Named in honor of Common Good Award recipient and founder of Safe Passage, Hanley Denning '92, the Denning Summer Fellowship through the Forest Foundation is designed for students who already have a foundation in community engagement and are seeking an in-depth experience working on a public issue of interest related to their academic major. A stipend of $4,500 provides funding for students to pursue in-depth work on an issue through placement at an organization while laying the groundwork for independent community-engaged research.

Meghan Bellerose '17

Meghan Bellerose '17

Meghan (Biochemistry and Sociology) spent her summer at Save the Children in Washington, D.C., working on the International School Health and Nutrition team. Her primary projects were to produce country reports and total reach statistics for the 2015 SHN Program Update, a document shared with donors and NGO partners to highlight existing program areas, and to communicate with in-country staff to collect and summarize health education approaches from 43 countries. Meghan also had the opportunity to learn about global maternal and child health by attending conferences hosted by a variety of non-profit and UN aid organizations.
"I've learned more about international development in 10 weeks at Save the Children than I believed possible. It was wonderful to leave the office each day feeling optimistic, inspired by the dedication and joy that SC staff put into their work, and eager to do more to advance the health and wellbeing of children and mothers around the world."

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Julia Berkman-Hill '17

Julia Berkman-Hill '17

Julia (Sociology) spent the summer in her hometown of New Haven, CT, working with a nutrition program run on a community farm for people at risk for diet-related illnesses. Her main project was to conduct an evaluation of New Haven Farms’s youth garden and cooking program, using interviews, focus groups, and surveys. Her report is a foundation to help the program expand to reach more children and develop a curriculum with more defined goals. She will continue her research on nutrition this fall from a historical perspective, looking at the influence of the local food movement on public health initiatives.
"This summer was very meaningful for me because I got to see my hometown from a fresh perspective. Working at New Haven Farms opened my eyes to the deep roots of food security and health issues in the city, while reminding me of the importance of community and culture of eating well."

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Thomas Freeman '17

Thomas Freeman '17

Tom spent his summer doing research for Coastal Enterprise, Inc. (CEI) in Brunswick, Maine. His research focused on promoting immigration in Maine’s rural economies. In March, CEI published a report demonstrating how immigration strengthened Portland’s economy. Thomas’ research examined whether this economic boost could be replicated in rural areas of Maine and whether these areas possessed favorable conditions for successful immigration, both for the immigrants and for the current residents. I studied the job vacancies, available housing stock, and local demographic shifts of different towns and counties in Maine.
"My research at Coastal Enterprise Inc. (CEI), taught me a lot about the current and future problems facing the State of Maine. As a Mainer, I appreciated the opportunity to enhance my knowledge of the demographic, economic, and social challenges of Maine and advocate for several solutions towards these problems. I also enjoyed learning about the different divisions of CEI and working with their excellent staff."

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Gillian Kramer '17

Gillian Kramer '17

This summer Gillian worked with Milestone Foundation’s Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement (HOME) Team to proactively support substance using homeless individuals to increase the safety of these individuals as well as that of the rest of the Portland community. She also developed a cost-benefit analysis of the work of the HOME team to show the extent of the monetary savings the HOME team provides for the Portland emergency medical system and the Portland police department, as well as the non-monetary savings the program provides for the individuals receiving support.
"I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with an organization that is embedded with so many layers of compassion. Getting to know individuals living on the streets of Portland has also helped me better understand some of the challenges that those with substance use problems face, and has inspired my desire to pursue a career in human services."

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Shannon McCabe '17

Shannon McCabe '17

Through her work at the Merrymeeting Food Council, Shannon McCabe helped establish a farm-to-pantry gleaning initiative in Midcoast Maine. Gleaning is the collection of food that will not be sold or harvested to make sure that it does not go into the waste stream, while feeding people in need. She spent a few days a week out on the farm or at local pantries, connecting surplus food with people who need it. In just seven weeks, the group donated over 3000 pounds of fresh produce to food pantries and soup kitchens in the area, reducing food waste and food insecurity.
"My time at the Food Council allowed me to explore my interest in food systems, deepening my understanding of food insecurity. It was incredible to learn how all of the sectors of a food system interact and the innovative solutions that come together when a diverse group of people are brought to the table. I’m excited to continue this project into the academic year and thankful for the opportunity to work with such a dedicated group of people."

