What Does Public Service Mean to DUSP?
Twelve students from DUSP conducted public service projects across the globe as MIT The Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center (PKG) for The 2017 Independent Activities Period (IAP.)
Traveling to far regions of the world including Kenya, Tanzania, Puerto Rico, the Colombian Pacific Region, Brazil, Ecuador, Rwanda, Mexico, and Malaysia, students applied their skills in research, data analyzation, and community organizing to enhance local efforts.
Mark Brennan G
Mark traveled to Kenya and Tanzania, where he worked with MIT’s USAID-supported Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation (CITE) and its partners. For this Fellowship, Mark supported a network of NGOs, donors, and implementing partners in developing decision making tools to reduce post-harvest loss of food crops.
Lily Bui G
Lily spent IAP working with the Puerto Rico Climate Change Council and the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources Office of Coastal Management. She helped to conduct and assemble research on climate change adaptation, risk communication, and natural hazards for Puerto Rico's State of the Climate Report (2014-2017). She assisted with organizing community meetings with local municipalities as well as creating a vulnerability self-assessment toolkit for local communities on the island. She also conducted independent doctoral research on hurricane early warning systems in San Juan.
Juan Constain Ramos G and Carey Dunfey G
Juan and Carey traveled to the Colombian Pacific Region over IAP, where they worked with grassroots social innovators in accelerating their economic democracy initiatives. This project is part of an ongoing collaboration between the MIT Community Innovators Lab and the Colombian non-profit Corporación Manos Visibles. Juan and Carey worked with initiatives in the eco-tourism, entrepreneurship, digital fabrication, cooperative business, and community media sectors. They documented the initiatives’ economic democracy models and identified opportunities for inclusive regional development in this post-conflict context.
Talia Fox G
Talia traveled to southeastern Brazil to help develop a computer/smartphone application that provides waste picker cooperatives with enhanced opportunities for collecting recyclables and earning fair pay. She visited several waste picker cooperatives near the city of Poços de Caldas in the state of Minas Gerais to understand the systems and management structures for waste collection, segregation, and sale of materials. Through interviews and group workshops, Talia helped waste pickers to shape a product that will make good use of their assets and serve their needs.
Francis Goyes G
Francis spent IAP in her home city of Quito, Ecuador, where she continued her work with the Secretary of Territory, Habitat, and Housing conducting field and data research regarding informal housing upgrading programs and policy in the city. During this time, Francis interviewed families that took part in the Secretary’s informal housing regularization programs. The ultimate goal of this work (and of Francis’ Masters thesis) is to evaluate past and present informal housing upgrading programs and provide recommendation for future housing policy in Quito.
Haegi Kwon G
Haegi worked with the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families in New York City. This non-profit organization advocates on behalf of Asian American immigrant children and families struggling with poverty and limited English skills. Haegi conducted a needs assessment that will inform the organization's advocacy efforts in 2017. To gather data for the needs assessment, Haegi conducted a mix of focus groups and one-to-one interviews with member organizations based in New York City.
Noelle Marcus G
Noelle and a team from the Sloan Entrepreneurs for International Development collaborated with The Women’s Bakery in Kigali, Rwanda, to increase female entrepreneurship. Part of the team traveled to Kigali to conduct a series of interviews with entrepreneurship training program participants and bakery owners, and gain on-the-ground understanding of the local business context. Based on this research, Noelle and the team are developing a franchising model for a network of women-run bakeries throughout East Africa.
José A Mendoza Garcia G
José spent IAP in Mexico working with the Department of Urban Development of the State of Chihuahua to create a GIS database that will be used to inform public policies, particularly regarding crime prevention. José worked with a team to collect information from local agencies and transform it into formats that would allow it to be digitally mapped and used to perform statistical analysis. The overall goal of the project is to use demographic, economic, and environmental data to enable strategic and efficient use of public resources.
Vishnu Prasad G
Vishnu spent IAP in the Greater Kuala Lumpur region of Malaysia. Here he worked with the Displacement Research and Action Network (DRAN) to create an historical record of urban displacement caused by development pressures. Vishnu aims to complete the first comprehensive study of development-induced displacement in Kuala Lumpur including the total number of historically relocated people, the compensation they received, and the modes of resistance offered by communities. As Malaysia continues to urbanize, the lessons of Kuala Lumpur’s transformation will inform planning and advocacy around new developments.
Nayeli Rodriguez G
Yazmin spent IAP in New York City, where she collaborated with a KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Charter School in Washington Heights. Yazmin helped to develop community-building initiatives in the school, supported classroom teachers, and deepened her own understanding of education policy. In the long term, she aims to build a career in education policy.