Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Activating Democracy: Campaigns, Elections, & Voting

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Activating Democracy: Campaigns, Elections, & Voting
Trip Location: 
Washington, D.C.
Air Travel Trip: 
This trip will travel by air.
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

America is often thought of as the archetypal democracy. While most democracies have surprisingly short lifespans, America’s has persisted for 238 years. However, in the 21st century, we have grounds to question the quality of our democracy. Turnout of the Voting Age Population hovers around 50 percent and today, we are seeing increasing legal challenges to voting rights. In the backdrop of these statistics, there is an entire industry devoted to campaigns. In the 2012 presidential race alone, almost $2.5 billion was poured into the campaign-industrial complex. How do politicians engage voters in elections at the various levels of government? Where do they spend their money and why? In the age of big data, how accurately can elections be predicted? How do we maximize participations in elections?

In light of how apathetic citizens are towards the democratic processes guiding our nation, this Alternative Spring Break hopes to inspire future leaders on campus to become active and engaged members of our democracy. By exploring topics ranging from the foundations of the United States government to campaign finance and primary politics to voter suppression, this Alternative Spring Break will be a boot-camp immersing students in all the components of an election in the United States. After a riveting class on campus, we will be traveling to Washington D.C. during spring break to meet with various national organizations and leaders to better delve into the topics covered throughout the course. The opportunity to be in the heart of national politics and speak with a truly special line-up of speakers will push students to think critically about the importance of elections and voting as an American citizen, and also equip participants with the tools to further inspire others. Moreover, students will participate in several service opportunities in the Washington, D.C. area. By registering voters from all backgrounds, we will learn who votes first hand. By the end of spring break, students will leave with a better understanding of what it takes to “activate democracy” in the United States.

Trip Leaders
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Eric Mattson

Eric Mattson is a senior majoring in Human Biology and minoring in Political Science. Born and raised in the Cornhusker State, he came to California a naive Nebraska boy with aspirations of becoming an engineer. Then after an amazing Alternative Spring Break trip to D.C. (and an unfortunate bout of chemistry and math classes), he became increasingly intrigued by elections and national politics. This interest led Eric to find a passion in national health policy, a subject that he’s taken many courses on, and even prompted him to write an honors thesis focusing on Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Eric is the President of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, a tour guide, a member of Stanford in Government, and an intramural sports MVP. Of particular interest to the trip, he has been involved in voter registration and mobilization efforts on campus, especially during the 2012 election. He interned at the United States Department of Agriculture this past summer, working on the school lunch program, and the experience reaffirmed a desire to live and work in D.C. in the future. Eric is hopeful to spark a similar passion for national politics, campaigns, and voting in the next crop of political leaders on campus.

Nick Ahamed

Nick Ahamed is a senior majoring in political science and minoring in statistics. Born in Canada, but raised in Minnesota (and recently an American citizen), he is very interested in the right to vote and American democracy. He focuses his research on the politics of justice, race and inequality and is writing a thesis on Islamophobia in America. He is currently the Managing Editor of Opinions at The Stanford Daily, previously serving as a liberal political columnist. An active member of the Stanford Democrats, Nick led the Obama campaign on campus in 2012 and has supported various other campaigns. After participating in SIW as an intern at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, he returned to Washington, D.C. (where he lived with Eric) as an intern for the advocacy arm of the Center for American Progress. Needless to say, Nick loves politics and especially campaigns. Nick is excited to share with his peers the inspiration he felt in the nation’s capital. He hopes a new class of campus political leaders emerges from this Alternative Spring Break. 

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Alab ng Puso: The Flame of the Heart, Igniting Revolution for Migrant Solidarity

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Alab ng Puso: The Flame of the Heart, Igniting Revolution for Migrant Solidarity
Trip Location: 
Bay Area and Los Angeles
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

Millions of im/migrants and their families have been finding “home" in America, seeking a better life and brighter future, struggling heroically until today. To promote these struggles, it is essential to examine why they left their homeland and how America’s influence abroad often comes into play.

Considering the Philippines as a case study, this nation went from being America’s prize colony to America’s pivot in its “Pacific Century” of foreign policy in the past 100 years. Could America’s influence be considered a service or disservice to the Philippines? And how does this affect what it means to be Filipino in America?

Through our trip around Northern and Southern California, we aim to understand the conditions making immigration systematized and the service and struggle addressing its challenges, particularly in the context of the Filipino diaspora in America. We will explore the continuation of this legacy by studying issues that currently face the Filipino community and beyond, including immigration policy, workers’ rights, and access to education.

By doing so, we hope to develop critical perspectives on how to serve our communities and how our identity and heritage can inspire a personal stake in a movement. Through working together, we strive to keep the flame of these struggles alive in our hearts, encouraging all to find a place in a revolution for migrant solidarity.

Trip Leaders
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Jade Verdeflor

Why, hello! My name is Jade Amargo Verdeflor, and I was born and raised in the land of near-perfect weather, SoCal, before moving up to this other beautiful place known as Stanford. This year I am excited to be one half of the illustrious Community Service Co-Chair duo of the Pilipino American Student Union (PASU), and last year, my journey with PASU started as a Kababayan (or Filipino Issues) Committee frosh intern. I am looking to major in Human Biology. But I also have passions for exploring social justice and finding ways of sustainable service. My faith is an integral part of who I am, which greatly inspires these passions. I love dance, ukulele and friendship. If you're looking for a climbing buddy, a casual jam sesh, boba runs or real life runs, I'm the gal to hit up. I love meeting new faces and new people and finding the beauty in life! Yay, go ASB! 

Katrina Gutierrez

Hi there! I’m Katrina, and I’m originally from Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m currently a junior majoring in Psychology, and I’m interested in going into mental health because I hope to help people feel validated and understood. Last year, I was a co-chair of the Kababayan (Filipino Issues) committee within the Pilipino American Student Union (PASU), and I am currently also a member of Anakbayan Silicon Valley, an organization that seeks to unite all youth in the struggle for genuine social change and liberation of the Philippines. In my free time, I like to read, doodle, watch anime, do Pilates, and go running. I love eating delicious food and exploring new places and spend time laughing with friends. Although I’m not very talented at either of these, I enjoy singing and dancing as well, especially with other people. If you ever want company or free hugs, you should hit me up! I’m looking forward to meeting you very soon! 

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Asian American Issues: From Identity to Action

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Asian American Issues: From Identity to Action
Trip Location: 
Bay Area and Los Angeles
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

What does it mean to be “Asian American”? Do “Asian” and “Asian American” mean the same thing? Is the term “Asian American” a paradox? What qualities constitute “Asian American”?

