2015 Scott Kloeck-Jenson fellows keep social justice legacy alive

Scott Kloeck-Jenson’s parents, sister and niece came to Madison on Oct. 19, 2015, to  meet the latest group of SKJ Fellows and learn about their work.
Scott Kloeck-Jenson’s parents, sister and niece came to Madison on Oct. 19, 2015, to meet the latest group of SKJ Fellows and learn about their work.

Those who knew Scott Kloeck-Jenson appreciate his firm commitment to international understanding and research that serves social justice concerns around the globe.

After graduating from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, Kloeck-Jenson joined the Peace Corps, spent two years in Lesotho (where his met his wife Barbara), and then came to the University of Wisconsin–Madison for his graduate work in political science.

His doctoral research on rural poverty, supported by prestigious Fulbright and MacArthur Fellowships, took him to Mozambique, where he also served as the project director for UW-Madison’s Land Tenure Center.

But before he could return to Madison to complete his dissertation, Kloeck-Jenson, along with his wife and two children, Zoe and Noah, died in a car accident in South Africa on June 23, 1999.

Ken Jenson, Kloeck-Jenson’s father, recalled a comment from one grief-stricken friend: “Who’s going to continue Scott’s work?”

Fast forward to 2015: Standing before a gathering of scholars at UW-Madison, Jenson responded to that question: “You are continuing Scott’s work.”

The gratitude runs both ways. Those scholars thanked Kloeck-Jenson’s family for supporting the fellowships in his memory. For more than a dozen years, the annual International Pre-Dissertation Travel Fellowships have enabled doctoral students to visit potential field research sites overseas and the SKJ International Internship Fellowships have given support to doctoral students interested in practitioner internships.

Each year, Kloeck-Jenson’s parents, Ken and Marlys Jenson, come to Madison to meet with the SKJ Fellows and learn about their work. At this year’s luncheon, the Jensons were joined by their daughter and granddaughter, to hear from most of the 2015 SKJ Fellows, as well as two 2014 Fellows.

Click here to view more photos from the luncheon

The 2015 SKJ Fellows who presented are:

Selah Agaba, who has worked as an educator, researcher, and advocate in the field of maternal and adolescent health, is pursuing a joint degree in cultural anthropology and education policy studies. Her research focuses on policies governing sexual and reproductive health issues for adolescents, especially during emergencies, in Uganda. The SKJ Fellowship provided support for her efforts to compile a database of sexual and reproductive health policies and service providers in central and western Uganda.

Ritodhi Chakraborty, a doctoral student in geography, works as a field studies instructor in Bhutan, where he teaches college classes on field research and Himalayan environment and development issues. His research focuses on networks of male migrant mountain youth in the Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. His SKJ Fellowship provided support for his work to evaluate perceptions of climate vulnerability in rural communities in two districts of the state, by living with urban migrant youth from these communities in two provincial cities and interviewing local scientists currently working on climate-risk management projects in the region.

Ming Hu, a doctoral student in civil society and community research in the School of Human Ecology, has worked with nonprofit organizations in China and the United States in the fields of rural poverty alleviation, disaster management, capacity building, and immigrant aid. His research interests include civic engagement, nonprofit management, and philanthropy. He used his SKJ predissertation travel grant to go to China to focus on Chinese youth engaged in community well-being with nonprofit community-based organizations.

Rachel Jacobs, a doctoral student in political science focusing on political violence and post-conflict politics, came to Madison after working as a research analyst on issues of democratization and human rights. Her project addresses the social legacies of conflict, the effects of wartime governance, and the origins of uneasy peace in Cambodia.

Madelaine L’Esperance is a doctoral student in consumer science, with research interests in family economics, social policy, intergenerational mobility, and gender. She worked with Innovations for Poverty Action Peru to evaluate a branchless banking agent network in rural Peru and its impact on household consumption and saving patterns for beneficiaries of the Juntos conditional cash transfer program.

Neeranooch Malangpoo, a trained folklorist, is pursuing a doctorate in cultural anthropology. Her current research traces the re-imagination of Thai national identities through the activities of the Thai Buddhist tourist pilgrimage in neighboring Myanmar, a country depicted as Thailand’s archenemy. The SKJ Fellowship is providing support for her to conduct research in Kinpun and Yangon, where Thai tourists’ favorite attractions are located.

Elsa Noterman, who is pursuing a doctorate in human geography, has worked at a public high school in Philadelphia and as a researcher at a nonprofit think tank in Washington D.C., primarily focusing on community development in rural areas of the United States. She seeks to develop an analytical model for exploring everyday activities involved in the collective management of common resources by heterogeneous communities. Her SKJ Fellowship provided support for her pre-dissertation research in the Christiania area of Copenhagen, Denmark.

SKJ Fellow Isabel Pike talks about her project, while Selah Agaba listens.
SKJ Fellow Isabel Pike talks about her project, while Selah Agaba listens.

Isabel Pike, a graduate student in sociology, came to Madison after working for three years with the World Food Programme in Senegal, Burkina Faso and Mali. Affiliated with UW–Madison’s Center for Demography and Ecology, her research interests include marriage, family and fertility trends in Sub-Saharan Africa. She interned at the African Population Health Research Center (APHRC) in Kenya, working on projects with the center’s data from Nairobi slums.

Mariam Sedighi is a doctoral student specializing in comparative international education and global studies in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. She is interested in the ways individuals make meaning of different systems of truth — such as imperialism, Islam, and globalization—and how those different discourses translate into material, social, and ethical practices. The SKJ Fellowship provided her with support to conduct preliminary research in Tehran and Dezful to identify possible research sites and to build rapport with educators and religious leaders.

The 2014 SKJ Fellows who attended are:

Jess L’Roe, a doctoral candidate in geography, studies the tradeoffs inherent in balancing environmental and welfare concerns across different groups of people and generations. In 2011, she managed a study on impacts of crop-raiding on villages around a national park in western Uganda. Her SKJ award enabled her to return to these communities to conduct dissertation research on changes in their land holdings and land use strategies in response to economic development and conservation initiatives around the park.

Marta-Laura Suska, a doctoral student in cultural anthropology, has focused her research on urban violence and preventive policies in Brazil, specifically the Pacification Police Unit in Rio de Janeiro and the Pact for Life in Recife. Her interest in urban violence has been shaped by her work at a Brazilian NGO for Digital Inclusion in favelas, prisons, and mental health institutions in Rio de Janeiro. The SKJ fellowship provided support for her to intern at the NGO Igarapé in Rio de Janeiro, to work on developing a Child Security Index (CSI), a diagnostic tool that spatially maps how children experience violence in favelas.

Two 2015 SKJ Fellows were unable to attend:

Michael Hayata, a graduate student in history with a focus on modern East Asia, is researching the everyday cultural practices within the Ainu, the indigenous people of northern Japan, during the first half of the 20th century. He is currently examining how some Ainu writers deployed indigenous knowledge to claim cultural and environmental autonomy, as well as create new political trajectories. The SKJ Fellowship provided him with support to pursue pre-dissertation research at the University of Hokkaido in Sapporo, Japan.

Rachel Silver, a doctoral student in educational policy studies and cultural anthropology, has focused her research on global educational development policies in practice in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is co-author of Educated for Change? Muslim Refugee Women in the West (Information Age Publishing, 2012), an ethnographic exploration of Somali refugee women’s schooling experiences in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camps and northern New England. Her SKJ Fellowship will allow her to examine what it means for Kenyan youth when schooling has become necessary, but not sufficient, for economic and social mobility.

– by Kerry G. Hill