2023 Winner – Project For Peace Scholarship
Empowering Immigrant Voices in the Fight for the Environment
Argentina, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
This project gathered a group of eight immigrant high school students for a month-long summer program in Miami with the goal of helping them develop as leaders in the environmental field. The students fortified their knowledge base, explored the natural environment of South Florida, participated in local volunteering efforts, developed sustainability initiatives, strengthened their college applications, and connected with local leaders, experts, and peers.
This project was designed to address two issues: the global environmental crisis and the need for diverse individuals to solve it. The relative paucity of youth environmental leadership programs is at odds with the urgency of remedial action necessary to secure a safe future on Earth. To have an environmental workforce that is representative of distinct global views and prepared to collaborate for planetary peace, students must be given the opportunity to learn the basics, explore the professional field, and get involved.
It can be especially difficult to secure opportunities in higher education as an immigrant high schooler. For one, the absence of a support system familiar with US colleges can be difficult. Second, the application process itself can prove challenging, even more so if there is a language barrier. Third, the prospects for federal or private aid are slim, as they often exempt non-citizens. Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, the engagement and preparation activities that make for strong college applications – extra-curricular activities, volunteering, exam scores, and more – can be expensive and inaccessible. I personally struggled with all of this as an Argentine living in Miami, so I wanted to design a project that could help this group.
“This summer was unlike any other. Projects for Peace gave me the opportunity to bring my own vision to life. Being a project manager in charge of a group of high school students was a towering feat in my career thus far, and I was able to accomplish it successfully. This project deepened my conviction in the life choices I have made: being an educator is in my future. Because of this project, I was able to meet eight wonderful kids and become a mentor for them, now and always. The most reaffirming moment was to read my students’ end-of-program surveys. ”