Four Baylor Sophomores Honored for Social Justice and Grant-Writing Project

April 21, 2016

Winners Mitchell Allen, Dennis Knowles, Caleb Huff and Phoebe Suy
(Photo by Kathryn Hamill)

WACO, Texas (April 21, 2016) — Four sophomores in a Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC) team have won $1,000 to benefit World Hunger Relief by devoting time to learn about social justice and practice writing grant requests, then using that knowledge for a practical application.
Team members are Mitchell Allen, Caleb Huff, Dennis Knowles and Phoebe Suy. They competed against two other teams which also wrote mock grants. The project was part of Social World II, a sophomore-level Honors College course.
They were recognized in a Wednesday ceremony in which they were awarded the check from the Baylor Philanthropy and Public Service Program, which will be given to the charity
The project, which 12 students did as part of the Social World II course, follows on the heels of Baylor Philanthropy Lab, a pilot program devoted solely to cultivating the philanthropic spirit. But the current course is “the first time to try this out as part of a regular class,” said Adam Moore, BIC program coordinator.
Andy Hogue, Ph.D., lecturer in the Honors Program in the Honors College and director of the Philanthropy and Public Service Program, said the Social Work II project “fit into the course very well as an opportunity for students to explore some of these questions in practical application.
"We're very interested in embedding opportunities for philanthropy all over Baylor, providing students both exposure to the many opportunities we have to enrich our communities and experience working in partnership with those inspiring leaders who have given their lives to it," he said.
Student Phoebe Suy said that through the project, she has gained skills that she no doubt will use for the rest of her life.
“I have learned how to take an idea and turn it into a tangible project that can mean something for other people beyond just good intentions,” she said.
The course focuses on three questions:

  • How much economic inequality is compatible with democracy and social cohesion?
  • How do people find purpose and voice in the face of overwhelming social forces?
  • What is the role of values in public life?
  • The three teams devoted half of their 20 hours to classroom discussions and the other half to researching a local nonprofit and writing a grant request.
    Other participants were:
    Family Abuse Center team: Chelsea Griffeth, Ariana Coleman, Katelyn Moody and Katlin Parsons.
    Communities in Schools Team: Brad Sherrill, Jenna Hampton, Ana Martinez and Meredith Hopkins
    Student Meredith Hopkins said the experience “shined a light on what goes on behind the scenes of nonprofits across Waco and the importance of foundations in a community. Grant-writing certainly is not easy, but it is fundamental to a nonprofit’s survival and success.”
    Student Katlin Parsons said that she came to realize “what nonprofit organizations have to go through to do what they do. They do so much good for their community, but it is hard to get funding without months or years of preparations towards a grant that still might not necessarily come through. It is a constant wonder if their program is going to be able to happen or not.”
    Students received training from Kathy Krey Ph.D., research director for Texas Hunger Initiative; a critique on the first draft from Nancy Grayson, Ph.D., former superintendent at Rapoport Academy in Waco; and feedback from Felicia Goodman, executive director of the Cooper Foundation, which awards grants qualifying nonprofits in Waco and sponsors the Nonprofit Network.
    Goodman reviewed the grant requests. BIC faculty on the winner selection committee included Moore; Charles McDaniel, Ph.D., associate professor; Candi Cann, Ph.D., assistant professor; and Emily Glass, Ph.D., lecturer.


    Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


    Established in 2002, the Baylor University Honors College encompasses four distinct programs — the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, the Great Texts Program, the Honors Program, and the University Scholars Program. The College brings together a community of students and faculty devoted to the love of learning, to the cultivation of wonder, and to pursuing life’s most important questions. Students learn to see connections between different courses and disciplines, between what goes on in the classroom and the lives they pursue outside class, and between the life of the intellect and the life of faith.