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Beloit College

Weissberg Fellows in Human Rights

Marvin Weissberg with FellowsFour Beloit College seniors are named Weissberg Fellows each year, nominated by faculty members.  Fellows receive up to $5,000 each to help them take the next steps toward life-long engagement with human rights.  Fellows are expected to report on the activities facilitated by their awards and to become active members of the Weissberg Human Rights Program network.  In their applications to become fellows, they will provide evidence of their commitment to understanding and improving human rights as well as discuss how the award will facilitate the further development of their capacity to contribute in this area.  (Pictured: Marvin Weissberg, center, with Fellows (from left) Jessica Slattery'12, Oliver Wyckoff'12 and Mashail Malik'12). 

To nominate a student, complete a nomination form here.

Nominees will be invited to submit applications.

Deadline for nominations: February 1



Kidan Araya’13, international relations, environmental studies

Kidan is a Weissberg Scholar (2012-13) from Sacramento, California. Her academic and research interests include environmental justice, food policy and access, and community resource management.  Kidan spent a semester in Cameroon studying social pluralism, development, French, and community forestry. With funding from the Weissberg Scholarship, in the summer of 2012 Kidan returned to Cameroon to conduct research on political factors influencing the forest management of indigenous Bagyeli people in southwestern Cameroon. After interning with two urban food security projects in New Orleans and Boston and also observing issues of food access and hunger throughout different locations in Cameroon, Kidan became interested in the interconnectedness of agricultural policy, food, race, and space and is passionate about working towards improving food access as a human rights issue. Kidan has just accepted an offer of admission into the Geography doctoral program at the University of Washington at Seattle where she hopes to earn her PhD and work as a top-level research consultant and director on issues related to food, agriculture, race, and development.


Diana Gutiérrez-Meza ’13, Health & Society

Diana grew up in a remote region of Ecuador, where she became aware of the inequalities and racism that particularly impact the poor and Afro-Ecuadorian and Indigenous communities.  She believes she has been able to engage and understand human rights issues pertaining women, minority populations, and adolescents through her undergraduate research conducted with the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, her coursework and club involvement at Beloit College, and her internship experience with the Ministry of Health of Pastaza, Ecuador, made possible by a Weissberg Human Rights Grant.  Passionate about protecting and promoting the rights of minority women through a health based approach, she says, “When we engage in a conversation about women’s health, it is impossible to avoid the issues surrounding human rights.”  To expand her knowledge, conduct research, and make valuable contributions to the reproductive health of women of African descent in Latin American countries, she will join the Masters of Public Health (MPH) in Global Health Program at the University of South Florida College Of Public Health in fall 2013. 


Emily Johnson’13, international relations

Emily spent the fall of her junior year in Uganda where she lived at a national park and worked with a community conservation program. The following spring, she studied at the University of Botswana and conducted research on agricultural extension and land tenure reform. Over the course of her year abroad, she came to appreciate the important role research plays in human rights and international development. She has since developed a passion for people-centered conservation and participatory research and development. She is using the Weissberg fellowship to return to East Africa to intern for an agricultural development organization in Kenya and to work as a research fellow in the fall.


Kyle Dallman’13, international relations

The issue of human rights has been an ever-present facet of Kyle’s course work. Over the past two years, his studies became more focused on the field of human rights in South Africa.  In the spring of his Junior year at Beloit, he studied abroad with the School for International Training (SIT) in Cape Town, South Africa on a program entitled, “Multiculturalism and Human Rights.”  Over the 5 months he spent in Cape Town, he learned the history and continuing legacies of apartheid, and moved between four different homestays of different racial and cultural groups living in South Africa today.  While abroad, he completed an Independent Study Project on a march protesting the lack of land available to the city’s non-white residents that was later published on SIT’s website.  Upon his return to Beloit, he continued to study racial politics in South Africa and their implications for human rights. He authored his senior thesis on the disparity in water access between formal and informal neighborhoods in South Africa, and how this has led to a social movement of formalized protest groups.  Further, he presented in the Fall semester International Symposium on his thesis research and time spent in Cape Town.  In these ways, his studies have become focused on human rights and access to services over the past two years at Beloit College.


Kun “Cleo” Zhang’13, international relations, math

Kun comes from Jiaxing China. She has interned in human rights-related NGOs in both China and the United States, with funding from Weissberg Human Rights Grants. She wrote her senior thesis on transnational advocacy networks in China and how NGOs can promote human rights for people living with HIV/AIDS. Kun plans to obtain a Master’s degree in international affairs with a concentration in human rights at Columbia University.



Mashail Malik’12

Majors: International Political Economy and Philosophy

Mashail volunteered after the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, which jump started her interests in human rights. At Beloit, she has served as a chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Mashail plans to complete a Masters degree at the University of Chicago in International Relations in hopes of returning to Pakistan to work in nonprofit organizations to improve political and economic issues in Pakistan.

Ben Sercombe’12

Major: International Relations

Ben became interested in human rights in high school through the Students for Social Justice club. While at Beloit, Ben gained a new perspective on inner-city poverty through his Duffy Internship at Community Action. Ben is passionate about drug policy in the united states and the impact of the war on drugs on Latin America.  He plans on improving his Spanish and working with Latin American organizations in the future.  He has secured an internship with International Peace Brigades.

Jessica Slattery’12

Major: Anthropology Minor: Spanish

Jessica’s studies have incorporated a human rights lens in many ways.   She studied abroad in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, completing a research project on the Commercialization of the Cultural Heritage in Northern Argentina.  She also participated in the Jamaica Field School, studying special segregation in housing.  She is currently the Program Manager for the Stateline Literacy Council in Beloit.  She plans to do an internship in a housing organization in Mexico City following graduation.

Oliver Wyckoff’12

Major: Political Science

Oliver has been very dedicated to his academic study of human rights issues.  In 2009, he traveled to Rwanda as a member of the Global Youth Connect delegation studying the legacy of genocide.  He has volunteered for a local homeless shelter and worked for Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State. Oliver plans to pursue his Master’s degree in international development in Denmark following graduation from Beloit College.

Ian Hedges’12

Major: International Relations

In his Health and Society minor studies, Ian has focused heavily on public health responses to bridging health disparities in the US and Latin America.   While studying abroad in Chile, Ian worked to address gaps in health care to sex workers.  In Washington, DC, he interned with district Health Department on meeting the health needs of underserved populations.  In Beloit, he has been a leader in founding the Beloit Public Health Initiative, aiming to reduce the burden of sexually-transmitted diseases.   After graduation, Ian plans to return to working on policy issues with the Washington DC Department of Health, eventually attending graduate school in policy studies.