Lang Scholar Profiles
Ferial Berjawi '19 In partnership with an organization like Makhzoumi Foundation, Berjawi, of Beirut, Lebanon, aims to empower youth in Lebanon through her Lang Project, Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders. “Working with the Lebanese and Syrian communities toward providing training for and access to high-skill labor is vital to the creation of a sustainable source of income," she says. "More importantly, poverty alleviation is linked to the increase in school enrollment, decrease of child marriage and labor, as well as the reduction of poor health.”
Fatima Boozarjomehri ’18 There is a considerable presence of vision-related problems in Iran, even higher than that of other Middle Eastern countries. About 30-35 percent of people living in Iran are affected by myopia or hyperopia (nearsightedness or farsightedness). For people of high socioeconomic status, this is not an issue with modern technology such as prescription eyeglasses, contacts, or even laser vision correction surgery. For those less fortunate, eyeglasses are very expensive, and many people cannot afford them. Boozarjomehri's aim is to give those who cannot afford eyeglasses in Iran a chance to correct their vision. In partnership with Periclean Scholar group, the SEE Initiative, she plans to provide prescription eyeglasses made from recycled plastic.
Maria Castañeda Soria '18 A special major in peace studies and Spanish, Castañeda Soria writes, "A Community Resistance Zone [Maria's Lang Project] aims to teach every person in the South Philadelphia neighborhoods how to defend themselves and their neighbors during the Trump administration through door knocking, information sharing, and know-your-rights training for both ICE and/or police abuse. This project shows a commitment to build concrete mutual, neighborly relationships among people in a neighborhood. This means that neighborhood members commit to protecting and standing by their immigrant neighbors in the face of discrimination. They can show their support as a safe home that supports a welcoming neighborhood for immigrants by placing a human rights sign (that we will be creating) on their door or window. This project reflects my belief that, through community organizing led by community members, we can empower people to be agents of change in their own communities."
Sonya Chen '18 A political science and mathematics major, Chen created Word to Word: The Literacy to Community-Building Project, which aims to empower high school students of color from Philadelphia to be agents of change through engaging critically with texts and developing their voices through writing and public-speaking. This project is rooted in the firm belief that education should be student-driven and provide opportunities for students to connect the classroom to the community. Through Word to World, students grapple with concepts such as justice, power, and social action, and then apply their understandings to analyze and tackle social issues. Working primarily with students who have experienced an underfunded and testing-centered school system, Word to World aims to support students in exploring education as a way of making sense of the world and effecting positive change.
Mariah Everett '18 A major in sociology/anthropology with a minor in biology, Everett will develop a Lang Project in the area of refugee health. "To borrow the words of doctor and medical anthropologist Paul Farmer: 'For me, an area of moral clarity is: you're in front of someone who's suffering and you have the tools at your disposal to alleviate that suffering or even eradicate it, and you act.' The Lang Opportunity Scholarship Program will give me the tools to act to improve the quality of healthcare received by refugees in America. I am excited to embark on this journey working towards a more just world."
Omri Gal '19 seeks to counter discrimination against Mizrahi youth in Israel through entrepreneurship and social innovation programming. “Given [Israel’s] tech-oriented, innovative context, launching a project that teaches entrepreneurial techniques and methods to Mizrahi students could have significant impact,” he says. Gal is considering a variety of possible approaches: a multi-day, intensive social innovation hack-a-thon; creating an innovation hub where students could collaborate, learn, and develop their own ideas; an afterschool program; and/or a summer camp.
Tyler Huntington '18 Harvest Circle, Huntington's Lang Project, aims to increase healthy food access throughout the greater Philadelphia area by enhancing the capacity of existing nutrition resources in both the emergency food sector and the urban retail environment. Specifically, the project has helped three regional food banks to implement geospatial analysis tools for better pinpointing their relief efforts and assisted seven corner stores in Wilmington, Delaware with retrofits that enable them to stock and sell healthier products. Through these two modes of intervention, Harvest Circle ultimately strives to improve local food environments for people experiencing various forms of hardship securing ample nutrition for themselves and their families.
Rose Ridder '19 Ridder aspires to create an interactive approach to STEM education in Thai science classes through her Lang Project, Branching Out Through STEM. “Thai science curriculum focuses on reading and memorization rather than physical engagement through experiments and interaction," Ridder explains. "My project aims to address the request of Phapangwittaya school teachers and administrators to implement a more experiment-based science program in Phapang’s science classrooms and to provide access to students around the area to engage in more interactive scientific processes.”
Eriko Shrestha '19 To combat solid waste management challenges in her hometown of Kathmandu, Nepal, Shrestha proposes to collaborate with a NGO to establish a center -- सफा घर or Safa Ghar (“clean house”) -- where waste collectors can bring their valuable materials for a higher profit per-kilo. Safa Ghar would function as a center where waste collectors can learn about proper separation of collected waste, gain access to safety equipment and healthcare and increase financial and social capital of waste collectors.