A Deeper Dive into the Hutchins Scholars in Social Justice Presentations

Ellen Jordan ’26 in News | November 10, 2023

        This summer, as part of the Hutchins Scholars in Social Justice Program, led by Zaheer Ali Lawrenceville offered a group of rising V Formers the opportunity to stay on campus for two weeks and immerse themselves in topics related to social justice. During the program, participants learned about a variety of tools used in social advocacy and campaign movements, such as the power of storytelling. The end goal of the program was for participants to apply their new understanding of social justice to a project of their choice. Hutchins Social Justice Scholars Cassie Dillard ’24 and Chloe Winograd ’24 were inter viewed about their experience with the program and their final presentations. 

        For Dillard, being a Hutchins Social Justice Scholar helped her gain more perspective on social justice in a larger societal context. “Before Hutchins, I could see only what was right in front of me, and now I feel like my whole vision is broader,” Dillard explained. 

        She also appreciated how she was able to apply her knowledge from the program—most notably their lear ning with policy and advocating for social change— to her other leadership roles, especially as this year’s Student Council Wellness Representative. 

        During the Hutchins program, Dillard conducted research into Narcan, an over-the-counter nasal spray that can treat narcotic overdose in emergency situations. Specifically, she investigated Narcan accessibility in New Jersey schools and other boarding schools: “I reached out to all the medical directors [at Lawrenceville], private boarding schools, and the local private schools that are part of MAPL.” 

        Dillard’s research yielded a fascinating result: while Lawrenceville carries Narcan only in the infirmary, most other schools in the area keep Narcan in at least one if not all of their buildings. “And there’s also the shocking numbers of how many teenagers die from opioid overdose every day,” Dillard added. 

        This research pushed D i l l a r d t o m a k e advocating for greater Narcan accessibility at Lawrenceville the focal point of her project. “ Increasing Narcan accessibilit y is just something that is so easy and also so prevalent right now,” she continued. Dillard believes that making Narcan more readily available at Lawrenceville— specifically through keeping it in all dorms and public safety vehicles—would be incredibly beneficial to student safety on campus. 

        As part of her project, Dillard also met with multiple Lawrenceville f a c u l t y m e m b e r s , including the Dean of Campus Wellbeing Rae Chresfield, and the Medical Director,Chris Renjilian. “It takes a lot of steps, and you have to meet with the Medical Director, the Head of School, the Assistant Head of School, the Dean of Wellbeing, and get all of these people to approve your idea before changes can actually be made,” Dillard said. 

        However, more than just gaining support from the adults on campus, Dillard also faced challenges in posing her idea to the student body. “People at Lawrenceville are just really busy, and it can be hard to get students to advocate for something when it doesn’t affect them directly,” she explained. 

        Though the presentations are over, Dillard’s work is far from done: “I’m not going to give up on this… I’ve been trying to make Narcan more accessible on campus since before Hutchins, and I’m planning on carrying it out after Hutchins,” she concluded. 

        Winogard applied for the Hutchins Scholars in Social Justice program after seeing how dedicated the scholars were towards making positive change in the Courtesy of The Lawrenceville School Lawrenceville community. “One of the amazing things about [the program] is that it teaches you effective ways to participate in and organize social justice movements,” she elaborated. 

        For her project, Winograd chose to research gender inequities in healthcare and how harmful ideologies such as sexism and racial discrimination impact the medical field. “The project focused on the ideas of women’s pain being invalidated, and the ideologies of women’s pain being mistaken for dramatics,” she explained. 

        Winograd was inspired to investigate this topic because of her own interest in the healthcare field, as she hopes to pursue a career in medicine. Additionally, she believes that many people “often don’t realize how much social inequities play into different fields,” especially the healthcare industry. With her project, Winograd aims to bring to light more of the injustices that individuals face in healthcare due to misogyny and racial prejudice. 

        “It’s scary to think that half of our population may not be receiving adequate healthcare, and that inequities exist even in the administering of treatments,” she explained. 

        A significant part of Winograd’s project included reading articles and analyzing statistics related to the topic. Through her research, Winograd learned more about the impact of negative ideologies, such as sexism and racism on the medical field, resulting in the underrepresentation of women working in the medical field. “I think that I really just tried to read a lot and find a resource that I think that everyone would benefit from seeing,” she said. One such resource that Winograd utilized during her research process was the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR), a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on advocating for women’s health. She shared SWHR newsletters with a number of her classmates in hopes of getting more peers to sign up for the newsletter and stay more up-to-date on the realm of women’s health. 

        Like Dillard, Winograd also encountered hardships in applying her research to making visible change within the Lawrenceville community. “Compared to a lot of other places, Lawrenceville is very privileged in terms of healthcare resources… it was challenging to get people who might not be impacted much by an issue to care about it,” she elaborated. Winograd’s goal was to strike a balance between making the issue relevant to the Lawrenceville community without losing the “general sentiment” of her findings. 

        Although her time in the program has come to an end, Winograd hopes to continue her research and build upon what she has learned.