2021 NEW LEADER SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
TERRY ALLEN, 30, graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a Bachelor’s Degree in Rhetoric. A few months after graduating, he was accepted into the White House Internship Program at the Travel Office of the Obama Administration. Shortly thereafter he received a Masters Degree from Columbia University in Education Policy and Social Analysis. Now in his fourth year of doctoral study in the Education Department of UCLA, he serves as a lead researcher for the Million Dollar Hoods Project, which maps the fiscal and human cost of mass incarceration in Los Angeles. The project documents how hundreds of millions of dollars are wasted every year on ineffective and inequitable law enforcement. Little did he know, he was born and raised in precisely a community that is the basis of the project. Terry's dissertation research focussed on the structural inequality in youth contact with law enforcement and school discipline. During his studies, he worked as a trainee at the U.S. Government Accountability Office and summer associate-adjunct researcher at RAND Corporation. Terry currently holds several other research positions on the campus of UCLA. This past year Terry completed his dissertation and has entered his second year of Law School at UCLA. This is his sixth New Leader Scholarship.
JANAE BRIGGS, 27, is completing her senior year at UC Berkeley, majoring in Public Health. She grew up in a low income neighborhood hearing gunshots daily and being aware of the disparities in safety and nutrition that plagued her family and her neighbors. “Environmental health became the lens through which encompassed how I perceived the world; public health became my story.” She began envisioning how she might mitigate social disparities in her community through this lens. As a Chicana and following her attendance at a local junior college she “began understanding structural barriers in my community- binding specific demographics to an impoverished life and inadequate health”. Through the mentorship of two of her professors at Berkeley, she began a research opportunity to assist underrepresented West Contra Costa minority high school students in their pursuit of higher education. Janae sees herself in the model of a Centers for Disease Control researcher. This is her second New Leader Scholarship.
NAZINEEN KANDAHARI, 26, BA, graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley with majors in Public Health and Molecular & Cell Biology, and an emphasis in Infectious Diseases. Nazineen is committed to serving the underserved, particularly refugee and multicultural communities, through medicine, research, and public health advocacy. She is passionate about resolving health inequities and improving reproductive and sexual health. Nazineen is currently the Senior Project Coordinator to a research project collaboration between UC Berkeley and a predominantly Latino church; she recently received an award from the American Public Health Association for producing novel culturally-sensitive health promotion and health education materials. Nazineen also conducted qualitative research at Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research to improve the healthcare experience for historically marginalized patients; she is published in Contraception journal for her project titled, “Exploring young women’s decisional needs for contraceptive method choice: A qualitative study.” Upon graduation, she received the Departmental award of Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher for her contribution to molecular genetic research on delaying the effects of aging and age-associated disease. She is the recipient of numerous scholarships from institutions including Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Women Health Care Executives. She is currently in the prestigious UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program pursuing her Medical Doctorate and Master's Degree in Health and Medical Sciences and is part of the Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved, a five-year track at the UCSF School of Medicine for students committed to promoting social justice through medicine, community-based work, and policy change. This is her fifth New Leader Scholarship.
LARRY McDANIEL JR., 37, received his Bachelor’s Degree from UC, Berkeley, majoring in Sociology, with an AA degree from Peralta College. As he saw many of his friends falling victim to the challenges which face poor minority communities and finding himself struggling to survive, he vowed to dedicate himself to helping those coming from similar backgrounds. At Berkeley, he joined a student-run organization “Spread the Word” which assists underperforming minority youth through mentoring and advocacy. He became the president of the organization, a testament to his leadership skills. Larry earned a Master’s Degree in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania and is pursuing his doctorate in Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA. He aspires to become a university professor, using his own background as a means of reaching out to students who have been similarly discouraged. Following his own struggle over a 10-year period in community colleges, he is acutely aware of the struggles of Black children ”growing up in economically neglected neighborhoods”. He plans to engage in research which affects policy changes in social structure with a particular emphasis on “racial identity for community college transfer students of color who attend historically and predominantly white universities”. This is his sixth New Leader Scholarship.
ABDULLAH PUCKETT, 49, is pursuing his doctorate in cultural anthropology at UCLA and was awarded the prestigious Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship. He majored in Political Economy and Interdisciplinary Studies and received his BA from UC Berkeley. On his own from the age of sixteen, he was imprisoned from 1999 through 2014. Inspired by the election of Barack Obama in 2008, he saw that real change in our systems was more than a theoretical possibility. He saw that “when ordinary people come together, we can make extraordinary things happen”. Initially, he was inspired to become a community organizer like President Obama but began to realize that many more avenues were open to him through his studies. His mother went to school at the age of 47 and earned a doctorate in Pharmacy in part to inspire and demonstrate to her children what was possible through education and determination. This is his fifth New Leader Scholarship.