The Blum Initiative’s Service Learning Fellowship supports UCR students interested in pursuing an immersive learning experience by partnering with a poverty-related non-profit or agency. Students complete at least 150 hours in the field over at least 4 consecutive weeks, though most choose to extend their fellowship for the duration of the summer. To-date the Initiative has supported students from engineering, the natural sciences, and the social sciences who have worked with non-profits based in Southern California, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Uganda.
PhD Candidate | Biology
Eleinis is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Biology and works with the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences. Eleinis’ research encompasses environmental science, agriculture, plant science, and physiology. Through the Blum Initiative Service Fellowship, she will return to the National Institute for Agriculture Research in Venezuela develop workshops in sustainable agriculture for cacao-producing famers. Agriculture is the sole source of income for many of the farmers and this project will allow trainees to establish an agroforestry system, which will sustain itself for 40-50 years and significantly increase the farmers’ short- and long-term income prospects.
Undergraduate Student | Sociology
Marissa is a third-year student in the Department of Sociology. She has previously worked with human trafficking non-profits and serves in an official capacity with the Survivor Leader Network of San Diego. Through the Blum Initiative Service Learning Fellowship, Marissa will further her commitment to preventing human trafficking for youth living in poverty by partnering with Freedom from Exploitation.
PhD Candidate | Ethnic Studies
Lawrence is a PhD Candidate in Ethnic Studies. His service-learning fellowship allows him to explore his interest in the working conditions and lives of immigrant restaurant workers in the San Gabriel Valley by working with Restaurant Opportunities Center – Los Angeles. During his fellowship, Lawrence will help build the power of immigrant workers by working on policy research, organizing, job training and placement, and recruitment and membership.
PhD Candidate | Physics
Adrian is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Physics and works with UCR’s Bockrath Research Group. Through the Blum Initiative Service Learning Fellowship, Adrian will work with the Tecnológico de Costa Rica and assist in the development and installation of integrated systems for biogas production on family farms. Additionally, he will design and implement community furnace and fuel storage units, which will allow for water purification and the development of a cottage industry in which the furnace is used for creating artisan baked goods, another source of income for impoverished families.
MPP Candidate | School of Public Policy
Matthew is an MPP student in the School of Public Policy and member of the Val Verde School Board. The Blum Initiative Service Learning Fellowship will allow Matthew to expand the Brown Berets organization to the Inland Empire, with the goal of providing a sense of community and empowerment among the community’s impoverished youth.