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University of Iowa News Release


May 24, 2007

UI Students Receive Funds For Human Rights Summer Internships

The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) has awarded 10 students a total of $21,500 to support their work over the summer for human rights organizations in the United States or abroad. Among the awards is the inaugural Burns H. Weston Human Rights Internship Program.

The Weston award will annually provide funding to support one or more student internships with select human rights organizations. This year, the Weston award provides support for an internship partnership between the UICHR and the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit (GHJRU) at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. The GHJRU's internship program aims to equip young activists and scholars with skills, knowledge and experience in the field of gender-based violence.

Lilian Hu, a graduate student in the UI College of Public Health, from Ottumwa, Iowa, received $3,500 from the Weston fund to support her internship at the GHJRU. While in Cape Town, Hu will assist researchers with a project to be conducted in cooperation with a local children's organization that will investigate whether crime prevention programs aimed at young boys are effective in shaping behaviors and attitudes toward, and violence against, women.

In addition to the Weston award, nine students have received $2,000 each as part of UICHR's annual Kenneth J. Cmiel Human Rights Funded Internships program, which provides students with funds for travel and living expenses after they've secured an internship with a local, national or international non-governmental organization or governmental agency engaged in human rights-related advocacy, research or education. Twenty-six students applied for the internship-funding program.

A donation from the Stanley family, the gifts of other private donors and International Programs funds make the awards possible. Interns are expected to write a report about their experiences and participate in a public conference presentation when they return to campus, said Amy Weismann, UICHR deputy director.

Scholarship winners are listed alphabetically by hometown with Iowa hometowns first.


AMES: Second-year medical student Mona Dalal in the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine will work with the Love and Mercy Coalition in Tanzania, a faith-based organization providing health care to impoverished rural Tanzanians. Dalal will work in a number of clinics and a hospital, including intensive HIV and malnourishment programs.

AMES: Katie Jo Sloter, an undergraduate in psychology and international studies in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), will work with the Baldev Community Medical Centre in India, an internship coordinated through the India-based George Foundation. Sloter will conduct field visits to rural villages with a medical worker or doctor, as well as work with Indian women on women's rights and empowerment issues in the area of health care.

CORALVILLE: Second-year law student Wesley Carrington in the UI College of Law will intern at the Ministry of Human Rights in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Carrington will research upcoming legislation and proposals from the government and evaluate human rights concerns. He will also help plan a forum on fulfillment of economic, social and cultural rights in Argentina.

DUBUQUE: Third-year law student Amanda Furst in the UI College of Law will work with the Advocacy Center in New Orleans, a non-profit agency that provides legal advocacy services to persons who are elderly or disabled. Furst will assist with legal cases involving public benefits such as Medicaid and Medicare, special education, advocacy for rights of residents of institutions, issues of inaccessibility and discrimination.

IOWA CITY: Bogdon Ciochinaru, a senior majoring in political science and international studies in CLAS, will work with Asociatia Pro Democratia in Romania, an internationally supported human rights group whose mission is to strengthen democracy in Romania by stimulating civic participation. Ciochinaru will work with the APD research team on its current legislative projects.

WESTFIELD: Third-year law student Suzie Pritchett in the UI College of Law will work with the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, based in New York City, where she will undertake research on the gender dimensions of the newly constituted Africa Court of Peoples' and Human Rights.


SAN DIEGO: Second-year law student Mingzhao Xu in the UI College of Law will work as a law clerk in the Housing and Community Development Program of the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, the nation's oldest legal and civil rights organization serving the low-income Asian Pacific American communities through community education and organizing, provision of direct legal services, and strategic impact legislation.

North Carolina

FAYETTEVILLE: Mary White, a doctoral student in community health in the UI College of Public Health, will work with the Knowledge, Management and Sharing department of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where she will focus on the current collaboration between the University of Iowa and the World Health Organization in providing health education and training to those in developing countries through the eGranary project.

South Dakota

BRUCE: Londa Vanderwal, a doctoral student in occupational and environmental health, will travel to the Gambia College in The Gambia, where she will work on a project to improve the health and safety of farmers, particularly women, in The Gambia. During her time there, she will develop a course in agricultural health and safety and will help the college further its mission of providing practical expertise to the people of The Gambia. She will also assist in the creation of national occupational health and safety legislation.

For more information, contact the UICHR at 319-335-3900 or

Founded in 1999, the UICHR is a direct outgrowth of Global Focus: Human Rights '98, the yearlong UI commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of Dec. 10, 1948. Initiated by a multidisciplinary group of faculty, the center's mission is to support the promotion and protection of human rights at home and abroad by providing leadership in human rights research, education and public service to the UI, its surrounding community, the state of Iowa and beyond.

The UICHR is a part of International Programs, which 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.

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

CONTACTS: Media: Kelli Andresen, 319-335-2026,; Program: Amy Weismann, 319-335-0483,; Writer: Julia Labua