First-Year Researcher Uses Computer Science Skills to Expand the HRP’s Accessibility

Strengthening the Skills of Future Human Rights Defenders

The Human Rights Program is committed to offering opportunities for students to practice the skills they have developed in the classroom in professional work outside of the classroom. Successful human rights change is a product of both academic experiences and engagement in the field. Through our many classes, internship offerings, and research opportunities, the Human Rights Program has strengthened the skills of future human rights defenders as they progress through higher education. 

We are excited to introduce you to Jabril Anderson (CLA ‘27), who has been working with HRP Director, Dr. Carrie Walling, this semester!

Jabril Anderson (CLA ‘27)

Jabril Anderson (CLA '27)

Jabril is a first-year undergraduate student from Fergus Falls, MN. His passion for technology and understanding the inner workings of machines has sparked his interest in Computer Science and Engineering. Although he hasn’t declared his major yet, Jabril hopes to use these skills to advance the technological capacities of the HRP. 

As a Dean’s First-Year Research and Creative Scholar (DFRACS), Jabril has been placed with Dr. Walling to assist in the development of a website that will feature the written and creative work of human rights students, as well as house advocacy materials to be used by professors, students, and activists alike. The research project, titled, “Best Practices of Human Rights Advocacy,” will engage Jabril’s computer science skills and interest in human rights. 

Jabril described how his experiences as a child moving to and from various foster homes sparked his interest in human rights and the importance of mental health, both as something that all people have a right to access care for and as a relevant concern for human rights defenders. “How I’ve grown up, in the community that I’ve been a part of, human rights have always been an important thing.”

When Jabril heard about the DFRACS Program, he knew it would be a unique opportunity to not only grow his portfolio, but also to conduct research that is in line with his interests and moldable to his skills. Having learned about the incredible amount of time and dedication that goes into many research projects, Jabril explained that “getting to be a part of [this project] and contribute to the Program in a tangible way” is an exciting prospect for him. 

Dr. Walling’s project will allow Jabril to apply a human rights framework and best practices of human rights advocacy to create a series of advocacy tools, including fact sheets, infographics, web-based content, and a blog. These materials will be used to address contemporary rights and justice problems, advocate for more inclusive and equitable communities, and provide resources to people interested in human rights research, policy, and advocacy. 

“It’s going to be fun to use the computer science skills I learn in my classes this semester to help make the website.” While Jabril has made websites before in some of his high school classes, he is looking forward to making a “more official one” that will be of great importance to the HRP in years to come.

We are looking forward to working with Jabril this semester and are excited to see the end product of his work. Make sure to stay up-to-date with the Human Rights Program for updates on this project!

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