Read more about Shannon's project.

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Daniel Mejia '17

Daniel Mejia '17

Daniel (Sociology) spent his summer working with Maine Boys to Men. His main project identified other organizations in the United States whose work also focuses on the promotion of healthy masculinity. After thorough analysis of these groups, Daniel reported back to Maine Boys to Men as to how they can improve their Reducing Sexual Violence Program (RSVP), extend community outreach, and further collaborate with other organizations to end gender-based violence in Southern Maine. Daniel hopes to continue his study of healthy masculinity through an independent study that focuses on emotional capacity and fluency among Bowdoin males.
"My experience this summer has left a large impression on me on the importance of teaching healthy masculinity to young boys and girls. Seeing the amazing team at Maine Boys to Men create real impact in the lives of young Mainers has demonstrated how direct workshops within communities can create sustainable changes for a better future."

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Chrissy Rujiraorchai '17

Chrissy Rujiraorchai '17

Over the summer, I worked with Safe Passage's development office. The non-profit was started by Bowdoin alum, Hanley Denning, to provide a holistic education for the poorest, most at-risk students in the Guatemala City dump. At Safe Passage, my work allowed me to develop a better understanding of cross-cultural non-profits. Through this my summer research investigated how language and culture influences the processing, expression of, and recovery from grief and crisis, as well as how these things might impact the provision of services, regulation, and policy in working with multicultural communities. While working with Safe Passage, I focused on developing self-sustainable programs and materials for recruiting and cultivating engagement with the organization. I worked primarily on program design, analysis, strategy, and implementation.

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Lily Woodward '16

Lily Woodward '16

Lily’s research this summer looked at the relationship between immigrants and refugees – “New Mainers” – and the law. By working with two Portland-based non-profits – Catholic Charities Maine and the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) – she gained insight into the path of a newly arrived refugee, witnessed the frustrations of accessing legal services as an immigrant, and worked directly with clients to overcome the cultural and language barriers inherent to these processes. Lily hopes to turn the knowledge gained through this fellowship into long-term research that will facilitate cross-cultural understanding and lead to the creation of better policies in Maine.
"The experiences I have had through the Denning fellowship have been invaluable in shaping my future academic and career goals. With the institutional support and mentorship of the McKeen Center, I was able to work with two incredible non-profits doing timely and important work alongside Maine’s immigrant and refugee communities. Both Catholic Charities and ILAP regularly pushed me out of my comfort zone and in doing so made me a more capable and confident person, for which I am incredibly grateful."

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Kelsey Freeman '16

Kelsey Freeman '16

During her internship at the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) in Portland, Oregon, Kelsey Freeman '16 (Government & Legal Studies) spent the majority of the summer directly working with Native youth— developing culturally relevant curriculum for NAYA’s summer school programming and teaching classes during NAYA’s Summer Camp Rise for 2nd through 8th graders.

"This experience has been extremely valuable in exposing me to an innovative non-profit, giving me direct teaching experience, helping me learn more about Portland’s Native community, and taking me one step further in refining my career goals."

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Calvin Henry '16

Calvin Henry '16

Calvin Henry '16 (Psychology) spent his summer at Bath Housing Authority conducting a group of voluntary, in-person surveys offered to all BHA residents. The topics of these surveys included personal health, services and programming, community background and engagement, family financial security and skills, and satisfaction with Bath Housing. He analyzed the data, summarized the results, and made recommendations based on key findings and themes.

"My fellowship at BHA allowed me to learn about the people who live in public housing and the challenges they face. Conversations with residents showed me ways in which external circumstances interact with personal variables to shape the quality of life for individuals. I enjoyed listening to many kind and interesting people, and I am grateful for increased awareness of the impact of complex personal stories on housing choices and access."

