Announcing the 2019-2020 Social Justice Scholarship Winners

We congratulate the five winners of our 2019-2020 Social Justice Scholarship. The awards committee was impressed by the work of all of this year’s applicants. You can learn more about each of this year’s winner’s and their work below:

Buthaina Hattab is a rising Junior studying Political Science and Arabic. Raised by Palestinian immigrants, her passion for justice resides in everything that she does. She currently serves as Vice President of Students for Justice in Palestine, which has given her experience in collaboration and allyship with activist organizations and marginalized groups on campus. Recently, she introduced a resolution in the student government calling on the University to divest from companies that have committed human rights abuses. Seeking divestment from companies that have contributed to the Israeli occupation, ICE detention and deportation, and the prison industrial complex has connected students from different backgrounds to organize against companies that contribute to our collective oppression. Her work in social justice organizing informs her of how liberations and movements are intertwined. She plans to attend law school in the near future as a way to educate and empower underprivileged communities.

Eleanor Humphreys is a rising junior double majoring in Clinical-Community Psychology and Gender and Women’s Studies. With hopes of pursuing interests in reproductivity and sexual health in both academic and social spheres, these often become key components of her interest in social justice. From increasing the ability to make reproductive choices and advocating for increased funding for inclusive, evidence-based sex education, these issues are near and dear to her and those she loves. Given such, much of her recent activism has related to the wave of restrictions placed upon such matters under the current administration. On campus, she is involved in the campus chapter of Amnesty International, research with the psychology department on matters of diversity and sexual/domestic violence, and both FYCARE and Iconnect programs. Now more than ever activism is essential to the pursuit of progress within social, environmental, and economic spheres.

Sophie Luijten is a rising junior majoring in Global Studies and Spanish, with a concentration in Environmental Sustainability and Social Responsibility. She is dedicated to promoting environmental justice and immigrant rights. Sophie has worked as a research assistant at the Safe Global Water Institute, where she studied wastewater treatment in pursuit of alternative water resources under the guidance of Dr. M.J. Plewa. She has engaged in immigrant advocacy work as a Spanish Translator for the Immigration Project and as Integration Plan Intern at the New American Welcome Center, the latter for which she researched equitable community planning strategies in the development of a citywide immigrant integration plan. Additionally, she has contributed to service projects with the Hunger and Homelessness Project, Habitat for Humanity, and at Clark-Lindsey Village. Most recently, Sophie has been a featured contributor to the IPRH Environmental Humanities Undergraduate Research Journal with her research paper, Climate Change and Women’s Security: Case Study in Mozambique. She has also been granted a Summer Research Award from the Campus Honors Program to research women’s empowerment strategies in the Global South under the guidance of Dr. Valeria Bonatti. She is a Chancellor’s Scholar, James Scholar, Dean’s List honoree, and Global Studies Leader on campus. Through these opportunities, she aims to better understand connections between poverty, sustainability, and immigration to help create a more inclusive and robust society. Sophie hopes to pursue a career in equitable, sustainable development in order to protect both vulnerable populations and resources.

Kevin F. Garcia is an incoming senior at the university seeking a dual-degree in finance and I/O psychology with a minor in Spanish. In addition to his academics, Kevin seeks to serve his communities through his involvement with RSO’s including the Illinois – Coalition Assisting Undocumented Education, Prospanica, and a few more! Through I-CAUSE, Kevin has been able to work with an awesome team that has been able to create opportunities, educate the community, and lead efforts to change for the undocumented community. Additionally, Kevin has been able to co-found Prospanica with his partner Laura, in efforts to develop aspiring Hispanic professionals through entrepreneurship. Kevin is more than excited to continue this work and continue advocating for minorities throughout his life even as he progresses in his career in finance. Moreover, Kevin is thrilled to be selected as a CFA scholarship recipient and recognizes that this contribution to his academic career and work in social justice is a blessing and promises to continue paying it forward. 

Jessie VanDyke is a 3rd-year student at UIUC studying Agricultural and Consumer Economics with a Concentration in Environmental Economics and Policy and a Minor in Spanish. Her journey with activism started way back in 6th grade when she joined the Youth Leadership Academy, a 6-year program focusing on service learning and college readiness. Throughout her time there she led numerous projects revolving around issues affecting her home community of Elgin, Illinois such as homelessness and police brutality. Coming to UIUC, she has focused her activism on the environment by getting involved with Students for Environmental Concerns and Fossil Free UIUC, an organization dedicated to getting the University to divest from the fossil fuel industry. In addition to her activism with these student organizations she is also an ACE Ambassador, helping prospective ACE Students navigate the college decision process, and a Data Preprocessing Research Assistant for the BDEEP Housing Discrimination Project. Jessie is excited to see what the future brings and more motivated than ever to promote the success of intersectional activist movements on campus!