These questions reveal that the term “Asian American”, while seemingly simple and all-encompassing, often casts Asian Americans as a homogenous group--rendering invisible the complexities behind the Asian American identity. This includes a broad range of challenges affecting Asian Americans of all ages and backgrounds: from workers’ and immigrant rights to racism, healthcare, LGBTQ issues, education, and more.

On this trip, we will analyze how social, political, and economic factors affect the formation of identities and use this framework to critically process and confront the messages we see about Asian Americans. We will then explore a variety of individuals, groups, and organizations who apply the understanding of their identities in the fight for social justice and equality.

Trip Leaders
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Vy Luu

My name is Vy and I’m a sophomore who is still lost on what my major will be. I’m from San Diego, California, but before that, I was born in Vietnam and lived there until I was seven. I participated in the Asian American Issues trip last year and it has been one of the best experiences I’ve had at Stanford. Not only did I begin to understand the implications behind the Asian American identity and my own identity better, I also met some of my closest friends on the trip. I hope you will join our trip and embark on this journey towards better understanding the concepts of race and ethnicity and how these identities shape our society today.

Tony Wang

Hi there! I’m Tony, a senior studying Management Science and Engineering. I was born in Shanghai, China but have spend majority of my life living in Burlington, Wisconsin. Growing up between two cultures, I often felt conflicted and am dedicated to confronting the issues of being a minority today. In particular I am deeply interested in challenging the “model minority” label that reinforces misconceptions about the Asian American culture. Through this class, I hope to help students gain a better understanding of their identity regardless of their ethnic background, feel supported by a close group of friends and empowered to tackle social issues in their community. In my free time I like keeping up with the latest tech trends, cooking in Mirrielees and finding new music.

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Bay Area Domestic Workers' Rights: A Grassroots Campaign for Social Justice

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Bay Area Domestic Workers' Rights: A Grassroots Campaign for Social Justice
Trip Location: 
Bay Area
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

In this Alternative Spring Break course and trip, we will examine how our society and institutions allow for and perpetuate the exploitation and oppression of domestic workers. Historically, domestic workers have largely been excluded from basic labor protections. We cannot think critically about the issues domestic workers face without considering the roles gender, race and ethnicity, immigration status, and language play in the industry. We will use a conceptual framework based on citizenship and reproductive labor theory to address themes in the context of Bay Area migrant women of color who are vehemently campaigning for equal labor rights. Through collaborations with domestic worker organizations based in San Francisco and Oakland, ASB participants will learn how this movement seeks to transform the domestic work industry through multilingual and multicultural alliances.

This ASB course and trip is an attempt to continue the legacy of Professor Kathleen Coll’s class titled “New Citizenship: Grassroots Movements for Social Justice in the US.”

Trip Leaders
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Andrea Hale

My name is Andrea Hale and I am a senior majoring in Iberian and Latin American Cultures and Anthropology. I love languages and have taken classes in French, Spanish, Chinese, and Portuguese. Currently, I am a TA for service learning courses and social dance and have been in Chocolate Heads, Salseros de Stanford, Catch-a-Fya, Flamenco Cardenal, and the tango club. In my free time I like to garden and make healthy desserts. My personal relationship with traditionally marginalized workers and my experience taking Kathleen Coll’s “New Citizenship” class have inspired me to continue learning and sharing knowledge about different ways that inequality exist within our communities and to question the very foundational assumptions we make about equality and social justice.

Henry Garcia

My name is Henry Garcia, and I’m from Mid-City Los Angeles. I’m a senior, majoring in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity with a concentration in Education, Access, and Equity. In my spare time, I enjoy listening to hip-hop and eating Hot Cheetos. I have previously participated in two ASB trips. Last spring I traveled to Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota through the “Lakota Learning” ASB, which focused on rural and Native American education. During my sophomore year, I went to LA and San Diego on another ASB trip—this one was aimed at exploring immigration and identity issues. Professor Kathleen Coll’s “New Citizenship” course challenged me to think critically about intersectionality theory in the context of the experiences of domestic workers in the United States. Its service-learning component allowed me to learn directly from organizations like Mujeres Unidas y Activas and Hand in Hand. It was these experiences outside the classroom that inspired me to lead this trip.

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Beyond Organic: Down ‘n Dirty with California’s Food System in the Monterey Bay

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Beyond Organic: Down ‘n Dirty with California’s Food System in the Monterey Bay
Trip Location: 
Monterey Bay Area
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

You are what you eat. Are you a card-carrying carnivore or a diehard vegan? Food affects all of us, so understanding it is both important and empowering. We don’t care whether you’ve been growing your own food since childhood or have never seen food in the earth, this trip is for everyone! // The food system is a massive, complicated web encompassing an overwhelming number of big issues. Did you know that 40% of food in America is thrown out? Or that the minimum wage for tipped workers can be as low as $2.13? Restaurants are purchasing more from local farmers, but most customers don’t think about who’s actually growing and cooking their food, or how much waste comes out of the kitchen. Recently, Whole Foods’ meteoric rise has educated the general public about food quality. Unfortunately, most of the public understanding of virtuous consumption is limited to a vague enthusiasm for “organic.” Join us as we go beyond organic and explore the system that feeds us. // In our winter course, we’ll follow the life cycle of food from farm to fork and beyond (growing, processing, consuming, disposing) and explore what “food justice” means. We’ll also pay attention to how California’s complex food system produces about half of the nation’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables. During this ASB, we’ll visit farms around Monterey Bay, meet with the people who make our food possible, and cook beautifully nutritious meals together. Join us!

Trip Leaders
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Cecily Foote

Hi, friends! I’m a junior from Austin, Texas majoring in Product Design. I’ve always liked making and growing food but got really into it in late high school, when I read cookbooks like novels, turned vegetarian, and worked on a sustainable urban farm. I’m interested in pretty much anything food-related but my most fervent, sustainable enthusiasm is for healthy cooking and eating. I’m currently co-president of the Stanford Food Project and working on the side to compose and coordinate events for the new interdisciplinary Stanford Food Helix. I like drawing (mostly animals), organizing, doing stuff outdoors, and trying to extract blogworthy stories and insights from my life on WordPress. I also lived in Seoul last summer and worked 3-11am at a bakery the summer before that, which I have some fun food stories from. I’m already super pumped about meeting, eating with, and learning from all of you.

William Kim

I’m a junior studying Symbolic Systems. My fascination with food is a new one, when I took the predecessor of this trip my freshman spring, and seriously reconsidered what kinds of food I dumped into my body and what processes went into harvesting or making those foods. During this trip, I had a blast cooking good, cheap meals with good, new friends along the coast of California. I learned about food and how I fed my body, and it was a life-changing experience. Other stuff about me: I interned at a non-profit my freshman summer, and worked in private equity for Goldman Sachs last summer. I am the editor of the tech blog on campus (Dish Daily), and love talking/thinking about good companies and tech trends. I’m an ex-carnivore. Looking forward to reading everyone’s apps, cooking good food, and having fun!

