You are here

Announcing the 2021-22 Hart Fellows

April 2, 2021

[Image: Aly Diaz (left), Kemunto Okindo, and Hope Jackson (right)]

The Hart Leadership Program is proud to announce the 2021-22 Hart Fellows.

Since 1995, the Hart Fellows Program has provided recent Duke graduates with the opportunity to partner with community-based organizations for a 10-month immersive experience, where fellows conduct community based participatory research projects in collaboration with their host organizations, while simultaneously developing their own understanding of ethical leadership as they encounter social and political complexities that may arise through the course of their work.

From an outstanding pool of applicants, two graduating seniors and one alumna were selected as this year’s Hart Fellows based on their track records as leaders on and off campus, their demonstrated capacity for thoughtful engagement to address societal challenges, and their compelling project proposals.

Young woman smilingAly Diaz (T’21) will work with Glory House Miami, an organization that provides services to survivors of sex trafficking. She will assist the organization in developing a text outreach program to communicate with survivors and inform them of the resources available. This will be instrumental in encouraging survivors to seek help, especially since the messages will be personalized rather than automated. During her time at Duke, Aly served as VP of Durham and Regional Affairs for Duke Student Government, where she worked to increase student involvement with the local community and advocate for students to engage in responsible civic engagement. She is VP of Define American, Duke’s immigrant student advocacy group, and works with Student Action with Farmworkers, a non-profit organization that empowers and advocates for farmworkers in North Carolina. Growing up in an immigrant community inspired her to increase traditionally underrepresented communities’ access and influence in public policy. Aly hopes to pursue a JD/MPP because it will give her the legal training to understand the complex rules, procedures, and statutes needed to bridge the gap between public policy and individuals left out of these spaces.

“My hometown of Miami ranks third nationwide in sex trafficking cases and I am thankful for this opportunity to use the skills I’ve learned at Duke to give back to my community,” states Aly, “during my time at Glory House Miami, I hope to build trusting relationships with survivors…which would allow me to better understand their trauma needs, and hopefully, in the future, implement a trauma-informed model in human trafficking courtrooms.

Young woman smilingKemunto Okindo (T’21) will spend the Hart Fellowship working in Kigali, Rwanda with MASS Design Group, an organization which advocates for architecture and infrastructure that promotes social justice. Kemunto plans to work on a project that supports sustainable energy infrastructure initiatives at MASS. As a Hart Fellow, she is looking forward to engaging directly with communities and diving into the social and economic implications of rural electrification. At Duke, she was a SPIRE fellow and a teaching assistant. She was also a student consultant to the CAIRNS program at the Nicholas School and a board member of FIN, a mentorship program for Durham youth. In addition, Kemunto has completed a Duke Engage independent project in Peru on wind energy and a Bass Connections project on solar energy in Zambia. She is originally from Elkton, MD and will graduate with a degree in civil engineering. 

“As a part of the global transition to low carbon energy sources, it is important to not leave small communities behind,” says Kemunto. “Hopefully, my project can begin to tackle the difficulties of achieving energy access for disadvantaged communities in developing nations.” 

Young woman smilingHope Jackson (T’20) will utilize the Hart Fellowship to partner with the reproductive justice non-profit For The Village in San Diego, California which will offer free doula services and comprehensive reproductive health education for black and low-income families. As a Ron Brown Scholar, Hope has demonstrated a commitment to public service, community engagement and global citizenship through her work regarding reproductive health, justice and education. At Duke, she majored in Global Health and Biology and focused her research and coursework on women. She conducted gynecologic research with Duke Global Health Institute, completed an independent DukeEngage with Girls Inc in Portland, and taught sexual health in rural Guatemalan secondary schools with Global Public Service Academies. During her senior year, she joined the Bass Connection “Understanding Men's Involvement in Family Planning Care in the Philippines”. Since graduating in 2020, Hope has trained to be a doula and plans to focus on improving reproductive health outcomes in the black community. Her project will document the birth experiences of black women and ultimately assist in the expansion of For the Village.

“With a deep history of medical mistrust and mistreatment, black women face incredible barriers to positive birth outcomes,” states Hope. “As a black woman, I am excited about the Hart Fellowship investing in amazing organizations committed to changing the reproductive health landscape.”