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Global Activities Scholars Program Students

Admitted 2023

  1. Claire Maki Claire Maki

    Claire (she/her) is an MSW student in the Global Social Work and Community Change program and discovered her passion for social work during her final year at UW-Madison. With a background in Legal Studies and Social Welfare, specializing in Criminal Justice and Asian American Studies, Claire's academic journey reflects her curiosity and desire for a global perspective. She loves dancing, music (especially BTS), and is always open to new adventures.

    Her diverse work experiences as a Pharmacy Technician, youth sports coach, painter, baker, and, most significantly, as a Community Resource Navigator in Madison, have shaped her into a well-rounded individual. In her role as a navigator, Claire bridged the gap between available resources and community members. recognizing the importance of helping individuals access what is available. This experience ignited her dedication to social work, leading her to this MSW program. As a GASP participant and new U-M student, Claire is eager to broaden her worldview and deepen her understanding of the world. Her core values of respect, openness, and acceptance drive her to seek out experiences that share these principles. Claire's journey in social work promises to be transformative as she continues to make a positive impact on communities and individuals alike.

  2. Ingrid Wefing Ingrid Wefing

    Ingrid (she/her) graduated cum laude from Amherst College in 2021 where she studied Psychology and Middle Eastern Studies. Her impressive background experiences include serving as a Community Advisor for the Amherst Office of Residential Life, leading collegiate recovery initiatives, teaching English to adult Arabic-speaking learners, and supporting refugee communities. After graduating, she worked as a case manager coordinating care for survivors of torture and as an office and intake specialist at Colorado Legal Services serving low-income Coloradans in need of legal services. In each of these roles, she has honed her mentorship, cross-cultural dialogue, and community-building capacities. She is currently doing her field placement in the Behavioral Health Department at ACCESS in Dearborn. During her time in the MSW program, Ingrid hopes to expand her understanding of global community-based approaches to social work. In her free time Ingrid enjoys reading, hiking, swimming, and spending time with her cat.

  3. Kaisha Brezina Kaisha Brezina

    Kaisha (she/her/hers) was born in Muskegon, Michigan and spent much of her time as a child in Western Michigan and throughout Florida. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2017 with a degree in Psychology and International Studies. After graduation Kaisha worked at the University of Michigan School of Social Work as a coordinator for global programs, working with students to create their own global experience, incoming exchange students, and international visitors. Kaisha has also worked in Uzbekistan, as an English Teaching Assistant in a local public school and an after school program for under-resourced high school students. Kaisha is interested in resource equity, program development, centering community knowledge, and community organizing. Kaisha's current field placement is at Jewish Family Services working in the Youth Mentoring Program. In her free-time, Kaisha enjoys reading, watching the newest fantasy or superhero movie, and cooking (and eating) new foods.

  4. Mackenzie Shah Mackenzie Shah

    Mackenzie (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Indianapolis and graduated from Indiana University. She graduated with highest distinction in 2021 with a Bachelor’s in International Studies, a certificate in Clinical Psychological Science, and minors in Arabic and Global Health Promotion. During her studies, Mackenzie spent time in Ghana and Ecuador understanding their health systems and practices, studying Arabic in Jordan, and working as an intern promoting mental health education and awareness. Upon graduation, she worked with neurodivergent children in a therapeutic clinic and volunteered in an after-school program working with Syrian and Sudanese refugee children. Mackenzie is an MSW Candidate in the Interpersonal Practice in Integrated Health, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse and Global Social Work Practice pathways. She is currently doing her fieldwork with ACCESS in Dearborn, MI where she works in the Mental Health and Family Counseling Department. Throughout her time as an MSW student and GASP scholar, Mackenzie hopes to gain more insight into integrating trauma-informed, evidence-based, intersectional, and culturally-informed approaches into her practice working with refugee and immigrant populations in the U.S. and abroad. In her free time, Mackenzie enjoys reading, traveling, exploring new places, cooking, and baking.

  5. Maryam Syed Maryam Syed

    Maryam Syed is a dual-degree student, pursuing an MS in Environmental Justice at SEAS and an MSW in the Global Social Work Pathway. Maryam is interested in the intersection of sustainability programs and social justice. Throughout her academic and professional career, she has worked on understanding the impacts environmental development programs have on local communities. She completed her BA in Anthropology at Albion College where she conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Southern Province, Zambia examining the violence towards communities living around national parks in the name of conservation. She then completed her MA in International Development at American University, where she was exposed to the inner workings of development programs and realized how flawed program design and evaluations are, regardless of how participatory they claim to be. In her current programs, she is focused on how ongoing sustainable development schemes in South Asia may produce violence instead of resilience. She has received a FLAS fellowship to support her language studies. Outside of the classroom, Maryam works for Uproot, an organization focused on transforming environmental education, and is also co-founder of the reading club, Feminists of Color in Environment. As a GASP student, she hopes to learn more about justice-oriented and participatory research in global settings.

