Summer 2019 Saints Start Challenge Grant Recipients Announced | St. Lawrence University Sophomore Success Initiative

Summer 2019 Saints Start Challenge Grant Recipients Announced

The Sophomore Success Initiative is happy to announce this year’s Saints Start Challenge Grant recipients.  These grants support students’ personally-developed independent research, creative, volunteer, and internship projects in the summer between sophomore and junior years.  Generous funding for this program is provided by the Mellon Foundation.    This summer, five sophomores---Sophia Alvarez ’21, Luiz Gomez ’21, Emily Grudzien '21, Rachel Loyst ’21, and Noah Neverette ’21---will immerse themselves in a variety of interactive projects that promise to help them develop as people and engage positively with the communities around them.   Each student will receive mentorship from a member of the St. Lawrence community, along with support from community partners unique to each endeavor.  These five students look forward to sharing their experiences and discoveries on the following projects in a number of campus venues this fall.

Sophia Alvarez ’21 will be spending the summer traveling to three countries: Guatemala, Honduras and Belize to conduct ethnographic research in these Garifuna communities.  This project will allow her to learn about how cultures are maintained and reflected in the education of children, and she will be interviewing educators and parents about this topic. In another aspect of her research, Sophia looks forward to connecting with Garifuna anthropologists, psychologists, and sociologists to gain knowledge regarding their perspective on the Garifuna culture, which she describes as "a transnational Afro-Caribbean community with its own distinct language and set of spiritual beliefs and practices."  Throughout the summer, Sophia will be mentored by Dr. Adam Harr, Associate Professor of Anthropology. 

Luiz Gomez ’21 will serve as an academic advisor with Reach Prep in the Greater New York City Area. Reach Prep is a non-profit organization which aims to put African American and Latinx students on track for college success through supplemental academic programming and enrollment in private school. Luiz will be aiding sixth grade students with the academic and social transition of going from public school to private school. At the end of the summer, students will design an art exhibit that highlights positive aspects of their community to be showcased to alumni and peers of Reach Prep. Luiz is receiving ongoing support from Prof. Melissa Proietti, Adjunct Instructor of Education, and Ms. Sarah Coburn, Associate Director of Career Services.

Emily Grudzien ’21 is spending the first month of the summer studying the integration of climate change education in outdoor education programs. She is attempting to investigate the assumption that outdoor recreation inherently affects students’ environmental behavior. To do this, Emily will be visiting schools across the country, from New Hampshire to Colorado, to ask faculty and staff in outdoor education programs how they perceive this behavioral change. She will not only be looking at faculty and staff’s answers to her questions but also at the schools’ campuses and websites. Emily is interested in outdoor education in the future, and thus this project provides her with an opportunity for career development.   She is receiving on-going guidance from Dr. LeAnn Holland, Coordinator of Educational Leadership Programs and Assistant Professor of Education.

Rachel Loyst ‘21 will be participating in the Community Action, Research, and Education (CARE) fellowship this summer, which has a learning, research, and patient care component. The facility she will be volunteering with is “Hospeace House” located in Naples, NY.   This program will allow Rachel to learn about the importance of psychosocial support in end-of-life care, gain skills in communicating with patients, and be able to identify symptom management approaches for conditions common at the end of life.   She will also learn to serve as a member of an interdisciplinary health care team and recognize the value provided from different healthcare professionals.  She hopes that the skills she will gain through this project will help her on her journey towards pursuing a career in the medical field.   Dr. Leah Rohlfsen, Chairperson and Associate Professor of Sociology, will provide support and mentorship on Rachel’s project. 

Noah Neverette ’21 will spend his summer in Tupper Lake, NY interning at the Adirondack Sky Center and Observatory.  This internship involves facilitating informal science education classes for youth in the community during the week and hosting Friday night stargazing events that highlight a variety of themes and phenomena.   His work will also include conducting fundraising activities for the organization’s $15 million capital campaign to build a planetarium and museum. Along with his communicating by letter and phone, the majority of fundraising will be done during two large events in July, which Noah will play a key role in organizing.  Dr. Aileen O’ Donoghue, Priest Associate Professor of Physics, will be mentoring Noah throughout his internship.