Scholarship, Activism, Awards, Media & Other Great Work
by CTSJ's Students, Alumni and Faculty
Welcome! Here are some highlights of the work of our students, alumni and faculty.
2021 Senior Comprehensive Projects
The 2021 CTSJ Department Awards
2021 Social Justice Impact Award for Alumni — Director, US House of Representatives Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds, Shanna Devine (CTSJ, 2008)
Shanna Devine is the inaugural winner of the CTSJ Social Justice Impact Award for alumni. An early graduate of the CTSJ program, Shanna worked with Prof. Griffin and Prof. Heldman at Oxy and earned her Master of Public Management degree from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. Shanna Devine was appointed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as first Director of the House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds. In that capacity, Ms. Devine is responsible for 1) developing best practices for whistleblower intake for House offices, and 2) providing trainings to House offices on how to safely receive information from whistleblowers.
For more about Shanna, see below under Featured Alumni and read her Oxy Story profile.
Video of the conferral and acceptance remarks:
2021 Best Senior Comprehensive Project — Kayla Lim: " 'Equitable' access to the online curriculum: identifying barriers in remote learning during the covid-19 school shutdown"
In the Fall of 2021, Kayla will join the UCLA Graduate Teacher Education Program (TEP) that "prepares aspiring teachers to become social justice educators in urban settings." She is also working with Prof. Mary Christianakis to publish her Sr. Comprehensive Project in a peer-reviewed academic journal.
2021 Kai Allen Award for Best Scholar-Activist — Serena Pelenghian
The Annual Kai Allen Award honors and memorializes a beloved and impactful CTSJ alum who, sadly, passed away in 2016.
Each year, the award recognizes a graduating student whose activism and scholarship during their time with the department most fully reflect Allen's loving, intense, and sustained commitment to the pursuit of liberation and justice for others .
- About Kai Allen:
Serena also won the 2021 Senior Class Mortar Board for the promotion multicultural understanding and inclusion while at Oxy. While maintaining an extraordinarily high academic standing at Occidental College and in CTSJ, Serena:
- Served two years as a driving force on the CTSJ Undergraduate Journal Editorial Board.
- Revived/Created the Armenian Students Association who were much needed and a great support and source of information for the college and broader community during a year in which Armenia was attacked by Azerbaijan.
- Helped revive/create the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) Students Association
- Planned and organized a series of events about the Armenia-Azerbaijan war, including an excellent episode of the Matrix.
- Served as an intern for Armenian National Committee of America (Western Region) and was one of three members of the Impact Media Institute, doing research on genocide indicators and genocide prevention in other countries.
- Was a staff and opinions writer for The Occidental, the college newspaper, helping raise awareness of social justice and other important issues on campus.
CTSJ Students Awards
Summer 2021 Student Fellowships and Internships
Featured Faculty Work and Recognition
circa 7 minutes of Daily Headlines and Analysis
Featured CTSJ Alumni
Created by CTSJ alumn, Richard Reyes, the + ME PROJECT is a community partner dedicated to empowering middle & high school youth to build their confidence for college, career, and community advancement by teaching the art of storytelling. Their vision is for everyone to find motivation, connection, and self-worth by listening to others & sharing their own stories.
- About CTSJ Alum Richard Reyes
SHANNA DEVINE | CTSJ ALUM | FIRST DIRECTOR | WHISTLEBLOWER OMBUDSMAN OFFICE OF THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Ms. Devine earned her bachelor’s degree in Critical Theory and Social Justice from Occidental College and earned her Master of Public Management degree from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy.
Shanna Devine serves as the Director of the House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds. In that capacity, Ms. Devine is responsible for 1) developing best practices for whistleblower intake for House offices, and 2) providing trainings to House offices on how to safely receive information from whistleblowers.
- More about Director Shanna Devine
- Text of Speaker Pelosi's Announcement of Shanna Devine as First Whistleblower Ombudsman