Brent Langellier has always been a stickler when it comes to social justice. It has taken many forms in his life, from providing food and water to deported immigrants in Mexican border towns in Arizona to majoring in Latin American Studies to researching health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities.
Growing up in a household with family members who were often sick, Margo desired from an early age to influence the health of the people she loved. These influences drew her to nursing. “I wanted to apply my knowledge and help communities as a whole,” Margo says.After practicing as a nurse for some time, Margo notes that she saw “clear and marked differences in how individuals in minority communities and historically disadvantaged communities received care and engaged with the health care system.”
For someone like Denese Neu, who cares as much about the details as she does the big picture — and is able to see the connection between them — the multidisciplinary field of urban studies is a perfect fit. She has learned through more than 25 years of applied research and experience that urban studies, which is where she sees health and community intersect, can help tackle many of the complexities of cities, including access to services for vulnerable populations. Denese’s work has opened doors and allowed people to understand why urban planners need to care about health, and why medical professionals need to care about physical and social constructs of place.
Most professors choose to take graduate students with a 3.9 grade point average. Shawn Bediako, however, claims his “magic number” is 2.8. He sees something of himself in students on the verge between a C and B — the students who are scrappy and don’t want to give up. Even more specific, Shawn seeks students with explicit interests in taking their research back to their communities, whether it’s Southeast Asia or Appalachian Kentucky.