Northeastern University recognized three College of Social Sciences and Humanities seniors at the annual Cooperative Education Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, April 24, including William Jefferson Alcott, Jr., Award recipient Andonis Marden. The Alcott Award recognizes a senior who utilizes his or her academic knowledge in a creative way to make a positive contribution to society and demonstrates exceptional achievement in cooperative education. In addition, Sarah Honigfeld and Alexandra Liu received Most Outstanding Co-op Awards.
These students exceed normal expectations set forth and take full advantage of the experiential education that Northeastern provides. Their ambition to take on new challenges and leave their comfort zones is what makes them stand out and deserve recognition for their hard work.
Andonis Marden, an international affairs and political science combined major, has strived to maximize his opportunities through cooperative education and to achieve a better understanding of his fervor for international law and government policy. Andonis has shown his dedication and desire to learn more by conducting research while on co-op in Geneva, Switzerland and Johannesburg, South Africa.
In his time at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Andonis developed research projects with highly regarded professors and doctors.
“Working at the GCSB, my academic grounding that I established at Northeastern was able to be put to use and further fortified,” he said.
At the African Centre for Migration and Society in Johannesburg, Andonis visited and interviewed migrants that had been abandoned from their homes due to war and conflict. Ultimately, he learned how his fieldwork in South Africa could directly translate to government policy, and he plans to continue his studies in this field at Oxford University after graduation.
Alexandra Liu, a cultural anthropology and international affairs major, completed all three of her co-ops abroad, including two in China. Through the co-op program, she redirected her education and explored possible career paths, which drove her passion for anthropology and teaching.
For her first co-op, Alex worked at the Longman English Training Center in Nantong, China as an English teacher. She gained experience by creating, preparing, and teaching lesson plans independently. Alex taught English to Chinese children at two local public schools, middle schools, and a tutoring center. The experience also improved her Mandarin, a goal she set in stone prior to attending Northeastern.
“My Mandarin has skyrocketed; I’ve completely immersed myself to the customs and culture of China, and I’m really beginning to grow in my passion for teaching. I’ve gained so much hands-on knowledge and experience… and I love doing it,” Alex said.
This influenced her self-developed co-op in China where she researched Chinese college students and their academic majors, including why they chose them and how they felt about it. Her passion for teaching has now led to a job as an assistant language teacher for the Japan Exchange Teaching Program.
Sarah Honigfeld, a human services major, completed her first co-op with Bright Horizons as an assistant teacher. Working there is what inspired her enthusiasm for working with children and their families.
“This co-op showed me that I want to be an advocate for children and help their parents and families find the right resources to get what they need,” Sarah said.
She spent her next two co-ops at The Boys and Girls Club of Boston as an inclusion specialist. After noticing that not all children were being included as seamlessly as possible throughout the club, Sarah helped develop a plan to address this problem. The program she created received the Yankee Chapter Award as the top “Health and Life Skills Program” in Massachusetts among all competing Boys and Girls Clubs.
“I know how important family outreach work is, and I have seen firsthand how effective it can be,” Sarah concluded.
Sarah still works at the BGCB and has recently been promoted. She has also been accepted into the Early Intervention Graduate Certificate Program at Northeastern.
Pictured above: Seventeen students receive awards at the Northeastern University Outstanding Cooperative Education Awards Ceremony in the Curry Student Center Ballroom. Photo credit: Brooks Canaday.
– by Zach Bogard