(Posted July 1, 2017)

Savannah Parson

Savannah Parson

HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Savannah Parson, a rising senior from Slippery Rock, Pa., pursuing a self-designed degree in social organization and change with a secondary emphasis in gender studies, was awarded a Mike Yarrow Peace Fellowship.

Created by the Peace Activist Trainees organization to honor their founder Mike Yarrow, who passed away in 2014, this fellowship is awarded to both high school and college students. According to the organization’s website, “the Mike Yarrow Peace Fellowship endeavors to recruit and train high school and college age youth in the theory and practice of active nonviolence on issues of peace and social justice in the traditions of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.”

Parson, who is a 2014 graduate of Slippery Rock Area High School and is the daughter of Larry and Jenifer Parson, has received a $600 grant for the year-long Fellowship that includes a 10-day intensive training session.

“I'm hoping to build upon both the knowledge I gained from my nonviolence theory class at Juniata and my interest in incorporating nonviolent tactics in my social justice work,” says Parson.

Parson designed her degree in social organization and change by combining her work in sociology and peace and conflicts studies. She is the president of PAX-O, the student peace organization at Juniata. She sits on the advisory board for the Baker Institute. And, she served as the chair for Genocide Action and Awareness Week (GAAW).

"Dean Damschroder sent me the application and encouraged me to apply," she says. "Both Professor Welliver and Dean Damshcroder wrote me letters of recommendation on short notice to help me receive the award."

Parson also worked as the teaching assistant for an inside-out sociology course that was offered inside the Smithfield Correctional Institute which was taken by “inside students,” who were prisoners at SCI-Smithfield, as well as “outside students,” who attend Juniata as undergraduates. The course was taught by Daniel Welliver, associate professor of sociology.

Parson became aware of fellowship after a conversation she had with Matthew Damschroder, vice president for student life and dean of students at Juniata.

“Dean Damschroder sent me the application and encouraged me to apply,” she says. “Both Professor Welliver and Dean Damshcroder wrote me letters of recommendation on short notice to help me receive the award.”

The Baker Institute, which is Juniata’s center for the study of peace and conflict resolution, will also support Parson by paying for her trip to the training session through their student travel support fund.

--Written by Joey DiGangi ’18--

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.