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Eleven UT students are returning this week after spending five weeks in northern Uganda, where they engaged in international service-learning and intensive study of conflict and peace building as part of the Gulu Study and Service Abroad Program.

The 2014 GSSAP team was led by Rosalind I. J. Hackett, professor of religious studies, and Tricia Hepner, associate professor of anthropology. Participating students were:

  • Jordan Bakke, of Nashville, a sophomore in political science
  • Olivia Bradley, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, a senior in psychology and religious studies
  • Esther Choo, of Knoxville, a sophomore in ecology and evolutionary biology with a pre-med concentration
  • Annie Epley, of Cookeville, Tennessee, a senior in anthropology
  • Kirsten Fox, of Knoxville, a junior in social work
  • Austyn Grooms, of Columbia, Tennessee, a master’s student in social work
  • Tracy Tomlin Hicks, of Nashville, a junior in anthropology with a concentration in disasters, displacements, and human rights
  • Omar King, of Memphis, a senior in business
  • Paige Parker, of Memphis, a senior in psychology and Africana studies
  • Colleen Ryan, of Cookeville, Tennessee, a sophomore in global studies
  • Jake Schindler, of Del Rio, Tennessee, a junior in global studies with a concentration in society and culture
Uganda Service Learning
Pictured at the local art center are (back row, left to right) Omar King, Jordan Bakke, Paige Parker, Associate Professor Tricia Hepner, Jake Schindler; (middle row, right to left) Esther Choo, GSSAP lecturers Winnie Lawoko-Olwe and Denis Ongora, Tracy Hicks, Olivia Bradley, Professor Rosalind I. J. Hackett; (front row, left to right) Annie Epley, Colleen Ryan, Kirsten Fox, Austyn Grooms; and (front) GSSAP lecturer Emmy Wokorach.

Established in 2011, GSSAP combines rigorous academic reflection with internship experience, giving students the chance to use their classroom learning as they work with individuals and groups promoting peace and development in the war-affected region.

Students interned at a variety of local organizations, including the Centre for Reparations and Reconciliation, the TAKS (Through Art Keep Smiling) Art Centre, the African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, the Gulu Peace Garden Project, Music for Peace, Hope and Peace for Humanity, the Acholi Education Initiative, Gulu Women Economic Development and Globalization, THRIVE GULU, Lacor Hospital, and St. Jude Orphanage.

“The students made real contributions to their internships,” Hackett said. “For example, Omar King created a business plan and publicity materials for the Gulu Peace Garden Project as well as an accounting database for Link Printers/Music for Peace. Jordan Bakke developed some computer manuals for the Centre for Reparations and Reconciliation. Jake Schindler developed a database for St. Jude Orphanage and brought soccer balls for Girls Kick It. For THRIVE Gulu, Austyn Grooms created a general trauma assessment tool, developed a client intake tool, assisted in the creation of a PTSD psychoeducation curriculum for clients, and co-facilitated women’s empowerment groups. Tracy Hicks edited grant reports and helped develop the website at Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization, and Kirsten Fox donated toys and books to community schools. Other students have created websites and Facebook pages for their internship agencies, and some have developed funding proposals.”

C O N T A C T: 

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,