Pages Navigation Menu

Give Grow Transform

George Mason University Showcases Shinnyo Fellows Program at the AERA Annual Meeting in Denver, CO

George Mason University Showcases Shinnyo Fellows Program at the AERA Annual Meeting in Denver, CO

During the five day American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in Denver, CO, George Mason University (GMU) representatives showcased the Shinnyo Fellows Program on May 2, 2010 in a roundtable discussion with researchers and students from a variety of international schools and organizations.  GMU Initiatives in Educational Transformation faculty member Dr. Elavie Ndura-Ouédraogo presented 2009-2010 GMU Shinnyo Fellows Samantha Doak and Andre Marseille to discuss their work as it relates to the Shinnyo-en Foundation’s Six Billion Paths to Peace initiative.

To begin the round table discussion, Ineko Tsuchida, Associate Director of Programs, presented the brief overview of the Shinnyo-en Foundation, Shinnyo Fellows Program and Six Billion Paths to Peace. The Shinnyo-en Foundation’s Shinnyo Fellows Program provides 6-8 students each year to develop individual student leadership and reflective skills by offering an opportunity to work year long to design and implement a service and peace related project while receiving substantial leadership training, individual and group guidance, and connecting to other youth, faculty and national leaders in the field. Students are asked to introduce, implement and institutionalize the Six Billion Paths to Peace initiative at a select group of university campuses nationwide. Ultimately, students are encouraged to develop their own personal path to peace, and learn to share with others as ambassadors of the Shinnyo-en Foundation.

The American Educational Research Association (AERA), a national and international research society, strives to advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. To this end, Dr. Ndura-Ouédraogo, Samantha and Andre discussed how the year long integrated experience of community service, leadership, critical reflection, and professional development allowed the students to develop enhanced critical social consciousness. Both Samantha and Andre described how they experienced their own transformation and they attributed it to their personal pursuit of paths to peace. In addition, they discussed the application of their paths to peace into own service and peace projects. As a Shinnyo Fellow, Samantha worked with the GMU Women’s Center to create a space for self-esteem building, stress reduction and wellness on campus with a focus on developing peaceful students. She lead workshops and yoga classes that were open to anyone interested. Samantha completed a Yoga Teacher certificate from the Integral Yoga Institute in 2008 and graduated from George Mason University with a B.A. in Integrated Studies in 2009. Samantha recently finished her first year in the Master’s program for Conflict Resolution.

Andre Marseille received his B.S. in Psychology from Chicago State University in 1999, his M.Ed, in Education from Howard University in 2005, and recently completed his second year working on a Ph.D. in Counseling with a focus in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University.  His research interests include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in post violent conflict regions (particularly in Africa), the effects of PTSD on indigenous traditions and cultural legacies, conflict analysis and negotiations, and PTSD counseling strategies. As a Shinnyo Fellow, Andre directed a weekly adjustment group in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee to promote the mental health of displaced (refugee) persons through dialogue and psychosocial support in order to increase a successful transition from their homeland to the States.

This was the inaugural year of the Shinnyo Fellows program at GMU under Dr. Ndura- Ouédraogo’s leadership. After a successful first year, the program will expand to include two additional students, a total of four GMU Shinnyo Fellows for the 2010-2011 academic year.