Five UC undergraduates receive scholarships for projects in women’s health, gender and empowerment

May 21, 2019

The 2019 cohort of UCGHI Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment Summer Scholars will embark on internships or fellowships this summer, all in the area of women’s health, gender and empowerment. Scholarships help advance students’ work in innovative research, programs and policy development activities.

The UC Global Health Institute’s Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment Center of Expertise (WHGE-COE) awarded stipends up to $2,500 to support students pursuing internships and fellowships. Students may use the awards for travel, project expenses or stipends.

The five students represent UC San Diego, UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis. Each student works with mentors from the WHGE-COE and will make a presentation about their projects at the COE’s winter retreat in January 2020.

Christine Wenzel

Christine WenzelUC San Diego
"Let's Talk About Sex [Education]"

"Let's Talk About Sex [Education]" aims to a) capture pre-college exposure to sex education among undergraduate students at 3 campuses (UCSD, UCLA, UCSB) and b) assess whether exposure to pre-college sex education has informed students' experiences of consent, interpersonal communication and sexual decision making while in college. The long-term objective is to understand protective factors of undergraduates by examining the type(s) of sex education they received pre-college. With the guidance of Dr. Jennifer Wagman and working with Brittnie Bloom, Vidhisha Mahesh, Atreyi Mitra, and Talia Kieu, individual interviews will be conducted at UCLA, UCSD, and UCSB.

Aaliyah Sade Murphy

Aaliyah Sade MurphyUC Los Angeles
"Mi Cuerpo, Mi Voz, Mi Poder"

During three months in Oaxaca, Aaliyah will work under the guidance of Dr. Melissa Smith with multiple organizations including Centro de Justicia para la Mujer, Grupos de Estudio Sobre la Mujer Rosario Castellanos, and Lomas clinic to conduct “Mi Cuerpo(my body), Mi Voz(my voice), Mi Poder(my power): participatory art and movement-based, qualitative global health research. She hopes to investigate the intersection of empowerment and reproductive health through the processes of consistent yoga practice, theater of the oppressed games and community building. As a certified yoga instructor and Theater of the Oppressed ‘joker’, she will facilitate and train others to facilitate safe movement and art making spaces to investigate and cultivate empowerment in the reproductive lives of women and girls; threading storytelling and community building in workshops hosted in accessible community spaces. 

Maria Isabel Ramos

Maria Isabel RamosUC Irvine
"Supporting Well-Being in Survivors of Domestic Violence"

This study will investigate the needs of survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) as they relate to their well-being and the services received. The likelihood of survivors from minority ethnic communities accessing support services will be examined to understand how ethnicity influences their access to support services. It will also test whether meeting women's needs after exposure to IPV can act as a buffer to positively ameliorate the effects of IPV-related stress on depressive symptoms in the purpose of examining how services are beneficial to survivors. Interviews will be conducted during Summer 2019 and data will be analyzed to present findings at conferences.

David Saenz

David SaenzUC Santa Cruz
"Youth Empowerment Institute"

This summer, David, along with a team of two other undergraduate students partnered with The Everett Program, will be hosting 14 students at UC Santa Cruz for 5 days, August 4th-9th. The Youth Empowerment Camp is completely free for attendees and centers the technological, personal and professional empowerment of low-income, women identifying, high school students of color and will consist of workshops, panels and other activities to inspire growth and actualization of potential through hands on skill development, educational support and empowerment. The Youth Empowerment Camp aims to increase representation of women in STEM careers and education while improving the personal mobility and health of Santa Cruz students.

Vi Nguyen

Vi NguyenUC Davis
"Tackling Education and Gender Inequity with Sanitary Pads in Zimbabwe"

Collaborating with the Tese Foundation, Vi and her team will teach schoolgirls in rural Masvingo how to make reusable sanitary pads in order to address their absenteeism from school – a consequence from the lack of sanitary health. Vi will lead workshops to educate both girls and boys on the menstrual process and sanitary practices in an effort to remove menstrual stigma. This project aims to address a gender and educational inequity that affects rural schoolgirls by helping them increase their school attendance to ultimately alleviate poverty in the community.