April 8, 2013
Community Partnership Awards honor three service programs
Winners are selected based on their initiative, leadership and involvement in projects that embody the spirit of genuine partnership and benefit the overall community.
By Kathleen J. Sullivan
Graduate student Jackie Benjamin, right foreground, helps Tech Museum visitors pull cow DNA out of sweetbreads. (Photo: Barry Starr)
Under the Stanford Academic Alliance for Global Enrichment, students at East Palo Alto Academy and teenagers living in rural communities along the south coast of San Mateo County engage in college-level discussions at Stanford about Latin America.
Since Stanford launched the program in 2011, participants have gone on field trips, attended multimedia presentations, read books, watched films and engaged in hands-on activities with Stanford graduate students, instructors and professors.
The program, a partnership between Stanford's Center for Latin American Studies, the East Palo Alto Academy, Pescadero High School and Puente de la Costa Sur Community Resource Center, is one of three winners of 2013 Community Partnership Awards.
The other two winners are Stanford at The Tech, a partnership between The Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose, Calif.) and Stanford's Department of Genetics, and Stanford GOALS, a partnership between the Stanford Prevention Research Center and community groups that serve children on the peninsula.
The university's Office of Public Affairs created the awards to honor the valuable partnerships that exist between Stanford and its neighbors, and to celebrate community efforts that successfully tackle real-world problems and advance the public good. David Demarest, vice president for public affairs at Stanford, will present the awards at an April 11 luncheon.
At the same luncheon, Provost John Etchemendy will present the 2013 Miriam Aaron Roland Volunteer Service Prize to Stanford law Professor Joan Petersilia.
Teaching Latino youth about their heritage
During the fall, students enrolled in the Stanford Academic Alliance for Global Enrichment study the cultures and societies of Latin America by exploring topics such as colonization, migration and urbanization.
During winter quarter, they study the political economy of Latin America, including the challenges and promise of rural health care in Mexico. During the spring, sessions on Latin American ecology and environment are held at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.
At the close of each academic year, students present their academic projects to their families at a "graduation" event held at Bolívar House, home of the Center for Latin American Studies on campus.
During this academic year, Eliane Karp-Toledo, former first lady of Peru and a visiting scholar at Stanford, has taught a class about the ways the Maya and Inca cultures have contributed to humanity and how they have been misrepresented in the media. Toward the end of the fall quarter class, Alejandro Toledo, former president of Peru and a visiting scholar at Stanford, talked to the class about his own journey, which began in a remote village in the Peruvian Andes; continued in the United States, where he earned a bachelor's degree at the University of San Francisco, and two master's degrees and a doctorate at Stanford; and ended with his election as Peru's first indigenous president.
Inspiring visitors at a local science museum
Under Stanford at The Tech, The Tech Museum of Innovation gets up-to-date information for its exhibits and for a popular website, Understanding Genetics, as well as young scientists – graduate students and postdoctoral scholars – who act as docents and role models for K-12 visitors.
The program is a partnership between the museum and the Stanford School of Medicine's Department of Genetics.
The organization was founded in 2003 as an outreach program designed to educate and excite the public about science, encourage K-12 students to become scientists and give graduate students and postdoctoral scholars the skills they need to effectively communicate science in person and in writing.
So far, 101 Stanford graduate students and postdoctoral scholars have benefited from the opportunity to learn effective science communication in a way that would be impossible without using the museum as the venue.
Since 2007, Stanford at The Tech has organized a Genetics Carnival at Overfelt High School in San Jose. The carnival has reached more than 1,250 high school students to date and will continue to reach at least 250 more each year into the future.
For the past two years, Stanford graduate students and postdoctoral scholars also have staffed the Stanford at The Tech booth at the Bay Area Science Festival, which is held in AT&T Park in San Francisco. Last year, about 400 people – mostly kids and families – stopped by the Stanford at The Tech booth.
Under Stanford GOALS, the Stanford Prevention Research Center has created a partnership with community groups to study an innovative, community-based approach to addressing childhood obesity.
The seven-year study, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, is aimed a families living in Menlo Park, Redwood City and East Palo Alto with children aged 7-11 who are interested in healthy eating and becoming more physically active.
With the help and support of its partners – the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, the Redwood City Police Activities League and the Redwood City Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department – Stanford GOALS is able to identify children at risk for obesity and engage them in programs that promote healthy lifestyles.
Children enrolled in Stanford GOALS are randomly assigned to participate either in a health education program or "active intervention," including a team sports program; home visits to reduce television, computer and video game use and to improve eating habits; and follow-up with primary care providers.
All of the families receive a free, three-year program that includes annual child health assessments, after-school or mailed activities, and in-home health counseling and nutrition education. The community partners provide after-school programs for all of the children enrolled in Stanford GOALS.
Children who take part in the after-school sports programs play lacrosse, basketball, flag football and soccer. Many Stanford undergraduates have participated in the research study as interns and coaches. In addition, Stanford Athletics has arranged for children to come to campus for mentoring programs and field days and to attend wrestling matches and football, soccer and basketball games.