Student Leader Stories

As young people, we face pressing issues – unemployment, student debt, a widening economic gap, health disparities, climate change, mass incarceration, immigration issues, and many more. Young activists could consider any one of the issues as “the social justice issue of our generation.” In response, young people across the country are investing their creativity and knowledge to address these issues – starting in their own communities and with their peers. Imagining America provides opportunities for students to grow as emerging leaders and share their stories of community engagement.


Graduate Student Stories

The Publicly Active Graduate Education (PAGE) Fellows are a diverse group of graduate students actively pursuing engaged paths as scholars, artists, and activists. Annually, the PAGE Fellows share their stories and scholarship on the PAGE Blog Salon, centered on themes of public scholarship and community engagement.

2016 PAGE Blog Salon


The New Activists: Students in the Community

Produced by Jamie Haft, and Syracuse University’s Orange Television Network, this web series features students bringing their knowledge to collaborations with community members to address important community-identified problems and opportunities. Student leaders were identified in a story contest about scholarship in service to community problem-solving.

There’s a perception when you talk about young women in the city that they don’t have a passion for education or they don’t have a drive – and that’s completely not true.

The latest episode features Afua Boahene, doctoral student in the School of Education at Syracuse University, and her work with The Image Initiative, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young women of color in the city of Syracuse to surmount obstacles impeding their academic success. Overcoming issues such as relationship violence, teen pregnancy and conflict resolution while learning about community activism, each young woman gains the necessary tools and resources to excel and to empower other young women of color.

“There’s a perception when you talk about young women in the city that they don’t have a passion for education or they don’t have a drive – and that’s completely not true,” notes Boahene. “If your parents have not gone to school you don’t know what you need to do, right? So finding the people that fill-in those gaps, and say, that’s okay, maybe your parents don’t know but we know, and we’ll take the responsibility. That’s what a lot of the women in the organization do.”

View Episodes



Photography & Digital Media Fellows

img_3812Miela Fetaw, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Undergraduate Student, Global Studies/Journalism: “I want to dedicate my life to ensure the living of others through art, through stories. I want to tell the stories for people whom cannot tell their own for themselves. I want to share stories not for politics or profit, but for people. Empathy is a dying art. I want to create empathy, emotion between strangers.”

headshotChristopher Kojzar, University of Maryland Baltimore County Master’s Student, Intermedia and Digital Arts: “Digital media is more essential now than ever, and it is a tool I use in my fine arts practice as well as a method to engage with community members.”


chappell_headshotRachel Chappell, Bates College Undergraduate Student, Sociology/African American Culture: “As soon as I started photography, I was hooked. It was empowering to take pictures of my friends and my neighborhood and explain to others the stories we all had. Our ups, our downs, our triumphs and our missteps were all captured in my camera.”


Click here to meet the 2016-17 JGS Fellows


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