Sujal Manohar graduated in May 2020 with a B.S. in neuroscience, B.A. in visual arts, and a minor in Chemistry. An Alice M. Baldwin Scholar, Sujal was involved with many projects during her time at Duke that looked at the intersection of art and science. This included being a gallery guide with the Reflections Alzheimer's Program at the Nasher Museum of Art and creating a collaborative wellness mural at Texas nonprofit clinic PediPlace.
Sujal Manohar will work at Imagine Art, an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit art studio which provides an inclusive studio and art space for individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. She hopes to better understand the needs of artists with disabilities through a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the organization’s existing initiatives. She also plans to engage the community directly in a collaborative art project. At Duke, Manohar—an Alice M. Baldwin Scholar—was the photography editor for The Chronicle and a neuroscience research assistant in the Pearson Lab. Her original artwork has been displayed at the Rubenstein Arts Center and the Student Wellness Center. Originally from Dallas, she graduated with a BS in neuroscience and a BA in visual arts.
Manohar noted that though her dual degrees in science and art may seem divergent, she does not see them that way.
“My work with people impacted by illness and disability has shown me how the arts can create unique avenues for communication and collaboration with these groups,” Manohar said. “Art can empower individuals of all abilities to express themselves, providing an opportunity for self-reflection and relationship building.”
“Austin is such a great city to live in. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, I have enjoyed walking on the trails, meeting friends outdoors, and trying out local restaurants.”
“One of my high school friends visited Austin and we spent an afternoon exploring the Colorado River trails. I walked over five miles, which may or may not be the furthest I’ve walked in a single day since… March.”
Excerpts from Sujal's Writing
January 24, 2020
January has definitely been a calmer month. My co-teacher returned to Imagine Art (after recovering from COVID-19) and the workload has been more manageable. This spring, Imagine Art’s focus is on art production – helping our artists create high-quality work that can be sold and exhibited. To better assist our artists, we have increased time slots for one-on-one meetings and mentorship. Many of my coworkers agree that this modified schedule is more effective for our artists, many of whom need individualized attention. Through these meetings, I have gotten to know my new drawing students better. We also recently got graphic tablets for our group, and I’m excited to teach them digital drawing skills!
Regarding my research project, data collection is winding down: 12 interviews and 22 surveys are complete. I’ve started thinking about how to analyze and present my data, and eventually share it beyond Hart and Imagine Art.
Now for the food and art updates One of my biggest accomplishments this year was learning how to cook and bake. Honestly, in college, I could barely make pasta. Now that I can no longer rely on Il Forno and Sazon, I began cooking basic meals and experimenting with fun recipes. I’ve also been doing virtual cooking sessions with my grandma in India, where she attempts to teach me her incredible recipes. If I end this year with even a tenth of her skill, I’ll be happy!
One of this month’s highlights was a pear and brie puff pastry tart (Photo 1). This fancy recipe looks intimidating, but it is quite straightforward! I also made spinach lasagna, with pasta sauce from scratch (Photo 2). I’ll end with some artwork! I created this fun doodle with calligraphy tip markers (some of which are running out of ink). I wanted to incorporate nature elements from different seasons (Photo 3). I’m planning to add in more designs with a black fine-tip pen. I also taught myself how to crochet – I’ve made a small rectangle so far, but I’m hoping to try out more complicated patterns in the future (Photo 4).
Mexico City, Mexico
Human Rights and Immigrant Justice
Tyler Kopp is a 2020 Duke graduate with a degree in public policy and a double major in Spanish. During his time at Duke, Tyler was involved with research and volunteer experiences that centered around immigration justice and community empowerment. A Benjamin N. Duke Scholar, Tyler interned with Immigration Equality in New York City and Otros Dreams en Acción in Mexico City.
Tyler Kopp will spend his fellowship in Mexico City with Otros Dreams en Acción, an organization focused on providing support and advocacy for people who were deported from the United States. The fellowship marks a return to ODA for Kopp, as he interned there during the summer of 2018. He hopes to work on a project supporting the group’s family reunification initiative and help with policy analysis. At Duke, Kopp—a Benjamin N. Duke Scholar—led the Peer Advocacy for Sexual Health organization and was the Latinx Member Services Coordinator for the Community Empowerment Fund. He was also a legal intern for Immigration Equality in New York City and a teaching assistant in the Sanford School of Public Policy. Originally from Boiling Spring Lakes, N.C., he graduated with degrees in public policy and Spanish.
