“There is a whole process to development and education that is very important to partake in to have real impact.”
Name: Alex Moscovitz
Hometown: Guilford, CT
Education: Fulbright Scholar
Passions and Interests: Cooking, reading and spending time outdoors, in the woods or on trails.
Transformational Experience: Dominican Republic: Building a Sustainable World™
Making an Impact: Fulbright Scholar studying food insecurity with an NGO in the Dominican Republic
Identifying problems seems easy, but it takes a keen mind and a lot of research to dig beneath the surface issues and find the root of the problem you’re trying to solve. For GLA alum Alex Moscovitz, digging deep is part of her daily life.
As a recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, Alex is spending 10 months with a local NGO in the Dominican Republic studying food insecurity. Her research will help determine the differences in food security as experienced by urban vs. rural populations. This research may be used in the future to help NGOs and organizations better tackle how food insecurity affects populations differently, since a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works on a large scale.
To Alex, the research is important because the work it affects after matters. The wrong approach, if ill-informed, can not only have no net gains, but could possibly have a negative impact on a community.
I’ve seen how important development work can be. I’ve also seen how damaging it can be if not done right.”
Part of Alex’s interest in this work began with GLA in the Dominican Republic, while on the 21-day Building a Sustainable World™ program. GLA partners with a local organization in the Dominican – 7 Elements – which teaches student volunteers about the cross-section of sustainability, human security and education through instruction and real-world examples. It was here that Alex was introduced to issues of food insecurity, environmental degradation, pollution and more.
Alex took her trip right after she graduated from high school, and her experience with GLA in the DR helped inform her educational goals. She graduated from college with a dual degree in sociology and environmental science, and Alex intends to go to graduate school to earn her Masters degree in environmental urban planning so that she can “work on projects that solve problems in how our human systems (food, water, etc.) affect the environment, and make steps towards socially inclusive, ecologically friendly cities.”
While in the DR with GLA, staff took groups, including Alex, through small development projects working to correct harms caused on the environment by people. She began to learn – and take interest in – to what extent people have an effect on their environment, and vice versa.
I am moved to dedicate my time to work in topics of social and environmental justice because I believe that we should work to build communities that improve the environmental health, function sustainably and do not foster inequality.”
Alex’s concern, which she hopes to address through her Fulbright research, is that people in many communities are unable to eat their staple foods due to the uniformity of what they grow for income production. “There’s a lack of diversity in the food being grown here,” she said, and her research into food issues at households, markets, and farms may help to pinpoint where the gaps in the system are occurring.
These are complicated problems with potentially complicated solutions, but when it comes to her insights on making a meaningful impact, Alex’s advice is simple.
Leave more behind than you take.”
Alex is currently a Fulbright scholar doing research in the Dominican Republic. She plans to attend graduate school after, where she’ll study environmental planning and public health.
Program Alex attended:
GLA Dominican Republic: Building a Sustainable World™
Curious about exploring your own GLA adventure? Check these out:
- GLA Dominican Republic: Building a Sustainable World™
- GLA Dominican Republic: Beachside Service Adventure
- GLA Dominican Republic: Global Health Initiative™
- GLA Dominican Republic: Spring Break Service Adventure