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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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Pepin Payzant Pepin Payzant

Mundt Peace Fellows Engage in Virtual Service

Nine SDSU students engaged in international service-learning internships this year.
By Leslie L.J. Reilly

“This invaluable experience has opened my eyes to the importance of studying abroad and just how much it can add to your perspective of life.”

From Jordan to India to Vietnam and beyond, San Diego State University students worked with an international cadre of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and humanitarian groups in 2021, albeit from their own homes. These virtual internships provided the Mundt Peace Fellowship winners a rich service-learning experience with organizations they are passionate about.  

The internships, supported by the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) with a gift from the William R. Mundt Peacemakers Fund, gave students opportunities to assist in public/private aid/peace efforts, humanitarian organizations, and social entrepreneurships seeking to alleviate social and economic inequalities.

During a virtual luncheon with Mundt fund co-trustees Andrew Mundt and Davida Huchel, the 2021 scholarship recipients shared their experiences. Mundt asked the students about their greatest takeaways as they pursue peace — the fundamental goal of the fund. Each student shared their heartfelt response.           

“These experiences become the core of your identity,” Huchel told the students. “You are my kind of people.”

CAL Dean Monica J. Casper said, “These internships invite cultural exchanges and build understanding to prepare the next generation of global and local social justice leaders.”

Aligned with the university’s strategic plan, the Mundt Peace Fellowship provides students access to transformational experiences, outside of the classroom, to help develop cultural literacy and cultivate engagement in important causes.
In previous years, the Mundt Peace Fellowship scholars traveled to Cambodia. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the students remained at home, but it didn’t derail their work, or their enthusiasm as they engaged in important work abroad.

Pepin Payzant, a fourth-year child development major, interned with the Research and Training Center for Community Development in Hanoi, Vietnam. The organization serves young children and families in rural Vietnam where Payzant hopes to make a difference in their lives.

“It is not uncommon for these families to lack formal parental education opportunities,” Payzant said, “so through the creation of various videos and infographics, we raise awareness of the importance of healthy child-rearing and discipline practices.”     

“This experience is without a doubt the most intense cross-cultural interaction I have ever been given the opportunity to enjoy,” Payzant added. “In the future, I hope to utilize everything I’ve learned to encourage a more inclusive and diverse community, college campus, and place of employment.”

“I have come away from my internship with a clearer understanding of how my field operates both nationally and internationally, and I can’t wait to employ all I’ve learned inside my preschool classroom,” she said.

Payzant is grateful for being chosen for the Mundt Peace Fellowship.      

“This invaluable experience has opened my eyes to the importance of studying abroad and just how much it can add to your perspective of life,” Payzant said. “I learned more about myself than I ever thought an international experience could teach me, and thanks to this opportunity, I am a better, wiser, and stronger version of who I was before this experience.”

The other 2021 Mundt Peace Fellowship recipients are:

  • Maren Appert, a fourth-year environmental sciences major who worked with Citizen's Action Network (PondyCAN) in India.
  • Kilian Taay Colin, a fourth-year environmental engineering worked for the Watershed and Development Initiative (WADI) in Jordan.
  • Angelica Espinosa, a graduate student studying homeland security, who worked for the Red Cross.
  • Adam Pacheco, a fourth-year criminal justice major who worked for the National Center for Research & Development (NCRD) in Jordan.
  • Emma Tsztoo, a fourth-year psychology major who worked with Comprehensive Rural Health Project and Snehi in India.
  • Hannah Berman-Schneider, a fourth-year English and political science major who will work in diplomacy, conflict resolution and international relations in South Africa.
  • Tran Tran, a fourth-year sociology and interdisciplinary studies major who will work in the area of development and gender in Vietnam.
  • Lawson Hardrick, a fourth-year SDSU Imperial Valley psychology and public administration major who will work for an NGO in South Africa.
To learn more about all the Mundt scholars, go here