Stories of Impact

Providence x 19

How Nineteen Students Turned Providence Into Their Classroom
by Liza Yeager '17 and Tom Sullivan '15, Storytellers for Good
July 31, 2014

Katie Rose Lamb '16, International Relations
Rhode Island Health Center Association
"It's easy for me to take my health for granted when I have it, but working in health policy this summer has given me an appreciation for how dangerous life can feel when you don't have your health and don't have the means to get it back. At RIHCA, it's our job to fight as hard as we can at the policymaking level to ensure that every Rhode Islander can access affordable and comprehensive healthcare. I think everyone has that right."

Radhika Rajan '15, Anthropology
Green and Healthy Homes Initiative
“I think environmental activism is really focused on the burden of, let’s say pollution, on the environment. It doesn’t really examine the way people are affected. Environmental justice brings in this component of humanity and it focuses on not just the burden of environmental harm on the earth - but on how that burden is unequally distributed across populations.”

Evan Strouss '15, Comparative Literature and German Studies
BRYTE Summer Camp Coordinator
“We were talking to a teacher from Central Falls who has been doing this for years and years and years. She just has this... this strength that I really admire. That’s what I would love to have.”

Nicole Rento '15, Biology
Mental Health Association of Rhode Island
“I catch myself looking at other people and saying, why don’t they just stop, or that’s so ridiculous, or that’s such a weird thing that they do. And then I remember what I used to be like - I’d wash my hands a hundred times a day. I received a lot of support and help from family, friends, and doctors. MHA gives that same help and community support to people who would otherwise have nothing."

Aya Collins '16, Urban Studies and International Politics
City of Providence, Office of Sustainability
“Right now there are more people living in cities than there are in rural areas for the first time in human history. I think if we need a more sustainable world that’s going to have to happen through cities. If we need a world where people are more equal it’s going to come through cities.”

Daniel Hoadley '15, English Nonfiction Writing
Breakthrough Providence
“Teaching is the only job I really know where your job is actually to learn. It’s not about teaching so much as being open to learning from all your students.”

Abbie Galloway '16, Science & Society
Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance
“From BRYTE and also just from life experience I know that sitting in a classroom from 8am until 3pm is not for everyone. It works really well for a lot a people who are at this university. But it does not work well for many, many others. RIASPA focuses on out-of-school time learning, which allows for and encourages the idea that education can take place outside the classroom."

Lee-Sien Kao '16, Economics
City of Providence, Healthy Communities Office
“I love data. I love how much power there is in numbers and information. But that makes me sound power-hungry, right?”

Sarah Melton '16
AS220
“People are doing all sorts of really cool, amazing work that maybe you don’t always fully understand. I’ve learned to take a step back and appreciate that people express themselves in different ways.”

Tom Sullivan '15, Latin American and Caribbean Studies
RI Coalition for the Homeless
“You end up seeing familiar faces. I like making those connections. Saying ‘I remember you from last week, we were talking about X Y and Z, and how are you doing this week?’ It’s really gratifying to know that just talking to someone makes an impact.”

Maahika Srinivasan '15, Science & Society
City of Providence, Providence Talks
“Honestly, it’s not about the politics. I don’t really care about politics. But politics is all about negotiating personalities to get things done, and I love people.”

Tara Quinn, Masters in Public Affairs
Amos House
"I love that I can do background policy work and make a difference in the lives of these women. I believe, with the right resources, women can actually move up and out if they choose".

Sarah Roberto, Masters in Public Policy
Olneyville Housing Corporation
"I took a class in Public Policy called ‘Data Technologies’ and it was about using different database systems like excel and pivot tables and GIS systems. I was struggling along in the class, thinking ‘this is terrible’! But to see the tie between skills we’re learning in class and their real application in an organization has been exciting.”

Sam Lanier '15.5, Performance Studies
Partnership for Providence Parks
"I want to connect communities to themselves and gain a better of understanding of how to mobilize people to come together in a single place at a single time."

Vananh Tran'16, Public Health
Farm Fresh Rhode Island - Healthy Foods, Healthy Families
"Lots of low income families don’t know what a fresh cucumber or fresh tomato tastes like. Letting people try healthy food instead of just telling them to go make this recipe really does encourage families and children to try something new. I get to plan that program at the office and execute it at the market."

Nina Perrotti '16, Comparative Literature
Amos House
"The juxtaposition of working the soup kitchen one day and a golf tournament fundraiser another day makes this a unique experience."

Liza Yeager '17, Development Studies
City of Providence, Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism
"I have never felt particularly connected to any one cause… yet. All these people who I talk to have found that – and they usually have a really good reason for it. It’s really exciting that I get to talk to them about something that they are so passionate about, and find the motivation behind it."

Maya Finoh '17, Africana Studies and Public Policy
Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless
"I want to do human rights, anti-racist, anti-capitalist work, specifically with people of color that are low income and affected by the system in the worst way possible."

Elizabeth Garcia '15, Public Health
City of Providence – Healthy Communities Office
"Back home, the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area of Texas has the highest obesity rate in the nation, which is why I became interested in public health."

Lauren Behgam '15, Environmental Studies
Farm Fresh Rhode Island - Veggie Box
"I’m really passionate about the food system and the work being done right now to challenge the industrial agricultural complex and strengthen more regional and local systems that are both more environmentally and socially sustainable."
"What's your spirit vegetable?"
"I’ve always said eggplant. I can’t really explain it. You just kind of find each other."

Inspired by the series Humans of New York, we asked nineteen students in this year's iProv Summer Internship program to share something about themselves or their work in Providence with us. 

What we heard surprised, amused, and moved us. Take a look.