Class of 2026 cohort inducted into the Periclean Scholars Program

The 12 members of the 20th cohort of Periclean Scholars at Elon celebrated their acceptance into the program during a ceremony held in McKinnon Hall on April 17.

Following a competitive application process, 12 rising sophomores at Elon University were inducted into the Periclean Scholars Class of 2026 during a ceremony held on Monday, April 17.

During the next three years, the Periclean Scholars will work with the Comprehensive Rural Health Project (CRHP) in Jamkhed, India as well as with associated partners and communities.

The Elon and CRHP partnership has a long history that has evolved from single student-faculty mentorship, to the development of the 2012 Periclean Scholars cohort, to a sustainable partnership with the Public Health Studies Department.

Since 2011, Senior Lecturer in Public Health Studies and Class of 2026 Periclean Scholar Mentor Amanda Tapler has been working with CRHP to offer a Winter Term public health practicum, summer field experiences for undergraduates and community-based participatory research opportunities.

As described on the CRHP website, the project “has been working among the rural poor and marginalized for over 45 years. CRHP has become an organization that empowers people and communities to eliminate injustices through integrated efforts in health and development. CRHP works by mobilizing and building the capacity of communities to achieve access to comprehensive development and freedom from stigma, poverty, and disease. Pioneering a comprehensive approach to community-based primary healthcare (also known as the Jamkhed Model), CRHP has been a leader in public health and development in rural communities in India and around the world.”

CRHP is in direct partnership with the government of Maharashtra and the local Jamkhed government to help train ASHA workers, respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and conduct family-planning camps. Additional domestic partners include organizations such as Dasra, SERP, and STAPI. Through international trainings and partnerships, the Jamkhed model has been adapted and replicated throughout communities worldwide.

The newly inducted members of the Periclean Scholars Class of 2026 are:

  • Lillian Argabrite
  • Fatmata Bah
  • Anya Bratic
  • Sky Covino
  • Emily Ecker
  • AJ Hammer
  • Diana Jimenez-Carreno
  • Madeline Mitchener
  • Kate Neal
  • Mallory Otten
  • Ruby Radis
  • Allie Schuldt

The induction of the Class of 2026 cohort marks the 20th anniversary of the Periclean Scholars program at Elon, which was conceived by Professor of Sociology Thomas Arcaro after his extensive professional engagement with CRHP staff and leadership in the early 2000s.

The Periclean Scholars program provides qualifying students with an immersive three-year experience that involves learning about a specific country or region. Scholars then focus on strategies for just and effective community partnerships, initiating and maintaining partnerships with local and regional organizations operating within the region of focus, and creating and enacting a novel social justice-focused collaborative project with these partners.

All Periclean Scholars complete a series of academic courses — 18 semester hours in total across their sophomore, junior, and senior years — taught by the cohort’s faculty mentor. To create effective projects, each cohort defines its own area of focus by learning about the needs of their partner community, best practices in community engagement (including the key distinction between “giving” and “partnering”), and models of just and sustainable development.

Recent class projects have critically engaged with community partners acting on a multiplicity of issues, such as child maltreatment and cultural restoration (Lakota Sioux Nation, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota); youth leadership development (Ghana); the political, economic, and social marginalization of LGBTQIA2S+ persons (Sri Lanka); and structural racism and racial inequality (Alamance County, North Carolina).