Art, leadership and ethics in Cuba
This grant served as a catalyst for cross-cultural and cross-discipline exchange and opened the door for the intellectual pursuit of art, leadership, and ethics in Cuba. The entire visit introduced me to the cultural and political complexities that exist and required sensitivity to the fact that the artists of which my investigation focused on spearheaded a movement that challenged the status quo and were perceived as traitors to their home country. I came to find that artistic and ethical considerations of these artists differed from the point of view of those still living in Cuba. As both a Winston Center Ambassador and McMullen Museum Ambassador, I had the opportunity to represent both institutions in interacting with National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana (MNBA) staff, scholars, and trustees of Estopiñán’s artworks that ultimately enhanced the connection between members of the Boston College community and the Cuban art community.
Faye Hubregsen, MCAS '17
Protecting sea turtles in Costa Rica
Leadership is the ability to translate vision into reality and this project is a vision that I have been working on for the last two years, to develop technologies that safeguard the conservation of an endagered species. I spent spring break working in Costa Rica at The Leatherback Trust, an international non-profit based in Costa Rica whose goal is to protect the Leatherback and other sea turtle species at risk. I trained local researchers on how to use and test the latest aerial/drone equipment. Our goal was to find applications that could expand researchers’ data collection and increase the efficiency of their operations. We established a number of use cases including visual surveys of bays, autonomous mapping of remote beaches, modeling of beach dynamics, crocodile surveying, and rain forest canopy monitoring. Once tested and confirmed as practicable, we set these use cases up for long-term data collection. Looking forward we would like to further explore thermal cameras, aerial balloons, and in particular small drone planes. These planes would allow us to cover many more miles of coastline than current multi-rotor devices. Researchers from The Leatherback Trust recently hosted the annual “Sea Turtle Symposium” in Las Vegas and were able to share the success of many of our drone techniques with researchers from all over the world. We hope to bring this project to the Bahamas next year, where shallower water depths and increased clarities could prove even more beneficial for researchers.
Branick Weix, CSOM '19
Improving healthcare around the world
I was extremely excited to embark on an incredibly informative journey about global health and learn about the current efforts being done to improve health oversees by leading scholars in the field. At the Global Health Innovation Conference held at Yale University, I was able to meet a cohort of philanthropists including physicians, nurses, community health workers, researchers, and social entrepreneurs. Each of these individuals presented their work in a way that deeply touched the audience and inspired people like me to reevaluate my work and consider assisting abroad to expand public health relief to foreign countries in need. This conference heightened my understanding of leadership and philanthropy. As was mentioned several times by prominent speakers, engaging in truly effective global health work requires a commitment to understand the current problems within a country, community, or region before developing any kind of solution. Too often, international aid workers try to instill a solution they believe will solve an issue abroad yet do not get too far in their efforts due to a lack of cultural competence. Therefore, having a sense of cultural humility and cultural competence is integral in getting results in health care sustainably.
Maya Grodzga, MCAS '17
Promoting inclusion for all
I had the privilege to participate in the Other & Belonging Conference hosted by UC Berkley’s Haas Institute For a Fair and Inclusive Society. While each lecture brought its own unique perspective, each focused on balancing in a world where we all belong. Through action, movement, and persistence, society will be a place where everyone has the part of belonging individually and collectively. Today, one problem that we notice is that we are practicing belonging in a period of deep anxiety. Practicing in a world that is so divided. But as Susan B. Anthony simply said, “It was We, the people” and we should work in ways and means that do not devalue, dismiss, or even disrespect those around us. All of us are going through “stuff” whether that be medically, academically, financially, etc., and belonging helps break isolation to touch each other in real ways. As John A. Powell, Conference Chair, concluded, “Belonging means power-building for the future – for everyone to be valued for the work and services that s/he does.” Moving forward I will use my research, understandings, visions and ideas to continue to promote a community of love and inclusion for all.
Joseph Arquillo, MCAS '17
Reducing obstacles to girls' education: A Study of Ruby Cups in Kenya
The goal of the proposed project was to study the effect of Ruby Cups - a high-quality, reusable menstrual cup - on girls’ standardized test scores (KCPE), yearly school attendance, and quality of daily life among girls at the Arrive Kenya program. It was hypothesized that Ruby Cups have a positive effect on the aforementioned outcome variables. As is often the case in research, especially in rural Kenya, the project did not go exactly as planned. To begin with, attendance and testing records were frequently unreliable, with regular gaps in records, and entire years and class levels without any records of any kind. However, despite challenges and setbacks to the execution of this research project, general observations demonstrate that for those who reported using the Ruby Cups, there was overwhelmingly positive feedback. Subjects reported an improved quality of daily life, as well as better school performance and attendance.
Julia Barrett, MCAS '19
Understanding ethics and leadership in the Muslim world
The Travel Grant from the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics provided me the opportunity to refine my research on the War in Afghanistan by studying its connection to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where thousands of Afghan economic migrants, from businessmen to laborers, live and work. The UAE plays an underreported role in Afghanistan, cooperating not only with the Afghan government but also with the Taliban, whose government, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the UAE recognized during its brief existence from 1996 to 2001. Now that the Taliban has returned to insurgency, the Emiratis have worked to exercise more understated influence by providing covert financial and political support to the insurgents to maintain plausible deniability. My research helped me gain insights into the connection between Afghan economic migrants, the Taliban, and the UAE, all of which will help me with my thesis as I investigate the Taliban’s foreign policy. This experience allowed me to develop my understanding of ethics and leadership in the Muslim world.
Austin Bodetti, MCAS '18
reThinking food as a public good and its societal impact
I attended the 2017 reThink Food conference at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, CA that focused on the intersection of technology, food, and design and the future challenges and opportunities for the food industry. Combining technology, innovation, behavioral insight and design, many of the presenters spoke of the driving factors such as an cutting-edge biotechnologies and an unprecedented societal interest in all aspects of our food system that have catalyzed a revolution in the way we think about food. Coming from an academic background in Neuroscience and Managing For Social Impact, this conference helped me to further explore the intersection of my interests. It exemplified the nature of transdisciplinary research and collaboration toward the mitigation of complex social problems through innovation and technology. As a research assistant for Dean Yamada of the Boston College School of Social Work, I have been researching the nature of transdisciplinary research but the nature of the conference allowed the data to be actualized into meaningful insights. Though I will have graduated before the Institute for Integrated Sciences is fully established at Boston College, I think it is a critical development going forward and will set forth a framework for addressing social issues through provision of resources from a myriad of disciplines. In an increasingly interconnected global world, I now recognize more than ever the need for transdisicplinary collaboration for ensuring the full potential for social impact and public good is actualized. I hope to embody this in my future academic and extracurricular endeavors.
Evey Satterfield, MCAS '20