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Princeton names twelve SINSI scholars

<h5>Robertson Hall, home of the School of Public and International Affairs.</h5>
<h6>Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Robertson Hall, home of the School of Public and International Affairs.
Mark Dodici / The Daily Princetonian

On Jan. 20, the University announced that 12 students have been chosen for the Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative (SINSI), a program that funds undergraduate summer internships and graduate fellowships in the federal government.

Four students — Jack Aiello ’21, Bevin Benson ’21, Krystal Cohen ’21, and Christopher “Chris” Gliwa ’21 — will join the SINSI graduate program to complete a two-year Master in Public Affairs program on a full scholarship at the School of Public and International Affairs and two-year paid fellowships in federal agencies.

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Eight students will complete fully funded, eight- to ten-week summer internships in the United States government. The SINSI undergraduate scholars are Courtney Cappelli ’22, Preeti Chemiti ’23, Alejandro Garcia ’22, Carson Maconga ’22, Ashley Morales ’22, Mikala Parnell ’23, Isra Thange ’22, and Emma Treadway ’22.

These fellows join a community of nearly 100 SINSI scholars since the program’s start in 2006. 

The Scholars

Aiello, who is concentrating in economics, spent nine months in India through the University’s Novogratz Bridge Year program. His experience shaped his interest in economic development and South Asian Studies. 

“The SINSI scholarship will help me take lessons on economic development studies from the classroom and bring them into the policymaking process within the United States’ development assistance programs,” Aiello wrote in an email to The Daily Princetonian.

Benson studies computer science; she has held internships with Facebook’s misinformation team, and she has researched the antitrust case against Google. 

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In an email to the ‘Prince,’ Benson explained how her studies will aid in governmental service.

“Without knowledge of how a technical system works, it’s very hard to make good policy,” she wrote. “And without care for policy, engineers often won’t take the steps needed to minimize societal harms in the systems they build. I hope to draw upon my technical knowledge and future policy expertise to bridge these two worlds.” 

Cohen studies sociology and focuses on education equity. She has worked with Community House, a program that supports youths in the Princeton area, and designed civic engagement camps for students with the Foundation Academy Charter School in Trenton. 

“Being involved in Community House, both as a volunteer and as a student leader, not only allowed me to connect my academic interest in education policy to my passion for service. but also offered me a second home on campus,” Cohen wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’  

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Gliwa studies civil and environmental engineering and his research centers on the environment. In his department, he studied legacy pollution in the working-class neighborhoods of the New Jersey Meadowlands.

“Issues like climate change and site remediation are inherently technical in nature, so this fellowship allows me to apply my skills as an engineer to create more sound public policy,” Gliwa wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’ 

Cappelli studies in the School of Public and International Affairs and pushes for gender equality. 

She wrote to the ‘Prince’ about how the pandemic has only highlighted the need for her work.

“It has never been an obscure fact that our world is full of gross inequities. However, the pandemic has made these issues even more difficult to ignore,” Cappelli wrote.

“It seems impossible to think of the ways in which you can personally address such pervasive problems from the confines of a dorm or that of young adulthood, but I think we've all recently seen that individual activism is powerful in itself.” 

Currently, she interns for the U.N. Women and strategizes ways to combat sexual violence. 

Chemiti studies in the School of Public and International Affairs. She has written a book about mental health titled “Mind Matters” and served in the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding. On campus, she also serves as recruitment chair for Princeton Mock Trial. 

Chemiti did not respond to request for comment at the time of publication.

Garcia studies politics and is a member of the second group of transfer students at the University. Garcia co-founded the Princeton Transfer Association and devotes his extracurriculars to supporting Hispanic communities. 

Garcia did not respond to request for comment at the time of publication.

Maconga studies in the School of Public and International Affairs and plays on the rugby team. In summer 2020, he worked for U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-N.V.) on her national security and foreign policy team.

“The pandemic has helped me realize just how much government can affect our everyday lives,” Maconga wrote in an email to the ‘Prince’.

“Because of an incompetent initial COVID response, many more Americans died than had to in this pandemic. We need people in government who can step up when faced with crises, helping to save lives.”

Morales studies in the School of Public and International Affairs, with special interests in female and Latinx communities. She has interned with Cristosal, a human rights nonprofit organization in Central America, and worked with the Pace Center for Civic Engagement. 

As the first in her family to possibly apply to law school, Morales wrote to the ‘Prince’ that she hopes “to gain a deeper understanding of human rights law within the U.S. legal system and practical experience that would inform my future law school experience.”

Parnell studies in the School of Public and International Affairs. On campus, she works with the Princeton Debate Panel and Our Health Matters, which is dedicated to Black women’s health on and off campus. 

“Through my involvement with the club, I've had the opportunity to meet health experts and professionals from a variety of fields with serious commitments to equity in both their workplaces and everyday lives,” Parnell wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

“It's this club that piqued my interest in health equity and the role of diversity within institutions and systems.”

Thange, also from the School of Public and International Affairs, studies diplomacy in the Middle East and North Africa. With SINSI funding, she said she hopes to pursue those interests through an internship at the state department in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

To date, Thange said her favorite class focused on public policy issues in the Middle East, taught by Professor Salam Fayyad.

“I think we often take a theory-based approach to discuss these issues and their solutions, but what was so inspiring about Professor Fayyad’s course was that he encouraged us to think about real policy recommendations, consider their benefits and drawbacks, and determine how to incentivize their adoption,” Thange wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’ 

Treadway concentrates in the classics department with a methodological focus on education policy.

She explained how her studies will overlap with governmental work.

“I hope to work in the Department of Education, exploring how and to what extent policymakers involve the voices of relevant stakeholders — teachers, students, and parents,” Treadway wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

“I’d like to get a firmer grasp on how these systems work and how they may be improved and better presented to the public.”

Treadway is the editor-in-chief of the ‘Prince.’

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