Rollins

Cohen ’25 and Pool ’26 Named Ginsburg Fellows

June 05, 2024

By Jessica Firpi ’11

Ginsburg Fellows Lexi Cohen '26 and Joseph Pool '26
From left: Alexandria Cohen ’26 and Joseph Pool ’26.

Alexandria Cohen ’25 and Joseph Pool ’26 have been selected as 2024-25 Ginsburg Fellows, a scholarship and mentoring program for students passionate about social justice.

Established by prolific real estate developer, entrepreneur, and Rollins Trustee Alan Ginsburg, the Ginsburg Family Foundation conducts extensive philanthropic work across Central Florida in everything from health care to human rights. Last year, the foundation launched the Ginsburg Fellows Program to provide local youth with academic scholarships, program seed funding, networking opportunities, mentoring, and education with the aim of empowering students to be positive activists for social justice.

In partnership with the Take Action Institute and the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center, the program creates a civic engagement incubator for student leaders to be catalysts for change and launch nonprofit efforts in Central Florida. The students chosen for the program demonstrate enthusiasm for social justice and get the opportunity to apply their skills and passion to making systemic changes in the community, including realizing the Ginsburg Foundation’s commitment to The Central Florida Pledge.

This year, the Ginsburg Fellows Program selected just 11 high school and college students from Central Florida, among them biology major Alexandria “Lexi” Cohen ’25 and public policy and political economy major Joseph Pool ’26.

Connecting his two biggest passions—food and intercultural exchange—Pool is the founder of Breaking Bread, a student organization that focuses on building community and fostering dialogue through shared meals. He even explored the idea of culinary diplomacy in a student-faculty research project with religion professor Yudit Greenberg, going on to present the findings at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions, which was attended by more than 7,000 leaders from dozens of countries. Pool also serves as the president of the Student Government Association (SGA) and has found that sharing food helps him connect with his own Moroccan Jewish heritage.

Ginsburg Fellow Joseph Pool '26
Joseph Pool ’26 explored the idea of culinary diplomacy in a student-faculty research project with religion professor Yudit Greenberg.

“Food is the most fundamental way we let our guard down and learn from one another,” says Pool, who credits his success to the mentorship he’s received from Greenberg and the opportunities he’s received at Rollins to engage in rigorous study across disciplines. “It gives us common ground to start conversations, but it also allows each of our identities and ideologies to shine.”

As a Ginsburg Fellow, Pool hopes to turn his work in creating connections and developing dialogue with Breaking Bread, SGA, and the Student Interfaith Council into a community-wide process, incentivizing people to sit down with strangers to eat and talk together.

“By creating shared spaces and experiences, we can combat blind hatred and turn it into fuel to address the problems of tomorrow together,” shares Pool.

Ginsburg Fellow Lexi Cohen '26
During her time at Rollins, Alexandria Cohen ’25 has been an active member of Rollins Hillel.

Passionate about Holocaust education and awareness, Cohen, a Jewish studies minor and co-president of Rollins Hillel, believes education and compassion have the power to end antisemitism and hatred, especially in today’s political climate and global upheaval.

As a Ginsburg Fellow, she hopes to lead coexistence on campus with a project involving educational sessions as well as interfaith dialogue, incorporating the mission of the Central Florida Pledge to combat all forms of bigotry. She plans on inviting Holocaust survivors to Rollins to share their firsthand experience of the horror they faced.

“This is vital for all students to become witnesses to the witnesses so we can truly say ‘never again,’” says Cohen. “The mission of the Ginsburg Fellowship holds an important place in my heart since it stands for combatting all forms of hatred and discrimination while working toward bringing people together.”

Like Pool, Cohen has benefited greatly from her relationship with Greenberg, who has encouraged her to use her voice for issues she’s passionate about. She also credits Heidi Zissman, associate director of Jewish life, for always supporting her and facilitating her leadership roles on campus.

The fellowship includes a $2,500 annual academic scholarship and a $2,500 startup grant for the students’ project ideas as well as the ability to utilize the Ginsburg Family Foundation network to pitch their project to other donors for further funding.

Professor and students in a class discussion at a Rollins outdoor classroom

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