The COVE selects students annually for the Levine/Weinberg Endowed Summer Fellowship. This fellowship provides highly qualified students, interested in pursuing a career in community and/or public work, with summer internship funding in the field of direct community service. This year’s recipients are:
Sonali Byrd ’19 interned with Revolve Impact Los Angeles this summer, building on her interest in working with underprivileged youth around the Los Angeles area to help keep them in school, out of trouble, and on the path to success. The organization aims to break the cycle of oppression and inequality that many young students of color find themselves trapped in. Byrd worked with the Schools Not Prison branch of the organization, where she dealt specifically with teenagers to help ensure their acceptance and presence in colleges rather than prisons.
Byrd grew up in Los Angeles in a community where attending college was a rarity. She was fortunate to receive the help, mentoring, and opportunities that allowed her to get to where she is today, but with those experiences she is also able to see how so many of her peers do not have the same resources. For many students that she knew growing up, dropping out of school and supporting their families financially was the only option they felt they had. Byrd believes that every student, regardless of their class, deserves the support, structure, materials, and opportunity to graduate high school and attend a college or university. Working with Revolve Impact is Byrd’s first step in making her goal a reality. She wants to play a fundamental role in helping students from her own community succeed and be given all of the same privileges that she has been given.
Regine Cooper ’19 foundedProject Finish Line Incorporated, a nonprofit organization that she started as a Colgate student during her sophomore year. Project Finish Line is a peer mentoring program located in South Florida for high school students of a lower socioeconomic class or a one-parent household. The program provides students with college peer mentors who are readily accessible and informed to assist in the college application process, as well as applying for scholarships, grants, and internships.
As Cooper works to get her organization off the ground, her goal for this summer is to host a college fair for students in the Fort Myers community. The college fair’s objective is to inform students about the resources available in applying for college, the career choices available, and obstacles that they may face in school. The program will also include successful guest speakers from the community — individuals whose backgrounds feature experiences similar to those of the students. This will be the first interaction that select students will have in terms of networking for Project Finish Line.
Within the Fort Myers community, where crime and murders are advertised much more than scholar success, Cooper feels it is her duty to bring light to these strengths of her city. Her peers deserve to see that there is achievement around them and there is more to life than what they are exposed to every day. Cooper sees this as an opportunity not just for herself, but as the start of a lifelong organization for a diverse community in need of hope and inspiration. She sees Project Finish Line as her life’s work.
Gloria Han ’20 interned with Manna Project International in Ecuador this summer. Manna Project International is a nonprofit organization that serves communities in need and aims to help develop its workers and participants into agents of social change. The specific area that the organization serves is diverse in social class and occupation but, as a result, there is a large disparity in wealth. The impoverished are denied access to essentials like quality schools, health care, and sanitation. Manna Project International offers a large number of great programs to increase this access, like the Preventative Health, Exercise, and Environment & Science Education programs. As an intern, Han will assist the program director(s) in teaching and interacting with the students, running daily programs, and cultivating new initiatives.