  6. Oliva Diaz Melgarejo Oliva Diaz Melgarejo

    Oliva Diaz Melgarejo (she/her/hers) is originally from Paraguay but has lived nine years in Columbus, Ohio. She attended The Ohio State University, graduating summa cum laude in 2021 with a Bachelor's in Human Development and Family Science. Oliva is eager to pursue her passion for social work and her goal to positively impact the lives of people experiencing vulnerability and limited social protection. Her work in Paraguay, where social protection is influenced by culture, class, gender, and geographical location, has fueled her interest in public policymaking. She has witnessed firsthand the challenges faced by impoverished and indigenous communities in the Chaco Region of Paraguay. She has worked with the government and international agencies to support their access to water, food, and housing opportunities. She also employs her practical expertise in child development, working with families, and collaborating on projects with UNICEF and the European Union to implement childhood-oriented protection policies in collaboration with the communities affected.

    She is currently doing her field placement at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) in Detroit, Michigan. Oliva expects to have the opportunity to experience and analyze programs and policies designed to provide social protection to people in situations of vulnerability, their communities, and the natural environment.

  7. Reilly Krawczyk Reilly Krawczyk

    After a decade living in Arizona, Reilly (she/her/hers) returns to her Michigan roots where she was born and raised. She received her BSW from Northern Arizona University, complemented by minors in French and Psychological Sciences, where she uncovered a profound passion for understanding the complexities of international systems, particularly those affecting refugees, immigrants, and vulnerable family dynamics. Additionally, Reilly’s wanderlust has taken her to diverse corners of the world, with extensive stays in Southeast Asia, Western Europe, and Central America. Her travels have driven her to investigate critical global social justice issues, including sex trafficking in Thailand, international human rights law in France, the practice of Chhaupadi in Nepal, and migration patterns from the Maghreb region in Africa. Reilly has social work experience with survivors of domestic violence abuse, and currently interns with an institute in their legal immigration program. As a Global Activities Scholars Program recipient, she desires to expand her skillset to effectively cultivate grounds for creating a network of opportunities to serve local populations, advance social justice, dismantle institutional oppression, and promote human equality. When Reilly takes a break from her studies, she enjoys backpacking, kayaking, teaching dance, discovering coffee shops, reading, and playing games with friends.

  8. Yu-Yu Lin Yu-Yu Lin

    Yu-Yu Lin (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Taiwan and completed her undergraduate studies in Economics at National Tsing-Hua University. She is passionate about sustainability and social justice. Previously, she has done fieldwork with Indonesian coffee farms looking at exploitation in the international coffee trade. She is also a co-founder of a social enterprise aimed at building older adults’ mental and physical health.

    Yu-Yu worked as a program manager in the Corporate Sustainability Office at Cathay Financial Holdings, one of the biggest financial companies in Taiwan. She introduced the Theory of Change in managing and evaluating over 100 projects related to sustainable business opportunities, rural education, financial literacy, donations, and community involvement. Yu-Yu is a candidate for dual Master’s degrees in Public Policy and Social Work, focusing on international development, refugees, and social impact evaluation. Her field placement is with Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County as an Employment and Empowerment Economic Intern serving refugees. As a Global Activities Program scholar, Yu-Yu seeks to further her knowledge of individuals interacting with systems and structures globally and acquire the skill of addressing systemic failures through evidence-based intervention evaluation. After graduating, she hopes to pursue a career in an international organization and ensure that resource distribution is fair and respectful to the community’s decision. She enjoys hiking, exploring nature, traveling, and jogging in her free time.

Admitted 2022

  1. Annie Maguire Annie Maguire

    Although Annie (she/her/hers) claims she is new to the field of social work, she has been passionate about social work for her whole life. Born and raised in Madison, WI, Annie remembers the view from her parents' shoulders at city-wide protests distinctly, as this was a perch that she took to engage in movements for social change before she could even walk. Annie is particularly passionate about contributing to the common good, as it relates to advocating for immigrants and refugees. She had the profoundly impactful experience of living and working at a shelter for refugees in Texas after her undergraduate degree, and has worked in the non-profit sector since. She is an avid nature-lover, and when she is not studying, she likes to keep herself busy by working with children, volunteering, brewing coffee, hiking in nature, playing music, and spending time with others. She loves exploring new places and meeting new people, and she begins her chapter at the University of Michigan School of Social Work with an open mind and open heart.

  2. Clancy Loebl Clancy Loebl

    Clancy (she/her/hers) was born and grew up in the Milwaukee area and attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. She graduated summa cum laude in 2020 with her Bachelor in Russian Studies and minors in Economics and Creative Writing. Following graduation, Clancy worked in youth advocacy and college access at College Possible Minnesota, working with underserved and low-income students on the east side of Saint Paul to promote education equity. She is currently doing her field placement at Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County where she works within the Refugee Youth Services Department. Clancy joined the Global Activities Scholars Program to continue working with underserved youth and gain a more holistic understanding of how immigration and displacement affect education access domestically and internationally. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and camping, reading, and ice skating in the winter.

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