2020 Wisconsin Without Borders Awards recognize global health efforts

These 11 students and faculty are proof that the Wisconsin Idea is a living, serving idea.

This year’s Wisconsin Without Borders awards honor these students and faculty for their community-engaged work at home and across the world. The 2020 awards honor work that demonstrates excellence in collaboration between the university and local and global communities. Each award carries a prize of up to $500 to $1500.

Wisconsin Without Borders (WWB) is a UW–Madison alliance and award program that recognizes globally-engaged interdisciplinary scholarship and fosters excellence by networking through joint learning activities. WWB draws on the history and values of the Wisconsin Idea and the many remarkable partnerships that UW–Madison faculty members and students have initiated, both in Wisconsin and around the world.

WWB is a partnership between the Morgridge Center for Public Service, the Global Health Institute and the International Division.


Peter Bosscher Undergraduate Award

Joel Baraka 
My HOME Stars: Using The 5 STA-Z Game to Improve Learning for Refugees
Community Partner: CIYOTA (COBURWAS International Youth Organization to Transform Africa)

Joel Baracker, 2020 Peter Bosscher Undergraduate Award Recipient
Joel Baracker

Joel Baraka grew up in Kyangwali refugee camp where one of the non-profit organizations that he saw support and empower refugee students was CIYOTA – (COBURWAS International Youth Organization to transform Africa). When he founded the educational platform My HOME Stars in 2016, he quickly established a relationship with teachers at COBURWAS Primary School that CIYOTA runs in Kyangwali. With the aim of providing engaging and fun resources for learners, My HOME Stars hopes to transform education content delivery within refugee camps and beyond. So far over 500 refugee students have used their 5 STA-Z educational game series that employs peer-to-peer and active learning approaches. Joel and his team have a target of reaching 1,500 students by the end of this year.

Peter Bosscher Undergraduate Award
Haley Sisel
Employing a One Health Approach to Address the Implications of Mycotoxin Exposure in Rural Guatemala
Community Partner: Red Kuchub’al

Haley Sisel, 2020 Peter Bosscher Undergraduate Award recipient
Haley Sisel

Haley joined a longstanding partnership between Dr. Claudia Irene Calderón and Red Kuchub’al and their project was also selected for a Wisconsin Idea Fellowship. Their team aimed to identify the ramifications of excessive mycotoxin exposure on animal and human well-being. She conducted relevant and impactful research to shed light on mycotoxin prevalence in especially vulnerable, rural areas. This project increased awareness of the health consequences and connected doctors, veterinarians, farmers and scientists from all over Guatemala in a robust interdisciplinary network.

4-W Undergraduate Award
Anusha Naik and Samantha Lettenberger
International 4W Internship
Community Partner: Days for Girls Ghana

Anusha Naik and Samantha Lettenberger, 4-W Undergraduate Award Recipients
Anusha Naik, left, and Samantha Lettenberger

As 4W interns in summer 2019, Anusha and Samantha worked with Days for Girls Ghana to expand the reach of a project sponsored by the Rotary Club of Madison called Be in School Every Day. The project aims to reach 15,000 junior high school girls in southern Ghana to increase menstrual hygiene knowledge and provide kits of sanitary products to address a barrier to regular school attendance. The two assisted with trainings in rural schools, conducted a focus group for parents, and designed and produced promotional materials for social media, a board game and posters for distribution in schools, an informational pamphlet for parents and a brief to represent Days for Girls to potential partner organizations.

Faculty or Staff Award
Nathan Larson, Claudia Irene Calderón, Alex Wells, Samuel Dennis and Renata Solan
Colaboración entre Huertos Escolares (School Gardens Collaboration)
Community Partners: Helda Morales and Bruce Ferguson, LabVida, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México

2020 Faculty or Staff Award Recipients
(Left to right) Nathan Larson, Claudia Irene Calderón, Alex Wells, Samuel Dennis and Renata Solan
This project’s goal is to grow relationships and share best practices, ideas, and successful models related to garden-based education between school garden partners and networks in Wisconsin and Chiapas, México. Project partners disseminated multiple forms of local garden-based education knowledge across borders, regions, and languages including the free garden-based learning book, La enseñanza en el aula de la naturaleza which was translated into the Bachajón and Tenejapa variants of Tseltal, a Mayan language spoken in Chiapas. Partners in this collaboration will continue to engage in exchanges and knowledge-sharing through their programs and networks including LabVida, the Chiapas School Garden Network, Wisconsin School Garden Network, School Garden Support Organization Network, and Red Internacional de Heurtos Escolares.

Graduate Student Award
Emma Svenson and Jacob Svenson
Comparing Self-Prescribed Antibiotic Usage Across Rural and Semi-Urban Populations in San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala
Community Partner: The Obras Sociales Mons. Gregorio Schaffer Hospital and Community Health Worker Program

Emma Svenson and Jacob Svenson, 2020 Graduate Student Award Recipients
Left to right, Jacob Svenson and Emma Svenson

This research project and Master in Public Health thesis grew from a service-learning opportunity that Emma and Jacob had previously participated in. This project designed a culturally and linguistically appropriate interview guide and gathered information about antibiotic self-medication practices. Preliminary results indicate that antibiotic usage regularly occurred without oversight from a doctor, veterinarian, or other health practitioner and they noticed a significant amount of antibiotic overuse in the community. This ongoing project will help local health workers design and implement interventions to improve antibiotic stewardship.

This story appeared first at morgridge.wisc.edu.

By Xai Xiong/ April 20, 2020