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Seven Ways UC Davis Students Will Change the World This Summer

May 13, 2016 — Undergraduates will be putting their educations to work alleviating poverty around the world this summer, many of them before they even graduate. 

Seven students from a wide array of majors in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science — in the social sciences, humanities and mathematics — have been selected as Blum Center Summer Fellows for 2016. 

With support from the college and its three divisions, the UC Davis Blum Center for Developing Economies awarded the students up to $2,000 each for projects developed in partnership with faculty on campus and organizations around the globe. 

They are among 24 students from across UC Davis selected by the Blum Center to receive the Poverty Alleviation Through Action grants.

Tu Jarvis, a professor of agricultural and resource economics and the faculty director of the Blum Center, said interest in the program is growing. Three times as many undergraduates applied this year than in 2015, he said.

Established in 2010, the Blum Center is part of a network of interdisciplinary hubs at UC campuses focused on understanding and acting on global poverty.

Summer Fellows from the College of Letters and Science said they can't wait to get started. 

“I want to put my best effort out there,” said Jessica Gutierrez, a political science major who will spend the summer in Guatemala. “I want to make sure it makes a difference, even if it’s only a small impact.”

2016 Blum Center Summer Fellows 

An IR/Econ Major in Kenya

Portrait photo of UC Davis international relations and economics major Funke Aderonmu

Funke Aderonmu

Destination: Nairobi, Kenya

Project: Helping to expand use of clean-burning charcoal briquettes made from recycled materials.

Read more about Funke's project to provide people with sustainable, affordable cooking fuel. 

A Chicana/o Studies Major in Mexico

Portrait photo of Stephanie Barrera

Stephanie Barrera

Destination: Oaxaca, Mexico

Project: Working in medical clinics through a UC Davis Study Abroad internship.

Read more about Stephanie's project to low-income and indigenous people get health care.

A Political Science major in Guatamala

Portrait photo of UC Davis political science student Jessica Gutierrez

Jessica Gutierrez

Destination: Lake Petén Itzá, Guatemala

Project: Promote ecotourism as a way of preventing deforestation.

Read more about how Jessica will help Maya Itza community conserve its natural resources.

An Economics Major In Indonesia

Portrait photo of UC Davis Economics Major Hendry Hendry

Hendry Hendry

Destination: West Papua, Indonesia

Project: Helping villagers save their forests and perserve their way of life. 

Learn more about Hendry's plans to help communities identify non-timber forest products for their livlihood.

A Poli-Sci Major in Sacramento

Portrait photo of UC Davis political science student Shelina Noorali

Shelina Noorali

Destination: Sacramento

Project: Helping human trafficking survivors get immigration and job training services.

Read more about Shelina's work with the International Rescue Committee. 

An IR/History Major in Guatemala

Photo of UC Davis student Josh Paull looking at a walking stick insect on his hand

Josh Paull

Destination: Lake Petén Itzá, Guatamala

Project: Redesigning a website for the country's oldest environmental organization. 

Read more about Josh's plans to higlight efforts to save the Maya Forest.  

A Math Major in Nicaragua

Portrait photo of Suzie Pizano holding a potted succulent plant

Susan (Suzie) Pizano

Destination: La Calle Real, Nicaragua

Project: Working with residents to develop programs for a community center.

Read about Suzie's plans to also teach English and folklorico dance.