Student Story

Simmons Welcomes Passionate Leaders Project Scholars for Spring 2024

Abigail Bloom, Aria Cooper, and Adriana Lizeth Campuzano Martinez
Abigail Bloom, Aria Cooper, and Adriana Lizeth Campuzano Martinez

The Passionate Leaders Project (PLP) supports Simmons undergraduates by enriching their academic and professional interests beyond the boundaries of a conventional classroom. Students may request up to $4,000 to support their research, internships, and creative endeavors. This semester’s cohort comprises student-scholars producing original research on healthcare for seniors, fashion sustainability, and the intersection of the arts, social justice, and gender-expansive agency.

Meet the Spring 2024 Cohort

Abigail Bloom ’24

Abigail Bloom

Major: Public Health
Project: “Promoting Senior Health Through Intergenerational Caregiving and Dementia Awareness with CareYaya”

The percentage of the American population classified as “seniors,” aged 65 and older, will continue to rise from 8% to a projected 22% in 2050 (Statista, 2024). This growth in the senior population creates new challenges in the American healthcare system — for example, caring for a larger number of individuals living with multiple chronic conditions and funding such healthcare. In fact, Medicare, the government-funded health insurance for adults aged 65 and older, cost $901 Billion US dollars in 2021, and about 60 million Americans were enrolled in the service (CRS, 2023). One of the more complicated and costly chronic conditions associated with old age is dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, affecting approximately 1 in 9 individuals ages 65 and older (Alzheimer’s Association, 2022, 19). With the support of Neal Shah, CEO of CareYaya, Dr. Charlotte Powley (PH 370 internship seminar professor), and Dr. Valerie Leiter (Bachelor’s in Public Health Program Director), this project seeks to support the well-being of seniors in the Boston area through cost-effective community health, research, and advocacy with an emphasis on cost-effective digital health literacy and dementia prevention measures. Via outreach conducted during the semester, we strive to form relationships with local professionals and organizations, such as geriatricians and senior centers. To gain additional insight into the complexities of caring for individuals with dementia and related disorders, we will assess the utilization of dementia-specific training for caregivers in assisted living facilities through surveys administered to the leadership of such institutions in the Boston area.

Adriana Lizeth Campuzano Martinez ’24

Adriana Lizeth Campuzano Martinez

Major: Computer Science
Project: “Adria: Empowering Fashion Sustainability through Data and Mobile App Development”

“Empowering Fashion Sustainability through Data and Mobile App Development” addresses the negative impact of fast fashion and social media on the fashion industry by promoting sustainable practices, particularly second-hand shopping. Social media has fueled a culture of excessive consumption and trends, leading to environmental degradation and unethical labor practices. Through innovative data and image processing technologies, my project aims to empower fashion consumers to make more sustainable choices.

The project involves developing a user-friendly mobile app called ADRIA that allows users to securely archive their style photos. The app’s key feature is an image processing capability that scans items in photos and suggests similar products available for sale on second-hand websites. By promoting second-hand shopping and providing a creative outlet for fashion enthusiasts, the app seeks to reduce fashion waste and promote sustainable fashion practices. Overall, the project aims to make a positive impact on the fashion industry by encouraging more people to embrace sustainable fashion options.

Aria Cooper ’25

Aria Cooper

Major: Arts Administration
Project: “Girls Rock Camp Adventure: Service, Teaching, and Courage in Creativity”

When I was 16, I attended Chattanooga Girls Rock Camp and learned to play the guitar and compose songs for the first time, an experience that taught me how to use my voice and take up space in creative and powerful ways. Girls Rock Camps is a volunteer-based alliance of youth-centered social justice and arts organizations dedicated to empowering young girls, women, and gender-expansive youth through music education and performance. Students from underrepresented identities and communities, often without pre-existing musical experience, are invited to participate in workshops and classes on songwriting, learning an instrument, activism, careers in music, and other forms of self-expression that culminate in a collaborative performance. In this project, I will travel to Girls Rock Camps across the United States to serve as a mentor to emerging youth bands as they learn how to play instruments, compose, and perform original songs. Using a blend of film photography, instrumentals, and Digital Audio Workstation, I plan to document my experiences at the camps and eventually create and produce an original album. This project combines my passion for youth leadership, music, and creative self-expression.

Publish Date


Kathryn Dickason