Theresa Castillo (Ed.D. ’15, M.A. ’01, Public Health Education)
A catalyst in public health research and service for more than 20 years, Castillo is the Chief Program Officer of the global nonprofit HealthRight, which works to eliminate the gap in access to healthcare for underserved populations. Castillo previously served as the organization’s director of Women and Children’s Health Programs for five years, during which time she oversaw the execution and success of health programs in Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
“Meaningful, diverse partnerships are at the core of all successful global health collaborations. It is what drives innovation and health solutions,” says Castillo, whose expertise includes sexual & reproductive health, and community development among vulnerable populations.
For Castillo, successful health partnerships embrace trust, inclusivity and shared leadership. “Such partnerships are an invaluable marker for improving the health of communities by anchoring the positive shifts in health policy and programming.”
Early in her career, Castillo served in the Peace Corps in Morocco, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Mali in Africa, which granted her hands-on experience with numerous facets of public health. This fall, Castillo will receive the Harding Women of Achievement Award, which honors Peace Corps alumnae whose contributions have globally impacted women and girls. “With my TC Health Education degree under my belt, I loved learning from and collaborating with colleagues to solve challenging health issues and to build better systems of care.”
Hakim Mohandas Amani Williams (Ed.D. '12, International Education Development)
A leading voice in the call for “critical peace education,” Williams examines the impact of colonialism, slavery, and capitalism on human rights and education in Black communities across the globe. The inaugural Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach Professor of Peace & Justice Studies at Gettysburg College, Williams has embarked on robust research and practice in his home country of Trinidad and Tobago – working with local youth and families independently, and with his own students.
“My recent research aims to document how Black youth (in Jamaica, Ghana, Brazil and the USA) conceptualize globalized anti-Blackness, and how they mobilize Black pride toward political action and transnational solidarity,” says Williams, the recipient of TC’s Early Career Award in 2019 and a U.S. Fulbright Global Scholar Award and Spencer Foundation Grant in 2021. As a doctoral student at Teachers College, he studied with Monisha Bajaj (Ed.D. ’05) and Peter Coleman – Professor of Psychology and Education, and Director of the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, a center with which Williams continues to work.
Sayu Bhojwani (Ph.D. ’14, Politics and Education)
Governments should fully reflect the diversity of the people they serve. That is the principle at the crux of Bhojwani’s robust career in public service. At the helm of the nonprofit New American Leaders (NAL), Bhojwani spent more than a decade recruiting and preparing first- and second-generation Americans to run for political office – and win. Now, in leading her new venture – Women’s Democracy Lab – Bhojwani focuses on supporting women of color and from the LGBTQ+ community throughout their time in government office.
“People want leaders they can connect with and who feel their pain,” explained the doctoral alum in 2020, when 65 percent of NAL’s alumni won their general elections. “We’re definitely getting more diversity in office, but folks are still asked to work in a system that wasn’t made for them.”
Brent Renaud (M.A. ’96, Sociology and Education)
An award-winning journalist who dedicated his life to documenting the human condition throughout war and immense social strife, the late Renaud was killed while covering the Russia-Ukraine War in March earlier this year.
One of the “journalists in Ukraine and around the world risking their lives to share such important truths,” in the words of President Thomas Bailey, Renaud produced documentary film projects for The New York Times, HBO and other media outlets. A mentor for under-served students in Dallas, the TC alum was named a fellow at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism in 2019.
Remembered as “committed to shining a light on people who otherwise don't get the attention” and elevating the voices of others, Renaud worked closely with his brother Craig on influential works such as their 2014, Peabody-winning film Last Chance High.
Srishti Sardana (Ph.D. ’22, M.A. ’16, Clinical Psychology)
For more than a decade across the globe, Sardana has conducted field research and service to build culturally appropriate and contextually valid mental health interventions for at-risk populations, including refugees, displaced and stateless people, genocide and trafficking survivors and sex workers. Her dedication and passion for the field stems from a formative experience in her teens, living on the streets with sex workers and tutoring their children in her home country of India as part of volunteer projects.
“There’s this void in me,” Sardana explained in 2019, ”that no matter what I do, it would never be enough [to help] these women.”
Sardana would later travel to TC from New Dehli with the intention of working with TC’s Lena Verdeli and her Global Mental Health Lab, conducting the first systematic mental health evaluation of sex workers in India while at the College. Now, Sardana’s work continues through her latest post as a Global Mental Health Research Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Max Frieder (Ed.D. ’20, Art & Art Education)
Art can help people heal and cope amid immense strife and painful circumstances. That is the ethos of Artolution, the nonprofit Frieder co-founded to bring community art programs to refugees, young people living in areas of violent conflict or extreme poverty, and other at-risk groups.
Facilitating more than 400 projects in 30 countries globally since 2009, the nonprofit uses artistic expression not only as a means for healing, but also sparking critical community dialogues related to public health.
“It’s their movement,” said Frieder in 2020, emphasizing that communities lift themselves up; Artolution is just there to help. “They can tell their own stories, make their own histories. For a community that has had their history ripped from them — that’s undergone a cultural as well as a physical genocide — that opportunity is huge.”