2014 Practicum in Advocacy Participants

The WILPF Practicum in Advocacy is a one-week program that brings US college and graduate women to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.  Students learn about human rights principles, methodologies, and the UN system. As delegates of WILPF, they become familiar with WILPF's advocacy work and gain insight and experience in international human rights work through official UN and WILPF events, and both formal and informal encounters with activists and NGOs from around the world.  Students make professional and personal connections that benefit them as women, students, and peacemakers. Moreover, each student uses the knowledge gained during the Practicum to complete a WILPF advocacy project.  Projects are diverse in nature but last year, they included the ongoing establishment of two new WILPF branches.

This year we have 20 students in the Practicum.  They are looking forward to the opportunity to learn about for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and our role with the United Nations in ending and preventing war, ensuring that women are represented at all levels in the peace-building process, defending the human rights of women, and promoting social, economic and political justice.  These are this year’s Practicum attendees:

Christina Castellani:
Christina Castellani, an M.A. candidate in Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University, holds a B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Since 2006, she has worked as an English teacher as a Foreign Language in Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand, where she worked as Program Director for a start-up implementing education for children and refugees. Christina has also worked on projects in Uganda designed to raise education, livelihood, and health awareness. Most recently, Christina taught English in Saudi Arabia to the first generation of women receiving higher education at Princess Nora University.

Heather Ciociola:
After graduating from Vassar College with a degree in History, Heather Ciociola spent 20 years in leadership roles in advertising and marketing agencies and large corporations before deciding to switch careers to help make a difference in people’s lives.  Now,  a first-year MSW student at Rutgers University, she is pursuing a degree in Non-Profit Management concentration and a Policy Area of Emphasis.  

Jenna Cooper:
Jenna Cooper is a second year graduate student at the University of Houston, obtaining her masters in macro social work with a specialization in political justice. For the past two years she has dedicated her focus to human trafficking by working with victims directly, as well as from a policy standpoint.

Maria Teresa Roca de Togores:
Maria Teresa Roca de Togores, is a twenty year-old Georgetown University student. Originally from Madrid, Spain, she is a a Junior double-majoring in Government and American Musical Culture. She has never previously been exposed to the subject of women’s issues and peacekeeping until this past fall semester, when she took a class on religious freedom. Since this class, she has found a passion and great interest in readings and discussions about women’s issues.

Rachael Gold-Brown:
Rachael is a MA candidate for Sustainable International Development and Coexistence and Conflict at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. She served in the US Peace Corps in Rwanda 2009-2011.  In Rwanda, she mobilized and organized women and vulnerable children to create their own support groups to develop small business initiatives through a medium of creative activities. Rachael remained in Rwanda to teach literature and language at the premier International High School where she developed curriculum that integrated artistic and creative methods for teaching English language and the Millennium Development Goals for civic participation amongst youth.

Dixie Hairston:
Dixie Hairston is a second year, macro-level Social Work graduate student specializing in political social work at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Dixie is passionate about working toward social and economic justice.

Courtney Harchaoui:
Courtney Harchaoui is a first-year MA student in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at the University of Cincinnati. She received her BA in Political Science from the University of Dayton, in  her hometown of Dayton, Ohio.

Elynn Kann:
Elynn Kann is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Sociology with certificates in Global Health and Gender and Women’s studies. Through her coursework and international experiences she have developed a passion for women’s health and well-being, and hopes to become an advocate for women worldwide.

Heather Lipkovich:
Heather Lipkovich is a second year Master of Public Health Student in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan.

Alyssa Mouton:
Alyssa Mouton is a dual degree graduate student at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. She will receive a Master of Public Policy and a Master of Public Health in May 2014.

Brandy Robinson:
Brandy G. Robinson is a L.L.M Graduate Student in Transnational Law at Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon. She graduated with a J.D. over 10 years ago and has been a college professor for many years. She is redefining her career by choosing to focus on issues she is passionate about.

Ana Rodriguez:
Ana Rodriguez, a second year Macro Social Work graduate student at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, is pursuing a specialization in Political Social Work.

Nicole Ronquillo:
Nicole Ronquillo is an Anthropology major in her senior year at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Mbasireh Saidybah:
Mbasireh Saidybah is a graduate student at the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She is pursuing a dual master’s degree in Sustainable International Development and Coexistence and Conflict management. She holds a BA in International Studies and Global Health from the University of Washington, and a diploma from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Netherlands. Mbasireh has over ten years of experience international development, with focuses in Program Development, fundraising and monitoring and evaluation, primarily in Gambia, where she served as a Fundraising Officer with Action Aid in Gambia.

Lindsay Shepardson:
Lindsey Shepardson is a senior double major in Spanish and Women’s & Gender Studies with a concentration in Public Policy at Wellesley College. She is currently interning in the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and has previously interned in the Office of the Vice President at the White House.

Arielle Stephens:
Arielle Stephens is a second year Clinical MSW student at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She is an advocate within her university and the community, through her involvement as the Clinical Officer and Student Ambassador, and a founding member of an anti-trafficking student organization called Beyond the Shadows. Arielle has completed advocacy  and medical social work in India, Kenya and Europe. Arielle is currently completing a Clinical Fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Christina Sudduth:
Christina Sudduth is in her second year as a Master of Public Health candidate at the University of South Florida, with concentrations in Women’s Health and Global Health. She also works part-time as a regional coordinator with the statewide anti-hunger advocacy organization Florida Impact.

Alicia Tambe:
Alicia Tambe is a third year dual degree candidate, studying to obtain her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law as well as her Masters of Arts in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She is extremely interested in the intersection between human rights and business, corporate accountability, women empowerment, and the rights of a child.

Cecilia Wester:
A graduate student in Social Work from the University of Helsinki, Cecilia Wester is currently studying at the University of Wisconsin.

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