Students and Dr. Hanson Win Jackson International Fund

By Caitlin Burns | January 19, 2018

Students Naomi Pilla ’18M and Emily Custer ’19, as well as Dr. Aroline Hanson, assistant professor of Modern Languages, were selected as recipients of the Marie-Louise and Eugene Jackson International Fund for Student and Faculty Development, which is supported by the Fourjay Foundation.

Custer, a Biology major, will study at the University of Otago in New Zealand during the Fall 2018 semester. Pilla and Dr. Hanson will conduct research projects in their selected locations.

Naomi Pilla
Pilla, who is enrolled in the Public Health program, received the award for an internship in Chennai, India to work with Madras Christian Council of Social Service to develop curriculum for a men’s and boy’s program about gender and the role of women in society. Chennai has one of the highest incident reports for human trafficking in India, and Pilla said many of the women Madras works with are victims who need services and skill training opportunities.

“I was reviewing the programs Madras organizes and noticed there were no programs for men or boys in the region,” said Pilla. “Many times, we address inequality of women with only other women, but not the other sex. I think doing work like this in a region that needs it is important.”

Pilla noted that her research is based on the No Means No Worldwide program conducted in Nairobi, Kenya, which saw a substantial decrease in violence perpetrated against women by educating boys about gender roles and the perception of women.

Dr. Aroline Hanson
Dr. Hanson will be traveling to Costa Rica this spring to work with the indigenous Brunca tribe to revitalize the use of their native language. The Brunca language was outlawed when the Spanish colonized Costa Rica.

“The community has been trying for 30 or 40 years to bring the language back,” said Dr. Hanson. “So, they’ve been teaching the language in schools. However, then students go home and their parents don’t speak the language, so they don’t practice it.”

Dr. Hanson will meet with the Brunca community to learn about their needs, and then develop school age and adult language learning materials that incorporate the tribe’s cultural elements, such as traditional stories and songs.