2023 Napier Fellows

KIMIKO ADLER – Claremont McKenna College

In partnership with the Lanterman House, a local history museum, Kimiko plans to spread appreciation for local history in the Crescenta-La Canada communities. As an independent researcher for the Lanterman House, she will update and digitize educational materials on La Canada Flintridge history used by elementary students in the La Canada Unified School District. She also will be creating a History Trail, with signage at historically relevant sites, for the 50th anniversary of La Canada Flintridge in 2026.  Kimi intends to highlight diverse, and previously unsung, voices that have impacted the community and the land’s history, including the experiences of indigenous persons and Japanese persons who underwent internment.

BRIAN BISHOP and ANAA JIBICHO – Pomona College

Anaa and Brian intend to spark an entrepreneurial spirit among youth in the Gifted Hands Educational Center, in Kiberia, Kenya, by equipping them with Human Centered Design and connecting them to entrepreneurs so that together they can tackle the crisis of water-borne diseases. Partnering with LiftUp and Water is Life, Brian and Anaa plan to have each of the students paired with a mentor from Water is Life who will help the youth set goals for their own futures. Anaa and Brian look forward to long-lasting connections between the mentors and youth so that the work of alleviating the water crisis can continue beyond their particular project.

DANNY CAMARENA and JORGE ANGEL LIZARRAGA – Pitzer College

Angel and Danny plan to create a self-help space in Los Angeles County juvenile probation camps through sixteen weekly workshops focusing on helping juveniles develop practical life skills, grounded in spiritual principles. The goal of the weekly gatherings is to foster dialogue around race, literacy, and political consciousness as ways of bringing about needed change in relationships and imagining a future free of gangs and violence. Partnering with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (A.R.C.) and with ReEvolution, Danny and Angel intend to create a curriculum that will aid youth in their life transformations and enable youth to become agents of social change themselves. 

REBECCA (BECCA) DOWNES – Pomona College

Becca plans to connect younger generation folks to the knowledge and ethos of an older generation of regenerative farmers to demonstrate that farming can be a fulfilling profession physically, intellectually, and emotionally.  Partnering with Ferme Lavancia, a family-run, organic farm in the south of France, Becca intends to build relationships with local farmers, to learn about the ethics behind this style of agriculture, to increase her farming skills, and to gather stories of farmers through interviews. Before the end of her stay in France, Becca will create an updated, digital version of the “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” in a blog format, in order to communicate the values of farming.

 

SABLE FEST – Scripps College

Sable intends to investigate the relationship between dietary patterns and sarcoidosis, a chronic inflammatory condition of unknown cause, that affects Black Americans, other underserved populations, and Swedish persons. Studying with and partnering with the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, especially the Sarcoidosis Epidemiology Research Team of the Clinical Epidemiology Division, Sable will have opportunity to learn critical tools for examining chronic disease risk factors,  and to gain research experience in pursuit of solving the pressing health issue of sarcoidosis in Sweden and throughout the world. 

MICHELLE MUTURI – Pitzer College 

Michelle plans to make eco-bricks from used plastic bottles filled with sand/plastic in order to beautify the environment of three schools on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. The project, done by volunteers and students in the schools, will include the creation of benches, decorative fences, tree guards, and flower planters, in order to improve aesthetics and to create a joyous, child-friendly environment. In addition, fruit trees will be planted to provide fruits to help boost the students’ diets. The project takes advantage of a local Competence Based Curriculum that encourages learners to be creative in using locally available materials. The partnering agency, the Rongai East Rotary Club, will continue the project once it has been launched by Michelle.

SERGIO QUECHOL – Pitzer College

Sergio intends to explore how art-making is a strategy for agency, care, and joy for trans women communities in Brazil, despite continuing erasure and violence of their identity. Through merging theory and creative practices, Sergio plans three stages within the project: strengthening knowledge of LGBT+ studies through cultural immersion; constructing and offering a curriculum for travesti and trans*femmes; and culminating by presentation of art pieces made by participating students as a way of illuminating the presence of travesti and trans femmes Brazilians. Sergio will partner with The Museo Transgenero de Historia e Arte (MUTHA) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where Sergio will participate in workshops and offer courses.

ELISA VELASCO – Pomona College

Elisa intends to implement a summer program, Historias de La Gente, with 15-20 Latinx high school students, in Norman, Oklahoma, meeting once a week for eleven weeks. In this program the students can explore their identity, learn the complex history of Latinx people in the United States, create a supportive network of friends and mentors, engage with local and national organizations and leaders, and create their own community-centered projects.  Partnering with Dream Action Oklahoma (DAOK), an organization that empowers the immigrant community through advocacy and education, Elisa will engage with DAOK’s Adelante Leaders Fellows, a group of Latinx youth who will plan and co-teach with her in Historias de La Gente.

ROSALIE (ROSY) WEBER – Scripps College

Rosy plans to bring Somatic Activated Healing (SAH) to disproportionately affected communities, such as schools, domestic violence shelters, refugee centers, and other places that likely would not have access to this healing modality. SAH includes breathwork, meditation, mantra, and movement intended to help persons heal from trauma through facilitating release of emotional residue stored in the body. Partnering with House of Ruth ( a domestic violence prevention center in Pomona), and with Pomona Partners (a mentoring program with Claremont colleges students and middle school students at Fremont Academy in Pomona), Rosy will offer SAH sessions in hope that participants’ daily lives will be improved.

KERRY WONG – Scripps College

In living with, working with, and listening to local residents along the Bangmod Canal in Bangkok, Thailand, Kerry intends to investigate the sources of increasing salinity levels in the Canal and to test possible solutions to address the impacts of salinity on the local communities and ecosystems.  Partnering with the School of Architecture and Design of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Kerry plans to understand the environmental factors that influence the Canal’s water quality and to run workshops where she will share research findings. In addition, she wants to test the feasibility of floating mangrove stations as ways to remove excess salt in order to remediate and restore the local ecology.

Napier Initiative