13 Students Awarded Grants from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship is pleased to announce its 2013 Seed Grant and Internship Grant recipients.

The PCSE Seed Grant program was launched this spring.  Individuals and teams of students competed for $5000 prizes intended to provide capital to help Wesleyan students launch their socially-oriented project or idea and/or build capacity of their existing social enterprise. The winners are:

evanCircles and Ciphers
Project Leader: Evan Okun ’13
Description: This grant will fund a project in Chicago with a leadership development organization that fuses restorative justice practices with hip-hop culture to empower and support predominantly African-American and Latino males, ages 14-23.

Evan says, “Programs that seek to reengage system involved youth are often punitive and paternalistic. Ciphers (a circle of rappers) dismantle traditional power dynamics by setting all participants on an equal playing field. From there, compassionate and progressive discourse can arise. It is an honor to get to work with Circles & Ciphers, a profoundly effective and forward thinking program.”

The Middletown Food Project
Project Leaders: Hailey Sowden ’15 and Kate Enright ’15
Description: This grant will support the creation of a subsidized, low-cost, community-supported agriculture (CSA) program for 20 low-income families in Middletown using Long Lane Farm on Wesleyan’s campus.

rehanThe MINDS Foundationshyam
Project Leaders: Shyam Desai ’15 and Rehan Mehta ’14
Description: This grant will support The MINDS Foundation, which was founded at Wesleyan by Raghu Appasani ’12, and works to increase access to mental health care and education and reduce economic stress and social stigma around mental illness in rural India

Rehan’s and Shyam are both from India and are passionate about mental health issues. They say that “working with The MINDS Foundation has been the perfect opportunity to combine these two parts of our identities and to have a huge impact on our community. The MINDS Foundation has already sponsored the treatment of over a hundred mentally ill patients in the second phase of our program, and the Patricelli Seed Grant is going to allow us to begin our next phase, which will provide vocational training to some of those patients who have made progress, allowing them to gain employment and help support their families.”

Sustainable Social Metrics for Big Tree Farm
Project Leaders: Nina Gerona ’15
Description: This grant will fund a data collection project for Big Tree Farms, a supply-chain farming company in Bali, which will assess and improve living standard for Big Tree farmers.

fayeWomen and Girls Hygiene Program for Maji Safi Group
Project Leaders: Fayette Phillips ’13
Description: This grant will fund a new Women and Girls Hygiene Program in impoverished rural areas of Tanzania for Maji Safi Group, an existing organization that was founded at Wesleyan by Max Perel-Slater ‘11.

Faye says, “This work is meaningful for me because I believe in education for community empowerment, and in particular when the education is coming from mentors and leaders within that very community. Hopefully, my initiative will spark a long-lasting program to address the information gap for adolescent girls who need to know how to understand and care for their changing bodies so that they can become informed, healthy, strong women.”


The PCSE Internship Grant, now in its second year, supports Wesleyan sophomores and juniors currently receiving need-based financial aid who plan to do socially innovative or socially responsible work during the summer. Six internship grants were awarded in April, and additional grants will be awarded in late-May to students interning at The Hub in San Francisco. The six students already selected to receive Internship Grants from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship are:

Wesley Close ’15
Major: Latin American Studies
Internship with: Dream Ghana
Location: Ghana
Field of impact: Human Rights Law

William Curran-Groome ’14
Major: Government
Internship with: INJAZ Al-Arab
Location: Jordan
Field of impact: Refugee Support/Education

Jacqueline Freed ’15
Majors: Psychology, Science in Society
Internship with: Chisang Clinic
Location: Nepal
Field of impact: Women’s Health

Judhanny Garcia ’14
Major: English
Internship with: Breakthrough Collaborative
Field of impact: Education/Achievement Gap

Jessica Gorak ’15
Major: Science in Society
Internship with: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin
Field of impact: Women’s Reproductive Rights

Olayinka Lawal ’15
Major: Sociology
Internship With: The Savvy Madam Network
Location: Washington DC
Field of Impact: Women of Color Leadership Development


All grant recipients will submit blog posts about their work, and they will offer peer counseling sessions or workshops for other Wesleyan students with similar interests and aspirations.

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship also offers Student Enrichment Grants on a rolling basis. For more information on all three types of grants administered by the PCSE, visit our website. To hear about other PCSE news and initiatives, Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter.