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MMC Sophomore Researches Desert Communities

Madison Weisend ’20, a double-major in Environmental Studies and Politics & Human Rights, completed the Fall 2017 semester of her David L. Boren Scholarship at the American Institute for Indian Studies in Jaipur, where she engaged in intensive study of Hindi and sustainable development in India.

For the Spring 2018 semester, she will take on a large-scale research project at the School of International Training (SIT) in Jaipur to participate in their Sustainable Development and Social Change Program.  

“My current interests are in finding effective ways to motivate girls to remain in school in desert areas. Of Indian girls that drop out of school, 23 percent claim improper bathroom facilities as their motivating factor. I’m hoping to spend some time with adolescent girls in desert communities to collect data about why they feel they can or cannot use their school’s bathroom, and why so many girls’ bathroom facilities are dysfunctional,” said Weisend. “My small research project will hopefully contribute to a larger body of knowledge that will, in coming decades, allow girls in desert communities to pursue an education with safety, sanitation, and dignity,”she added. 

Weisend is now staying with a second host family in India and speaking only Hindi. She will return to MMC in Fall 2018. After graduation from MMC, she plans to serve in the Indian Peace Corps for two years while earning her Master’s degree in Environmental Policy. With her degree in hand, she hopes to become an Adviser on Agricultural Development for the U.S. State Department. 

The David L. Boren Scholarship pays college students for one year of education in a country in which English is not the first language. Students undergo a rigorous, highly competitive application process where fewer than 20 percent of applicants are accepted.  

Published: March 15, 2018