Global health students among 2017 Wisconsin Without Borders award winners

These seven students and faculty, including global health certificate earners, are proof that that the Wisconsin Idea is a living, serving idea.

This year’s Wisconsin Without Borders awards honor seven students and faculty for their community-engaged work at home and across the world. The 2017 awards honor work that demonstrates excellence in collaboration between the university and local and global communities, with this year’s work representing efforts spanning six countries. Each award carries a prize of up to $1,000.

Wisconsin Without Borders, a campus-wide alliance, will honor all winners at a ceremony on Monday, May 8 from 4 – 5:30 p.m. at the Education Building (room 159). The ceremony is open to the entire campus community.

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.

Service Learning Award – Faculty

Joel Hill
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, School of Medicine and Public Health

For the last six years, the UW-Madison Physician Assistant (PA) program has traveled to the rural and impoverished areas around Independence, Belize, to provide medical care at temporary clinics. The work in Belize is in close partnership with local providers and with a non-governmental organization, the Belize Family Life Association. Students and faculty travel there to address acute minor complaints, chronic illnesses, as well as teach preventive health strategies and provide cervical cancer screening exams.

Community-Based Research Award – Graduate Student

John Uelmen
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Population Health Sciences, Global Health Institute

John Uelemen worked with the citizens of Ban Koke Wat Moo, Thailand, to better understand the status of Dengue virus in the country. His short-term goal was to establish a level of trust and mutual respect with the local citizens and to better understand daily activities, food preparation, religion, social interaction and more. All of these factors play critical roles in the transmission of Dengue. Uelemen found it crucial to understand how the local culture deals with larger issues to be respectful in battling the epidemic. He will build off this cultural understanding in order to conduct a year of research on Dengue virus in Thailand.

Service-Learning Award – Graduate Student

Erica Hess
Design Studies, School of Human Ecology

The now ubiquitous nature of smartphones and internet access opens new opportunities to collaborate around the world. During the Fall 2016 semester, students enrolled in a textile design class taught by graduate student Erica Hess were paired with artisans in the Kutch district of Gujarat, India. With no opportunity to meet in person, 13 design teams used the popular communication app WhatsApp to each develop a collection of scarves. The project goals were to collaborate on a unified collection of scarves, to effectively communicate design ideas using only the smart phone app and to create an intercultural exchange through design.

Peter Bosscher Award – Undergraduate Student

Maria Castillo
Environmental Studies, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

The goal of UpTica is to address inequality and waste management in San Isidro, Costa Rica, and to empower women by providing access to opportunities through upcycling. Upcylcing implies that the new product has more value than it previously had. The project centers on the production of new reusable bags because leftover fabric was being trashed locally and there was a high rate of plastic bag usage in the area. Production work is open to all genders, but specifically increases opportunities to women.

4W Award – Undergraduate Student

Sydney Olson
Department of Biology, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Global Health Institute

The primary goal for the ‘AFRIpads for All’ project is to increase access to menstrual health supplies for school-aged girls by partnering with AFRIpads to provide reusable menstrual pads to girls in Nkokonjeru, Uganda. By providing sanitary supplies to school-aged girls, the larger-scale goal is that girls will be able to effectively managed monthly menstruation, resulting in a lower incidence of girls skipping school, thus lessening the disparity in class attendance and performance between boys and girls in the community.

4W Award – Undergraduate Student

Jennifer Wagman
School of Business

Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace is a non-profit student organization committed to maintaining fair trade practices with global artisans who sell their work through the organization. As the student director of Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace, Jennifer Wagman works to create sustainable economic development and empowerment for partners in developing countries. For Jennifer, the work also means creating meaningful student experiences. Her goal is to empower students to use their many talents, while also teaching confidence, self-motivation empowerment, respect, tolerance, acceptance and understanding.

Service-Learning Award – Undergraduate Student

Michelle Tong
Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, Asian American Studies Program, College of Letters and Sciences

The goal of our College/Career Advancement Mentorship Program (CAMP) at the Bayview Foundation in Madison was to provide high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds with a foundation to pursue higher education. With funding from the Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowships, CAMP has been piloted as a blueprint for Bayview to reduce an income disparity in student success. CAMP consists of weekly academic workshops, weekly group ACT tutoring from Galin Education and monthly motivational workshops.

This story was originally posted by the Morgridge Center for Public Service.