy. Since a young age, she has been socially and politically engaged in her home community of White Pine, Tennessee. In high school, she actively campaigned for local officials in school board elections, and was a regular volunteer for Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries. She also founded a senior class giving program, leaving her high school with a legacy of volunteerism and creating a tradition of giving that each senior class continues to uphold.
Since coming to Berea College, she has fostered her commitment to service by holding leadership roles in multiple campus organizations, such as the Speech and Debate Team and Student Government. She has been an advocate for social and education equality in Appalachia by sitting on the Board of Directors for multiple local nonprofit organizations, including the STAY Project. Her true passion lies in advocating for equal opportunity in education policy. Through her personal experience and work with Upward Bound, she saw the need for education equality, and has recently been working with a civic engagement nonprofit, Project Pericles, to advocate for the needs of impoverished students in her home state of Tennessee. After graduating from Berea College, Mira intends to further her commitment and passion for education equality by running for public office and pursing a law degree.
My earliest leadership experience was at an Indian non-profit where we taught under privileged children English and basic computer skills. I was the Vice President of Public Relations and helped raise funds and awareness for the organization, which was recently recognized by Michelle Obama. When I came to America from India, I became involved in student government at Berea, first as Senator-at-large and in my junior and senior year as the Executive Vice President working closely with the college president and the board of trustees among others. I serve as the student representative on different committees including Strategic Planning which looks at institutional changes on a macro level. In 2012, I helped start a campaign for social investing in our college endowment. I am also a Berea Ambassador who engages with alumni and philanthropists. My other leadership positions on campus have been President of the Cosmopolitan ‘International’ Club and now as the President of the Canterbury Club.
After taking classes from a small rural community college, Kelly Grenier transferred into Berea College with an Associate’s Degree in Arts. In her community, she was very involved in the local arts scene by volunteering at the local theatre group and community choir. Grenier also volunteered her time at a private elementary school teaching the music class when budget cuts could no longer fund the program. In her community, she worked as an agent of change by volunteering for recycle drives, serving on task force boards for the local park and library, and helping at events and shop local initiatives through the Chamber of Commerce. At Berea College, Grenier is a member of the Student Judiciary Board, Berea Buddies, and House Council. At both Berea College and her past community college, Grenier has been on the Dean’s List. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System Academic Team. Currently, she is a junior pursuing a degree in political science with a minor in history. She is working as a faculty assistant for Dr. Michael Berheide and is a pianist at Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant. She plans to continue her education after graduation.
Although I have interests in Biological Sciences, Art History, Religion, Performing Arts and Entrepreneurial Leadership, Public Service has always appealed to me. I realized the importance of this field while serving as a Youth Advisor at U.S. Ambassador’s Youth Council (U.S. Department of State). As I delve into unleashing my natural skills, I have discovered that I have a passion for translating research into action, i.e. utilizing resources for the benefit of public.
Angie Li is a Computer Science major at Berea College. She works as the Student Web Development Manager at the Alumni Relations Office. She has gravitated towards leadership roles since her freshman year in high school. She has held office positions in National Technical Honor Society, FCCLA, and JROTC. It was here that her interests for public service culminated. This interest only grew with her experience in the Entrepreneurship for the Public Good program, which sought to help small business owners increase their economic vitality. Experienced in community outreach, in both rural and urban areas, she has delved into communities of many sides of the economic spectrum. She is able to work under pressure with a calm demeanor and has good decision making skills. Angie hopes to channel these abilities to make a positive impact on her community.
“My first public service experience started with helping orphans, in 2009. My friends and I spent many hours teaching kids, and helping them develop their social skills. Since then, I have been a volunteer in various different organizations, such as: “The Humanities Education and Research Association,” the NGO “Helping Hand,” the NGO “Civil Society Development Center,” “The Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia,” and few others. Peace is one of the most important ingredients for happiness. The Caucasus region, the place where I come from, is full of ethnic conflict. I believe cultural relationships between those ethnic groups can improve the situation in a good way. Therefore, I established a non-governmental organization called “Damani” whose focus is to reinforce peace between the ethnic groups in the Caucasus region. We organize cultural projects, where the representatives of those ethnic groups meet each other and often times they even become good friends. I expect these little things cannot change the world, but I believe that helping at least one person makes a big difference and actually makes this world a better place to live.”
Brittany Suits is a senior business management major at Berea College and wants to save the world one social justice issue at a time! She is currently an events and volunteer coordinator for People Who Care. She and her team are planning the first annual Berea College Hunger Games to benefit Oxfam and Syrian refugees. In the past, she has planned events to bring awareness to the issues of human trafficking, hunger and homelessness, and fair trade. Her deep commitment to aid the poor and oppressed stems from her profound love for Jesus Christ and his mission to help those in need. Spending her last two summers serving nonprofit organizations in Washington, DC, Brittany understands the dedication and commitment it takes to aid the hungry and underprivileged. Her first internship with Jubilee Jobs allowed her to work in Southeast DC where she learned about workforce development, and the barriers that stand in the way of those in minorities. Last summer, she interned with RESULTS in northwest DC as the operations and events intern. While at RESULTS, Brittany learned the importance of raising her voice to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. She also spent a semester studying in Florence, Italy and grasped the concept of globalization. Upon graduation she hopes to move to the west coast and work with a social enterprise dedicated to providing resources to those who do cool things that matter!
Candice King is a Junior Economics major with focus in International Economic Policy. She is also double minoring in Peace and Social Justice Studies, and Sustainability Environmental and Natural Sciences. Candice is from Wichita, Kansas and is a proud mother of three and resides with her husband and children in the Berea College Ecovillage. She has been a consistently active member of her various communities for the last 20 years, has been an elected member of the national committee of the Socialist Party- USA , was a regular facilitator in the Occupy movement (in Kansas), and has freely volunteered her time and labor to multiple community groups, university organizations, non-profit organizations, and causes since she was in the fifth grade. Candice is dedicated to a life of activism, and public service.
As someone who is a self-identified (and card-carrying) member of the revolutionary leftist movement, Candice is motivated to promote and precipitate a global shift away from the hegemony of western ideals. She holds steadfast to the belief in the necessity of a revolutionary change in the status quo, in order to better reflect principles involving collectivism, environmentalism, and egalitarianism. Candice is devoted to the ideal of a world without exploitation, arbitrary borders, marginalization or stratification. Her greatest hope is to experience a world that values equality for all, greater than it does profit, within her lifetime.