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2015 Recipient

Grochowski Photo

The 2015 Harrop and Ruth Freeman Prize in Peace Studies was awarded to Alexon Grochowski. She was a graduating senior in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management in the College of Human Ecology.  She is being congratulated here by Jonathan Kirshner, the Director of the program at that time.

In 2013 she had the opportunity to accompany a group of her friends who were going to Haiti to work with a local NGO to work on engineering a water filtration system. While her friends worked on their project she began meeting with people in the community who wanted to build a primary school that would provide the same quality education to students with and without disabilities. Grochowski became inspired by their dreams and was determined to find a way to use the resources at Cornell to support the Haitian community’s vision.

Grochowski founded Centre d’Education Inclusif (CEI)—a collaborative effort between Les Cayes, Haiti and Cornell University-- to connect communities and improve educational systems by building the first fully inclusive primary school in Haiti.  She devoted her entire collegiate career to the development of CEI by recruiting participants, establishing partnerships, and garnering sources of support.  During her senior year CEI had an interdisciplinary team of 9 Haitian institutional partners, 20 students, and 5 faculty members from across 4 Cornell colleges focusing on education, community-driven design, and sustainable development.

Grochowski lead two student trips a year to Haiti and spent the fall 2014 semester coordinating project efforts there. The team was hoping to institutionalize the project by creating a new, CEI-centered course under the “Engaged Cornell” initiative to model interdisciplinary, engaged learning at Cornell, so that future students could have the opportunity to connect with community partners globally and solve pressing social issues together. Grochowski planned to return to Haiti full-time after graduation and looked forward to opening the path to a bright future for as many children in Haiti and students at Cornell as CEI can reach in the years to come.