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Alexis Prettiman

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Bio Summary
Cohort Year: 
2016
Home Institution: 
Waynesburg University
Heinz Programming Area: 
Economic Opportunity
Study Abroad Country: 
Senegal
International Experience

Alexis Prettiman spent the summer in Dakar, Senegal and Rabat, Morocco studying critical languages and societal functions in the Arab world. In Dakar she learned Wolof, the native language, and was able to direct taxis and master the art of bargaining. She also sought out influential women and conducted interviews to learn about the female experience, and what the future holds for the feminists of this country. Alexis was fortunate to find herself volunteering at La Poupeniere, an orphanage that houses children whose mothers died in childbirth. There she held conversations with women who are working to combat the societal stigma of womens’ issues. During her time in Morocco, Alexis studied Moroccan Arabic and society. She often attended classes in cafes where she would communicate with the barista in Arabic and discuss the impact of Moroccan literature on modern day life. In the evening, Alexis broke the Ramadan fast with her family, and often traveled around the neighborhood visiting family friends for a glass of mint tea. Through her experience, Alexis gained insight into the stigmas and stereotypes that plague the women of these developing countries. She also met the people who are working to combat them. She is most grateful for the exposure to these critical languages, which she plans to use in her future career.

Community Engagement Experience
CEE Title: 
Hard Conversations: Addressing the –isms

Our CEE was a workshop entitled "Hard Conversations: Addressing the "-isms"". I and the other five women in the cohort at Waynesburg University planned to share our experiences abroad through a workshop. We decided to address the "-isms" we experienced individually in separate areas of the workshop, including issues such as terrorism, tourism, sexism, racism, poverty(-ism), and domestic violence(-ism). In the beginning of the event, our guests answered a questionnaire. Each of the answers coincided with out respective "-isms". If the guest, answered "yes" to question 3, 7, 14, we suggested they visit the station on sexism, as their answers to the questionnaire indicated that they would be interested in that particular workshop. We hoped to create an open and inviting environment for people to engage and discuss these hard topics that are usually taboo in regular conversation. We supplied light refreshments indicative to the countries we visited, such as Indian Chai Tea, Jordanian Hummus, and Australian Tim Tams. Over 90 people attended our event and participated in hard conversations throughout the evening. I believe this event was a success. It is important to have dialogue about these difficult subjects and create a safe space such as this to educate people. 

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