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Bridging the Civil-Military Divide: Military Service as Public Service in the 21st Century

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Bridging the Civil-Military Divide: Military Service as Public Service in the 21st Century
Trip Location: 
Washington, D.C.
Air Travel Trip: 
This trip will travel by air.
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

How does society conceive of a soldier, a sailor, an airman, a marine? How do Americans perceive military service and what role do service members play in our society? Today fewer than 0.5 percent of Americans serve in the military, as compared to roughly 12 percent during the second World War. This has led to a widening gap in knowledge about the military, its members and the functions they perform, as well as its basic structure and tradition of service. This course is intended to introduce students to the notion of military service as public service and explore how misperceptions on both sides affect the civil-military divide. Over Spring Break students will travel to the East Coast to interact with peers their age in the military, from both the enlisted and officer corps, as well as civilians serving in the Department of Defense and college students at U.S. military academies.

Trip Leaders
To view trip leader emails, please log in with your SUNetID using the link in the left sidebar.
Geo Saba

Geo Saba is a Senior majoring in Political Science with honors in International Security Studies. Through the Center for International Security and Security (CISAC), he will be writing an honors thesis on the expanding role of the U.S. National Security Advisor. His interest in the U.S. military was sparked after taking and then leading the "Face of Battle" Sophomore College course with Taylor, who is also from San Mateo, CA. His intrigue was further galvanized after participating in the Stanford in Washington Program and interning at the White House. At Stanford, Geo is the Vice President of the Stanford Pre-Law Society, a member of the Stanford Varsity Baseball team and SigEp Fraternity, the Chair of the Constitutional Council (ASSU's Judicial Branch), and a Stanford in Government committee member. He is very excited and humbled to lead an Alternative Spring Break Trip on such an important issue. 

Taylor Grossman

Taylor Grossman is a Senior studying Political Science with a focus on international security. She is currently working on an honors thesis through the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) on public warning systems for terrorism threats. She's been interested in the military ever since taking the sophomore college course "The Face of Battle," which focuses on the relationships between soldiers and statesmen and the way in which strategic goals translate into tactical operations. Last fall she interned at the Pentagon through the Stanford in Washington program, where she got to see first hand how civilian control of the military operates, and how foreign policy is decided and executed. She also studied abroad at Oxford, where she took a tutorial in International Security Law. On campus, she teaches 7th grade math in EPASA (a Haas Center program), and is a research assistant at CISAC. She's looking forward to a fantastic week in Washington in the spring!

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Community Organizing and Urban Revitalization in Detroit

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Community Organizing and Urban Revitalization in Detroit
Trip Location: 
Detroit, Michigan
Air Travel Trip: 
This trip will travel by air.
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

The most creative solutions tend to come out of the most desperate situations, especially in areas where the traditional support systems have failed. This situation is exemplified in Detroit, a city where declining population, economic decline (especially in the auto industry), and government corruption have led to blight, crime, and a collapse in civil services. Detroit is currently the fastest shrinking city in the U.S., and it has the highest crime rate. In 2013 it became the largest American city ever to file for bankruptcy. Yet out of all this have emerged, an unprecedented number of local efforts to improve the lives of the city’s inhabitants, from community gardens to street art projects to small business incubators.


Detroit demonstrates the immense power that a community can have to address its problems when individuals come together and step up for the sake of their collective good. We hope to work alongside and learn from a diverse group of organizations including urban farms, community art projects, crowdfunding groups, and religious groups. In addition, we will talk to city officials, GM employees, and other more established players to better understand the relationship between very different organizations working towards a common goal.


We will prepare for the trip by exploring the historical context of Detroit’s woes, getting to know the organizations we will later visit, and discussing how the efforts being undertaken in Detroit can be applied in other situations. We hope that our group will come away from the program with an appreciation and understanding of how small but dedicated groups can improve their city, and a desire to bring these solutions to other communities.

Trip Leaders
To view trip leader emails, please log in with your SUNetID using the link in the left sidebar.
Dale Hall

My name is Dale Hall, and I’m a junior majoring in Engineering Physics and minoring in Urban Studies, although I’m interested in almost anything else I can study. I grew up in the small town of Redding in rural far-Northern California before moving to Sacramento during high school. In my (far too little) free time I enjoy exploring in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. When I’m on campus I’m frequently playing trombone and rocking out with the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band. After participating in an ASB program last year focusing on transportation issues in Portland, I was eager to use this incredible platform to further develop and learn with others about some of my passions: urban development, sustainability, and social justice. I’ve learned a lot about the incredible projects underway in Detroit during urban studies classes and from talking to people from the area, and ASB provides the perfect opportunity to study and support these efforts on the ground. I believe that strong communities in strong cities are the basis for our country’s future, and I am excited to apply my experiences from this trip in the fields of renewable energy, urban planning, and environmental policy.

Sarah Johnson

My name is Sarah Johnson, and I am a junior majoring in Economics with a minor in Arabic. I hail from a tiny island off the coast of Massachusetts, but have done my very best to balance that out by travelling at every possible opportunity-- I have lived in India, Egypt, Morocco, and Peru. On campus I am on the ASSU Executive Cabinet leading the Connections Team, am co-president of the Stanford Association for International Development (SAID), and am involved in the American Middle Eastern Network for Dialogue at Stanford (AMENDS). I am particularly interested in sustainability and community organizing, and how the two intersect from an economics perspective. I am passionate about harnessing the power of collaboration to improve the world, and am fascinated by the new economic and social models emerging in places such as Detroit. The city is a powerful example of the kinds of connections and bottom-up change efforts that I am passionate about, and I am very excited to explore everything that is going on there!

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Design-thinking for Social Innovation: Stanford-Japan Exchange

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Design-thinking for Social Innovation: Stanford-Japan Exchange
Trip Location: 
Bay Area
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
6
Trip Description: 

This isn’t your average ASB trip.

Why? Let’s start with a bit of context.

Design-thinking has taken Stanford and the global innovation community by storm. Social innovators and educators in both US and Japan are asking whether design-thinking has the potential to make real impact. Join us as we explore social innovation in the education realm in both US and Japan through the lens of design thinking and create unexpected solutions in the process.

But wait, there’s more!

In collaboration with VIA (Volunteers in Asia) and Impact Abroad, a handful of social-change-interested college students will be flying in from Japan to join us over spring break for a hands-on project experience, working together with you on real needs in education. With visits to innovative organizations in the Bay Area, combined with the project focus, this trip is a unique opportunity to hear from different perspectives, exchange ideas, and learn from each other cross culturally, all while applying design thinking to the real world.

