Joseph McKeen
Center for the Common Good

Hannah Wurgaft
Class of 2014

Posted September 04, 2013

From Montclair, NJ, Hannah Wurgaft (Africana Studies/Government & Legal Studies) participated in a McKeen Center Pre-Orientation trip as a first-year and was introduced to the variety of non-profits serving underprivileged individuals in MidCoast Maine.

As a sophomore, Hannah began mentoring elementary school students through the Falcon Friends program. She also participated in the Alternative Winter Break trip, enabling her to return to many of the organizations she was introduced to during her Pre-Orientation trip.

During her junior year, Hannah studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. Throughout her semester abroad, Hannah tutored students in Khayelitshia, an informal settlement where children live in extreme poverty. At the conclusion of the semester, she worked with her peers to collect donations for the students. Thanks to the generosity of their families back home and the Bowdoin Athletic Council, Hannah and her peers were able to leave dozens of tables and chairs, as well as many classroom materials, with the students.

In the summer of 2013, Hannah was fortunate to have a Forest Foundation fellowship with the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic in Portland, ME. During this fellowship, she worked on juvenile cases and immigration policy projects, again connecting her with the immigrant population in Maine, which is largely comprised of individuals from across Africa.

Hannah is currently pursuing an honors project in Africana Studies that focuses on racial disparities in the juvenile justice system. Her research focuses on a specific federal statute, Disproportionate Minority Contact, which mandates states to measure racial disparities in their local juvenile justice systems. Hannah's project contextualizes state data to question the effectiveness of methodology instituted by the federal government. Furthermore, the project uses local data from Maine, and data from an on-going study at UMaine, to analyze the effectiveness of racial categories.

Hannah is a co-captain of the Bowdoin Softball team, and is a member of Out Allies. She is a member of the Green Athletes executive board, where she works on the Re-Run Shoes project. Upon graduation next May, Hannah plans to pursue a career in law, to continue to help those in need.

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“Serving the Common Good is to recognize certain innate privileges from which many benefit, and to pay it forward to those who are not as fortunate.”