Wisconsin Without Borders annually recognizes excellence in community engaged scholarship/learning throughout the UW-Madison campus. This year, we had the pleasure of highlighting seven great projects that span the disciplinary spectrum!

Joel Hill and Kevin Wyne– Faculty – Service-Learning Award $1,000
Project Goals: For the last 6 years, the University of Wisconsin – Madison Physician Assistant (PA) program has traveled to the rural and impoverished areas around Independence, Belize to provide medical care at temporary clinics. In this project we have partnered with Peacework International, who does a considerable amount of community organization in Belize. Our work in Belize is in close partnership with local providers and with a non-governmental organization, the Belize Family Life Association. Students and faculty travel there upon completion of their didactic educational year to address acute minor complaints, chronic illnesses, as well as teach preventive health strategies and provide cervical cancer screening exams. Our annual project has grown to become very successful in providing medical care to small villages around Independence.


John Uelmen – Graduate Student – Community-Based Research Award $750
Project Goals My short-term goal for my time in rural Thailand was to establish a level of trust and mutual respect with the local citizens I engaged with. I wanted to truly understand the role the local citizens had in their communities and environments they live in. How they conducted daily activities, prepared food, practiced religions, and socially interact with each other were all very important aspects that potentially play critical roles in the transmission of Dengue Virus. More importantly, I wanted to learn how a different culture understands and deals with larger issues, like Dengue Virus, so that I can be respectful and help battle the epidemic pertaining to their lifestyles and culture. The larger goal was to succeed in the parameters of the first goal, so that I could expand upon my experiences and findings of Thai culture and their actions towards mosquito-borne diseases.

Erica Hess – Graduate Student – Service-Learning Award $750
Project Goals: With the now ubiquitous nature of smartphones and internet access, new opportunities to collaborate around the world are possible. During the Fall 2016 semester, students enrolled in a textile design class taught by graduate student Erica Hess, were paired with artisans in the Kutch district of Gujarat, India. With no opportunity to meet in person, 13 design teams used the popular communication app WhatsApp to each develop a collection of scarves. The goals of this project were threefold. – Using the Winter ’18 pattern and color trend guide, collaborate to design a unified collection of scarves for the upcoming winter season. – Effectively communicate design ideas using only the smart phone app, e-mail Skype or other distance communication method. – Create an international and intercultural exchange with the principles of design being the common language.

Maria Castillo – Undergraduate Student – Peter Bosscher Award $500
Project Goals: UpTica addresses two social problems in Costa Rica: gender inequality and waste management. First, the International Labor Organization recorded that Costa Rican women spend 2.45 more hours daily doing unpaid work as compared to men. Cultural norms stipulate a tendency for women to stay at home, limiting employment opportunities for women who pride themselves on societal acceptance. Second, and equally important, according to the World Bank, global solid
waste generation is expected to increase 70% by 2025. Costa Rica lacks appropriate infrastructure to manage national waste generation. In San Isidro (UpTica’s host community) alone, an adult uses an average of ten plastic bags weekly –a total of 520 bags annually. Therefore, Nicol, Sasha and I wanted to combine our different areas of expertise to come up with a plan that would tackle both issues at the same time. UpTica aims to empower women by providing access to opportunities through upcycling.

Sydney Olson – Undergraduate Student – 4W Award $500
Project Goals: The primary goal for the ‘AFRIpads for All’ project is to increase access to menstrual health supplies for school-aged girls by partnering with AFRIpads to provide reusable menstrual pads to girls in Nkokonjeru Uganda. By providing AFRIpads sanitary supplies to school aged girls, our larger-scale goal is that girls will be able to effectively managed monthly menstruation which will result in a lower incidence of girls skipping school, thus lessening the disparity in class attendance and performance between boys and girls in the community. Secondary goals include increasing girls confidence over managing their periods and talking about sexual health, developing sustainable community partnership between Wisconsin and Uganda, increasing advocacy for women’s education and health in Nkokonjeru, and increasing awareness of barriers to education for women in Uganda.

Jennifer Wagman – Undergraduate Student – 4W Award $500
Project Goals: My vision for this project is to do as much good as possible by employing the Wisconsin Idea, with guidance from the 4W initiative. Together, we are so much stronger. Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace is driven to create “good,” which for our partners abroad in developing communities, means sustainable economic development, and empowerment (both socially, economically and however else they choose to define their goals), but for me, means creating meaningful student learning experiences. As the returning Student Director of Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace, I seek to inspire and empower the students involved that they can use their many talents, especially their business know-how to help change the world into a better place. I challenge them to be the best that they can be by providing hands-on experience and meaningful engagement, leadership and professional development opportunities. By being a part of this project and leading the student organization, I have been challenged as a leader to define the new goals for the project. I want to create not only talented professionals ready to take on the world in a way that gives back and contributes meaningfully to society, but also help develop good people. Ethics, understanding and well-being (or balance) are some of the hardest lessons to teach and learn, especially when juxtaposed with a traditional definition of success, but I work to empower the students on my team. This project provides a forum for students to realize they can have it all. They are the masters of their own fate and being engaged global citizens can factor into professional and personal success.

Michelle Tong and Oona-Ife Olaiya – Undergraduate Students – Service-Learning $500
Project Goals: The goal of our College/Career Advancement Mentorship Program (CAMP) at the Bayview Foundation was to provide high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds with a foundation to pursue higher education. In recent years, an influx of middle and high school students aging into Bayview’s current after-school program has created a shift in planning and use of space. While Bayview currently has tutoring support, arts therapy, and healthy snacks for registered youth, no program exists for older students who seek guidance in the pursuit of higher education and career development. With funding from the Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowship, CAMP has been piloted as a blueprint for Bayview to reduce an income disparity in student success.