Jones Scholars Assist Public Education in New Orleans

Through the Jones Scholars Internship Program, Tulane University graduate students are given the opportunity to apply their skills, interests and education to benefit public education in New Orleans.

Brigham Hall, left, a Tulane graduate student and fall 2008 Jones Scholar, works with Sean Wilson, right, executive director of the International School of Louisiana, to develop a new business plan for the school's expansion. (Photo by Tricia Travis)

Offered through the Scott S.Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives and funded by the Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation, the program pairs graduate students with traditional Orleans Parish schools, charter schools and education-related non-profit organizations in Orleans Parish.

A maximum of six students are chosen each semester to support projects designed to improve the quality of K-12 education.

“Before we find the student to match with a school, we solicit program proposals from several organizations,” says Felicia Brown, Cowen Institute program manager.

“We talk with the school community and they express what their needs are for that school. We then help them shape and identify projects that address pressing and challenging needs where they might be able to use a graduate student as a resource.”

Brown said that students interested in applying to the program do not necessarily have to have a background in education.

“Part of our goal,” she says, “is to provide our resources broadly so that a number of schools can take advantage of our program and the diverse skill set of our graduate students.”

Reflecting that goal, this semester's Jones Scholars are pursuing degrees in business, law and public health while bringing their skills into community-related projects.

• Brigham Hall, a graduate student in the A. B. Freeman School of Business, is assisting in the development of a business plan for the expansion of the International School of Louisiana.

• Ian Furman, who is pursuing a joint law and masters of business administration degree Tulane, is working with the Children's Bureau of New Orleans in an evaluation of its grief and trauma group intervention project.

• Courtney Massaro, a graduate student at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, is working with the Harriett Tubman Charter School to implement a reading and mathematics intervention program.

• Jacquelyn Vasquez, a graduate student at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, is developing a parent-teacher organization for Laurel Academy.

• Diane Marker, an undergraduate in the School of Public Health, is working to implement a tutoring program at the Akili Academy of New Orleans charter school.

While previously open to both undergraduates and graduate students, the program is currently open to graduate applicants only.

Applicationsfor spring semester interns are being accepted through Oct. 15 and are available online at the Cowen Institute's website. An information session will be held on Thursday (Sept. 18) from 1:30 until 4 p.m. in the Lavin-Bernick Center, room 210. Semester stipends for graduate interns are $6,000 for 20 working hours per week.

Institutionsinterested in utilizing a Jones Scholar also may visit the website to download an application.