CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Like many student-athletes at Harvard, members of the Harvard women's basketball team have used their summer vacation to better themselves and their communities. For some, summer consists of growing their skills during an internship or job, while others choose to spend their time volunteering around the world. Madeline Raster, Nani Redford and Maddie Stuhlreyer have proactively spent their summers translating what they have learned through being a student-athlete at Harvard into their lives off the court.
Senior co-captain Madeline Raster has spent the past few months working in the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, specifically in the Criminal Bureau. Concentrating in government at Harvard, Raster's main duty is to assist with criminal investigations.
"I study government so this definitely helps me better understand how the judiciary functions," stated Raster. "It's been really exciting because I get the opportunity to help on a wide range of investigations and also learn from really smart and adept attorneys."
Senior Nani Redford has interned this summer with Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street. Working in the International Social Impact department, Redford assists and contributes to international work and projects by Sesame. Specifically, Redford has been working on a project focused on educating Syrian refugee children affected by the conflict in the Middle East. Additionally, Redford has taken part in projects focusing on the Sesame's girls' education and empowerment initiative, the WASH Up! Initiative for global health and the beginning stages of the creation of a Sesame Street series in Ethiopia.
"As someone who has benefited so much from education and the opportunity it creates, I am very fond of Sesame and the incredible impact that the organization has had on children both domestically and internationally," stated Redford. "I think one of the most amazing things is the effort that is put into ensuring that the content resonates with and is most appropriate for the children that the content is targeting, no matter where they're located or what they're going through, while remaining inclusive and non-political."
"The work I'm doing here is very much in line with my concentration. I study sociology where we focus on the social relationships, interactions and institutions that make up our world, which is essentially the basis of the work I'm doing here."
Sophomore Maddie Stuhlreyer has spent her summer giving back to the community by traveling to Mexico through an organization called Homes of Hope to build a house for a family. Started in 1990, Homes of Hope is an organization that helps volunteers help those in need by building a "Home of Hope". The organization has three main locations in San Diego/Baja Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, but has built homes in over 21 different countries. Homes of Hope finds families in need of a new home and volunteers, along with Homes of Hope building staff, head to the family's property and build a house in two days that provides the security they didn't have before. Volunteers can also choose to donate electricity, furniture, appliances and food as well.
"I had never done anything like this before so that's a big reason why my family signed up," explained Stuhlreyer. "I'm really glad we signed up because it was such a great experience. We were building in Mexico so the family and their neighbors only spoke Spanish. My family and I had limited Spanish skills, but I really enjoyed getting to know the family and neighbors. The coolest part was how much the family and the neighbors helped on the build. Everyone worked extremely hard and it was cool to see two groups of people who had never met and don't speak the same language work together so well."
"I will definitely be doing another one of these trips as soon as possible. I really enjoyed getting to work side by side with the family and get to know them and their story."