About the Oak Research Organization (ORO)

The Oak Research Organization (ORO) aims to educate and mobilize the undergraduates of Colby as human rights activists and leaders. Through a multi-layered approach involving awareness, research, and engagement, ORO aims to provide undergraduate students with hands-on experience of human rights fieldwork. After participation in ORO, students will emerge with essential tools to advance human rights advocacy around the world.

Over January, thirteen students carried out research on the semi-finalists for the 2016 Fellowship. Their compiled reports will be used by members of the Oak Selection Committee to facilitate the selection process. The 2016 members of ORO are:

  • Camille Owsley ’19
  • Chloe Powers ’19
  • Kate Seibold ’16
  • Katherine Cabrera-Hunt ’18
  • Liwei Jiang ’19
  • Lucas Lam ’17
  • Mackenzie Kennedy ’16
  • Maeve Dolan ’17
  • Orlando (Victor) Victorine ’19
  • Sarunas Genys ’17
  • Sophia (Sophie) Bartels ’17
  • Zoe Atchinson ’16

JanPlan ORO 2015:

Over January, seven students carried out research on the 20 semi-finalists for the 2015 Fellowship. The compiled reports were used by members of the Oak Selection Committee to facilitate the selection process. The 2015 members of ORO were:

  • Annie Kettler ’16
  • Anognya Parthasarathy ’16
  • Grace DeNoon ’15
  • Katie Allan ’15
  • Kay DeGraw ’17
  • Meghan Kelly ’17
  • Vera Zhou ‘16

In the spring, ORO investigated human rights programs at other colleges and universities, including Macalester, Haverford, Claremont McKenna, Beloit, BC, and Duke. The reports prepared by ORO investigators (Grace DeNoon (’15), Katie Allan (’15), Leah Breen (’15), Kay DeGraw (’17), and Assistant Prof. Gail Carlson) will be used to develop a plan for an expanded and restructured Oak.

JanPlan ORO 2014:

During JanPlan 2014, six students carried out independent research projects on twenty semi-finalists for the 2014 Oak Fellowship. They learned about the connection between gender and human rights before poring through candidate files. The students, working under the supervision of Oak director Walter Hatch, were:

  • Pamela Alakai ’14
  • Katie Allan ’15
  • Katrina Belle ’15
  • Madochée Bozier ’16
  • Rubez Chong Lu Ming ’16
  • Anognya Parthasarathy ’16

JanPlan ORO 2011:

In the fall of 2011, six undergraduate students undertook ORO research projects on different groups of marginalized peoples around the world. Each student examined why and to what extent each group is marginalized and then used that information to answer a relevant research question regarding the link between human rights and poverty. At the end of the fall semester, each student wrote a 25-30 page research paper that was presented at a research symposium to the Colby community. Each paper will be published online for future use.

From left to right:
Alli Nolan – Quechuas (Bolivia)
Emma Eschweiler – Romani (Western Europe)
Kayla Lewkowicz – Berber (North Africa/France)
Jenny Sher – Uygher (China)
Katy Lindquist – Banyamulenge (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Rachel Rosenbaum – Travesti (Brazil)
Fatima Burnad – 2011 Oak Fellow (India)

Faculty Advisor – Walter Hatch

2011 ORO Presentations and Research Papers:

Emma Eschweiler: Roma, a People: Barriers to European Integration

Kayla Lewkowicz: Social Exclusion, Marginalization, and Identity Formation: the Berbers

Katy Lindquist: The “Confused Identity” of the Banyamulenge

Alli Nolan: Standing Up for Change: The Mobilization of Indigenous Movements in Bolivia

Rachel Rosenbaum: Travestí: Spaces of Abuse and Agency

Jenny Sher: The Social Exclusion and Marginalization of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

[Podcast of Research Presentations]