Meet the Bloggers
Name: Robin Chernow
Home Town: Chester, NJ
Placement: I am working at the University City Science Center as the FirstHand Program and Laboratory Support Fellow. The FirstHand program facilitates interactive, project-based learning in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics fields. Our programs serve curious Philadelphia students and educators, mainly from under-resourced communities. I coordinate workshops and after-school lab programs that promote hands-on exploration and discovery.
Haverford House Project: I am to develop a “science day” program to connect Haverford students and Philadelphia youth. This program would involve both field trips and events in Philadelphia schools or after-school centers, allowing young students to visit hubs of scientific activity and to recognize that science is accessible in their very own communities. Haverford students will play a crucial role in the program, serving as both mentors and friends to the younger scientists while sharing both their knowledge of and passion for science. I hope this program instills confidence in a future generation of young scientists.
Name: Seema Doshi
Home Town: Hillsborough, NJ
Placement: I am the fellow at Hacia el Futuro (Towards the Future) which is part of Puentes de Salud (Bridges of Health). Punetes de Salud is an organization that “promotes the health and wellness of South Philadelphia’s rapidly growing Latino immigrant population” through health services, educational programs, and community building. In working with Hacia el Futuro, I will focus on the educational aspect of the organization by helping to coordinate the after-school tutoring and mentorship program for children in the community.
Haverford House Project: I aim to help students in capstone courses at Haverford, such as the Health Studies Capstone or Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Capstone, bridge the material they have learned throughout their concentration or minor with social justice issues in Philadelphia. I hope that this will provide students with a meaningful way to culminate their concentration or minor at Haverford and also to connect with the world at large.
Name: Kayla Franceschi
Home Town: East Harlem, Manhattan, NY
Placement: I am working as a paralegal fellow at Community Legal Services (CLS) in their Family Advocacy Unit (FAU). Community Legal Services is an non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income residents of Philadelphia. In the FAU specifically, I will be working to help represent parents who are at risk of having their parental rights terminated by the Department of Human Services. These parents will be fighting to have their children returned to them from the foster care system, or they will be fighting to prevent their children from being taken from them for various reasons by DHS. On a larger scale of community organizing, CLS advocates from the local to the national level for the welfare of children, whether it be leading a community training or working to have the DHS investigation process changed.
Haverford House Project: I want to help provide students of color on Haverford’s campus with the support necessary to succeed professionally and personally. It is no secret that, on nearly every college campus, students of color are more likely to take time off, transfer, and drop out of school than their peers. Junot Diaz has been quoted for noting that “if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves…and part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors.” I hope to create those mirrors by bettering the relationship between the students of color on campus and the alumni of color. I hope to do this by planning career panels, informal mixers, and service days in order to create a space where students can organically find mentors or ask questions of alumni that have lived through similar experiences and barriers.
Name: Romi Laskin
Home Town: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Placement: I am working as a paralegal in Community Legal Services (CLS), a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income residents of Philadelphia. I will work in the Employment Unit which works with clients on a variety of legal issues connected to employment. I will specifically work with individuals who face barriers to employment due to a criminal history. For most individuals, employment is essential to financially supporting themselves and their families, but the mere existence of a criminal record often makes it extremely difficult to secure or maintain employment. I am extremely excited to work with and learn from CLS staff and clients on this important work.
Haverford House Project: I am leading a weekly literacy group at a women’s prison in Northeast Philadelphia that will bring the same small group of Haverford and Bryn Mawr students to the prison each week to learn with and from women who are incarcerated there. As a group, we will plan sessions based on the women’s interests. The project is possible through two Bryn Mawr professors’ preexisting relationship with this prison, which I have been fortunate to participate in for the past year. I feel very lucky to continue a project that I already feel passionate about, and am looking forward to taking on a bigger role organizing the literacy group, and working closely with Bi-Co professors, students, and women incarcerated at the prison.
Name: Callie Perrone
Major: Political Science
Home Town: Nutley, NJ
Placement: I am working at Drexel University’s Center for Hunger Free Communities, a research, advocacy, and policy center that aims to address hunger and economic insecurity. As their Community Engagement Fellow, I will engage in communications, advocacy, and policy work to support the Center at large. In particular, I will work with their Witnesses to Hunger program, which provides a platform for low-income families to add their voices to the national dialogue on anti-hunger and anti-poverty policy and program development. I will also conduct policy research on the links between housing and food insecurity.
Haverford House Project: I hope to provide a series of civic engagement workshops for Haverford students participating in direct service work through volunteering, jobs, or internships. Using a trauma-informed approach to service delivery, these workshops will train students how to respectfully and effectively engage in community service work with vulnerable and underserved groups. My hope is that these workshops will greatly benefit those on both the giving and receiving end of community service, leading to more meaningful interactions and effective service.
Name: Dan Schiano
Major: Political Science
Home Town: Lansdale, PA
Placement: I am working with Philadelphia Legal Assistance in their Medical-Legal Community Partnership unit, in a health center in West Philadelphia. This program recognizes that many of the medical problems which drive clients to seek treatment at public health centers can have legal components to them as well (Access to benefits, utility shutoff prevention, housing safety, etc.) I am working with Philadelphia Legal Assistance to bring legal services directly to these clients, as well as provide some logistical support for the program’s continued operation.
Haverford House Project: I aim to connect Haverford students with Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and solidarity economy projects and communities within the city of Philadelphia. I hope that through involving students in these kinds of projects, I can help to foster a spirit of capability among the student body, as well as give support to worthwhile projects in the city.