Six student projects awarded Wisconsin Idea Fellowships for 2015-2016

Originally posted March 23, 2015 on the Morgridge Center for Public Service website.

Six student projects have been selected from among nearly 20 submissions for 2015-16 Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowships.

The 17th year of the Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowships (WIF) will feature two domestic projects and four international projects. The six projects—to be implemented over the course of the next 12 months—were collectively awarded over $30,000.

Wisconsin Idea Fellowships are awarded annually to undergraduate student projects working to solve issues identified by local or global communities. Fellowships are awarded to semester-long or year-long projects designed by an undergraduate student (or group of students) in collaboration with a community organization and a UW-Madison faculty or academic staff member.

Waterborne Disease Prevention in Kumanzimdaka, South Africa

Student: Theo Loo, Microbiology and Global Health student form Singapore

Faculty Mentor: Michael Bell, Professor in Community & Environmental Sociology

Currently, 40% of South Africa’s population lives in rural areas with little access to clean water, leading to illness and disease. In 2014, Theo and three classmates conducted a rapid health impact assessment that outlined several physical water source protection strategies to prevent waterborne diseases in Kumanzimdaka, South Africa.

This WIF project builds on that assessment with the goal of reducing the prevalence of waterborne diseases in Kumanzimdaka. The project will conduct water testing and water sterilization workshops, establish a community dialogue, and map houses, community centers, livestock feeding pastures and latrines. The project will then produce a recommendation for physical water source protection strategies, and has the potential to lay the groundwork for a systematic approach to reducing waterborne diseases across rural South Africa.

Narrativas del cruce: Female narratives of migration between the US and Latin America; Arizona

Student: Alexandra Arriaga, Journalism and Latin American, Carribbean & Iberian Studies student from Hickory Hills, Ill

Faculty Mentor: Karma Chavez, Associate Professor in Communication Arts

Traditionally, the majority of migrants crossing the United States/ Mexican border have been male. But in recent years, the number of women who embark on this journey has risen. In an effort to research the unique struggles that women face in making the journey, this project will collaborate with existing organizations near the border to gain access to the women’s stories. The project will conduct interviews and recordings with the end goal of composing a multimedia story collection.

TEAM (Time for Education, Awareness, and Management of) Concussion: A Community Resource for High School Students and their College student mentors; Madison, Wis.

Student: Kristen Cassarini, Kinesiology student from Madison, Wis.

Faculty Mentor: Heater Krug, Clinical Associate Professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders

Within Wisconsin and specifically the Madison community, very few support resources beyond traditional medical care exist for high school teenagers who have experienced a concussion. Although medical care is important in rehabilitative efforts post-concussion, individuals can also face isolation from friends, depression, and a lifestyle change including a stoppage of everyday activities.

This project will build a collaborative group setting to support high school teenagers who have experienced concussions. TEAM Concussion members will attend social and recreational activities designed to combat isolation and facilitate the development of relationships among peers. Presenting a structured curriculum, trained college students will engage high school students in interactive and engaging educational activities surrounding concussion symptoms and management.

Expanding Entomophagy: Investigating potential barriers to mealworm consumption in Zambian and the United States; Lusaka and Southern Province, Zambia

Student: Marjorie Kersten, Community and Environmental Sociology and Global Health Student from Waunakee, Wis.

Faculty Mentor: Susan Paskewitz, Professor in Entomology (CALS)

Forty eight percent of Zambia’s population experienced food insecurity from 2012-2014, with December- March being the particularly difficult “hungry season” between crop production. But protein-rich insects provide a potential solution.

This WIF project will explore existing entomophagy (insect-eating) practices in Zambia through a survey focusing particularly on women, who are typically the primary contributors in developing world food systems. Based on the results, the project will develop complete meal plans that incorporate insects into traditional Zambian food.

The long-term goal of this project is to increase the acceptance and frequency of entomophagy within the Lusaka and Southern Province of Zambia and to improve food security and nutrition.

Linking Ecuadorian Teachers to the Latino Earth Partnership Environmental Education Program; Ecuador

Students: Brenna O’Halloran, Geography, Environmental Studies and Biographical Aspects of Conservation from Eagan, Minn., and Lauren Feierstein, Geography and Biological Aspects of Conservation student from Shorewood, Wis.

Faculty Mentor: Catherine Woodward, Faculty Associate in WISCIENCE

The Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation works with communities in costal Ecuador to improve environmental and science education. Many teachers in these communities lack formal science training.

This WIF project will train teachers from three Ecuadorian elementary school in an environmental science curriculum that they can implement in their classrooms. The teachers will attend a workshop, receive help with teaching activities and receive lesson books in Spanish for future activities. The project also aims to lay a broad groundwork for Madison, WI-based Latino Earth Partnership to expand their work to Ecuador and provide science education workshops there annually.

The Soap Project: Women’s Empowerment & Sanitation in Lweza; Lweza, Uganda

Students: Mackenzie Carlson, Gender & Women’s Studies student from Pulaski, Wis., and Corinne Praska, Genetics student from Rochester, Minn.

Faculty Mentor: James Ntambi, Professor in Biochemistry and Nutritional Sciences

On a previous trip to Lweza, Uganda, Mackenzie and Corinne had the opportunity to develop relationships the community and learn about its needs. Women, in particular, expressed excitement for obtaining skills to make products that they could then sell to gain independence and economic stability. Local health care providers also expressed the need for better sanitation.

This WIF project aims to tackle both issues by launching a soap-making training program in the village. The project also aims to promote youth development, further educational opportunities and stimulate the local economy. Additionally, the project will develop marketing strategies to build long-term structures for the production and sales of local-made soap.