This August we welcomed a group of passionate and bright individuals as our 2014-2015 Shinnyo Fellows!
Shinnyo Fellows range from undergraduate to Ph.D. students who are recruited and selected by the Foundation’s four partner universities to serve in various fields, such as health and human services, peace education, and food justice, just to name a few. Each university’s Shinnyo Fellows Program is unique as they’ve evolved over the years to tailor to the strength of the students and the school. With support from the Foundation, each Fellow is guided by a university faculty or staff supervisor to develop leadership and reflective skills while serving their community.
On August 7th, the Fellows gathered in San Francisco to meet each other and learn more about the Foundation, our mission, and Paradigm of Service. The Foundation puts as much emphasis on a Fellow’s growth and transformation through service as it does on the community impact a Fellow’s work may have. We are proud to present these wonderful Shinnyo Fellows and we look forward to hearing about their work and experiences throughout the year!
George Mason University
Sarah Hinshaw is an elementary school librarian and a Ph.D. student in the GMU College of Education and Human Development. She has worked for more than a decade as an educator in Title I, urban schools in Fort Worth, Detroit, and the DC metro area. As a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Sarah is passionate about equity, access, peace, and education. She is also a certified Kingian Nonviolence trainer. Her research within the doctoral program is based around international and teacher education, but specifically education for peace within conflict and post-conflict regions. As a Shinnyo Fellow, Sarah wants to build collaboration between the GMU community and a local elementary school to engage students in discourse and partnership about issues of peace and access to resources. The issues include food scarcity, education equity, and social justice.
Mainlehwon Vonhm is a Liberian national. He holds a BA in International Affairs from Florida State University and earned his MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from the School of International Service at American University in 2004. In 2012 Mainlehwon earned his MPhil Degree in Education Research, focusing on the role of education as a tool for building a culture of peace in postwar societies, from the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge in the UK. Mainlehwon is currently a Ph.D. student at the College of Education and Human Development at GMU. Mainlehwon worked at the World Bank to serve as a Consultant for its Community Driven Development Projects in Liberia, and also at the Catholic Charities Refugee Center in Washington D.C. as their case manager and job developer for refugees and asylees. In 2009, Mainlehwon returned to Liberia and established the Center for Peace Education (CPE), a nongovernmental organization dedicated to teaching peace education in Liberian schools and communities as a means of achieving harmony and peaceful coexistence. Today, CPE volunteer teachers and peer mediator advisors are currently serving local schools and communities in Liberia.
Robin Curry is a Seattle U senior double majoring in English and Liberal Studies. She was born and raised in the Sacramento, California area, but calls Seattle her second home. Robin has spent her previous two years at Seattle U as a member of the Center for Service and Community Engagement’s Student Leaders for Education Equity, as well as a member of the Redhawk Reading Corps, both of which have allowed her to work closely with the Bailey Gatzert School community as well as other SU students dedicated to education justice. She hopes to use her experiences gained through these positions to someday become an educator and hopes to work specifically with students in low-income areas. In her spare time, Robin loves reading and spending time outside. She is excited to be one of this year’s fellows and expand her knowledge and understanding of the communities around Seattle U, as well as her place in them.
Asha DuMonthier is a senior at Seattle U studying Economics and Women and Gender Studies. Her interest in structural inequality led her to volunteer at a women’s rights organization in Seattle and co-lead an Immersion Trip on homelessness for the Center for Service during her second year of college. She also served as co-president of the University’s Society of Feminists club. Asha spent the last school year in Santiago, Chile, interning at a rural and indigenous women’s rights organization where she was immersed in grassroots organizing to promote women workers’ rights and food sovereignty in Chile. She would like to continue to be involved in community organizing work in the United States and become a workers’ rights activist.
Karen Katigbak is a senior studying Social Work at SU. In high school, she was involved with the Christian Service department which led her to valuable experiences, affecting her outlook on life and ultimately what she wanted to study in college. When she arrived at SU, she began working for Jumpstart, which is a national organization dedicated to early childhood education for those who live in low income neighborhoods. Involvement with the Center for Service introduced her to the Shinnyo Fellowship which put creativity and passion behind my vocation. I had the opportunity to work at Childhaven, which is an organization for children who have suffered abuse and neglect, which reinforced her values. Along with her Social Work path, she has fallen in love with the outdoors at SU and is currently a climbing counselor at the YMCA Climbing. Climbing, hiking, and cooking are some her favorite ways to spend her time.
Maria Dalzell Martos is a junior studying biology. Though originally from Mexico City, she considers the Northwest her home and is now a lover of the rain. Seattle U has given her the opportunity to explore the issues of immigrant rights, particularly through the Center for Service and Community Engagement. She has had experience interning in Casa Latina, El Centro de la Raza, and Seattle Goodwill. Tying that with her passion for biology and medicine, she hopes to contribute to the field of public health some day, searching for ways to serve marginalized communities.
Rachel Anne Williams is a senior working on degrees in Public Affairs (Nonprofit Leadership Emphasis) and Creative Writing. Passionate about service since she interned at two nonprofits in high school, Rachel has been engaging with social justice issues through the Center for Service as a facilitator for the Youth Initiative Leadership Seminar. She is excited to continue this work as a Shinnyo Fellow and a Service-learning Leader. Rachel is a published poet who loves to write and draw; she is also in the University Choir, where she works as the student manager. She has held multiple other leadership positions at SU, including being the RHA President and National Communications Coordinator, leading a new-student immersion, and being a Naef Scholar next year. This summer she will work as an Operations Coordinator at Teach for America in New York, which is the furthest from home she’s ever been! Rachel loves cute animals, making messes in the kitchen, henna, and reading.
Stanford University, in partnership with Redwood City 2020
Sophia Colombari Figueroa recently graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Human Biology, concentrating in Community Health and Social Justice. She is passionate about community-based research as well as cross-sector and interdisciplinary collaboration to solve health and social issues. Her dream is to become a primary care provider working with underserved communities to promote individual and public health. During her year as a Shinnyo Fellow, she will work with Redwood City 2020 and the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities at Stanford University. She is excited to contribute to programs that engage and empower youth and families in Redwood City. Check out Sophia’s Blog!
Kristen Nelson is a Sociology Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation examines the role of mindfulness, and its impacts in diverse San Francisco Bay Area elementary school classrooms. For the past two years, Kristen has volunteered as a tutor with Community Education Partnerships, an Oakland organization that matches tutors with homeless youth. During this time, she has also co-led the Berkeley Sociology Department’s Graduate Diversity Working Group. Her particular drive to address educational achievement gaps has fueled these efforts. As a mediator, Kristen is interested in exploring what productive peacebuilding and social justice work look like both within, and on the ground.
Nikolai Smith is a dual enrolled doctoral student in Sociology at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego, with research interests that revolve around political sociology and social movement strategy and theory. Nikolai has worked as an advocate and community organizer, and also has taught in the K-12 school system. Through the Fellowship Nikolai is looking forward to improving his skills at facilitating reflections and sharing his own organizing and work while engaging students in their own interests.