Seyma Aslan (Engineering), Angel Hsu (Forestry & Environmental Studies), and Marco Ramos (MD/PhD, History of Science & Medicine) were presented with the Graduate School's second-annual Public Service Awards last spring. These three awards, inaugurated in 2010, are given to honor students who have successfully integrated public service into their graduate school experience.
The Community Service Award, honoring volunteer work in the local community, was given to Seyma Aslan for her efforts on behalf of the Turkish Cultural Center of Connecticut (TCCC) in West Haven. The TCCC is a non-profit community organization that promotes intercultural dialogue, fosters democracy and peace all over the world, and provides a platform for education and communication within the local Turkish-American community. As chair of the Women’s Committee, Seyla organized numerous events (coffee nights, folk dancing, and henna and cooking workshops). She also led food and clothing drives for homeless shelters, visited nursing home residents, and tutored high school students. She was instrumental in forming the collaboration between TCCC and the Church of Holy Spirit in West Haven that created Abraham’s Garden, which is tended by people from all faith traditions. The vegetables from Abraham’s Garden are donated to a local food aid agency.
The Public Scholar Award recognizes research and activism that engages and betters the world at large. The winner in this category was Angel Hsu, who leverages knowledge of Chinese environmental data and policy to foster trust, cooperation, and understanding between the U.S. and China in order to decrease greenhouse gasses. Last year, as a U.S. Fulbright scholar based at Tsinghua University in Beijing, she developed satellite-derived measures of air quality and investigated the policy potential of remote sensing. The Chinese government has adopted her greenhouse gas calculation methods as the national standard for that country's cement companies, which produce over half of all carbon dioxide emissions in China. By targeting the largest greenhouse gas emitting country in the world, Angel is helping to establish international standards for greenhouse gas monitoring, reporting, and accountability. In the past three years, she has given expert testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Hearing and served as climate change advisor for the United Nations Mission to the Maldives. She has contributed to ChinaFAQs, an online network convened by the World Resources Institute to inform U.S. policymakers on environmental issues in China. In addition, she has advised the China-U.S. Youth Exchange on Climate Change and written for the “China in Copenhagen” Yale student blogging group. She was the keynote speaker and negotiations advisor at the 2010 Inaugural Undergraduate Conference on Climate Change and Sustainability.
The Disciplinary Outreach Service Award, recognizing a student who uses specific knowledge of an academic discipline as the basis for voluntary service in the local community, was given to Marco Ramos for creating and leading the Men’s Group at the HAVEN Free Clinic in Fair Haven. The Men’s Group provides mental health resources to the local community through a monthly discussion forum. Between sessions, Marco arranges transportation for group members, follows up on referral appointments, and develops discussion topics. His own research examines the historical role that psychiatry has played in mental health policy and psychotherapy in pre-revolutionary Argentina.