The Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching & Service (CSJ) awarded Sarah Tyree (CAS ’24) and Miray Samuel (CAS ’25) on March 15 the Legacy of Erica Pincus scholarship, centered on community impact and leadership.
The scholarships, established in 2021, provide $2,000 each to two co-captains of the CSJ’s First-Year Orientation to Community Involvement (FOCI) pre-orientation program for incoming first-years. Tyree and Samuel will lead the program, which focuses on social justice and community service in D.C., during the Fall 2023 semester.
The award commemorates Erica Pincus (SFS ’13), a former FOCI leader and CSJ assistant program director who died in 2021. Pincus attended Stanford University and Harvard University after her graduation from Georgetown University and worked in the Obama White House.
Samuel, who participated in FOCI during her first year at the university and became a group leader her sophomore year, said she wanted to lead the program so that she could continue her involvement in a supportive on-campus community.
“It was a space on campus to come together with a group of people that is both immensely diverse but also unified in its goals of wanting to learn, being willing to reflect and having a desire to intentionally work with the greater community around us,” Samuel wrote to The Hoya. “I’m excited to hopefully impact more incoming freshmen the way that the program impacted me.”
Tyree said working with the CSJ has allowed her to improve her leadership skills and meet people who share her values.
“Working in CSJ programs has connected me with lifelong friends and pathways for cultivating leadership and service with others,” Tyree wrote to The Hoya. “The CSJ emphasizes intentionality and consensus and has made me a more conscientious decision maker while also making me feel heard and respected as a part of a team.”
Tyree said the Erica Pincus scholarship would allow her to devote time to CSJ programs including FOCI while reducing the financial pressure of living in D.C.
“The Pincus award graciously mitigates some of the financial burden and provides me the opportunity to dedicate my attention to the commitments that should be given more time and energy,” Tyree wrote. “Because the Erica Pincus award is named after a former co-captain, it also invokes my reflection on the FOCI program’s history and its legacy, and how I can help shape that as a co-captain.”
The CSJ also runs the Alternative Breaks Program (ABP), which allows students the opportunity to travel to various locations around the District and the United States during spring break. This year, students had the chance to travel to Nogales, Ariz.; Harlan, Ky.; and Detroit, Mich., among other places.
Samuel participated in an ABP trip in her first year at the university and was an ABP leader this year. Samuel said her time at the CSJ has influenced the way she views her academics and her plans post-graduation.
“I feel like the work that I do with the CSJ impacts how I look at every aspect of my life — the ways in which I think about my classes and what I prioritize for my future,” Samuel wrote. “I can find people who are kind, interested in the people around them, and looking for connections with the community.”
Emily Diaz (CAS ’25) received the Legacy of Erica Pincus scholarship in 2022 and said receiving the award and leading the FOCI program allowed her to build a welcoming environment for first-year students.
“Through the people I met and the community that was built I knew I wanted to be part of forming that same feeling of love and acceptance for other first year students,” Diaz wrote to The Hoya.
Diaz said the CSJ’s support has allowed her to fulfill her interest in social justice while being part of a strong community.
“I have always had a passion for social justice and the CSJ has been a place of support where I am able to do this and go out of my comfort zone,” Diaz wrote. “The CSJ has helped me become a more well-rounded person and a Hoya for others at Georgetown.”
Samuel said she hopes to give incoming first-years the same space to explore social justice she received through FOCI.
“I am just one person who is also always continually learning about social justice and ways to better be in solidarity with others, and so my greatest hope beyond putting together a great program for FOCI is to allow others the opportunity to experience that solidarity, learn about the things they are passionate about, and find a community of like-minded people like I did,” Samuel wrote.