Thursday, January 26, 2017

Meet the 2017 SVYM India GSL Team!

We invite you to get to know the 2017 India GSL Team, composed of 18 students from across Cornell University's colleges.


Alexis P., ILR '18
Hi! My name is Alexis and I am a junior studying ILR with minors in Law and Society and Inequality Studies. On campus, I am involved with ILR's student government, Student Assembly, Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity, and Alpha Phi Omega community service fraternity. I am also a Cornell Tradition Fellow, Public Service Scholar, and I work in the Keeton House Office.
I am originally from a small town in Monmouth County, New Jersey, but I have loved all of the opportunities I have had to travel since my time at Cornell. This past summer, I interned in Charlotte, North Carolina and in the fall semester I studied in Washington D.C. I love to travel and I cannot wait to go abroad and immerse myself in India's fine culture.
What excites me the most about SVYM is the opportunity to truly have an impact in another society. I am elated to have this experience, and I am hoping to learn a lot about myself and to explore many of my interests.




Anant S., GH, CALS '18
Hi! My name is Anant S. and I’m a sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences majoring in Biological Sciences, concentrating in General Biology and minoring in Global Health. I am very excited to be a part of this program and work with my fellow Cornellians and members of Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement through the GSL program.

As someone who was born in India but moved to the United States at a very young age, I’ve always made efforts to remain connected to my culture and heritage, whether it was visiting family or learning Hindi with my grandma. I had the privilege to volunteer for some time during high school in India and have been motivated to return ever since to continue to give back to the country. This program affords me that opportunity: to connect further with my country in an entirely new way.

On campus, I am a member of the Cornell International Affairs Society (CIAS). Through CIAS, I am a member of the Model UN travel team, competing in conferences at reputed schools across the Northeast. I am also the Director of Operations for the Cornell Model United Nations Conference, a student-run Model UN conference for high schoolers hosted on the Cornell campus.My experience with CIAS continually broadens my understanding through the varying viewpoints of my peers and the assessment of problems through a global lens. I hope to utilize this along with my drive to continue work in India over the summer to learn and better communicate with communities in Mysore and Karnataka through SVYM.


Annika B., GH '19
Hi, my name is Annika Bjerke, and I am currently a sophomore in the college of Arts and Sciences. I am majoring in Anthropology, specifically concentrating in medical anthropology, and minoring in both global health and art history. Through this combination of interdisciplinary studies, I hope to pursue a career in health policy with a unique cultural lens provided by a study in human society, customs and beliefs. In my spare time I am a Museum Educator at the Johnson Museum of Art, captain of the club swim team, work as a lifeguard on campus, and serve on the policy and standards board of Pi Beta Phi sorority.

I have a particular interest in gender inequalities as they are connected to health and education opportunities for women, and through this program I hope to gain experiential knowledge and understanding of how this is related to India.I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with SVYM, and I am so excited to spend the summer in Mysore, India!
Autumn F., ILR '19
My name is Autumn F. and I am from Anacortes, Washington. I am a current sophomore at Cornell University majoring in Industrial and Labor Relations. I am looking forward to expanding my horizons this summer in India all the while doing my best to make a meaningful impact in the lives of others. 

On Cornell’s campus I work to spread awareness and seek the prevention of the commercial sexual exploitation of children as Treasurer of Students Against the Sexual Solicitation of Youth. In addition, as a chair member of Cornell Colleges Against Cancer, I assist in the coordination of Relay for Life and its efforts to fight back against cancer. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to not only experience a rich and vibrant culture, but to utilize my time and abilities to serve the truly altruistic organization that is the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement.



Caroline M., GH '19
Hi! My name is Caroline Motzer and I am a current sophomore at Cornell University studying International Agriculture and Rural development with minors in Soil Science and Global Health. My hometown is Seattle, Washington although this past summer my family and I recently moved to South Carolina. I have heard many great things about this program and cannot wait to begin my journey with SVYM and the other students going on this trip.

Outside of the classroom, I am a member of the Cornell Women’s Varsity Rowing team, a CALS ambassador, a youth leader for Education Across Borders and a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority. I have a strong interest in international agriculture and throughout my studies I have found that lifestyle, health, agriculture and policy are all interconnected. I cannot wait to explore these ideas and apply them in a more healthcare specific setting.



Clara C., ILR '19
Hello! my name is Clara Chung and I'm a sophomore in ILR. I'm really excited to be a part of this program and look forward to working with SVYM. I am interested in education and equality studies and would love to gain a greater understanding into the challenges of education policy in Mysore, India. 

This past winter, I participated in the ILR Engaged Learning Opportunity in Vietnam. I engaged in research about Corporate Social Responsibility. My experience in Vietnam sparked within me the passion for comparative learning, which I am looking forward to bringing to India. I am excited to experience the wealth of India’s culture and rich heritage in order to best serve the community.