Participants are strongly encouraged to join a follow-up Impact Abroad week-long exchange trip to Japan in early September 2015, where you will be hosted by some of the same Japanese students and two Japanese universities, exploring social innovation in Tokyo and the Tohoku region, which is recovering from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Whether you have a passion for social change, for Japan, or you want to get your hands dirty with design, apply today! We are excited for you to join us on our journey.

Check out this nifty infographic. (link to: https://38.media.tumblr.com/0a075023a38d3273847b785d073961ee/tumblr_nd6qbuKwOO1qjk7bro1_1280.png)
And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. 

Trip Leaders
To view trip leader emails, please log in with your SUNetID using the link in the left sidebar.
Alex Brinas

Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a Product Design major in my final year. I have always had a passion for crafting physical things with my hands, but I’ve also discovered that empathic design can concoct rich solutions for even intangible social issues. After fulfilling my childhood dream by living in Japan for a bit, I’ve become super intrigued by how American and Japanese thinking and social cultures can both clash and mingle. Around campus, I can often be found ukulele-ing, hunting down good food, or skateboarding where I shouldn’t be (with a helmet, of course)

Aaron Broder

Hi, my name is Aaron Broder! I’m a senior studying computer science and creative writing, and next year I’ll start my coterm with a concentration in Human-Computer Interaction. As a section leader for CS106A and B, I’ve become interested in innovative ways to improve education. I’m excited to lead this ASB and combine it with my interest in Japanese culture. In the free time I have besides teaching and taking classes, I’m an active member of the Stanford Mock Trial team.

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Disable the Label: Disability Awareness and Advocacy in the Bay Area

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Disable the Label: Disability Awareness and Advocacy in the Bay Area
Trip Location: 
Bay Area
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

Over a billion people are estimated to live with some form of disability, corresponding to about 15% of the world's population. In the US alone, there are an estimated 60 million disabled people who live in a society that often refuses them basic rights, respect, and services that are afforded to non-disabled people. Knowing this, what are you going to do about it?

Our hope for this trip is to give our participants the tools and support to learn about disabilities and create positive change regarding disabilities in the Bay Area and beyond. We need to become more aware of the factors that restrict participation for people with disabilities so that society can be more inclusive. These barriers can lead to poor health outcomes, lower educational achievement, higher rates of poverty, and discrimination. During our ASB, trip participants will learn how we can better serve and interact with people who have disabilities through what we think, say, and do every day. We will visit a variety of exciting organizations and hear from people for whom this issue hits close to home. These talks will include an array of viewpoints from special education teachers, families affected by disabilities, students with disabilities, and YOU!

Now ask yourself, have you ever wondered what to say or do around someone who is disabled? Do you have a disability and want to contribute to the conversation? Are you just looking to learn something new about a topic you’ve never formally encountered? If you answered yes to any of these, please apply to this ASB! 

Trip Leaders
To view trip leader emails, please log in with your SUNetID using the link in the left sidebar.
Linda Nguyen

Hi everyone! My name is Linda Nguyen and I am a junior majoring in Biology and minoring in Philosophy hailing from the Bay Area. I can definitely say that participating in the Asian-American Issues ASB trip my freshman year was a major highlight of my time here. Some of the issues I am interested in are educational equity, improving health care accessibility, and advocating for underrepresented minorities. Through education and dialogue, I want to strive towards a culture of inclusion and acceptance regarding disabilities. At Stanford, I have been involved in EPASA, Pacific Free Clinic, the Caribbean dance team Catch-A-Fyah, and other Haas service programs. In my free time, I enjoy trying different foods, singing, dancing, and anything that involves nature. I can’t wait to embark on this exciting journey with all of you!

Lacey Wickersham

Hey all! I am Lacey Wickersham and I hail from Bend, Oregon. I am an undeclared sophomore though I am interested in English, International Relations, and all things Russian. Moreover, am interested in public service of all kinds with a special emphasis on education and social justice. I participated in an ASB last year that was centered on Autism, and I had an amazing experience -- ASB is the BEST way to spend spring break hands down. You won’t regret it! Among other things my inspiration for this trip comes from my life experience of having a disabled older brother, as well as having been a life skills mentor throughout high school. A bit about me, my best friend is my cat; I like tea, books, and vanilla scented candles. In any case, I am looking forward to co-leading this trip, and can’t wait to meet everyone! 

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Education and Society

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Education and Society
Trip Location: 
Bay Area
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

Through this ASB trip and the accompanying course, we will interrogate the widely held assumption that schools are “The Great Equalizer” in US society. We will consider some of the most basic tenets of our education system: why everyone must go to school; what schools are for; who they serve and how they do it. Our course will lay a groundwork for understanding how wider systems of social inequality play into and are reproduced in the education system, as well as introduce varying approaches to reform and their accompanying visions of success. Throughout the trip, we will have an opportunity to see many of these ideas as they play out in real life, by visiting a variety of schools and speaking with individuals who engage with education in many ways: classroom teachers, administrators, advocates, policy-makers, and community organizers. Finally, we hope to share with each other our visions of why education can be beautiful and a force for positive change :)

Trip Leaders
To view trip leader emails, please log in with your SUNetID using the link in the left sidebar.
Clayton Evans

Hey all! I’m Clayton, and I am a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I plan on becoming a high school science teacher after graduation, and hope to build a classroom culture based on inquiry and a critical social consciousness. At Stanford I have had the opportunity to work on issues of educational equity as a tutor, mentor, and teacher with the East Palo Alto Stanford Academy (EPASA). Being a part of the EPASA community reminds me constantly of my love for teaching and learning. Furthermore, witnessing the grit and resilience of my students as they face and overcome constant challenges has reinforced my opinion that US schools and the social contexts in which they are embedded are in need of radical change. I’m excited to continue exploring how education can be a tool for community empowerment and social justice, and can’t wait to learn and grow with you all on this trip! 

Shayda Zarafshar

Hello, I’m Shayda! I’m a senior majoring in Sociology, headed for classroom education after graduation. My interest in education comes from an inherent love of teaching as well as my own unique experience in California public schools: after being tracked into high-achievement classes at the start of second grade, I became more and more aware of how differently I was treated by teachers and administrators in comparison to friends who took “neighborhood” (non-college preparatory, standard) classes. I’ve been lucky to meet people who helped me to develop this initial awareness of unfairness into a much more nuanced view of how social inequity is reproduced in the education system (and elsewhere), and even luckier to be exposed to ideas about how we can use education as a tool for justice and change. When I’m not railing against the cruelties of life, you can find me dancing, hunting for cute succulents, and spending time with friends in the sun. I’m super excited to get to know and learn from everyone who decides to participate in this course!

