Annie Crane, currently enrolled in the Speech-Language Pathology program, applied for and was selected to be a Deaton Scholar last spring. The Deaton Scholar Program connects students studying a wide variety of disciplines who are interested in global service issues (food security, non-profit management, extreme poverty, etc.). Throughout the semester, the Deaton Scholars meet to learn from each other, learn from selected faculty and speakers, and work together to create seed grant projects to address specific needs in the Columbia community.
CSD faculty members Dr. Stacy Wagovich and Dr. Barbara McLay encouraged Crane to apply, given Crane’s passion for service related to health and education, specifically in young women.
“What appealed to me about the program was the opportunity to learn more from peers who had similar interests as me and to network for opportunities to pursue those interests,” Crane says.
Biweekly, the Deaton Scholars learned from speakers who have experience in topics such as grant writing, cultural awareness, and food security. “I learned a ton from these lectures and really enjoyed them,” Crane says, “I loved hearing from professors in a variety of different departments. It opened my eyes to how much can be done in areas other than health and education.”
Although at first she had a hard time relating her Communication Science and Disorders major to the issues being addressed in the program, it increased her awareness and interest in other areas, such as food security, which is the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
“I learned that food security effects so many areas, including education. Young children cannot learn or develop properly if they are not nourished or are struggling to find food each day.”
The Deaton Scholars also worked to get seed grants funded. Seed grants are small sums of money awarded to initiatives that will benefit the local community. The scholars were paired up based on similar interests and together they learned how to create and write a grant proposal that could be awarded funding. Crane and her partner came up with an idea for a grant that could help tackle food security issues in Columbia by collaborating with local restaurants and charities. Their seed grant did not get funded, but three others from her cohort did. Though their grant didn’t get funded, Crane is still pursuing global service opportunities with the people she networked with in the Deaton Scholars Program. In January she will travel to Honduras with Global Brigades for a medical/dental trip.
Overall, the program also increased her cultural competence, which she says will be important in her future as a speech-language pathologist when working with a variety of diverse clients.
“My favorite part of participating in the program was getting to know others who are so different from me.” Annie says, “There were many international students from different countries, different majors and different cultural backgrounds, but we all shared a common interest in global service and its importance.”
Columbia Mayor Brian Treece spoke to their cohort, and issued a challenge that resonated with Crane. “He suggested that instead of asking children and teens what they want to be when they grow up, we should ask ‘What problem do you want to solve when you grow up?’” she says. “It’s exciting to know so many people who are so passionate about dedicating themselves to solving problems on a global level. I’m excited to see what my peers achieve in the future. I was very inspired by this program, my peers and my mentors.”
Crane “absolutely would” recommend the Deaton Scholars program to other students, especially those with ideas for making a positive impact in or those interested in global service. For more information on the Deaton Scholars program, visit their website.