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Ted Buchanan

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 Tulane Empowers

Tulane opens flagship community health center
The Ruth U. Fertel/Tulane Community Health Center and Brinton Family Health & Healing Center is dedicated. View the video.
 
Cowen Institute helps high schoolers advance
AdvanceNOLA aims to improve college readiness through the work of graduate students working in four high schools.
 
Green Wave alumnus vs. robots at regional contest
During spring break, Tulane students, faculty and staff members volunteer to help run the FIRST Robotics Bayou Regional.
 
Public-service intern pitches in to help girls
Senior Carolyn Doane works with ‘Girls on the Run,’ an organization that builds young girls’ self-esteem through physical activity.
 
A rare affliction and a medical first
Doctor successfully treats patient with both lupus and sickle cell disease. View the video.
 
Malaria Vaccine Relies on Mosquito Bites
A new vaccine may break the cycle of transmission of a disease that kills nearly 800,000 people every year worldwide.

Building a Career on Empathy

Tulane alumna uses social entrepreneurship in schools 

LauraWhite

Mary Sparacello                                                                         msparace@tulane.edu

Laura White (LA '12) is using what she learned at Tulane University to change how elementary school students are taught.

"You need to begin with empathy," says White, whose work at Ashoka's Empathy Initiative seeks to make this essential ingredient as important as reading, writing and arithmetic in our nation's elementary schools. Ashoka is a Washington, D.C. nonprofit network of social entrepreneurs.

"Empathy is being able to understand the feelings and emotions of other people and then being able to act in the best way for both of you," says White.

The foundation for this approach materialized recently when White was studying political economy as a Tulane undergraduate. She helped design Tulane's new minor in social innovation and social entrepreneurship as well as a social innovation incubator program for students. A native of Johns Creek, Ga., White is the founder of Swim for Success, a program that provides free swimming lessons to children in low-income families. As a Tulane junior, White traveled to Denmark and the Netherlands to study innovative educational nonprofits. These efforts earned her Tulane's top student outreach award last year, the Jim Runsdorf Excellence in Public Service Student Award.

Using her personal experiences, White wrote her thesis about the importance of perseverance, resourcefulness and self-control in early childhood. Research shows these non-academic skills are just as important as traditional testing subjects.

"At Tulane, I didn't just stay in the classroom and learn," White says. "I got out and designed and managed projects. That's what I do in my job now."

At Ashoka, White travels the country searching for new elementary schools to feature in the Ashoka Changemaker Schools Network. She manages 10 network schools that excel in teaching empathy, teamwork and problem solving.

White recently reflected on her Tulane experiences during a visit to campus in April. She was invited to speak to two introductory social entrepreneurship classes about post-Tulane career opportunities. 

"I feel really lucky to have gone here," White says. "There are so many opportunities for undergraduates to add this sort of perspective to their education."

Mary Sparacello is a writer in the Office of Development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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