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James Jelin '16

James Jelin '16

During his time at the Maine Center for Economic Policy, James Jelin’s '16 (Mathematics) primary projects were calculating the living wage across the state, determining how many low income children access preventative care, writing blog posts, and updating MECEP’s communications plan. He gained an in-depth understanding of the State’s controversial budget negotiations while also attending meetings with a variety of nonprofit advocacy organizations.

"My short ten weeks at MECEP have taught me more about policy than I thought possible. From studying and advocating for the recently updated overtime regulations to writing about the nuances of the Affordable Care Act, the support of their intelligent and delightful team has given me the skills to understand the intricacies of government and the confidence to trust my own research in the coming years."

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Bridget Kranz

Bridget Kranz

Bridget Kranz '16 (Visual Arts) spent her summer fellowship with ArtVan. Her job spanned three different areas of their nonprofit work: helping to organize and clean their storage space and materials, serving as a support staff at their art therapy program sites, and interviewing participants to gather feedback to better assess the needs of the community. Bridget hopes to continue her work with ArtVan through an independent study in the spring, based around a public art installation.

"I haven’t drawn in my sketchbook for about two months now, afraid of producing something bad. Meanwhile, I asked Hunter, one of our participants, if he had drawn anything in his sketchbook since last week. He had done a colored pencil rendition of a wooded scene, filling a whole blank page! ArtVan has taught me to be open: to open myself up to others, and to be thoughtful and patient when they open themselves up to me."

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Ali Ragan '16

Ali Ragan '16

A summer internship at Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine afforded Ali Ragan '16 (English) the opportunity to work both independently and in collaboration with other staff to revamp SASSMM’s Facebook presence, produce an updated PSA to demystify how SASSMM’s 24-hour hotline works, and review SASSMM’s resource guide. The staff created a welcoming environment and provided a wealth of knowledge around the issue of sexual violence prevention and advocacy for its survivors.

"To be a part of such inspiring and important work has fueled my passion for sexual violence prevention and advocacy for its survivors. Whether completing work in client services, contributing to SASSMM’s community outreach efforts, or accompanying any of SASSMM’s awesome staff to their educational presentations, each day was a huge learning experience."

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Alex Thomas '16

Alex Thomas '16

Alex Thomas '16 (Biochemistry and Government & Legal Studies) spent the summer at the Maine Migrant Health Program. His primary project was organizing and conducting a community health needs assessment among aquaculture, commercial fishing, and seafood processing workers to see what other populations would benefit from MMHP’s model of care and services. Alex also spent time at MMHP’s mobile clinics and surveying broccoli cutters in Aroostook County. Interacting with these farmworkers and learning more about their life and work was a highlight of his fellowship experience.

"My experience this summer has left an indelible impression on me of Maine’s migrant farmworkers. Getting to meet these amazing individuals and see where they live and work has opened my eyes to the realities of farm work in America, and made me appreciate the blueberries and other produce at the grocery store so much more. Working alongside this extraordinary staff to provide health services to this often invisible population has been an opportunity that I will not soon forget."

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Michelle Johnson '15

Michelle Johnson '15

"This summer working with Save the Children on their domestic public policy team, I got to look at issues of child poverty from a macro level. While in Washington, DC, I attended events about early childhood interventions that I normally only get to read email summaries about. While learning about public policy, I worked on projects to change laws on disaster preparation for schools and child care. As the unaccompanied minors border crisis unfolded, I got to do research and attend hearings to help figure out how children could best be served. The whole experience taught me how change can be made on a large scale."

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Marko Peraica'15

Marko Peraica'15

"My experience at the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project has allowed me to work with the people of Maine in a variety of different ways. I had the opportunity to speak with clients in a personal setting, which gave me the chance to connect with individuals from the community in a way I had not been able to before."

