The Global Service Scholars program is a collaboration between the UCI Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation and the Living Peace Foundation. This new one-year program offers students a unique opportunity to make a difference in the world by learning to approach issues with empathy and compassion. Through classroom work and a summer field study abroad in Peru, Thailand or Ghana, undergraduate students tackle poverty problems and bring their ingenuity to those in need.
 


Ghana

Michael Bender

Major: Criminology, Law & Society
 
I decided to join the Global Service Scholar Program because we have the duty and responsibility to make a positive change in the world.  Recognizing this obligation for good and the empowerment to help others that the program provides inspired me to join the program.  As global citizens, in unity, we can help lift each other up for a better tomorrow.
 
I decided to choose Ghana because of their rich unique culture and amazing history spanning many centuries. From once being a great kingdom to modern day Ghana, learning first hand from the people who live in West Africa is an opportunity that I did not want to miss. While Ghana has seen a great deal of hard times, their people continue to smile on with a determination for a better future. Meeting Ghanaian people is an experience that I will remember for a lifetime and am grateful for the opportunity to be able to meet the people of Ghana.   

Gissel Enriquez

Major: Urban Studies & Earth System Sciences
 
I joined Global Service Scholar Program because I was completely amazed that there was a course offered on compassion, empathy, and service. As a STEM student, it is engaging to see that there is a program that helps students understand more about humanity and one another. There are also pre and post-courses in between our service trip, which allowed me to conclude that this program wanted to students fully grasp the idea of their course. Overall, I know this program will educate me on topics that I wasn’t aware. I’m excited to see what’s next!
 
I have not had the opportunity to learn and experience African culture. I know that through this program I will gain the opportunity to be more than a tourist and contribute to the community. Also, I’m an earth system science major and knowing that Ghana has a high rate of wildlife diversity, I’m intrigue to learn and see something new!

Dania Felix

Major: Public Health Sciences
 
I joined the Global Service Scholar Program because I want to be able to provide resources to those who need it. There are people struggling in the world and I feel that I have a responsibility to do everything in my power to reach out and make a difference.
 
I want to go to Ghana because I think it is important to experience different cultures and gain insight on how other people live their lives.

Iman Hanif

Major: Criminology, Law & Society
Minor: Psychology & Social Behavior
 
I joined the Global Service Scholar Program because I felt that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to not only travel to another country, but to volunteer and give back while also learning more about myself. This program is giving me the ability to step outside the SoCal bubble and see how many problems people face are universal. My hope is that through this program I will be able to see different solutions to, and perspectives on, problems we all face across the world.
 
I chose to go to Ghana because of its vibrant culture and diverse opportunities in volunteer work. I'm excited to learn more about the Ghanaian people and explore their beautiful country.

Cecilia Mora

Major: Educational Sciences and Environmental Science
 
I joined the Global Service Scholar Program because I've always had an inkling in my heart to serve others, and getting a chance to encounter a new culture and global perspective seemed too great of an opportunity to pass. I want to soak up all that I can learn about being a better citizen of Earth, and pass on this knowledge to others as a future educator. I appreciate the fact that this program facilitates a space for us to build community with each other, that is already is shifting my personal paradigm, and that it involves throughout-out action for global resilience.  
 
I selected Ghana as my country of choice because it will be my first time experiencing a culture that is so foreign to my own. I feel that one learns the most when put in unfamiliar situations and I certainly want to grow as a global citizen! In addition, Ghana has some incredible conservation projects that I would love to partake in. 

Lydia Natoolo

Major: Biological Sciences
Minor: Political Science
 
The Global Service Scholar Program is a unique program that helps students use their knowledge to serve others. When I was introduced to the program and saw the different field trips and countries of service, I was amazed at how incredible the program is. I have been on the frontline of serving others through different non-profits but to know that there is a program at my University that also focuses on serving others; I had to take this opportunity to learn from the different Professors and fellow peers and translate that knowledge in serving others hence joining the Program.
 
I chose to travel to Ghana mainly because of the opportunity to serve my fellow brothers and sisters. Being of an African decent, I was over joyed that there is an opportunity for me to serve. I own a non-profit in Uganda that focuses on rebuilding sustainable communities; we are working with a Hospital, starting a business for women, and a farming project. The projects we will be working on in Ghana are going to empower me to gain skills that I want to take to Uganda. So for me, going to Ghana is both a service and academic adventure.

Erika Pfeiffer

Major: Social Ecology
Minor: Performing Arts
 
I joined the Global Service Scholars Program because I felt a deeper calling to provide services to others and make a positive impact on underserved communities. I want to broaden my horizons and immerse myself in other cultures, viewpoints, and perspectives that will help me grow as a person and understand the wide spectrum of the human condition on a multidisciplinary and holistic level. It is my wish to embark on this journey to share my compassion, understanding, and empathy with others and have the opportunity to travel and learn along the way.
 
I am choosing Ghana for my Summer abroad experience because I have not been to Africa before and I would love to immerse myself in a new culture that I am not familiar with; this is where the adventure lies- keeping an open mind and being put into unfamiliar situations while gaining new insight and knowledge during the journey. 

