Aishat Sadiq’s ’19 “Healing Hearts and Building Bridges” proposal has been selected for the $10,000 Earlham Peace Prize in 2019. The Neuroscience major’s project will add mental health education and referral services to existing immigration and refugee support work in New York’s immigrant communities.
Raised in Houston by her Nigerian immigrant parents, Sadiq says that she questioned how she could help combat statistics that indicate that the longer immigrants spend in the U.S., the worse their mental health becomes.
The project objectives are to host workshops for parents; raise awareness and educate through lectures, group discussions and reflection; provide access to free or reduced-price methods and services with local providers; and strengthen relationships between parents and their children through reducing parental stress and educating on effective methods of communication.
“It’s really hard being a parent, and then you add to that the issues tied to being an immigrant in this country,” she says. “I want to give parents tools to help them, and they will pass them down to help their kids.
“By using science to explain biological mechanisms for the way we feel, it makes it a lot easier to understand and a lot easier to talk about. It’s more often the children of the immigrant parents who have the vocabulary to talk about mental health, and they feel more comfortable talking about it than the parents do.”
To help facilitate the project, which runs in New York from July 15 – August 31, Sadiq has partnered with Immigrant Families Together, an organization founded in New York with the mission of reuniting immigrant families.
Sadiq is busy wrapping up the details of the project now because after graduation in early May, her schedule is full.
She is on course to qualify for the NCAA DIII Outdoor Track and Field Championships in sprints from May 23-25 in Geneva, Ohio.
“I like competing, and I know that if I don’t get that competitive energy out, it leaks into my friendships.” she says.
Following nationals, Sadiq will participate in Earlham’s Cross-Cultural Health Psychology EPIC Term in Sweden from June 4 – 24. Fully funded by The EPIC Advantage, this three-week experience explores how perceptions of access to healthcare can affect health status of migrants in Sweden.
“I’m really into human interactions,” she says. “That’s why I’m studying neuroscience. I plan to work as a research assistant for two or three years before applying for a Ph.D. program.”a