Erin Wilkus, Biology, Class of 2010

As a recipient of a Davis Project for Peace summer award in 2010, Wilkus was awarded $10,000 to build and maintain a language resource center in partnership with Tshulu Trust in a Venda community of South Africa.  Rosetta Stone was installed on the computers along with other multi-media learning materials. Wilkus hoped to provide the Venda community of HaMakuya with the tools needed to learn English, a skill that would open doors to education, employment, and socioeconomic mobility.

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Deirdre Cain, Psychology, Class of 2013

In the summer of 2011, Cain worked as a teachers’ assistant at Autistic Children’s Activity Program (ACAP) in Portland with kids who have autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

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Crystal Williams, Dean for Institutional Diversity, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing

Williams is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, an established poet, and Reed’s first Dean for Institutional Diversity. As Dean, Williams evaluates the current state of diversity at Reed and works in conjunction with a variety of other departments at Reed to establish and strengthen programs that promote multiculturalism. Williams’ vision of diversity includes expanding the socioeconomic range of the students who attend Reed, and also bringing diversity more prominently into the conversations that happen at Reed in classes and beyond. She says, “I think of diversity as fully engaging peoples’ visible and invisible differences as part of the intellectual project of the college. Any conversation is richer when it includes many people from a variety of backgrounds and when they are able to fully articulate their whole selves.”

In the past, Williams has served on the board of the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Centerand Write Around Portland. In October, Williams was appointed by John Kitzhaber to the Oregon Arts Commission.

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Bob Kaplan, Professor, Biology

Kaplan structured and designed the Biology Outreach Program sixteen years ago. The program is supported by a grant from the Rose Tucker Trust and provides Reed students the opportunity to teach science to children at Title I local public schools. Biology Outreach currently serves 16 classrooms at 5 schools and over 475 students. Kaplan sees Reedies’ participation in the program as “a natural synergy, given Reedies’ talents and capacities.” He explains that many Reedies formerly involved with Biology Outreach have gone on to model their own similar programs and expresses admiration that “Reedies have so far demonstrated an unbelievable passion for wanting to access students in need.”

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Bernadette Clark, History, Class of 2014

Clark is the LASER Mentor Coordinator and a Youth & Education Odyssey trip leader for SEEDS. LASER is a SEEDS program that partners Reedies with students from Lane Middle School, which has an ethnically diverse population and many students who qualify for free or reduced lunch. The partnership hopes to provide Lane students with otherwise unavailable classroom assistance, regular after-school classes, and one-on-one mentor relationships. In this sense, Reed students are given the opportunity to gain valuable first-hand teaching experience while forging and sustaining important connections with the greater Portland community. Clark says she is now trying to fit a history major with her interest in pursuing macro-level education reform after graduating. She says, “My time with SEEDS led me to realize that I needed to see the big picture and decide how to use my experience at Reed in a responsible way. Planning this way has made my studies exciting again, and finding a new purpose for my time at Reed has galvanized me to work when it’s especially hard to keep up momentum.”

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Frank Sosa, Psychology, Class of 2013

In the summer of 2011, Sosa worked for the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the University of Vermont where he was involved in psychological research for treatments involving cocaine addiction. NIDA isolates detrimental and enabling aspects of the client’s environment and alters these as best as possible to decrease cocaine use. NIDA hopes that participants will continue to abstain from drugs after the program ends. “My goal is to apply scientific research to real social situations in order to improve people’s lives as much as possible,” Sosa says

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Gabriel Forsyth-Korzeniewicz, Economics, Class of 2012

Throughout his life, Forsyth-Korzeniewicz found himself asking questions about identity and the inequalities that result from identity. Consequently, he was always involved with organizations that work with people who have developmental and intellectual disabilities. In high school, Forsyth-Korzeniewicz was a one-on-one mentor for families who have children with autism. Today, he seeks out more opportunities to be involved with disability rights advocacy.

As an economics major, Forsyth-Korzeniewicz has deepened his understanding of the ways in which  developmentally and intellectually disabled people are excluded from society. He explains that on a theoretical level, he is now able to understand how disability adversely affects one’s financial compensation and participation in the economy. He is also aware of the lack of data supporting this correlation and he hopes to use his skills to help develop this data in the future. Forsyth-Korzeniewicz intends to use this information to address employment accessibility, which is extremely challenging for people with disabilities. His interest in this work is guided by two main questions: “How can people with disabilities become independent?” and “What is the extent to which they can be as productive and effective as any other person?” By blending his two passions – economics and disability rights advocacy – into his studies at Reed, Forsyth-Korzeniewicz says he has been able to become a much more engaged and fulfilled student.

Forsyth-Korzeniewicz has also taken his passions beyond his academic studies at Reed to more extensive engagement in the school. In the summer of 2011, Forsyth-Korzeniewicz received one of the McGill Lawrence Summer Internship Awards. With the award, he went to Accra, Ghana to work at the Autism Center. The Autism Center is a community support and education center for children with autism founded barely a decade by a mother of a child with autism. Forsyth-Korzeniewicz provided daily support in the classroom helping children learn social, communication, and life skills. He also helped the children put together a talent show for the end of the summer. “I felt supported in looking at questions of disabilities. Reed has helped me to understand these issues even though it may be lacking in direct education about them,” he says.

With his appreciation of Reed’s support, Forsyth-Korzeniewicz hopes to give back to the community by providing more education about and support for people with disabilities. He explains that although it may not be Reed’s intent, students with developmental and intellectual disabilities are categorically excluded from attending Reed. For this reason, Forsyth-Korzeniewicz, along with two other Reed students, created the Reed Disability Advocacy and Outreach (RDAO) program. RDAO’s goal is to provide a unified voice and support for students with disabilities at Reed. Forsyth-Korzeniewicz is currently trying to organize a disability summer camp at Reed, to set up a job fair, and to bring more education about these issues into the community. He says, “Reed is filled with socially-conscious, intelligent and skilled people who want to do good, but disability often doesn’t come to mind when they think about social issues. This is a shame considering all the resources Reed students have.”

Forsyth-Korzeniewicz is also working on a tech-start up that will release software for the autistic community that detects emotion in the voice. He is also involved with: The Riot!, the Sprout Festival, and Autistic Children’s Activities Program (ACAP).

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Stephen Metzler, Undecided, Class of 2014

In the summer of 2011, Metzler worked at the Autistic Children’s Advocacy Program (ACAP) in Portland.

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Ashley Kroll, Biology, Class of 2014

In the summer of 2011, Kroll worked at the Autistic Children’s Advocacy Program (ACAP), a non-profit that runs a summer day program for children, teens, and young adults. Kroll also works weekly for Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette as a Patient Support Volunteer.

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Suraj Pant, Economics, Class of 2011

In the summer of 2011, Pant established a computer lab at JanaKalyan Madhyamik Vidyalaya, a high school founded in part by his grandfather and the only high school in Hungi, a remote village in Western Nepal. The lab is furnished with ten computers and Internet facilities for the students and teachers of the school. Outside of school hours, the lab generates income to cover maintenance costs and serves the wider community by offering computer literacy courses and by renting time for Internet usage. The lab hopes to equip students with computing skills, thus expanding and improving their access to learning resources and information.

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