As part of her semester abroad researching human rights issues, Molly Hellman ’16 recently visited the largest refugee camp in the Middle East, Zaatari, a sprawling informal city in Jordan that is home to more than 80,000 Syrians, half of them children, displaced by war.
Hellman ’s research is focused on stigmatization and abuse of displaced young people. Before visiting Jordan, she conducted similar research in Nepal and, later this semester, her studies will take her to Chile. A sociology and interdisciplinary major, she says that, at Stonehill, she has learned the importance of shifting from knowing to doing.
“Simply knowing facts and statistics is meaningless if that knowledge is not put to use. This semester, I am studying abroad to put my skills to the test by finding out where my knowledge is most needed and how I can use it to empower others, especially young people who are often marginalized and subject to human rights violations,” she explains.
Of her travels and research this semester, Hellman notes, “It is one thing to read a story in the news about refugees or an earthquake. It is another to sit down, over tea, and discuss the traumatic events with the survivors. It humanizes the story and makes me want to learn more.”
While Hellman ’s postgraduate plans are not set in stone, she is eager to pursue a career working with and empowering at-risk youth.