Six Sophomores Named Lang Opportunity Scholars

Stacey Kutish

Six Sophomores Named
Lang Opportunity Scholars

by Stacey Kutish
12/11/09

Six sophomores are the newest recipients of the Eugene M. Lang Opportunity Scholarship, which provides a guaranteed summer internship, educational enhancement funds, and the opportunity to apply for up to $10,000 to create a project that addresses a social problem. Scholars who successfully complete a project are also eligible for up to $5,000 each year for graduate studies, up to two years.

"The Lang Opportunity Scholarship presents an outstanding opportunity for Swarthmore students to work toward significant social change," says Joy Charlton, executive director of the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. "We very much look forward to working with this cohort of scholars and to supporting their goals."

BortnerAdam Bortner of Joppa, Md., plans to develop a digital storytelling project to empower people living with HIV/AIDS with the support of his Lang Opportunity Scholarship. He intends to partner with nonprofit agencies to offer digital storytelling workshops that will help individuals preserve their stories and combat the stigma of HIV/AIDS. He began this work as a 2009 Chester Community Fellow, working with the AIDS Care Group of Chester, Pa. through which he nurtured transformative relationships with people living with HIV/AIDS, mental illness, drug addiction, and histories of incarceration. While there, Adam began a digital storytelling program.

Rebekah JudsonRebekah Judson of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., will use her Lang Opportunity Scholarship to create a digital literacy program in the South Bronx. The program will prepare middle school students to harness the power of technology. She aims to make digital information available to students from underprivileged communities and to develop technological literacy among the students. Judson first explored these themes during the 2007 – 2008 academic year which she spent with City Year New York (Americorps). As part of that program she tutored and mentored K-5th grade students at a public elementary school in the South Bronx. In the summer of 2009, Judson worked as a Research and Development Intern at EdLab of Teachers College, Columbia University where she assisted in development of online tools representing the intersections between education and technology, and explored the online scholarly research habits and needs of undergraduate students.

Tom LiuTianyu (Tom) Liu of Norristown, Pa., plans to address preventable blindness in rural China with his Lang Opportunity Scholarship. He will work with a village to increase access to affordable cataract surgery, increase awareness of healthy eye care practices, and distribute sunglasses to reduce exposure to UV-B radiation. Liu aspires to become a medical doctor. This project will mark a continuation of his involvement in health projects in China; he previously organized and selected externs to assist in Hansen’s disease villages in Guangdong, China.

Lizah MasisLizah Masis of Eldoret, Kenya, will promote financial literacy among women in her home country with the support of her Lang Opportunity Scholarship. She plans to partner with a small group of like-minded young people to provide micro loans and financial education opportunities to women in Mt. Elgon, Kenya. The micro loans will support women who wish to start or expand businesses.

Stephanie RodriguezStephanie Rodriguez of Bronx, N.Y., plans to establish a Youth Writing Center in Chester, Pa. with the support of her Lang Opportunity Scholarship. The center will focus on preparing young girls with basic writing skills, providing creative writing exercises, and lessons in writing for the Web. This project will build upon Rodriguez’s own passion for writing in addition to her experiences working with young women at the Young Women’s Resource Center as a 2009 Chester Community Fellow and with the Swarthmore Dare 2 Soar program. Working with Dare 2 Soar, she helped a group of middle school students to produce their own literary magazine.

Sara ScheubSarah Scheub of Tontogany, Ohio, plans to expand and build upon Lang Scholar Diego Garcia Montufar’s 2009 project that established a waste management system in San Francisco, Peru. That project managed waste and created compost as an end-product. Scheub’s project will complete the cycle by using the compost to grow nutritional food for the community in a sustainable way. At Swarthmore College, Sara has been an active member of the Good Food Project and a Garden Manager.