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Introducing Our Fall 2019 Diversity Advocates Scholars

Sep 4, 2019 11:00:00 AM / by Jessie Gibson

At CAPA, we seek to foster increased student diversity and to provide all participants with the opportunity to explore, challenge and redefine their identities in distinct ways. Launched in Spring 2017, the Diversity Advocates Program (DAP) is an extension of this philosophy and provides resources for advocates to pursue diversity initiatives of their own within their global cities.

CAPA is pleased to announce the Fall 2019 cohort of Diversity Advocates Program Scholars!

Uma Balaji, University of Pittsburgh

DAP_Headshot_F19_Uma_BalajiUma Balaji is spending her Fall 2019 semester at CAPA London. She is a junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Psychology and Sociology with minors in Neuroscience and Linguistics.

At Pitt, Uma is involved with the South Asian Student Association’s Service & Advocacy Committee, through which she has helped organize campus events that foster discussion about topics that affect marginalized groups in the US, such as privilege, microaggressions, and colorism. She is also a Research Assistant in the Teen and Young Adult Lab, where Uma is currently helping with data collection for a study regarding adolescent girls’ mental health and body image in relation to social media use. Uma’s other research interests in the lab include minority stress theory, mental health of LGBTQ youth, and access to culturally competent mental health care in marginalized populations.

In the larger Pittsburgh community, Uma has interned at the nonprofit organization Gwen’s Girls, where she acted as a camp counselor to young black girls in the North Side while assisting the initiatives of the Black Girls’ Equity Alliance, a branch of Gwen’s Girls that aims to solve specific problems such as access to quality education and the role of law enforcement in the lives of black girls.

During her time abroad, Uma looks forward to learning about the specific cultural dilemmas faced by minority and migrant populations so that when she returns to Pittsburgh, she can apply this knowledge to be a better activist and ally.

Danielle Tahan, University of Delaware

DAP_Headshot_Danielle_TahanDanielle Tahan will be spending her last undergraduate semester with CAPA London this fall. She is from New Jersey and is a senior at University of Delaware. Danielle is a Psychology major with minors in Domestic Violence Prevention & Services and Human Development & Family Sciences.

Danielle values providing advocacy and compassion within all her roles on campus and beyond. Danielle was a co-site leader for University of Delaware Alternative Breaks where she guided 12 peers to explore their active citizenship and various social injustices, such as equitable education and food insecurity. She is a credentialed victim advocate through her service with Sexual Offense Support, an on-campus resource that supports and empowers victims of sexual violence. In addition, she mentors and fosters the positive development of a first-grade student. Danielle has great experience in psychology research, in which she was recently awarded a Psi Chi grant for a study that explores the interpersonal implications of a mindfulness intervention on relationship quality.

Danielle is particularly passionate about creating supportive and equitable environments within schools that best foster children's development. Danielle feels most herself when connecting with others and creating ways to best support them, so she hopes to learn how to promote inclusivity and compassion in her future environments. She is interested in integrating her passions and interdisciplinary studies to serve children who experience adversity. With the combination of an internship and diversity advocate position in London, she plans to learn how to effectively serve community members with respect to their individual identities. Ultimately, Danielle plans for this experience to enhance her journey of discovering how to advocate for others in diverse contexts.

Maria Do, Augustana College

DAP HEADSHOT_MARIA DOMaria Do is a senior majoring International Business at Augustana College in Illinois where she is on the Dean’s List. She will be spending the fall of her senior year with CAPA in Sydney, Australia.

Maria has served as the Augustana Observer campus newspaper photographer and the Augustana Athletic photographer, for which she received an award of recognition from the Illinois College Press Association in 2018 for Sports Photography.

She has been involved throughout her time at Augustana in a variety of diverse student groups and activities including as the Alumni Historian and Member of the co-ed service fraternity called Alpha Phi Omega, the Asian Student Organization, the Black Student Union, SOUL (Sisterhood of Unique Ladies), and Latinx Unidos. During her junior year, she helped plan Take Back the Night—a campus event to raise awareness about sexual assault.

During her sophomore year, Maria was a volunteer for Multicultural Student Orientation, an orientation for first-year students from historically underrepresented backgrounds where students come to campus early to connect with other students and staff, prepare for their college experience, and have an awareness of their own identity and others.

As a first-generation student, Maria is especially interested in sharing her story of being an Asian-American during her time abroad and having conversations about different cultural traditions, values, and upbringings. She is looking forward to experiencing Sydney’s diversity and learning from different perspectives within the community. Maria's interests include photography, traveling, and volunteering.

Antonio Rios-Luna, University of Minnesota

DAP_Headshot_Antonio_Rios_LunaAntonio Rios-Luna is a junior at the University of Minnesota, studying in the BFA/Guthrie Actor Training Program. They will be spending the fall with CAPA in London.

Antonio is SUPER QUEER, Latinx, and the son of two Mexican immigrants who taught them how to love, laugh, and work hard. Originally from Whittier, California, Antonio could not be more excited to be in London.

They are interested in theatre that is collaborative, intersectional, and multi-disciplinary. As a lifelong student, Antonio hopes that this experience studying abroad will "a-broaden" their global consciousness and inform the work they create in the future.

If you have any questions about the program or the application, please contact sparker@capa.org.

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Topics: Diversity Abroad, Scholarships & Financing