On Cornell's campus, I am involved with Minority ILR Student Organization and the Cornell Alpha Fund. I am also the President of the Financial Risk Management Club at Cornell. 



Clare M., ILR '20
My name is Clare M. I am a rising sophomore in the ILR School and hope to pursue minors in Business as well as Design and Environmental Analysis. I cannot wait to learn more about the work that SVYM does in India and hope it will help inform my career decisions. While unsure what career path I will follow, I know it will involve helping local communities in some form or another. Outside of class, I connect with alumni and raise money for Cornell University through the Cornell Annual Fund. I like to journal, sketch, watch documentaries, and create computer graphics. I also enjoy attending yoga classes and hope to eventually teach yoga to traditionally underserved groups, especially the elderly, children, those with disabilities, and those who cannot afford yoga studio classes in their communities.



Estefania P., ILR '18
Hello! My name is Estefania Palacios. I’m from Ecuador, and I am a junior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. I found out about the GSL program at SVYM way before applying to Cornell University, so I’m incredibly excited and grateful for this opportunity. My interest is law and public policy with a focus on women’s rights and social justice in the workforce. Outside of the classroom, I'm involved with the Spanish Speech and Debate Society, the Minority ILR Student Organization, and various women’s rights clubs. I look forward to spending this summer in India- immersing myself in its culture and working alongside the rest of the GSL team!
Hany Z., ILR '19
Hi! My name is Hany Z. and I am originally from Caracas, Venezuela, but grew up in Miami, FL. I am currently a sophomore at Cornell University majoring in Industrial and Labor Relations, minoring in Business and Art History. I am extremely excited to be participating in the ILR India program with SVYM. On campus I work at the Catherwood Library as a Circulation Desk Student Assistant. Additionally, I am a member of the Cornell Chabad Student Board, a writer on the Cornell Daily Sun, part of Slope Media Group, and a member of Rise Dance Troupe. In the future, I hope to pursue a career in Law or Human Resource Management. I love traveling and gaining knowledge and perspective from those around me. I can’t wait to learn about the educational system in India and help SVYM achieve its goals, while also developing invaluable skills. 

Irene L., GH '19
Hi! My name is Irene and I am a Global and Public Health Sciences major hailing from Los Angeles, California. I am incredibly excited to be a part of this wonderful program and cannot wait to get to know everyone at SYVM. At Cornell, I am involved in a group called GlobeMed, an organization that raises money for water filters in Comitancillo, Guatemala. Last summer, I was honored to be given the opportunity to travel to Comitancillo to meet community members and our partner organization, AMMID. In addition to my interest in global health, I am also passionate about urban health disparities in the context of the United States' criminal justice system. I am involved in research and community work regarding re-entry and sentencing policy. 


Jaelle S., ILR '19
Hello! My name is Jaelle Sanon and I am a sophomore in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. I am originally from Haiti but have been living in Boston, Massachusetts for the past 11 years. On campus, I work as a resident advisor while holding leadership positions in various clubs that strive to improve the experience of marginalized groups on campus. 

I am very excited to travel to India this upcoming summer and cannot wait to learn and work with SVYM in order to assist them in carrying out their mission. My career aspirations align very well with the ILR curriculum however I am most passionate about law and the labor movement. This passion stems from my work with labor unions and organizations in Boston that advocate for the improvement of lives of workers through initiatives such as minimum wage and earned sick time laws. 
This summer, I hope to learn more about SVYM and the impact that it has on the community that it serves. I also hope to learn about ways I can help their efforts even after the summer is over. Finally, I cannot wait to immerse myself in the culture and way of life in India.      


Julia B., GH '19
Hi! My name is Julia B. I am currently a sophomore studying Government with a minor in Global Health. I am looking forward to learning about India’s health systems through classes and volunteering on SVYM’s projects. I am most interested in the intersection of public health and social justice, and SVYM’s work within this field provides their community members with the best possible care.

On campus I engage in public health projects by working with GlobeMed at Cornell and Planned Parenthood Generation Action. Last summer I worked at NYU’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, where I participated in the research side of public health projects. In India, I look forward to having a more hands-on role on SVYM’s projects. In addition to working on the projects, I am also excited to travel, experience a new culture, and take classes in India. 


Meaghan G, ILR '19
My name is Meaghan and I am a sophomore in the ILR School pursuing minors in Business and Inequality Studies. I am very excited for the opportunity to participate in service learning in India this summer!

