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Whitman College junior psychology major Kainat Ansari and senior Annie Means, who is majoring in environmental humanities and Hispanic studies, have been announced as the recipients of the 2022 Ben Rabinowitz Award, given in support of student-proposed projects or learning opportunities that promote compassion in medicine or politics and enrich the campus community.

“The applicants for the 2022 Ben Rabinowitz Awards proposed a wide variety of projects to benefit both the Whitman and the Walla Walla community. It was a difficult choice to make, and I applaud all of the applicants for their vision and creativity,” says Alzada Tipton, provost and dean of the faculty. “I am confident Kainat and Annie will have a very positive impact on our communities through their projects.”

Compassion and Community

Ansari’s project, YANA (You Are Not Alone) is intended to provide a forum for members of Whitman’s BIPOC community to discuss mental health issues in a safe and inclusive environment. The project will center around a website offering mental health resources and individuals’ stories of healing. Ansari hopes YANA will promote unity and empowerment. “The whole purpose of this project is to strive for the best for yourself and for other people,” she wrote in her Rabinowitz application.

Annie Means“The Big Red Ban,” Means’ video project, will focus on national blood drive policies that often discourage and even prohibit sexually-active gay and bisexual men from donating blood, and will explore the stigma at the root of that policy. “Working through the lens of the Whitman and Walla Walla communities, this documentary short brings together key players from the medical field and Walla Walla's queer community to unravel these long-held biases about blood donation,” Means wrote in her project proposal.

Each awardee will receive $3,000 and will have up to a year to complete their project and present a report detailing its impact.

Read more about the Ben Rabinowitz Award and the winning projects from 2022 and previous years.