Lang Scholar Profiles

Efua Asibon '16 The lack of tailored educational programs and interventions for individuals with developmental disabilities and the lack of support for special educators in Ghana inspired Efua's proposed Lang Project, SustainAbility. SustainAbility will be a periodic and easily replicable teacher training program which will also serve as a platform for special educators in Ghana to brainstorm ideas and to involve in policy making. She plans to do an internship with The Center of Autism in Philadelphia next summer to help me develop skills that will crystallize the project, build bridges and networks to improve on the existing program plan.

Morgan L. Bartz '14 The objective of Morgan's Lang Project is to mitigate the environmental and health impacts of traditional waste management in Delaware County, Pennsylvania by creating a zero waste training for high school students and a zero waste curriculum for elementary students to be piloted in Chester, PA and Nether Providence, PA, respectively. The goal is that education around zero waste will initiate critical questioning of Delaware County's current waste management system and will lead to greater county momentum to reduce dependence on incineration as the primary method for managing waste, thereby reducing the disproportionate environmental, economic, and public health impacts on Chester residents, where the county's incinerator is sited. These aims will be actualized by equipping student participants in the training and curriculum with the critical thinking skills necessary to be active, political citizens, and in the case of the high school students, with employable skills to promote economic empowerment.

Cortnie Belser '15 Cortnie's Lang Project, Mission: Bmore will engage 15-20 high school students in Baltimore city in social dialogue and community engagement surrounding issues within urban black culture. The project will produce culturally responsive pedagogy through an African American history curriculum, using Baltimore city as a cultural hub to connect to the national black historical context. The cohort participants will develop community exhibitions to be displayed within a designated community to further educate and engage that particular community. The project's goal is to craft a community of young leaders dedicated to examining and challenging urban black culture through historic and contemporary critical thinking.

Hope Brinn '15 For her Lang Project, Hope seeks to utilize the largely untapped knowledge of talented first generation college students who have successfully navigated the college process themselves to help underrepresented students to gain admission to and successfully complete college through a virtual mentoring program. Mentors will begin working with their mentees in ninth grade to help them succeed in high school but also to give them the enrichment and cultural capital necessary to allow them to be successful through the admissions process and in college.

Al Brooks ‘16 The Student Equity Action Network (SEAN), Al's proposed Lang Project, is a small, grassroots organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap in the Palo Alto Unified School District. He writes, "With my project I would like to firmly establish ourselves within the community with well-endowed scholarships and subsidies to pay for students to take the PSAT, SAT, and/or ACT as well as to pay for everything from pre-school to college application fees, tutors, etc. and all of the resources the students who historically achieve in Palo Alto have access to. I would also like to ensure that the work that we started with A-G Alignment is seen through and has support starting in kindergarten to ensure no Minority students fall off track."

Christopher Capron '15 Chris aims to improve the self-efficacy of the diabetes community to care and effectively advocate for themselves through a telemedicine project using SMS technology and social media tools. In so doing, Chris plans to improve the holistic health, both physical and psychological, of children and youth with Type I diabetes in Quito, Ecuador and surrounding areas.

Erin Ching ‘16 For her Lang Project, Erin plans to use her passion for bicycles, mechanical skills, and experience with community-based bicycle programs to implement a bicycle empowerment scheme that will aim to confront gender inequity in a northern Indian community. The program will provide young women with bicycles and mechanical skills as well as offer an enriching, educational experience to promote self-actualization.

Jason Heo '15  Jason's Lang Project is called Farepath. It is a technologically-focused mechanism for increasing food access and promoting neighborhood civic engagement. Farepath aims to implement an efficient, door-to-door system supported by a technological platform that enables donors to directly monitor their contributions and offers a scalable solution to recruit volunteers. The technological platform will create transparency in the current black box of donation-giving as well as offer resources for starting other chapters; sponsor-donors can monitor their goods and track the progress of their neighborhood contributions, thereby increasing civic engagement. By developing mapping technology through mobile applications, there is great potential for creating communities of altruism throughout areas of the country where the model can be learned and applied, repeatedly. www.farepath.org

A'Dorian Murray-Thomas ‘16 SHE Wins Institute, A'Dorian's proposed Lang Project, will be a ten week summer program for Newark girls who have lost a parent or sibling to homicide. Winners will be empowered to use their experience as a catalyst for personal, intellectual and civic development. Fusing therapeutic, self-empowerment, and social justice models, SHE Wins aims to help students acquire a lifelong civic-minded framework that develops their intellectual, personal, and civic selves. The outcome will be a cohort of youth empowered to be agents of positive change throughout their communities. 

Aarti Rao '14 Aarti's Lang Project, Neonatal Care Geographic Information Systems (NCGIS), aimed to analyze and increase the efficacy of current Bhoruka Charitable Trust (BCT) maternal and child projects using GIS technology, and to implement a web-based mobile health notification system to increase community awareness of ongoing BCT services. The project goal was to assess, visualize, and ultimately work to overcome the social barriers preventing access to adequate infant and maternal care by combining community-based and technological approaches. Aarti conducted in-depth survey work and interviews to understand the root cause behind the high infant mortality rate and poor standards of health in Churu, India, and based upon this data collection, published information about best practices for home births and emergency contact information. This information has been shared with village elders and expectant women. 

