Olivia Ligman Awarded 2023 Richard Ralph Winter Phoenix Rising Humanitarian Scholarship
Article by Meg Hamel
Olivia Ligman has received the 2023 Richard Ralph Winter Phoenix Rising Humanitarian Scholarship from the College of Letters & Science. Through the Student Workers’ Rights Committee of Associated Students of Madison (UW–Madison’s student government) Ligman emerged as an advocate for labor rights for students working in campus dining and residence halls. Looking ahead, she plans to “work with disenfranchised and historically exploited communities, such as children, and Black women, in labor education and empowerment. I also aim to organize against prisons and incarceration, and for the recognition of incarcerated workers’ rights. Through this organizing and education, my ultimate goal is to mitigate harm done to these communities, and create actionable paths to change that are accessible, meaningful, and sustainable.” She is from Amherst, Portage County, Wisconsin.
The selection committee for this scholarship praised the breadth of her campus and community service, for she has served as director of the Wisconsin Union Directorate Global Connections Committee, editor of the Journal of Undergraduate International Studies, participated in the 2022 Public Policy Leadership Conference at Harvard Kennedy School, tutored at a local community center, and helped high-achieving, low-income high-school students navigate college application processes through the Matriculate program.
Ligman intends to graduate in Spring 2024, after completing an intriguing combination of academic programs: a College of Letters & Science Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in African Cultural Studies and International Studies with an emphasis on Politics and Policy in the Global Economy. She is also on track to graduate with four of UW–Madison’s academic certificates: Global Cultures, Languages, and Education; Social Justice and Education; Middle East Studies; and East Central European Languages, Literature, and Cultures.
“I anticipate working as a community educator, organizer, and librarian, focusing on labor history and intersectional approaches to liberation. As libraries become one of the few bastions of free and publicly accessible literature, internet access, and meeting space, the role of librarians has become vital for social and community well-being, as well as public education and literacy,” she says.
The Richard Ralph Winter Phoenix Rising Humanitarian Scholarship, made possible by the generosity of Charles Manthey Winter (’66), recognizes humanitarian achievement and service, encouraging excellence and commitment in the application of humanitarian ideals, and affirming the moral obligation to provide for human welfare.
The 2023 scholarship selection committee included Professor Harry Brighouse (Philosophy); Dean Ladwig, Assistant Director of the Morgridge Center for Public Engagement; Ulrich Rosenhagen (History and Religious Studies), also director of the Center of Religion and Global Citizenry; and Professor Sasha Maria Suare (History and American Indian Studies).