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Indigenous Ways of Knowing: Exploring the Lakota Narrative

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Indigenous Ways of Knowing: Exploring the Lakota Narrative
Trip Location: 
Rosebud, South Dakota (Rosebud Indian Reservation)
Air Travel Trip: 
This trip will travel by air.
Number of Participants: 
10
Trip Description: 

Participants of this Alternative Spring Break will have the opportunity to explore Indigenous Ways of Knowing by working with teachers, doctors, tribal leaders, and cultural practitioners in rural South Dakota. By working with leaders in education, healthcare, and tribal politics, trip participants will be provided with an unprecedented opportunity to experience first-hand Lakota culture. While so often, popular media focuses on the struggles faced by South Dakota tribes, this trip will instead focus on the positive narratives coming from Indian Country. Participants will also be volunteering with a Native serving organization that has worked with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe for 25 years; students will help address basic needs through distribution services.

South Dakota, which is home to nine Native American tribes, has a long and storied history of relations with the United States. Home to National parks such as Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands, South Dakota also served as the backdrop for some of the most important moments in Native American history; the legacies of Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and moments such as Wounded Knee I & II. South Dakota provide participants the opportunity to learn about some of the most unknown, yet most important moments in American history.

The course will begin with classroom instruction, guest lectures, and discussions that will expose students to the challenges and promise of Native American communities. Students will learn about Lakota culture, the history of Native Americans, and current challenges and successes in Indian country. Our hope for this Alternative Spring Break is to learn from the communities we will be working with in hopes of expanding students’ worldview as it pertains to Indigenous cultures.

Trip Leaders
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Dahlton Brown

Dahlton Brown is a senior majoring in Native American Studies with a focus in Education. He is writing his honors thesis through the Graduate School of Education, and researching culturally responsive education models. He is the current Co-Chair of the Stanford American Indian Organization, and past Stanford Powwow Co-Chair. He is also the Ethnic Theme Associate for Muwekma Tah Ruk this academic year. To remain active on campus, Dahlton is a member of the Stanford Men’s Rugby team. Dahlton considers Jackson, California to be home, while he is a tribal member at the Wilton Miwok Rancheria from Wilton, California. When not in school, Dahlton enjoys fishing, camping, backpacking, deer hunting, and exploring the high country in Amador County, California. While passionate about serving Native American communities, Dahlton also seeks to make sure that non-Natives work to build strong allyship with Indigenous communities through collaborative efforts. 

Taylor Schad

Taylor Schad is currently a senior pursuing a B.A. in Native American Studies while doing her Honors Thesis in the Graduate School of Education. She was born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota and despite loving the weather in California she still returns home every chance she gets. Taylor is a member of the Mnicoujou and Hunkpapa band of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. She was a participant of the Rural and American Indian Health Disparities ASB her freshman year. She had an amazing experience and ever since then Taylor has wanted to lead a similar trip back and was presented with the opportunity her senior year! This past summer Taylor was awarded a Haas Summer Fellowship and was able to work with National Relief Charities (Rapid City Branch) and the Pine Ridge Reservation on gardening projects that addressed the greater issues surrounding food sovereignty. The two summers prior she worked, through Haas Center Work Study with the Ateyapi (Fatherhood) program in Rapid City as a summer mentor to Native elementary students in order to promote cultural understanding as it relates to diabetes prevention and living healthy lives. Taylor has had some incredible opportunities working with tribal members and programs around South Dakota and is looking forward to the Alternative Spring Break trip and further enhancing her relations with these communities!

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Out of the Classroom and into the Cell: Education and Incarceration in the United States

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Out of the Classroom and into the Cell: Education and Incarceration in the United States
Trip Location: 
Bay Area
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

Does education provide the opportunities it’s supposed to, and is criminal justice actually “just” in America? Black people constitute twelve percent of the United States population, yet they make up forty percent of the prison population. Racial inequality is not just a defining quality of the U.S. incarceration system: according to the American Civil Liberties Union, black students are suspended and expelled from school three times more than white students, and these youth are almost three times more likely to be in contact with the juvenile justice system the following year. This marginalization of suspended and expelled students is known as the school-to-prison pipeline, a phenomenon that fuels America’s high incarceration rate. Once people are part of the criminal justice system, they often live in overcrowded conditions with limited opportunities to advance their education or to find employment after release. Consequently, the cycle continues--sixty-five percent of inmates released from California prisons return to the system within three years.

On this Alternative Spring Break, we will investigate the foundations and consequences of injustice in the U.S. public school system. Why is there such a disparity in school quality across the country? How are race and socioeconomic status related to school inequality? Then, we’ll relate our findings to the resulting school-to-prison pipeline and investigate how it impacts both the individual and society. Finally, on our trip, we’ll focus our studies to California and the Bay Area by further analyzing the school and incarceration systems in these regions. Overall, we hope to learn how to affect meaningful social change in the realm of education and prison.

Trip Leaders
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Micaela Suminski

Micaela grew up outside Philadelphia, where she developed an interest in education, a propensity for filmmaking, and a passion for service. After reading Freedom Writers in seventh grade, Micaela realized that education is the key to unlocking social justice in the United States. Over the past several years, Micaela has developed her passion for education reform and investigated how it relates to incarceration injustices, race, and socioeconomic inequality. At Stanford, Micaela engages with policy and politics as Chief of Staff for the Stanford Political Journal. She also plays the tenor saxophone for the Stanford band. When not drinking coffee, she’s probably at the gym. Micaela can be easily recognized for her loud laugh, snapbacks, and super cool dance moves. She’s probably an Urban Studies major, although she’s undecided. Her dream job is U.S. Secretary of Education. Micaela is psyched to lead this trip; she can’t wait to investigate education reform and criminal justice reform with others, and to learn from their impressions. Most of all, she’s excited to learn alongside her fellow ASBers.

Sarah Brickman

Hailing from Sarasota, FL, Sarah brought her bubbly laugh and fun shorts all the way to Palo Alto. If you’re trying to find Sarah, you should start with SOOP (Stanford Outdoor Outreach Program) meetings or the climbing wall at the new gym. You might also see her frolicking with the tenor sax section of the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band. Since coming to Stanford, Sarah has developed an interest in agriculture and food security, leading her to declare Earth Systems as her major. After participating in an Alternative Spring Break trip about the school-to-prison pipeline last year, Sarah also became fascinated by issues related to America’s criminal justice system. She is particularly interested in studying the factors that lead to later incarceration. Sarah is super excited to return to ASB as a leader so that she can further study incarceration and education alongside other passionate students! The way to Sarah’s heart is through chocolate covered espresso beans or waffles with peanut butter.

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Out of the Shadows: Rising Above the Stigma of Mental Health

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Out of the Shadows: Rising Above the Stigma of Mental Health
Trip Location: 
Bay Area
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

Did you know that mental health issues affect one in every five American families?

