2013 Napier Fellows
La Thelma Armstrong - Scripps College
LaThelma focused her attention on Black girls growing up in urban settings of violence and disrespect for women. With considerable experience mentoring girls in difficult contexts in the US and in Ghana, LaThelma proposed launching a program she designed to empower Black girls by challenging the representations of Black girls in the media. In conjunction with The Ark in Chicago, she planned summer workshops for eighth- and ninth-grade African American girls to foster positive self-images through reading, writing, dialogue, community involvement, and mentoring.
Jared Calvert - Pitzer College
Fascinated by politics since childhood, Jared already had wide experience in organizing for elections and getting out the vote. He noted that in California, youth and minority populations are not proportionally represented in the political process. He proposed a training program for leaders from those groups in the Inland Empire in order to create a voting bloc to influence elected officials to support their interests. Jared worked primarily with Inland Congregations United for Change, a group which sought to increase minority voting and student power in educational policy.
Rachel Conrad - Pitzer College
As an undergrad, Rachel worked with farmers in Ecuador in the Dulcepamba watershed whose water rights are threatened by plans for a large hydro-electric power dam. Her research and documentary film helped to provide voice to the concerns of farmers in 72 area communities. Rachel returned to Ecuador to continue collaboration on a socio-environmental analysis of the watershed with Accíon Ecologicas in Quito. Her work informed the development of a just and sustainable water management plan that serves not only the growing needs for electrical power in Ecuador, but also the farmers whose lives depend on the watershed.
Ivette Guadarrama - Pomona College
Ivette outlined her concern for young adolescent women in low-income minority communities who often internalize cultural images of women that can be detrimental to self-esteem. She organized a program in Chicago to help a group of young women deal with these issues and proposed, as her Napier project, a return to Chicago to implement a year-long program at Casa Central, which would create an alternative space where high-school girls could come together to talk about their experiences as young women of color and where they could feel empowered through artistic expression and community building.
Tiffany Yi-mei Liu - Harvey Mudd College
Tiffany, an engineering major, expressed her interest in solving environmental problems with renewable energy. In addition to laboratory research on the very scientific side of environmentalism, she wished to explore the social aspect of sustainable development. Drawing from her experience in Ecuador, Tiffany sought to use the Napier fellowship to help introduce the social impact technical work has on the society to other Mudd students. She proposed as her Napier project to go to Kenya, leading a small team of freshman and sophomore students, to work with a boarding school in Ngomano to design and build a badly needed water-filtration system.
Erikan Obotefukudo - Claremont McKenna College
Erikan had become concerned with the inadequacy of health care for men in different cultural contexts. She did research in this area in both Brazil and South Africa, investigating available resources and interviewing men to understand their health needs and the factors that limit their access to adequate care. For her Napier proposal she hoped to return to Brazil, working in two neighborhoods of Salvador in partnership with organizations she knew there. She wanted to engage men and local health-care providers in group workshops and community outreach that address masculinity, men's health, self-care, and gender equality.
Erika Parks - Pomona College
Through volunteer work at Crossroads, a Claremont residential program for women released from prison, Erika learned about the complexity of readjusting to life outside the walls. For her senior thesis in sociology, she interviewed women who have made the transition from the residential program to independent living. Erika planned to build on this data to develop programming and a support network of alumnae of the program to empower them to reach out to each other, celebrate their achievements, and continue to grow.
Caitlin Watkins - Pitzer College
At Crossroads, a residential program for women released from prison, Caitlin assisted the women and started a social enterprise called ‘Fallen Fruit from Rising Women.’ The project created quality food products from donated produce and fostered development of job-related skills that could provide ongoing employment for the 30 women initially involved. She located a commercial kitchen and helped the women craft unique jams and condiments (such as Blackberry Sage Jam and Peach Chili), pack them attractively, and sell them at the local farmers' market. Local shops, including The Cheese Cave in Claremont, also carry the products. Caitlin wrote a detailed manual about all aspects of the operation so that others can carry it forward
Lucas Wrench - Pomona College
Lucas, a studio arts major, loves making things, riding a bike, building and repairing bikes, but especially helping others have the joy of making, fixing, and riding bikes. He organized programs on campus and off campus to encourage bicycling for environmental and social reasons and to make bicycles available at low cost for students and workers who need them. He proposed using the Napier grant to purchase a van and equipment to create a Mobile Repair Unit that would take Earn-A-Bike classes regularly to two Ontario high schools, where students would learn to build and repair bikes from donated recycled parts, and to distribute and repair bikes at day-laborer centers.