Alexis Walker

Bio Summary
Cohort Year: 
Home Institution: 
Robert Morris University
Heinz Programming Area: 
Children, youth, and Families
Study Abroad Country: 
International Experience

Through the support of the Vira Heinz Scholarship, Alexis Walker was fortunate enough  to travel to  Meknes, Morocco. While in Morocco, Alexis studied Classical Arabic and expanded her knowledge in international relations by engaging in the Islamic Society and Politics course. This course made assimilating into a predominately Islamic state easier all while enhancing her global perspective. In addition to academics, Alexis furthered her experiences in the nonprofit sector by working with an organization dedicated to serving underprivileged children and elderly. The mission of the organization went hand and hand with Alexis’ Desired Heinz Programming concentration of children, youth and families. 
At The “Ibitssama”, or Happy Smile Center in Arabic, Alexis worked on renovating the education facility for the children. Some of the projects included painting desks, collecting books, building bookshelves and donating funds for school supplies. In the afternoons, Alexis participated in a program designed to teach English to the elementary school age children at Ibitssama.  
During the 63 days that Alexis spent in Morocco, 30 of those days were during the religious holiday Ramadan. Ramadan enveloped Alexis into an understanding of the culture from a deeper, intellectual perspective. From her participation in fasting, to learning traditional covering was an all-around amazing experience.  Gathering together with her host mom and discussing the “Moroccan Way” over dinner every night will be a memory that shall last forever. What was once so unfamiliar seemed to become second-nature by the end of her journey. Alexis traveled domestically to almost a dozen different cities, experienced the magnitudes of Moroccan cuisine, obsessed over the architecture and truly absorbed the natural atmosphere. 
Although, Alexis has shown true dedication to her academics as a scholar, she has now added world-ready student to her resume through the travel to Morocco. Gaining a new perspective, experience, and palette for life, Alexis is a promised star to her peers and mentees.

Community Engagement Experience

Road to Moon: Bringing quality public transportation from University Boulevard to Pittsburgh is the official title of my CEE. This project consisted of a presentation, a panel discussion and a reception where attendees could compose letters to local officials discussing the issues we covered. To start off, I wanted to bring back the new-found global perspective to make a difference in the Moon Township community. In order to obtain this goal,  Road to Moon became the kickstart in the initiative to bring quality and efficient public transportation to Moon Township. Laurel, my fellow cohort member  and I conducted our own independent research showing the effects of public transportation on socio economic issues;  the needs of the students, and how our overall campus would be affected if new bus stops were enacted.  The results are as followed:

  • -84% of RMU students believed they would pay for their tuition to include public transportation fees;
  • -44% believed they would leave their cars at home;
  • -67% of our commuter based population would solely rely on a bus system if enacted.

To gain , we incorporated a few topics such as last mile program and autonomous vehicles. A last mile program is a way to transport people from their homes to a transportation hub (park and ride). Autonomous vehicles were used in Berlin, they contribute to public transportation by mobilizing more people without having a human to drive the vehicle. The vehicles are environmentally friendly and transport rather quickly.
Finally, on November 29, 2017 a panel discussion was held with Moon Township Transportation Representatives, Port Authority Representatives, and fellow students. The discussion was followed with a reception with food and an opportunity for students to write letters to public officials in regards to bringing a port authority stop that connects to Pittsburgh on University Boulevard. We were advised that our concerns will be placed on the docket for further discussion or future resolution.


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