Nana is the Program Manager at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center where she has worked in numerous capacities ranging from international program development and management, academic support, student leadership and engagement, planning and budgeting. In addition, Nana is currently an ICD Fellow for the 2020-2021 academic year, working on the project Participatory Budgeting at UConn. The aim of the project is to design a participatory budget (PB) initiative at the UConn Hartford Campus for implementation for next year, in collaboration with Hartford's PB initiative, Hartford Decide$.
Rachel is the Educational Program Manager at the Human Rights Institute where she has overseen and supported many different aspects of the research and academic mission of the since 2003. Rachel is responsible for the development and implementation of academic advising and experiential learning activities for human rights students. This includes managing the HRI internship program, the Summer Intern Fellowship program, collaborating with Education Abroad, and serving as an academic advisor for undergraduate students in the human rights program. She is also the Co-Director of the Human Rights and Action Learning Community.
Brendan Kane is Associate Professor of History and of Literatures, Cultures and Languages at UConn and he is founding co-director of the Encounters Series, a program for public dialogue that links scholarly research with community concerns, and the founding and current Director of UConn’s Democracy and Dialogues Initiative. The foundational intellectual motivation guiding his work in the archive, the classroom and the public concerns the ways that people recognize and negotiate difference. As a research focus, that interest manifests in comparative study of early modern Ireland and England, with particular attention to colonialism and encounter. Brendan currently serves as the Faculty Director of the Human Rights and Action Learning Community.
Erica MacDonald is a PhD candidate in the department of Political Science at the University of Connecticut and the Graduate Assistant for the Democracy and Dialogue Initiative for the 2020-2021 academic year. She participated as a 2019-2020 ICD Fellow, working with Glenn Mitoma and Rachel Jackson, to examine the potential utility of dialogue in human rights education. Previously, she served as the Graduate Assistant for the Dodd Center’s Business and Human Rights Initiative and for UConn’s Human Rights Institute. She holds a BA in International Relations from Connecticut College and a MA in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University.
Glenn Mitoma is Director of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center and an Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Education, jointly appointed with the Human Rights Institute and the Neag School of Education Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Glenn’s scholarship has focused on the history of human rights and human rights education. His first book, Human Rights and the Negotiation of American Power, was published in 2013 by the University of Pennsylvania Press. As Director of the Dodd Center, he oversees programs designed to promote a culture of human rights, including initiatives in K-12 human rights education and business and human rights.
Hello, my name is Samara Johnson (she/her/hers) and I am a first year advanced standing graduate student at the University of Connecticut studying Social Work, concentrating in Community Organizing. This past May, I graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with a Bachelors of Arts Degree Majoring in Social Work and Minoring in Philosophy, Sociology and Women’s Studies. During my time at Eastern I was involved with DiversAbility club, a disability rights organization as a founding member and executive board member. Throughout my time at Eastern, I also connected with Eastern’s Women’s Center as both a volunteer and student ambassador. I helped program plan and coordinate events centered on gender equality, violence awareness and social justice through an intersectional framework. I am absolutely looking forward to this internship! As someone who plans to have a lifelong social work career centered on human rights, social justice and equity, I feel passionate about being involved with this organization and am looking forward to growing, working with communities and learning new skills centered around community organizing and advocacy.
I am a junior studying political science with plans to attend law school in the near future at the University of Connecticut. I am a part of three amazing clubs/organizations on campus. I am the vice president of the Turkish Student Association club. This is a club that brings the Turkish community together to express Turkish culture and bring diversity to the UConn community by representing our values, morals, and culture through our events. I am a writer for the UConn Political Review and have had many publications that analyze and provide diverse analysis of political events and issues. The UConn Political Review is designed for student writers who have exhibited academic excellence and political involvement. I am very passionate about fighting social injustice and learning how to break these barriers created by society. It is an honor to be nominated and selected to be a part of the race, equity, and inclusion scholars program at UConn. Race has always been a controversial topic in the world we live in. Although race is a social construct, it continues to play a massive role in political and social discourse today. Because I am an aspiring lawyer, it is important for me to clearly understand race, equity, and inclusion to apply my understanding for the future. I attended the NCORE conference that exhibited research related to race, identity, and social equity. This will allow for expansion in opportunities for educational access and success by culturally diverse, traditionally underrepresented populations. Because of my interest in social injustice, I believe that this opportunity will not only play an important role for me in higher education but it will also provide advantageous lessons and skills that I will be able to use for the rest of my life.
Hello, my name is Megan Villanova (she/her), and I am a graduate student from Connecticut. I began my college career by getting an associates degree in photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City where I found an interest in not photography, but inequality. Living in Midtown Manhattan opened my eyes to what life was really like outside of my small town. It was because of that I moved back home and went to UConn and earned a bachelor's degree in sociology. While pursuing this degree I was able to work with a community organizing program which was something new and exciting to me. Since graduation I am on the path to obtaining a masters in social work and this program is where I will be doing my field education. I am eager to learn about everything this program has to offer and to grow from my time here!