Fellows in the Field 2019 - 2020

Elizabeth Nowlin


Elizabeth Nowlin is spending her fellowship year in Tanzania at the Noloholo Environmental Center on the border of Tarangire National Park, where she is working with Tanzania People and Wildlife. TPW works to promote sustainable and community-engaged human-wildlife conflict mitigation.

Many times in the conservation field, visitors come to an area with the sole objective of bringing back wildlife. However, they do not understand or consider the complex dynamics that exist in areas where humans and wildlife live in close proximity. TPW seeks a different model, partnering with rural people to develop community-based conservation models that lead to long-term wins for both humans and animals.

Elizabeth hopes to conduct an evaluation of TPW’s community rangeland management program. The goal is to document the program’s impact and clarify its decision-making process.

Elizabeth Nowlin with an elephant bone

Elizabeth with a large elephant bone.

Excerpts from Elizabeth's Writing

Luiza Perez


Luiza Perez is spending her fellowship year in São Paulo, Brazil, where she is collaborating with the Albert Einstein Foundation, an organization that runs a network of hospitals and a medical school.

Luiza hopes to study how the Callascope—an innovative tool for cervix visualization developed at Duke—could aid her community partner’s current programs. In a society where conversations about reproductive health are taboo even in highly educated circles, fostering opportunities for women to discover their bodies can be very important. She seeks to understand how the Callascope could work in an urban Brazilian context, setting the foundation for future studies and eventual clinical and educational use in primary care settings.

Luiza Perez presents to medical staff

Luiza (far right) speaks with colleagues in São Paulo.

Excerpts from Luiza's Writing

Rachel Rubin


Rachel Rubin will spend her fellowship in West Virginia (pop. 22,000) with the Southwestern Regional Day Report Center (SRDRC) implementing a Fresh Start Program in Logan County for those leaving prison for drug offenses. At the center of the program will be agricultural and artisan programming, aimed at reconnecting clients with their communities. The program will offer community mentoring, interagency teamwork, life-based skills, and credit attainment through the local community college. She will also help neighboring Boone County set up a Family Treatment Court.

Boone County has been one of the hardest hit communities by the Opioid Epidemic. One pharmacy filled enough opiate prescriptions to give more than 100 pills per year for every man, woman, and child in the county. The epidemic has also cost Boone County the greatest amount per capita of any county in the United States.

Rubin hopes to study the most harmful aspects of drug use in Boone County and how that might be mitigated.

Rachel Rubin in West Virginia

Rachel Rubin in West Virginia.

Excerpts from Rachel's writing

Amulya Vadapalli


Amulya Vadapalli is spending her fellowship year in Amman, Jordan, where she is partnering with the Collateral Repair Project on its efforts to aid Yemeni refugees. CRP recently opened a new center dedicated to supporting the needs of Yemeni and Sudanese refugees in Jordan.

There are thousands of Yemeni refugees in Jordan, the result of a civil war that the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. However, they receive far fewer services from the government and NGOs than refugees from Syria and Iraq. CRP has stepped up to fill the void by providing services to Yemenis in Amman.

Working with the organization’s monitoring and evaluation office, Amulya hopes to study CRP’s programs to see which are best serving the needs of refugees and which can be improved.

Amulya and volunteers with the Collateral Repair Project.

Amulya (second from the left on the bottom row) and volunteers with the Collateral Repair Project.

Excerpts from Amulya's Writing

Connor Vasu


Connor Vasu is spending his fellowship year in Dilley, Texas near the U.S.-Mexico border. He is working with the Dilley Pro Bono Project (DPBP) at the Dilley Detention Center in Texas to help better understand the legal and humanitarian needs of migrants and asylum seekers at the southern border.

The privately-run Dilley detention center is the largest in the country, holding up to 2,400 woamen and children, almost all of whom are seeking asylum. Tapping national enthusiasm surrounding immigrant rights, the DPBP has developed an innovative model—relying on volunteers from around the country to provide pro bono services through one-week service trips. Staff manages volunteers, conducts intakes and represents detainees in expedited hearings, in addition to challenging immigration policies in federal court and collaborating with other nonprofit partners on immigration advocacy and reform.

He intends to study how DPBP’s remote access legal model be better optimized to suit clients and attorneys.

Connor Vasu with volunteers

Connor Vasu (top center) with volunteers at the Dilley Pro Bono Project.

Excerpts from Connor's writing

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