Centeera Plummer

Major: Psychology & Social Behavior
Minor: African American Studies
 
I joined the Global Service Scholar Program because I wanted to experience other cultures and see life beyond my own experiences. I feel my direct experience with poverty in this country has limited my perception and limited opportunities that would allow me to grow into an individual that is in touch with the world around me. Being able to travel to Ghana will also be an experience for me as I've never been out of the country before. I love to experience and learn new things, and this program will allow me to develop into a well rounded, empathic individual, because I'm going into it with a mindset to gain knowledge and perspective.
 
Going to Ghana will be an experience for me to connect to people I feel a connection to while gaining insight on what its like to be apart of another culture. I am not from Ghana, but I feel a connection to Africa, and traveling to this country will be a chance for me to get in touch with my roots. I am looking forward to experiencing all aspects of the culture, and learning more about myself in the process. This is a chance for me to make an impact and help the people I feel connected to. Seeing what its like to live outside of America will also be a chance to see that my difficulties in life, isn't all that life is about. Also seeing that I can make a difference in others lives, and make the best of my experience, while helping others with their quality of life.

Peru

Allison Anaya

Major: Criminology, Law & Society and Psychology & Social Behavior
 
I joined the Global Service Scholar Program to serve, grow as a person and learn from other's experiences. I thought this class was revolutionary because as opposed to being solely academic, there is a focus on bettering the self, something I am sure college students wish they had more time to think about.
 
My country of choice is Peru because of an internship at a women's prison, the women are mostly in jail for trafficking, which is also a problem in Bolivia, my mother's birthplace. Incarceration and the criminal justice system interest me because there is often a great disparity that puts women, people of color and economically disadvantaged people at a higher risk of being incarcerated, and I think knowing individuals we often see as statistics will increase the possibilities of finding solutions to the prison-industrial complex.

Denise Delgado

Major: Criminology, Law & Society and Social Ecology
 
I joined the Global Service Scholar project in order to learn more about myself through experiencing another country, culture, and group of people. I also liked the idea of spending my time providing a service in a place that needs it rather than spending a whole summer sleeping and watching T.V.
 
I chose to go to Peru because my family is from different parts of Latin America. Although I have visited those places, within the last few months,with the current political climate, I have felt myself distancing myself from speaking Spanish and anything considered Latin American. I hope that by going to Peru I can get back to speaking Spanish and connecting with my roots. Also, after hearing about the floods washing away homes and killing people, leaving kids orphaned my choice has only reinforced my choice to go there and provide my services in any way I can.

Diane Delgado

Major: Criminology, Law & Society and Psychology & Social Behavior
 
I joined the Global Service Scholar Program because I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone that would challenge me but also where I could do something good for a community. I feel as though the service program called to me because people are such an important part of my life and if I can help someone in any way this summer and show them that I care, that is good enough for me. 
 
I chose Peru because I speak Spanish and I feel that in some way it will help me connect on a deeper level with the individuals I will be interacting with daily. I also feel that it will bring me closer to my roots and provide me the sense of community with other Latinos that I feel I have lost. I also loved the types of services Peru offered with the choice of helping in orphanages, an elderly home, etc. I also want to get to know the culture and the people that live in Peru. It seems like such a beautiful place with so much to offer.

Kimberly Haagenson

Major: Education Sciences
 
I am a Student Assistant in the office of the Blum Center and I am also a longtime member of the Blum Ambassadors Council, so when I heard about the Global Service Scholars Program, I was motivated to participate in yet another Blum Center milestone. Because I have travelled very little outside of the United States, I was also intrigued by the opportunity for international fieldwork. In addition, I admired the focus of the program - empathy and service - and I anticipate that the skills I learn will be valuable for whatever work I do in the future.
 
I chose Peru for my field study site because I have an intermediate understanding of the Spanish language and I love learning about Latin American cultures. I am also fascinated by the history of the Incan Empire, and Machu Picchu has been at the top of my list of dream travel destinations. 

Alexis Lewis

Major: Criminology, Law & Society and Psychology & Social Behavior 
 
I have always had a goal of wanting to use my life to help people. I joined Global Scholars because it seemed like a great way to begin my goal of using my adult life for service to others. I am excited at the prospect of doing service in a place I have never been to, not only to travel and have new opportunities, but also to experience new cultures and ways of life. 
 
I chose Peru, in large part because of my desire to learn Spanish. I believe it is important in today's day-in-age to be bilingual, and I am excited at the opportunity to learn another language. Additionally, I'm excited to learn about the Peruvian people and experience a society different from mine. I believe doing service will not only teach me how to better help people, but also allow me to grow and experience more of the world, as well as the culture of Peru.

Valerie Nguyen

Major: Criminology, Law & Society and Psychology & Social Behavior
Minor: Humanities & Law
 
A mission that I've established for myself involves fighting for social justice and equality, as well as bridging social gaps to make the world a better place. I want the unheard voices of the marginalized to be resounding and residual. Social issues often make little to no room for happiness, but I believe change cannot be secured unless satisfaction is attained. I believe that the Global Service Program will give me the opportunity to listen to and understand others so that I may help them, but also to make others happy, which brings me the greatest joy.
 