Mental health is often a difficult subject to speak openly about. This may be for several reasons, including the unwillingness and fear of individuals to see themselves or others close to them as having an illness, the lack of a culturally sensitive, mainstream vocabulary for the discussion of mental health issues, and the stigma of seeking aid or treatment of psychiatric disorders. Unfortunately, by not speaking openly and competently about these issues, we as a society risk leaving many individuals untreated, endangering their lives and damaging their communities and families, and holding back on potential advancements in care.

The aim of this class and its accompanying service trip is to begin to facilitate more open and informed conversations about mental health issues and their impacts in the larger community, whether that community is your dorm, the Stanford campus, the Bay Area, the United States, or the world. Throughout the course, we will invite guest speakers to discuss aspects of mental health such as depression, mental health in the justice system, and other areas. As we visit organizations, such as the National Alliance of Mental Illness, and a mental health treatment court in San Jose, we hope to empower students to serve as allies to those who seek to make mental health a priority in our personal lives, government policy, education, and medicine. No prior experience is necessary; we are open to students with an open mind!


TRIGGER WARNING: We appreciate your willingness to share your personal experiences with us and/or the class if you wish. However, we fully understand that not everyone is comfortable doing so, and we would further like to note that some of the content we will be discussing in class may be triggering for some individuals. Please let us know if this is the case for you, and we would be happy to accommodate your needs.

Trip Leaders
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Gabriella Godines

Hi guys! My name is Gabriella, but you can also call me Gaby. I am a sophomore from Texas hoping to major in Human Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience. Mental health and the brain have always been two subject areas that I cannot stop thinking about, and sometimes, my friends tease me about my passion for the mind. My ASB journey began last spring when I participated in a trip also based on mental health. It was not only a highlight of my freshman year but also something that has inspired me to be a part of ASB again and continue to learn more! In my free time, I enjoy yoga, volleyball, playing the piano, singing, and hanging out with friends. I cannot wait to get to meet all of you and promise to incorporate learning and fun. 

Jimmy He

Hey ASBers! I’m Jimmy, a senior majoring in Biology with a minor in Religious Studies. As a former Branner Public Service Scholar, I have sampled a wide-range of service-learning trips including participating in ASB, Impact Abroad to Nicaragua, and co-leading a TGB trip on Alzheimer’s disease and last year’s ASB trip on mental health. Part of why I have become interested in mental health is that it is not only a growing issue for college campuses but also directly affects my family, people in my state of Wisconsin, and a lot of the veterans that I have interacted with at the Menlo Park VA Hospital through United Students for Veterans’ Health (USVH). The trip I co-led last year greatly affected my perspectives on mental health and led me to transition from basic, hard-core science lab research to working in Dr. Rebecca Bernert’s clinical lab focusing on sleep interventions in certain population cohorts to prevent suicide. When I’m not busy preparing for classes and/or other activities, I like to swim long laps at the pool, visit my cousins in San Francisco, discover new music, and watch Wheel of Fortune! I am sincerely looking forward to meeting all of you and learning from your perspectives on this important issue.

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Promoting Child Health through Food and the Farm

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Promoting Child Health through Food and the Farm
Trip Location: 
Bay Area
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

Childhood is a critical period in an individual’s life—it is a time when a person is growing, developing, and learning to adapt to his or her surroundings. While several factors contribute to a child’s well-being and development, food—specifically good food—is unarguably an essential one. Socioeconomic issues and a lack of health literacy are largely responsible for this dearth of good nutrition and are also contributing to many other immediate and downstream consequences, namely childhood obesity.


This Alternative Spring Break trip aims to delve into the growing problem of childhood obesity and the ways that child nutrition initiatives are combating this issue. We will be exploring some of the complex factors contributing to obesity in America and the legislation and societal norms that can serve as barriers to positive change. The food system is so interconnected and the issue of childhood obesity so multi-faceted. For this reason, the wicked problem of food in America cannot be solved without a wide range of ideas and perspectives, which is why we hope people of all backgrounds will apply! On our trip, we will get a peek at many of the groups making strides in improving child nutrition and health nationally and in the Bay Area. We will interact with educators, nutrition experts, farmers, environmentalists, social entrepreneurs, and non-profits to gain insight into the many ways we can get involved in improving child health during our time here as undergrads and beyond Stanford. 

Trip Leaders
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Chrystal Lau

Hey there! My name is Chrystal Lau, and I am a senior majoring in Human Biology with an area of concentration in Children’s Health and Nutrition in Under-Served Communities. Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, I am a proud southerner and am constantly bragging about my state, trying to convince others that it’s as great as I think it is! My sophomore year, I went on a trip called “Science Education and Environmental Literacy in California,” which exposed me to the disparities present in the science education system and potential solutions to these deeply-rooted problems. I returned from the trip completely inspired and much more informed, and to top it all off, I gained new friendships and hilarious memories. I decided this year that I wanted to lead an ASB on a topic that has always been important to me and has really defined my undergraduate study—child health and nutrition. ASB was one of the best experiences I have had at Stanford, and I am excited to have the opportunity to create a trip that I hope will be as motivating as it is memorable. Apart from ASB, in my free time, I enjoy meticulously organizing my Spotify playlists, binging on teen drama TV series, and embarrassing my friends and family by my presence. Excited to meet you!

Ryan Schumacher

Hey y’all! I’m a senior Human Biology major from Chattanooga, Tennessee who likes long walks on the beach and drinking piña coladas in the rain. When I’m doing that, I can be found tackling issues surrounding the food system, whether it’s minimizing food waste as the kitchen manager in Xanadu, improving sustainability on the Row, or digging into possible avenues to provide America’s children with healthy school lunches. I never had the opportunity to go on an ASB trip because of triathlon regionals over spring break, so I’m so excited to be able to lead an ASB and have an experience that friends have talked about being one of the most meaningful and shaping during their time at Stanford. I can’t wait to get to know you!

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - Socioeconomic Inequality

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
Socioeconomic Inequality
Trip Location: 
Bay Area
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

We live in a society where half of the nations wealth is from the top 20%, while the bottom 20% capture a mere 3.3% of the total wealth. Never has socioeconomic inequality been so germane as it is today. It is a topic that is worth exploring given its breadth and consequences.

This trip will focus on the topic of socioeconomic inequality, focusing to socioeconomic inequality in the Bay Area. We will visit several organizations and consult with economic experts on the issue. The organizations we will visit include low-income housing, education access, and unemployment assistance. Our goal is to analyze this topic from as many different perspectives as possible. The class will encompass topics in economics, sociology, public policy and political science. Please note that prior knowledge in these topics is not a prerequisite for the class.

