Student Director of Public Relations
Hometown: Auckland, New ZealandRead the full interview
Olga Gruss Lewin Post-Graduate Fellow for International Service & Education 2008
Isaura Zelaya Favila ’08, an Economics and French Studies double major, was born and lived in Mexico City until she moved to the United States to attend Dartmouth. Growing up in Mexico, Isaura felt attracted by questions of economic inequality and injustice; this interest led her to pursue community service. Throughout high school, she volunteered as a Mathematics teacher at a public elementary school, at an orphanage, and at a clinic for children with cancer. In addition, she was involved with Solidaridad Internacional Juvenil, a student organization working with the Tarahumara indigenous group of Northern Mexico. Isaura’s quest for the origins and possible solutions to problems of inequality led her to major in Economics with a concentration in Development, while her interest in international affairs led her to study languages. She learned and went abroad for both French and German, in addition to the Spanish and English that she already spoke. In pursuing the Lewin Post-Graduate Fellowship, Isaura looks to start a career in international Economic development, which she hopes will enable her to help communities in need across the globe.
As the Olga Gruss Lewin Post-Graduate Fellow for International Service & Education, Isaura will be working four months full-time with Global Grassroots, a non-profit organization based in Lyme, New Hampshire. Global Grassroots is an organization that uses social entrepreneurship training and seed funding to help women victims of conflict and genocide launch their ideas for social change. They primarily work with communities in Darfur, Rwanda, and South Africa. At Global Grassroots, Isaura will be conducting research regarding the use of sexual violence as a weapon of conflict in several countries within Africa, including Burundi, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Northern Uganda, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Sudan/Eastern Chad. She will investigate a number of themes related to the causes and consequences of the use of sexual and gender violence as a weapon of war: the Role of Women in Society, the Female Body as a War Zone, Health, Stigma, Justice, and Response and Protection.
As part of her Fellowship, Isaura will also be working at the Tucker Foundation as part of the Service and Education Team. A large portion of her work will involve advising students seeking to undertake service programs in international locations, as well as provide advising support to all Service & Education team programs. Isaura looks forward to advising and working on diverse service projects located in different parts of the planet; she hopes that her work will benefit some of the communities that are most in need, irrespective of the country they are located in. In acting as the students’ advisor, Isaura seeks to create a constant questioning and improving of ideas through dialogue. Isaura says: “I look forward to advising students as part of my job; I hope to implement my cross-cultural experience and skills in creating a cultural bridge and a connection between Dartmouth volunteers and the communities they seek to help.”
As the Olga Gruss Lewin Post-Graduate Fellow for International Service & Education, Isaura will be able to reach out to communities beyond, both through direct work with Global Grassroots and in impacting the work of others at the Tucker Foundation. “Personally, I search for a sense of social utility in my work; I need a sense of having a positive impact on other human beings, knowledge of where the product of my work goes. Putting my efforts to others’ direct benefit and having my objective be their well-being agrees with my personal values and my search for meaning in a professional sense.”
Last Updated: 8/7/11