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Queens Student Wins National ‘Projects for Peace’ Award

May 01, 2024 By Queens University Communications

The first time she read the proposal, Maggie Dineen knew it was a huge ask. “They wanted us to come up with an innovative solution to a world problem,” says Dineen, a Queens University junior who has a major in Spanish and another major in Professional Writing and Rhetoric. Dineen was working on a proposal for Projects for Peace, a global program that issues $10,000 grants to primarily undergraduate college students. The program encourages young adults to develop innovative, community-centered, and scalable responses to the world’s most pressing issues.

As she thought more about it, Dineen remembered her time as part of the Queens border immersion trip, where students head to El Paso, Texas to learn more about the complex realm of immigration and human migration.

“I went on the border immersion trip last year and interviewed people who had just come from Venezuela,” Dineen says. “I got the chance to go to shelters right on the border and talk to people. It was like wow, this is something I really want to do with my future – to tell those stories.”

It wasn’t long after submitting her proposal that Dineen got the good news – she had just become the first Queens student ever to receive a Projects for Peace grant. Dineen’s project, “The Voice of Migrants,” will allow her to travel to Guatemala from May to August. She’ll interview migrants and then bring her findings back to Charlotte. The goal is to help inform area groups that support migrants on their journey into the United States. She’ll present her findings on campus and to community groups in the fall.

“I’m not out here to make policy changes. I’m not able to reform immigration policy. But why not help aid the shelters that are already here and are still receiving migrants?”

For Dineen, this new trip is just another step in her college journey – an enlightening experience that’s helped her forge a path of service to others in support of Queens’ motto, “not to be served, but to serve.” As part of her Davies Fellowship through Queens’ Belk Chapel, Dineen also engaged in interfaith research and experiential learning, most recently exploring Diwali and the Hindu community.

“My main goal is to make sure I’m not coming into these spaces thinking I’m going to change their way of thinking or way of life,” she says. “I’m truly there to learn and to create relationships. That’s just my biggest goal, is to make sure I’m culturally, spiritually, and religiously respectful.”