At the end of the trip we hope to provide an understanding of the factors that exacerbate socioeconomic inequality and the future consequences if this issue persists. We will view the issue in both in the long and short-run perspective. To conclude our observations, we will attempt to unravel patterns and trends within the Bay Area’s demographical data. 

Trip Leaders
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Chris Bernedo

My name is Chris Bernedo, and I’m a junior majoring in International Relations with a minor in Modern Languages. In high school, I became interested in issues of economic inequality after visiting Brazil, known for being one of the most unequal countries in the world. As I took more courses on economics in high school and at Stanford, rising inequality in the context of economic development became my main focus. Last spring, I participated in an ASB trip dealing with issues of educational inequity in the Bay Area, and during the summer, I was an RA for SMASH Academy, a STEM-focused academic program for underrepresented high school students also from the Bay Area. Both of these experiences taught me a great deal about the state of inequality in the US and have made me all the more excited to be co-leading this trip. On campus, I worked in the Office of Diversity and First Generation Students, where I helped to pilot a course called Sharing Matters, aimed at inter-group dialogue and deep discussions about diversity. I am also a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity. Right now, I’m studying abroad in Beijing and hope to have plenty of interesting stories and perspectives to share with you all during the trip!  

Kevin Vo

My name is Kevin and I’m a third year undergraduate in the Statistics department. I have an affinity for all things quantitative. I enjoy topics related to data science, econometrics and public service. My main area of focus in public service is socioeconomic inequality. I find it fascinating to use computer science and statistics to uncover patterns and trends in demographical data. With better understanding of social trends, I believe we can pinpoint the causes of social issues and remedy them. In summary, I want to use technology and statistics to develop solutions to improve people’s lives.At Stanford I am very involved with the Stanford Economics Association. I enjoy longboarding on the hills just outside of campus and spending time in CCRMA composing music.

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - The Fruit of Their Labor: Migrant Health in California

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
The Fruit of Their Labor: Migrant Health in California
Trip Location: 
Central Valley
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

Immigrants face unique challenges once they settle in the United States, and immigrants often have worse health outcomes relative to other groups. Using Northern California as a case study, this course will examine the barriers that migrant, agricultural workers encounter when trying to access health care, and we will consider what it means to provide quality health care to underserved populations. This course will expand our perspectives as participants explore the political and sociocultural factors that complicate—and sometimes compromise—migrant health, such as access to education, linguistic barriers, immigration laws, and more. Appropriately, we will review community efforts with which people have responded, from the labor movement to more recent immigration reform bills. Along the way, we will identify the collection of people we refer to when we say “migrant health,” taking the time to distinguish between the many ethnic and minority groups implicated in this issue. The class will not only prepare students for the Alternative Spring Break intellectually and personally, but also help students formulate their own opinion about the state of migrant health in the United States. By combining service with our classroom studies, we hope to develop a sense for what it will take to enact socially just change for this community. Migrant health is multi-faceted, and the class will take a multidisciplinary approach many topics, so students of all majors and all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. 

Trip Leaders
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Luis Garcia

Hey, everyone! My name is Luis Garcia, and I was born and raised in Loveland, Colorado. I’m a junior majoring in Human Biology with an Area of Concentration in Infectious Diseases and Global Health. I participated in this ASB last year, and studying migrant health completely changed my perspective on medicine, policy, and education in the United States. I enjoyed the trip so much that I wanted to continue exploring the topic this year, and I hope to share with you my interest in addressing the disparities that affect migrants in America. My other interests include everything infectious (laughter, love, and viruses, for example), education, medicine, hiking, fiction writing, boba, and Indian food. I can’t wait to meet you!

Vanessa Ochavillo

Hello! I’m Vanessa Ochavillo, a junior studying human biology, with a seemingly all-encompassing concentration in community health, that includes migrant health, public health, health policy--all of which reflect some of my interests. Home is about a twelve-hour plane ride from San Francisco: Guam, where I was born and raised. Like Luis, I went on last year’s ASB trip, when I got a closer look at the human labor behind our food system and the immigrant community. It is by far one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had here. However, there’s still so much to learn about the issue and we look forward to exploring it with a new bunch of ASBers. Outside of classes, I go on morning runs, dance with Alliance Streetdance, drink coffee and enjoy 'food ventures' with friends.

Alternative Spring Break 2014-15 - The Silicon Classroom: Educational Equity in a Changing Digital World

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2014-15
Trip Name: 
The Silicon Classroom: Educational Equity in a Changing Digital World
Trip Location: 
Bay Area
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
12
Trip Description: 

Innovators in the intersection of education and technology promise radical improvements in the way we teach and learn, and their products are surfacing in schools around the nation. At the same time, voices of concern abound.

Could education technology (even when “free”) accentuate the divide between the rich and poor? What should determine whether a new technology is introduced into the classroom and what provisions are necessary?

Our trip delves deep into key issues in education technology through the lens of equity. We will discuss emerging trends from an interdisciplinary perspective, and examine the history of educational technology and digital divides. During the week, we will engage with top entrepreneurs, critics, and thought leaders and work directly with students and teachers.

Join us as we explore the meaning of educational equity in this rapidly shifting digital world, in the epicenter of the movement and the heart of Silicon Valley!

Skeptics, critics, and enthusiasts of all majors welcome!

Visit our blog to learn more about last year’s trip: siliconclassroom.stanford.edu

Trip Leaders
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Emily Tang

Hi everyone! I’m Emily, a junior pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Psychology. I’m passionate about education, and breaking down stereotypes in education (such as “women can’t do STEM”). Participating in this trip last year was an amazing experience: I learned so much about what technology can and can’t do for education, I became more aware of the issues surrounding educational equity, and I made lasting friendships. It was so much fun that I’m coming back as a leader this year with Alice! Outside of school, you’ll find me deviating with the Dv8 hip hop dance team or nomming on good Asian food and boba. While Alice obsesses over ducks, I obsess over corgis and pandas. :)

Xinyue (Alice) Fang

Hi there! I'm Alice, a senior majoring in Symbolic Systems (w/ concentration in Human-Computer Interaction) and coterming in Learning, Design, and Technology. I'm curious about how people learn, and designing technologies to address needs of people left out. I led the trip last year, and am returning to experience the fun all over again with one of our former trip participants (Emily! She's kinda awesome, guys :D). When not working on ASB, you might find me playing erhu (my newly discovered favorite instrument) or reading a book on a swivelly chair next to my duck collection. Can't wait for this year's adventures! Hope you'll join us!