I chose to go to Peru hoping to use what I know and what I can learn about the women's prison system to make rehabilitation, prison life and re-entry easier. If there are any effects of marginalization towards both the women and the children whose mothers are imprisoned, I want to understand it and help change it. I am hopeful, for I have seen so many extraordinary people who become successful despite their marginalization and disadvantages. I admire the courage of these individuals and wish to teach what I have learned from them.

Karla Sanchez Camacho

Major: Psychology & Social Behavior
 
I chose to join the Global Service Scholar Program because I have always wanted to be a part of a program that focused on serving other individuals, and giving back to others through service. I have always felt a calling to make a difference in our world, to do good to others, and to be a light in this world, and I feel that this program encompasses all of those things. I know that this program will allow me to serve others which is something I strive to do always, will allow me to grow, and will broaden my horizon.
 
I chose to go to Peru because I have always wanted to visit Peru to learn about the Peruvian culture, history, and the Peruvian people. I also chose Peru because I am a Spanish speaker and I would like to use my Spanish speaking skills to communicate with the Peruvian people, and better serve them. I also chose Peru because I became interested in the opportunity to serve in the Human Rights/Women's Empowerment program with the female prisoners of Ayacucho, Peru. Human Rights issues is another one of my passions, and for that reason I chose Peru as my country of choice. I hope that through my exposure of working alongside female prisoners, and others, I will be transformed into a better person, be a better advocate, better serve all of those around me, and make a change in our world.

James Santillana

Major: Psychology & Social Behavior
 
My life purpose is to help people in whatever way I can. The Global Service Scholars Program presented itself as the perfect opportunity for me to develop the skills to help people to the best of my capabilities. I am honored to be a part of the program, and am especially excited about being able to go to another country for a month to do community service work.
 
I chose Peru, because as a Latino, and a Spanish-speaker I believe I will be able to better relate with and therefore help the locals, as opposed to choosing a country where I have no familiarity with the culture and language.

Veronica Zamora

Major: Urban Studies
Minor: Civics & Community Engagement and Global Sustainability
 
The Global Scholars Program is an opening for me to experience the world from a different perspective. I am invested in traveling the world in order to provide service, learn, grow and enjoy the adventure that comes along in doing so. I have heard about the "life changing experience" that comes along with traveling and desire experiencing that on my own. I want to tell my story about how it changed me and how I changed the life of others. I crave being able to live outside of my comfort zone and experience something that I have never experienced.  
 
I chose Peru because I have this deep motivation inside me to go there. Being able to practice Spanish in another country excites me and creates a challenge I want to tackle. It is truly a beautiful place where I hope to make a difference in any way I can. Peru offers the opportunity to get involved in working with children, guiding them with their education as a mentor and tutor, and being someone who can make a positive impact on their lives. This is a service that I also want to make a part of my future in order to guide me to serve around the world whenever the opportunity comes.

Thailand

Alexina Pilo

Major: Psychology & Social Behavior and Educational Sciences 
 
I joined the Global Service Scholar Program because I feel it provides an opportunity for growth amongst myself, interpersonally, and within my day to day interactions. As a student who has witnessed numerous hardships within my own life I am interested in this program in efforts to not only learn more about myself, but to learn how others handle their own difficult situations. I believe this program will not only provide me with an excellent chance to strengthen my skills within compassion and empathy but it will allow me to learn new experiences on a more personal level.  
 
I chose to go to Thailand because I am particularly interested in learning more about the South-East Asian culture. As a Brazilian-American student I have always been interested in learning more about cultures outside of my own. I am specifically interested in working within the many youth groups that this country offers as well as the intriguing and much needed elephant sanctuaries. I am looking forward to submerging myself into a new culture and challenging myself along the way. 

Irene Sin

Major: Environmental Science and Social Ecology
 
I have always been interested in learning about different cultures and communities. When I learned that this program would allow me to travel to another country while also helping to serve both humans and for causes that I care about, I knew that I had to join the program.
 
I chose Thailand because I have always been interested in their culture and country. Thailand is such a beautiful and amazing country and I cannot wait to go.

Asal Yunusova

Major: Psychology & Social Behavior and Social Ecology 
 
I joined the Global Service Scholar Program because I saw this as an opportunity to learn and grow while participating in service. My goal is to make a difference, whether it's big or small. I'm excited and grateful to be part of a program with such a wonderful mission. I wanted to be part of a journey that would make a positive impact on my life as wells as others. This program has given me the chance to make a change with a hands-on experience and use my own compassion and knowledge to aid others.
 
I chose to go to Thailand because this has been a country I have always wanted to visit. Aside from being a beautiful country, I have always admired Thailand's culture and wanted to immerse myself in it. Some particular volunteer work in Thailand that I am interested in involves women's empowerment programs, school renovations, teaching English, as well as elephant conservation projects.