Kopp noted that he is motivated to work on immigrant justice issues because of his personal experiences.
“I’m committed to fighting for human rights and justice beyond deportation and family separation because knowing what isolation from families and communities can feel like, and listening to the returned community speak about their experiences with it, I don’t see non-action as an option,” Kopp said.
“Lighting a housewarming candle my friend gave me, from my little balcony overlooking the rest of the historic houses attached to my building. I absolutely love the way this place looks; a 180-degree view shows some really tall buildings just across my street, but from here it looks like I’m in a little town. Mexico City is very old, and you’ll find all types of architecture here, from skyscrapers to my 100-year old house to the ancient stone buildings in the city center!”
“I’ve noticed that this city is just FULL of old cool cars. I’ve created a photo album specifically for these photos. This is my favorite from the past month.”
Excerpts from Tyler's Writing
January 24, 2020
This has been a huge month!!!
I recall writing my last monthly update from the living room of my house in Raleigh. I’m writing this one from the desk I just put in my new room in my house in Mexico City. My window and balcony door are open, I’ve got some incense lit, I’m drinking some mango juice, and I’m looking forward to resting and hanging out with my roommates this weekend.
At ODA, we took three weeks off from work to rest and recuperate during the holidays, and we’ve now been back at it for two. This week, we had our beginning-of-the-year staff retreat through Zoom. We shared and connected over some of our personal goals and collective goals for 2021, met with our teams and as a larger group to create a tentative calendar of projects and tasks, and went over ODA’s policies, some of which are new and all of which, to me, are profound. For example, ODA has a collective care fund for staff designed to be a source whenever staff need it for their care, whether that’s doctor and dentist appointments or therapy or massages or whatever else. The fund is designed to be used in full each year, and each staff member can receive up to 3,000 pesos every four months. That’s roughly $150 every four months, and here that goes far (for reference, the minimum wage here is about 140 pesos/7usd per day, which is, frankly, unlivable). I’ve never been part of an organization that is so intentional about collective care as alternatives to the brutal capitalist world we live in.
Obviously, things here look much different than I’m used to. I’m not using the metro like I usually would, and the streets are less crowded. The nightlife and queer spaces that I love are all off limits now. But truly, just being here has been so lovely so far. This city is truly like no other I’ve experienced and is certainly the most colorful and artistic I’ve known. To be honest, during my time at Duke, many of my artistic sides stagnated or withered; beyond completing assignments, I all but stopped writing, drawing, painting, reading. I’m learning to welcome all of that back in my life. And, I’m living in a house with artists and models, and I feel like I’m in a great environment to really keep flourishing as an activist, artist, and person.
With that, I’ll leave some photos below: (Photo 1:
This is where I got dinner on my first night here. I ordered a pambazo, which is a type of sandwich where the bread is soaked in salsa. I don’t really know how to describe it in a way that doesn’t make it sound like a big soggy piece of bread… but they are delicious. And it’s cool because, since Mexico City is a destination point for so, so many Mexicans from outer states, most of the city’s food culture is a conglomeration of things from all over Mexico and abroad, but pambazos are one of the few things I know of that are originally from here.) (Photo 2: Mercado de Medellín, a little less than a kilometer away from my house, is where I’ve been going on the weekends for my fruits and vegetables, and I bought some of these plants and gorgeously painted pots last week.) (Photo 3: My first ever rosca de reyes, shared with my boyfriend on January 6. He told me it’s the tastiest one he’s ever had… and yes, it was delicious. :)
The Leadership and Arts Policy Internship (LAPI) grant is an award up to $4,000 that is sponsored by the Hart Leadership Program to support innovative internships for public policy students exploring leadership and arts policy.
Former LAPI Fellow Multy Oliver (T‘21) began interning with the Hayti Heritage Center last summer as part of her LAPI summer. She enjoyed her experience so much, she continued to support the organization throughout the academic year. “I’m surrounded by individuals who look like me and share my values for uplifting minority communities through arts…