2024 Napier Fellows
Taeya Boi-Doku - Pitzer College
Taeya Boi-Doku plans a way to fund continued work on critical infrastructure in an ecovillage called Asaase Yaa in Mankrong, Ghana. She will work there as one of the first essential volunteers to promote its sustainability by completing a series of infrastructure projects. These will include building earthbag cottages to allow for longer term guests and students. She also will support efforts to bring water pumps and a solar electrical system to the ecovillage, as well as taking the lead in developing an agroforestry regenerative garden.
Nancy (Huiying) Chen - Pitzer College
In a pilot program she began in summer 2023, Nancy (Huiying) Chen worked on providing exploratory activities in summer camps and long-term emotional support for under-resourced middle and high school students in Xinan Village, a rural village in China. In partnership with Xinan Library, the project will be further implemented in summer 2024 (and beyond) with two sessions (one for middle school and one for high school) with a variety of subjects. Research will also be conducted to better understand the students and the local landscape, to improve the program in the future, and to raise public awareness.
Sanya Dhama - Pitzer College
In partnership with Make A Difference (MAD) organization, Sanya Dhama plans to promote sexual and reproductive health empowerment among young girls in India through a two-pronged approach: 1) she will create a culturally-aware and age-appropriate sex education curriculum to be spread across schools in India to combat misconceptions mentioned in community conversations; and 2) she will allocate funds for sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing and treatment, together with providing hygiene products and improved toilet facilities in schools. She seeks to build a platform for greater gender and health equity across India.
Maria Duran Gonzalez - Pomona College
Maria Duran Gonzalez proposes the “Ecological Storytelling” project that implements story-based workshops to uplift the lineage of environmental histories present in Las Balsas, Ecuador. Her project is intended to ensure that all generations will rescue ancestral knowledge and continue their transformed heritage of environmental protection of flora, fauna, and land. Three phases will build upon one another: Storytelling Workshops, Ecological Group (focusing on birding by youth), and the Creation of New Stories, leading to creating an Anthology of Environmental Stories.
Noon El Mosalami - Pomona College
With strong concern for medically underserved people, Noon El Mosalami plans in her project to work empathically and lovingly with under-resourced communities in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Partnering with Fundacion Nuqanchik, her proposal is three-pronged: 1) Vaccine Accessibility and First Aid Care, 2) Youth-Focused Community Center; 3) Security. She hopes to increase vaccine stock that can be held in a proper freezer, together with available first aid kits; she wants to improve the youth center; and she plans to increase security measures.
Lyla Stettenheim - Pomona College
Lyla Stettenheim plans to create a short documentary entitled “Peace isn’t Passive” to record and promote narratives of restorative justice across New York City. She wants the documentary to serve dual purposes: to support the city’s restorative justice community and to educate the public around this transformative field. Partnering with the Center for Justice Innovation (CJI), and sharing the voices of educators, practitioners, legal system actors, and participants in restorative justice processes, Lyla intends to reshape perceptions of restorative justice and to encourage the embrace of its principles and practices.
Maya Kurkhill - Claremont McKenna College
Maya Kurkhill plans to create a debate and professional communication program in Kampala, Uganda, in partnership with Uganda’s first liberal arts university, Musizi University. The Public Debate Program promotes leadership through inter-school debates, professional conferences and podcasts, and opportunities for secondary-school and college students in 46 countries. The Uganda PDP will be supported by Musizi University’s Debate Union, which Maya will create with Dr. Takako Mino (co-founder of Musizi) in order to sustain secondary school programs and to empower university students through community service.
Rukmini Banerjee - Claremont McKenna College
Rukmini Banerjee intends to offer a ten-week course on Living Under Structural Violence to incarcerated people in the San Francisco Bay Area, partnering with the Prison Education Program (PEP). The course will include two parts: learning about structural violence through reading the works of important thinkers and then turning inward as participants share their experiences of structural violence and how to cope with its effects in their lives. In addition, she wants to institute a mentoring program so that, after the class ends, her incarcerated students may hear formerly incarcerated people discussing their experience with them.
Bertha Tobias - Claremont McKenna College
Bertha Tobias intends to create a docu-series that exposes young South African social entrepreneurs to a broader audience to help them secure needed support. With an unwavering belief in the power of video storytelling, she wants to amplify the work of social entrepreneurs who often are underserved and overlooked by mainstream media depictions. The show, named Spotlight, will present in-depth interviews with young entrepreneurs, depicting both personal struggles and their social impact journeys. The filming in Cape Town and Johannesburg, with Bertha as the project lead, emphasizes young, underfunded social entrepreneurs making an impact.
Louisa Calhoon - Scripps College
In collaboration with Students For A Free Tibet (SFT), Louisa Calhoon plans to educate young activists at the Youth for Tibet Action Camps in New York City and in Dharamshala, India, on design thinking in order to develop projects that could have positive impacts on their immediate Tibetan community. She seeks to help SFT improve the lives of Tibetan youth by implementing Human-Centered Design in two components: 1) conducting workshops on human-centered design thinking during the SFT’s Action Camp; and 2) using a human-centered approach to understanding and articulating the needs of Tibetan youth.
Destiny Rivera-Gomez - Scripps College
Destiny Rivera-Gomez plans to work collaboratively with Gente Organizada, a non-profit based in the City of Pomona, to create an agricultural training program through Gente Community Garden. The key objectives are: to support and produce more local farmers in Pomona, to create more community and home gardens (including locally grown organic vegetables), to document ancestral knowledge on land care, and to create educational resources for the Pomona community. By creating educational resources about our relationship with the land (Mother Earth), we can work against encroaching effects of climate change.
Irene Roman - Scripps College
Irene Roman intends to develop and institute a volunteer-based therapy dog network into the Claremont After School Program (CLASP). She indicates that children involved in CLASP are predominantly from minority and low income families, and thus often are unable to receive regular mental health care. As one who has worked regularly with therapy dogs, Irene senses that by providing a network of therapy animal teams to CLASP, children will be able to receive a unique form of mental health care without the cost and the unwanted discrimination.