Make a Grant Project teaches students how to make a difference

Students in Penn State Greater Allegheny’s PSYCH 479 (Psychology of Gender) course recently learned how they can help address a global problem related to gender. 

The class, taught by associate professor Elizabeth Mazur, first wrote persuasive papers about important social problems related to gender. In the papers, they each identified a gender-related problem. They presented arguments for its importance, discussed solutions and argued for a charitable organization as most effective in addressing the problem. Students also researched the organizations for financial accountability and transparency.

Students gave three-minute presentations on their chosen charitable organization. They made donations to a class-grant fund, which Mazur matched. The class then voted for the organization that they felt had the most convincing action plan for helping its particular issue. The funds, totaling $188 were donated to Girls Educational and Mentoring Services Inc. (GEMS) whose mission is to end the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. 

“I chose GEMS because after doing my research on why Africa has a gender gap in education, I found that GEMS does great things to close the gender gap. One of the greatest things I found out was that GEMS created BEMS (Boys Education Movement) to show that boys and girls can both be educated and support one another,” said Latoya Wright, a student in the class.

The class also voted to submit the donation in honor of Anthony Mitchell, instructor in African-American studies. Wright has taken several classes taught by Mitchell. She said, “He would talk about the different things that happened in Africa. He discussed how he would interact with the youth, and I could see the passion he had for educating the youth over in Africa. He would talk about his visits to Africa, and how he and others that traveled to Africa wanted to help in any way that they could. When Brother Tony talks about Africa you can see the sincerity he has about helping the African race.”

She added, “I personally learned that I should be thankful for all that I have. After doing this paper, it showed me that I should be grateful that my own children are being educated and it is not a fight for an education. Also it made me want to teach my kids the value of education.”

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Last Updated December 10, 2013