On campus, I work in the ILR Office of Career Services as the Marketing and Communications Assistant/Peer Advisor and the Balch Hall Womyn's Center as an ambassador. I am also involved in Cornell Class Councils, Society for Human Resource Management, the SchoolGirl Project, and ILR Ambassadors. Last summer I was a High Road Fellow placed at an education non-profit called Say Yes to Education Buffalo.  I am looking forward to exploring education and health through a global context and immersing myself in all that this experience has to offer.





Mikayla W., ILR '18
Hello! I’m Mikayla W. and I was raised in Monaca, Pennsylvania. I’m currently a junior at Cornell University with a major in Industrial and Labor Relations, and with minors in Inequality Studies and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. On campus, I work as a manager at Cornell Community Center Programs. I am involved with the Women’s Resource Center, ILR Women’s Caucus, and Ordinary People, Cornell’s social justice and peer education theater troupe. Additionally, I work remotely for the New York Center for Law and Justice, an organization dedicated to providing free legal services to deaf individuals in New York City. In the future, I hope to work for an organization that helps to improve the lives of disadvantaged people. I am thrilled to have to opportunity to learn more about the impactful work that SVYM does.

Nicolas H., ILR '19
My name is Nicolas Hernandez and I’m honored to be part of the India GSL Cornell team for 2017. I’m a sophomore transfer student into the School of ILR and originally from Downey, California in the Los Angeles county. I spent my first year at Boston University where I had my first experience of life on the East Coast, so I’m no stranger to the snow! I’m interested in the role of nonprofit organizations and their effects on the community around them, which is why I made the transfer into ILR. I’ve also gained some interest into the idea of management consulting but that career path was unheard of to me until I came to Cornell.

What I hope to gain from my time and work in Southern India is a first-hand look and understanding of SVYM’s work with the local community. After reading about their successes in their recent report, I admire their accomplishments with the people of Mysore and other areas and only hope to contribute to their achievements. I hope to learn not only from my teachers at the Mysore campus but also from the Indian citizens and locals. I also would like to learn from my group and their experiences before and during our projects in India. In all, I am more than excited to gain my first international experience this summer in beautiful South India!

Nikki J., GH '18
I am currently a junior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences majoring in Biology & Society while pursuing a minor in Global Health. I am on the pre-medical track, and I was born and raised in Burbank, CA. On campus, I assist in research with the Seguin Research Group, where I am currently focused on the physical activity levels of residents in rural areas. I am also a Cornell Tradition Fellow, the Co-Philanthropy Director of Kappa Alpha Theta Iota Chapter, the Vice President of Impact Dance Troupe, and a member of the Order of Omega, a Greek honor society. I hope to one day work in the medical field, and in my spare time I enjoy traveling and being with my friends. As someone who is very interested in the cultures and health systems of countries all around the world, I am very excited to be in India and working with SVYM!


Ore A., GH '18
Hi everyone! My name is Ore Afon, and I’m from Atlanta, GA. Currently, I’m a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Psychology and minoring in  both Creative Writing and Global Health. On campus, I am an executive board member of Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity and the Pre-Med Minority Mentorship Program (PreM3), a member of Globemed@Cornell, a research assistant in the Personality, Attachment, and Control Laboratory, and a university tour guide. 

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to travel to Mysore this summer to immerse myself in Indian culture, to learn more about becoming a global citizen, and to get a hands-on approach to community development. With such a unique and indispensable experience, I am excited to continue on my pursuit of becoming an OB/GYN and helping to bridge the gap for women all across the world.

Winnie H., GH '18
My name is Winnie H. and I'm a Biology major (neurobiology concentration) in Arts & Sciences with double minors in Global Health and Inequality Studies. I truly enjoy learning about the different facets of community health and development and am truly excited to go to Mysore and learn with SVYM. Health is a vast field and contains complicated issues that allow for many different areas of exploration. In addition, India is an incredible country with a rich culture, history, and dynamic future and I cherish the opportunity to further develop my interests there. I am looking forward to learning how SVYM operates, how complex health issues are handled, and seeing more of the world.   

Service-Learning and volunteering are a huge part of my life. I have previously travelled to Lima, Peru as part of Cornell MEDLIFE, an organization that provides mobile medical clinics and supports community development projects. Back in Ithaca, I seek to continuously give back to the local community as a regular volunteer and as the current Vice President of Service for Alpha Phi Omega, the co-ed service fraternity. I am also a second-year participant in the Public Service Center's Alternative Spring Breaks trip program, and will be going to Tangelo Park Elementary School, Orlando to assist with developing education programs and working with the students. Finally, given my love of neuroscience and biology, I serve as the Volunteer Coordinator for Science Olympiad at Cornell and help organized high and middle school science tournaments. In the meantime, I stay active on campus as a Cornell Tradition Fellow, a lab assistant in a neurobiology lab, doing artwork and attempting leisure reading, and as an appreciator of puns and bad jokes. 

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