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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 18, 2006

Photo: Lyndsey Wilkinson, a medical student in the UI Carver College of Medicine, spends time in Tanzania providing health care to children as part of her internship experience.

UICHR To Host Conference Featuring Human Rights Internship Program

The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) will host a conference featuring the 2006 student participants in the Kenneth J. Cmiel Human Rights Funded Internship Program. The conference, the first of its kind at the UI, will be held from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29 in 1117 University Capitol Centre (UCC). A reception will follow from 4 to 5 p.m.  Both events are free and open to the public.

The conference will consist of two panels featuring undergraduate and graduate students who worked for human rights by pursuing internships this summer. The students will share their experiences working to promote human rights in these organizations. The first panel will take place from 1 to 2:15 p.m. and will feature Mary Justine Todd, who is pursuing an Interdisciplinary Master's Degree in International Studies and worked for Relief to Development Society in Tanzania; Tiana Gierke, a third-year law student who worked for Legal Aid of Cambodia; and Asmita, an undergraduate economics major who worked for the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

The second panel will take place from 2:45 to 4 p.m. and will feature Lyndsey Wilkinson, a second-year student in the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine who worked for the Love and Mercy Coalition in Tanzania; Jacob Wedemeyer, a third-year law student who worked for Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid in Eagle Pass, Texas; and Yayuk Mardiati, a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Education who worked at the Research Center for Women at the University of Jember in Indonesia.

"These students undertook extraordinary work with a diverse array of organizations," said Amy Weismann, UICHR deputy director. "We are excited to share theses significant educational experiences with the UI community."

The conference is part of the Pomerantz Career Center's Public Engagement Careers Week, which will highlight careers in government, non-profit and human services Sept. 25-29. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit

In addition to the conference, the UICHR will host a series of information sessions about the funded internship program. A graduate student session will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, in 1117 UCC. Undergraduate students are invited to an information session from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in 1117 UCC. A session for health sciences students will be held from 12 to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26, in 1117 Medical Education and Research Facility (MERF).

The Kenneth J. Cmiel Human Rights Funded Internship Program supports student efforts to promote and learn about human rights by working for human rights and social justice organizations over the summer, providing funds to assist with the transportation and living expenses of students while they pursue summer internships in these organizations. Cmiel was a UI professor of history and American studies and former director of UICHR who died on Feb. 4, 2006, from a brain tumor. He was known as an exceptional scholar with a dedicated and sincere interest in the welfare of others, whether they be students, colleagues or people suffering in another part of the world, and a passion for promoting education about human rights.

International Programs enables University of Iowa students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all University constituents access to vital international knowledge.  For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the Office of the Provost.

For more information or special accommodations to attend this conference or any of the information sessions, contact Liz Crooks, at 319-335-3900.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Amy Weismann, UICHR Deputy Director, 319-335-0483,; Writer: Kelli Andresen