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University of Iowa News Release


May 29, 2008

UI students receive funds for human rights summer internships

The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) has awarded seven students a total of $21,000 to support their internships for human rights organizations in the United States or abroad in the summer of 2008.

These seven students have received $3,000 each as part of the UICHR's annual Kenneth J. Cmiel Funded Human Rights Internship Program. Program funds cover travel and living expenses for students who have secured an internship with a local, national or international nongovernmental organization or governmental agency engaged in human rights-related advocacy, research or education.

A donation from the Stanley family, the gifts of other private donors, the UI Office of the Provost and UI International Programs funds make the awards possible.

Scholarship winners are listed alphabetically by hometown with Iowa hometowns first.


DENISON: Taryn Dozark, a first-year student in the UI College of Law, will work at the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights (ECWR) in Cairo, an independent, nongovernmental organization that strives to improve the political and legal status of women in Egypt and the Middle East region. Dozark will help the attorneys in the office put together a list of legal resources for women to be posted on ECWR's Web site. She will also be working on the Campaign Against Sexual Harassment and with the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights.

DES MOINES: Matthew J. Lozier, a doctoral student in the UI College of Public Health, will work at the World Health Organization (WHO). Lozier's internship will focus on supporting a global knowledge network for public health workers by using information and communications technology. His work will help expand the implementation of the eGranary Digital Libraries, which provides Internet resources to institutions lacking adequate Internet access in developing countries, and Elluminate Live, an Internet presentation software program that facilitates live audio and visual communications at low bandwidths. Lozier will also help with a new program at the WHO that is assisting universities throughout Sub-Saharan Africa to start and implement master's programs in health care fields.

IOWA CITY: Elizabeth Mercedes Kueter Petersen, a senior English and anthropology major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), will work with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics HIV/AIDS program, whose goal is to offer comprehensive health care and support to those with HIV/AIDS in Iowa. During her 14-week internship, Petersen will learn about HIV/AIDS patient care from social workers, doctors, nurses, and researchers. She will also work with patients as well as a quality improvement grant that assists uninsured persons with HIV/AIDS to stay in care.

LE CLAIRE: Ghassan Harb, a junior history major in CLAS, will be engaged with the Takamol Project, a USAID-funded, community based project that is committed to improving access to quality health care in the neediest areas of Upper Egypt. Harb will join the Takamol Project staff, accompanying them to Upper-Egyptian cities and participating in various activities to promote quality health education to youth in particular. He will also help identify best practices and successful models from other similar settings and will work with a team to adapt these models to local settings.


ROSELLE: Alexandra E. Basak, a first-year student at the UI College of Law, will participate in an internship at Paz Horowitz Law Firm in Quito, Ecuador, which focuses on anticorruption issues, specifically on improving the probability of Ecuadorian and foreign clients obtaining crucial public services from the government without submitting to extortionist officials. Basak's casework will involve research on street-level anti-extortion techniques and interactions with Ecuadorian bureaucrats. She is also volunteering on asylum cases in conjunction with the firm's client Asylum Access, an nongovernmental organization that helps predominantly Colombian refugees establish and assert their legal rights in Ecuador.


ORONO: Natalie Rose Ehalt, a junior Spanish, English, and secondary education major in CLAS and the College of Education, will work with Hispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research (HACER), a nonprofit, community based research organization housed within the University of Minnesota's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, which addresses the lack of information about Latino populations and related issues in Minnesota's public discourse. While learning about various research methods, Ehalt will help conduct interviews with community members and analyze the data. She will also collaborate with HACER staff members in organizing educational or training sessions, awareness projects, or policy changing campaigns.

New York

NEW YORK: Micheil Cannistra, a first-year medical student in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, will participate in an eight-week clinical and research internship at the Tuba City Medical Center on the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona. Under the direction of physicians with the Indian Health Service, Cannistra will assist with patient care and conduct clinical research designed to assess and improve treatment to the medically underserved population.

For more information on the UICHR funding for internships in the field of human rights, contact the UICHR at 319-335-3900 or

Founded in 1999, the UICHR is a direct outgrowth of Global Focus -- Human Rights '98, a lecture series initiated and led by Professor Burns H. Weston during 1998-99 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Initiated by a multidisciplinary group of faculty, the UICHR is committed to supporting the promotion and protection of human rights at home and abroad by providing leadership in human rights research, education and public service to the UI, its surrounding community, the State of Iowa and beyond.

The UICHR is a part of UI International Programs. International Programs offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Lois J. Gray, University of Iowa News Services, 319-384-0077,