TGB 2014 - Edtech: How Silicon Valley is Shaping the Future of Education

Basic Information
Application Process: 
TGB 2014
Trip Name: 
Edtech: How Silicon Valley is Shaping the Future of Education
Trip Location: 
SF Bay Area
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
10
Trip Description: 

The current educational issues and inequities plaguing the American school system today are threatening the future wellbeing of the next generation. As Stanford students receiving an elite education, we have the power to fix this. This trip will provide participants with exposure to the spectrum of innovations that Silicon Valley has created to address educational inequities and transform schools. We will visit everything from major edtech companies to schools with innovative educational models to venture capitalists. In addition, participants will spend time planning and doing a mini project with a local middle school class on how to improve the classroom experience. By the end, we hope that all participants will have meaningfully reflected on their own educational journeys and begin to brainstorm their own solutions to the seemingly intractable problems within America’s education system. 

Trip Leaders
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Kai Feng

Hi there! I’m Jiabo Feng, and you can also call me Kai from now on. I’m a rising sophomore interested in technology and entrepreneurship as well as business. I don’t know what my major(s) will be at the moment, but right now I’m choosing from Economics, Computer Science, and Product Design. I have always been interested in entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. Since Freshman year I joined Compass Fellowship at Stanford, a social-E themed one-year mentorship program, where I learned a lot from my friends who are also passionate about public service and business and they are doing tech startups, voluntary work and much more to pursue their passion in their very own ways. Education is critical to social development and technology is changing the way we are receiving it. During spring quarter of my freshman year, I started working on a project titled Qrio (Q-rio, representing curiosity) that aims to connect minds directly and reshape people’s perspective of the world by putting them in contact with someone from another part of the world. Anyways, I’m really excited about our TGB trip and hope we can learn a lot and all become good friends in the end.

Ngoc Bui

Hello all! I am Ngoc – think “knock, knock” – and I am a sophomore likely majoring in Computer Science with a potential minor in education. Since high school, I have been very passionate about issues of educational inequity. My passion has only intensified after taking a course on German philosophies of education and another course entitled Urban Education at Stanford. These two classes have completely altered my perspective on the purpose of education and the current state of America’s schools. My journey with the TGB program began last fall when I participated in a trip focused on social entrepreneurship. It was definitely a highlight of my freshman year because I learned about a field I had never heard of and met some incredibly inspiring people during our site visits. This past summer, I taught advanced algebra to 8th graders in a spectacular program called Breakthrough that helps highly motivated students get to college. In my spare time, I love listening to music, doing yoga, and marathoning movies on Netflix.  

TGB 2014 - Medicine in Science and Society

Basic Information
Application Process: 
TGB 2014
Trip Name: 
Medicine in Science and Society
Trip Location: 
San Francisco Bay Area
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
10
Trip Description: 

Medicine in Science and Society (MISS) hopes to not only introduce students to the plethora of service opportunities in the bay area, but to also allow students to discover their own passion for medicine integrated with service through observing the various facets of the medical field. The trip aims to focus on four areas of medicine: research, clinical, palliative medicine, and integrative therapy. Students will not only get to attend talks given in the bay area by experts in each of these fields, but will also have the opportunity to work with patients in a various service oriented settings. Throughout the trip, we hope that the students will contribute to deep discussions with their personal experiences with each other, creating a community of determined individuals set to discover what they truly care about.

Trip Leaders
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Maheetha Bharadwaj

Maheetha Bharadwaj, a junior majoring in Biology, is very excited to be directing a TGB.  After volunteering at a cancer center in high school, Maheetha garnered an interest in medicine, especially palliative medicine. Maheetha is particularly interested in using music and dance as therapy for youth development, health, growth, and education. As she proceed through my undergraduate career, I would also like to gain perspective on cross-cultural medicine. As a TGB leader, Maheetha hopes to introduce to the students her passion for medicine and palliative care, and take them on a journey as they examine their own passion for medicine. Maheetha wishes to pursue a medical degree, specializing in pediatric medicine or palliative medicine (or both!). In her free time, she loves dancing, singing, hanging out with friends, going to the movies, and discovering new ways to introduce herself to someone. She look forward to meeting her students.

Michael Jin

Michael is a junior majoring in Biology with a specialization in Molecular and Cell Biology. Despite being raised by parents both specializing in computer science, he discovered his passion for medicine while interning at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Through many opportunities presented at Stanford and interactions with his peers, Michael has discovered diversity in medicine he had overlooked previously. From being selected as a teaching assistant for the course “Sleep and Dreams” to furthering his understanding of basic science in the laboratory, Michael’s passion for exploring medicine through many facets has prompted him to pursue medicine as a potential career and as a TGB leader, he hopes to promote intellectual growth for both others and himself while having fun!

TGB 2014 - Urban Food Solutions: Strategies for Sustainable Food

Basic Information
Application Process: 
TGB 2014
Trip Name: 
Urban Food Solutions: Strategies for Sustainable Food
Trip Location: 
San Francisco Bay Area
Air Travel Trip: 
No
Number of Participants: 
10
Trip Description: 

For our Thanksgiving Back trip, we have developed a curriculum centered on sustainable food in the Bay Area. We have built a core service learning component, including working at green soup kitchens and volunteering at organic city gardens across Silicon Valley, into the program. We come to this topic from a variety of viewpoints, but first as avid cooks and lovers of food; as lifelong Silicon Valley residents, we are both especially aware of the food choices our home region offers. We believe passionately in the importance of personal food choices in human impact on the environment.

This culinary interest dovetails with a deep interest in confronting the global issue of hunger. With the pressing issues of hunger and constrained resources, especially in the context of large metropolitans, food sustainability is front and center in terms of societal challenges. We hope to supplement our first-hand knowledge of the topics spanned by our TGB course with collective coursework in nutrition, public health, and global projects. Our volunteer experience promises to be an exciting mosaic of science, service, and of course, eating!

Trip Leaders
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Minna Xiao

Hey all! I’m Minna, a junior majoring in computer science and minoring in economics. Hailing from the Bay Area, I’m excited to explore food sustainability in San Francisco with Thanksgiving Back. At Stanford I enjoy studying art history, editing for The Daily and getting involved in various service projects. In my free time, I love swimming, painting, attending concerts and rewatching Arrested Development. Hope to get see you all this fall!

Shubha Raghvendra

Hi everyone! My name is Shubha and I’m a junior pursuing a degree in Human Biology and a minor in Computer Science. As a Silicon Valley native and ardent foodie, I am excited to combine these passions, as well as a deep interest in nutrition and public health, as a Thanksgiving Back leader! On campus I have been involved with a variety of service programs through the Haas Center, and particularly enjoy tutoring and teaching. This fall I’ll be the Peer Health Educator in Twain, and look forward to spending a year learning from and living with my freshmen. In my free time, I enjoy section leading for the CS106 courses, reading, and distance running. I also love exploring hidden pockets of the Bay Area -- something I’m excited to do more of with all of you this Thanksgiving!