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The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Ithaca Student Leaders program, part of the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration's SNF Ithaca Initiative, is an opportunity for five University of Delaware undergraduate students to gain expertise and experience within the interdisciplinary topic of civil discourse.
Civil discourse, or the practice of respectful dialogue and understanding across difference, is a foundational element of democratic societies and institutions and is a precursor to effective citizenship and community engagement. SNF Ithaca Student Leaders will spend a full year immersing themselves in civil discourse theory and practice, establishing a knowledge base and skillset to become active and effective participants in a democracy.
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Sarah Cullen is currently a senior at the University of Delaware, who will be completing her BA in Interpersonal Communications and Women & Gender Studies, with a minor in Political Science come spring of 2022.
Luke Is a junior at the University of Delaware majoring in Computer Science with a special interest in Human-Computer Interaction.
Moses Martinez is a first-generation Latino student from Sussex County, Delaware, and is a junior political science major with minors in legal studies and philosophy.
Katya Raskin is a junior from Yonkers, New York, double majoring in Environmental Studies and Public Policy with minors in Geography and Resource Economics.
Samiyah Sherman is a Junior at the University of Delaware majoring in Public Policy and Political Science.
Starting in the fall semester and continuing throughout the academic year, SNF Ithaca Student Leaders work with a UD faculty or staff mentor to co-design and conduct a scholarly exploration of an aspect of civil discourse that is of interest to the student. This could be a theoretical examination, for example a literature or document review, or it could be more practical in nature, such as identifying and exercising the skills and techniques for effective civil discourse. SNF Ithaca Student Leaders will present their projects at the Ithaca Initiative's National Student Dialogue, an annual event to be held each spring that convenes students from across the United States.
Applicants to the SNF Ithaca Student Leader program are expected to identify the faculty or staff mentor for their project and receive a brief letter of support to accompany their application.
During the fall and spring semesters, the SNF Ithaca Student Leader cohort engages with and supports SNF Ithaca Initiative programs and events including the annual National Student Dialogue, SNF Visiting Fellows, the Biden School's “All Politics is Personal" series, and the Biden School Civility in Public Service Award. In addition, each SNF Ithaca Student Leader cohort will work on a campus-focused group project to introduce other UD students to civil discourse. This group project is fully designed and implemented by the team of SNF Ithaca Student Leaders.
After the academic year, SNF Ithaca Student Leaders continue to develop knowledge and skills for effective civil discourse. SNF Ithaca Student Leaders, in collaboration with SNF leadership, identify an organization that is actively working to advance dialogue across difference and intern with that organization for 30 hours per week over the 2022 summer. Examples of relevant organizations can be found here.
Through the internship, student leaders acquire practical experience in the field of civil discourse and better understand its relationship to active citizenship, community engagement, and policy decision-making.
SNF Ithaca Student Leaders receive a $4,000 stipend for the academic year, with an additional $4,000 stipend for the summer internship.
Faculty Mentors should send a brief letter of support of an application via email to Pablo McConnie-Saad: email@example.com
The letter should communicate that the faculty mentor: