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A more equitable society starts with social justice

Overhead view of four students outdoors at a table on Penn's campus

Authored by: Inspiring Impact

Photography by: Eric Sucar

Student Life, Gifts & Giving


The Social Justice Scholars Program at Penn SP2 is broadening access to graduate student education.

At a time when issues of social justice — racial equity, health disparities, income and education inequality — are top of mind, Gianni Morsell, SPP’22, is helping to build a more equitable society.

“Social justice is many things,” she says. “For me, it’s about influencing policy and making real change happen.” After graduating, Gianni began working for a nonprofit that advocates for forgiving student loan debt and improving student voter turnout.

Gianni is the first graduate of Penn’s Social Justice Scholars Program. The program was created by the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) to lift the financial burden of graduate student education through full-tuition funding for scholars. Preference is given to those graduating from historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions. “When I arrived after attending Morgan State University, I was embarking on this new experience with my cohort, and we formed a community right away,” says Gianni. She was joined in the first cohort by Paloma Brand, SPP’23, and Skye Horbook, SPP’23.