2011 Napier Fellows
Jacob Cohen - Pomona College
Over the last several years Jacob has been deeply involved in helping young Vietnamese Americans in New Orleans East mount a campaign to challenge the systemic injustices that affect the public schools serving their community. The recipient of Davis and Strauss awards, Jacob used the stipends from those awards to help fund a study of the deplorable conditions gripping the schools, as well as of the policies and attitudes that sustain them. For his Napier project he worked with the local Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association to take a series of actions aimed at generating corrective steps by decision-makers.
Samuel Gordon – Pomona College
A series of work and volunteer experiences taught Sam the power of personal relationships across traditional economic and social divides; it also has shaped his long-range vocational goal of working to help people from different social strata take collaborative steps toward improving their communities. After six experiences in post-Katrina New Orleans, Sam proposed the expansion of an after-school program with elective activities for students under the auspices of Our School at Blair Grocery, in the city’s Lower 9th Ward. By arranging such activities as cooperative gardening, he hoped his Napier Project would help young people become emotionally invested in improving their own lives and the condition of their neighborhood.
Carly Graber – Claremont McKenna College
Carly’s extensive involvement in community-building activities among impoverished groups in Ecuador led to her proposed Napier project: to return to the Ecuadorian coastal village of Puerto Cayo to help community leaders fulfill their dream of establishing a viable ecotourism industry. She believed that this step could both attract environmentally concerned vacationers and provide employment for villagers who now flee to big-city slums in search of work. Carly's proposal included raising residents’ awareness of pertinent environmental issues, developing several sustainability initiatives such as composting and water recycling, teaching English classes, and marketing Puerto Cayo as an ecotourist destination.
Eugenie Hong – Scripps College
Eugenie planned a vocation in medicine, with a particular interest in working among under-represented communities in rural areas abroad. A graduate of Claremont High School, she has long experience in leading youth volunteers at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. She served as the founding president of the Pre-Health Club, which embraces college students preparing for health-related careers. For her Napier project, Eugenie proposed working among leprosy patients at the Yeosu Yaeyang Hospital on an island in South Korea, focusing there on recording an oral history that would make members of mainstream society aware of the ostracism and discrimination typically experienced by lepers.
Paul Kim – Pitzer College
Paul’s four years as a hospital corpsman in the US Navy brought him extensive contacts with people in Asia and the Middle East; it also generated a strong commitment to the power of education in fostering human development and intercultural understanding. A semester at Payap University in Thailand led to his proposed Napier project: establishing an English-Thai library in northern Thailand. Paul hoped the library would become a center for interactive learning and personal empowerment among underprivileged Thai youth.
Amanda Lam – Claremont McKenna College
Amanda’s work with vulnerable children in California, Hong Kong, China, the Philippines, and Cambodia pointed her toward a long-term career in human rights, with a focus on child advocacy. For her Napier project she proposed a return to Cambodia to implement a three-pronged program on the small island of Koh Rumdual, twelve miles from Phnom Penh, the capital. One part of her program aimed at helping people build their capacity for producing vegetables and raising poultry; another addressed sanitation needs; and the third would introduce arts and music as well as cultural treasures to children.
Briana Levin – Pitzer College
Briana’s wide-ranging commitment to environmental sustainability emerged from a series of unusually diverse experiences: from helping to bring solar ovens to low-income families in the Dominican Republic; to creating an information database on hazardous chemicals in electronics products; to helping install solar electric systems; to studying water provision methods in rural areas of Costa Rica. For her Napier project she planned to provide hands-on environmental education workshops at the California high school from which she graduated.
Samuel Lewis – Pomona College
In the summer of 2011 Sam worked with a Scripps College student to establish and direct a project, called Cultivating Youth Earth Connections, which engaged high school interns from the San Gabriel Valley in a six-week period of urban farming and environmental justice education at four sites in the Los Angeles area. For his Napier project, Sam proposed a continuation of the project for a second summer. He also intended to partner with such organizations as the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps, the Pomona College Environmental Analysis program, and Uncommon Good to develop institutional patterns and funding that would allow Youth Earth Connections to continue year-round programs well into the future.
Arlyn Madsen-Bond - Scripps College
Throughout her high school and college years, Arlyn was a dedicated and skilled soccer player. This athletic prowess, together with a passion for social justice, led to Arlyn’s involvement with several nonprofit organizations that use sports as a means of fostering social change and increasing equitable access to education. She worked with one of those organizations, COTRA, among youth in low-income neighborhoods of Reñaca Alto, Chile. For her Napier project, Arlyn proposed a return to Reñaca Alto to help COTRA further develop soccer as a means of engaging young people in activities that strengthen their self confidence and promote positive relationships with peers and adults.
Takako Mino - Claremont McKenna College
A highlight of Takako’s college years was her participation in multiple facets of debating – teaching the requisite skills, managing and judging debates in middle schools, and competing as a talented intercollegiate debater. For her Napier project, Takako worked in Uganda and Kenya, where she implemented a successful public debating project among hundreds of teachers and students on behalf of the Forum for African Women Educationalists. She also introduced the debate program in Rwanda and Tanzania. Takako believes that the debating experience is an effective tool for teaching African girls and boys to address social injustices as well as for fostering the personal skills necessary for self-growth and productive long-term citizenship.
Maria Rosales – Pitzer College
While growing up in a Spanish-speaking family in California, Maria decided to pursue a medical career among vulnerable groups in the United States. As a student at Pitzer, Maria’s internships in Costa Rica and Ecuador helped to focus her medical interest on Chagas disease, one of the least known and most deadly tropical diseases affecting Latin Americans. For her Napier project, she planned to work in provinces of Ecuador where Chagas is endemic, helping people increase their awareness of the disease and of effective preventive measures. She saw this experience as preparation her for future work in seeking a cure for this lethal disease.
Sarah Smilkstein – Scripps College
Sarah’s extensive experience with at-risk families in her native Oregon, as well as in Ecuador, Thailand, Mali, and the Claremont area, have showed her the indispensability of a relevant education for building healthy, productive lives. For her Napier project, she proposed a return to Mali to establish a community education center in the Niamakoro section of Bamako. Working closely with neighborhood leaders, she planned to develop interactive educational programs to bring young women and men together in small classes where they could engage the subject matter on their own terms. With significant community involvement in the center, Sarah believed the center would give marginalized Malians the power to effect the changes they want for themselves, their children, and their neighborhoods.