Isabel Sacks '15  Isabel's project, Pedagogy for Social Action, will initiate teacher-led workshops addressing issues of social justice with high school students at Santa Maria del Batey (a rural school in the Dominican Republic). The project has four goals: (1) empower the teachers in their professional development by creating a permanent "community of practice," (2) redirect pedagogy towards critical thinking, reading, and writing in the classroom in place of copying and rote memorization, (3) open discussions in the wider community about social justice and relevant issues such as violence, abuse, gender disparities, Haitian/Dominican tensions, religious differences, race, and class, and (4) inspire students to make a difference in their community.

Michaela Shuchman ‘16 For her Lang Project, Michaela proposes to create a drama program, The Stage of Life, which will introduce Philadelphia middle school students to acting. The program would give the students tools to use in their everyday lives through the study of acting. She writes, "Starting out in one classroom in one school, my idea is to have the program expand to more classrooms and schools, involving more students from both the Philadelphia schools and Swarthmore and creating a lasting bond between the two. After the first year of the curriculum, a drama club at the school would be created to help continue to supply theater outlets to the students who really want them. My goal is that the students of the schools in Philadelphia always have the ability and opportunity to tell their stories." 

Riana Shah '14  Riana's Lang Project, Independent Thought & Social Action International (ITSA) is an education reform organization that creates socially responsible youth leaders through critical thinking and community-based social action projects. Through social action workshops ITSA participants then create and implement their own community-based social action project in partnership with a community in Ahmedabad, India with monetary and mentoring help that ITSA provides. Mariana Stavig '14 For her Lang Project, Young Latina Leadership Program, Mariana worked in collaboration with Migrant Education Program (MEP), a national Title 1 Part C program funded by the No Child Left Behind Act, which serves the children of Latino agricultural workers. Over the course of two months, Mariana worked with young Florida Latinas around issues of empowerment, health and educational possibilities and provided them with the tools, through information and support, to continue their education, become more health conscious, and improve self-esteem. In an effort to maximize resources and effort, this program had two different stages: 1) 4 weeks of classroom visits (approx. 100 young Latina women were reached) and 2) a targeted, intensive program (that included 40-50 individuals for the span of four to six weeks).

Duong Tran '15  Duong's vision and life goal is to empowering millions of young Vietnamese to create positive changes in Vietnam. To this end, Duong's Lang Project, Youth's View, Voice and Vision in Society (YVS) will develop critical thinking, debate and public speaking skills among Vietnamese youth through workshops, member clubs in high schools and universities, and annual events. Duong's end goal is a strong network of youth with ideas, skills and self-confidence to discuss social issues effectively, formulate solutions and take actions to change society for the better.

Akunna Uka '14 The mission of SkillQuest, Akunna's Lang Project, is to support existing efforts to provide adult education in Chester, PA and expand the delivery of adult education in technology. As a result of the mission, SkillQuest involves working directly with students through classes and providing resources to the partner organization, the Delaware County Literacy Council. The goal of SkillQuest is to empower Chester adults to pursue higher education or vocational training by strengthening computer literacy, which is necessary to succeed in the present workforce. Residents will be better equipped to use the plethora of resources provided by the City of the Chester, such as the Crozer Library Databases, in order to reach their academic and career goals. The motivation to create and implement SkillQuest comes from the understanding, after interning in Chester for 1.5 years, that Chester residents strive to uplift themselves economically but need a stronger foundation of skills and understanding of the resources available in order to be competitive in the labor force.

Minh Vo '14  Minh's Lang Project, Life Skill and Mentorship Program for Young Orphans in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is designed for an all-male orphanage of 110 boys focused on the challenges of institutionalized children. Beyond giving them basic amenities (food, shelter and schooling), Vietnam has not done much for its young orphans, forgetting that it takes a functional family to raise a child. Outcomes for Vietnam's young orphans - raised in crowded institutions and subtractive gang environments - are historically school under-achievers and youth delinquents. Minh claims that building developmental structures into their lives at a young age and guiding them in making important decisions on a weekly basis are sustainable and effective interventions. Minh delivers these impacts through three program activities (1) supporting them to gain age-appropriate skills which they use to bring service to underprivileged communities (2) rewarding them for demonstrating positive behaviors and values that are guaranteed to promote their short-to-medium term school and social success (3) giving them an activity mentor who focuses on guiding them through activity challenges speaking to their individual weaknesses and strengths.

Ciara Williams ‘16 Ciara's proposed Lang Project, Chester Green's Environmental Education Program, is an initiative to collapse the distinction between the natural, home, and school environments. The students at Stetser Elementary have already begun environmental education, writes Ciara, "my program will create a curriculum and a set of activities and projects throughout the year to supplement the school's garden and ECO School program." Her Lang Project will work towards the goal of empowering Chester residents through concrete experiences with the aim of achieving environmental literacy. The ultimate goal of the project is to have empowered 35 or so individuals in the principles of environmental justice, as Environmental Justice ambassadors, they will be responsible for teaching others.