Alexandra Carter, an MPH student in the Health & Social Behavior program at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, has been named a Human Rights Center Fellow by the Human Rights Center at the UC Berkeley School of Law. The fellowship offers UC students a $5,000 grant to conduct fieldwork over one summer in partnership with an organization of their choosing that works on human rights issues.
Public Health students are frequent recipients of the fellowship, but applicants come from many schools and departments across the UC system. Since 1994, the Human Rights Center has been sending students throughout the world for meaningful human rights fieldwork, though recipients also choose to stay local.
Carter won’t have to travel very far for her fieldwork. This summer, she will be working across the Bay at the ACLU of Northern California, where she will have the opportunity to further her work toward reproductive justice. Her efforts will primarily center on reproductive health education within public schools, where she will review educational material for medical accuracy, bias, and adherence to new policy.
“I'm looking forward to bringing a public health lens to the interdisciplinary work of the ACLU,” Carter says.
Carter’s concern for reproductive justice grew through her experience as a sexual health educator and program associate with New Generation Health Center, a reproductive health clinic run by UCSF which primarily serves low-income, young people. She cites that role as a charge that “compelled her to work proactively and gain the legal and political advocacy skills to preserve the right to bodily autonomy for all,” particularly vulnerable youth.
The current political climate in the United States is a motivator for Carter. “Never in my lifetime has the call to action for Reproductive Justice been stronger,” she asserts.
“I have been impressed with her passion, ambition, and leadership,” says Professor Seth Holmes, one of Carter’s advisors and her professor in Theories of Health and Social Behavior. “She is on a clear trajectory to make major contributions to the realization of the human right to reproductive health.”
Carter will attend an orientation with the other 2017 Human Rights Center fellows in April, and they will reconvene in September after their fieldwork is complete. On November 3, the fellows will present at a formal conference at UC Berkeley.
By Jaron Zanerhaft