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Olivia Reed '15

Olivia Reed '15

"Last summer, I worked at the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project in Boston. Over the course of two months, I worked alongside attorneys, asylum-seekers and detainees on various tasks, including compiling asylum applications, preparing clients for asylum interviews, visiting detention centers to deliver “Know Your Rights” presentations, and translating legal documents. This experienced furthered my understanding of immigration law and allowed me to put faces to the struggle of navigating our current immigration system, solidifying my desire to pursue a career in immigrant rights."

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Emily Weinberger '15

Emily Weinberger '15

"This opportunity to work alongside law professors and student attorneys at Cumberland Legal Aid has opened my eyes to the complexities of our country’s legal system. Being involved with both the Refugee/Human Rights and Juvenile Clinics has allowed me to explore the diversity that exists in Maine and be a part of innovative policy work. My summer at the clinic has solidified my interest in pursuing a career in psychology and law."

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Kaylee Wolfe '15

Kaylee Wolfe '15

"This summer I’ve been fortunate enough to work with two incredible organizations: Planned Parenthood and Speak About It. Through diverse projects such as organizing a film screening, marketing through social media, and revamping a guide to leading discussions about sexual violence with college students, I have learned something new every day at work. I know that the skills, knowledge, and contacts I have gained this summer will serve me well for years to come."

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Tracie Goldsmith '14

"I will be able to use my pursuit of a History major and Biology minor at Bowdoin to provide the background information necessary to gain more from my summer experiences regarding public health and disease as well as the historical reasons and trends which help explain why some populations have been and continue to be more vulnerable than others and why there is no "quick fix" to the problems of poverty. More specifically, this summer will greatly influence my life after Bowdoin as the knowledge I gain here will be useful in both a career in public health and in law."

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Hannah Wurgaft '14

Hannah Wurgaft '14

"Through my internship at Cumberland Legal Aid this summer, I have been exposed to a variety of legal issues affecting Maine communities. The experiences I’ve had filing paperwork with disabled minors, compiling a manual for asylum applicants, and organizing donations for a prison library have encouraged me to pursue my interest in the legal field. I am grateful to have worked alongside the students and professors at the clinic."

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Taylor Cochran

"From this experience, I hope to improve upon my facilitation and advocacy skills. I also anticipate improving my understanding of non-profit organization and management, and I would love the opportunity to make connections across non-profits serving at-risk youth in the Portland area. Upon returning to Bowdoin, intend to continue facilitating and building safe, supportive, and affirming spaces on campus through my involvement with Residential Life, Peer Health, and the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity. After having worked with Preble Street of Portland, ME, in the past, I have also considered the possibility of carrying on with LGBTQ and inclusiveness outreach in their Teen Center and Lighthouse Shelter. As a psychology major, I intend to pursue a master’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in counseling psychology with the hopes of continuing to serve at-risk youth, especially those in the LGBTQ community."

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Melanie Gaynes

Melanie Gaynes

"Through my internship I hope to gain a better understanding of community and state level public health programs and how such programs can be used to address health disparities. This knowledge will be a starting point for me during the upcoming school year as I begin my honors project on healthcare in West Virginia. Though West Virginia and Maine have different geographies, economies, and environmental health issues, both are rural states with low, but increasing diversity. The similarities between the states mean that some of the information I learn this summer could be of use in looking at West Virginia. This internship will give me the chance to learn more about the public health field and will help me as I move into my senior year and decide the kind of career path I want to follow after college."

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Laurel Curtis '14

Laurel Curtis '14

"Through my work with the Brunswick Farmers' Market, I have discovered connections between the seemingly unrelated worlds of local, sustainable agriculture and hunger prevention. These connections have given me a new way of looking at issues of food equity and poverty abatement, in particular, searching for solutions that support local economies by providing paths out of poverty."

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Kristen Rogers '12

Kristen Rogers '12

"The Forest Foundation fellowship allowed me to reflect on my past experiences; academic, occupational, and personal, and synthesize the interests to create my own personalized fellowship that integrated many of my interests."

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