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Lang Scholar Profiles

LOS Class of 2023

Daniel Torres Balauro ’23 For Pacific Islanders, the climate crisis does not only represent ecological losses, but also the threat to erase cultures and identities. Despite this fact, the Pacific narrative, alongside many communities on the frontlines of climate change, are often disregarded in the mainstream environmental movement. Daniel’s project aims to address these inequalities by developing a program to equip Pacific Islanders with the political advocacy tools to effectively contribute to national climate justice discourse. In doing so, he hopes to demonstrate that an inclusive advocacy community is not just valuable, but absolutely crucial in achieving both climate and racial justice. “Being a Lang
Scholar means that I will have both the financial and networking support to affect important social change in my Pacific community. Through my project, it is my hope to shift the western-centric paradigm of mainstream environmentalism to one that effectively uplifts the stories of frontline communities.”

Aleina Dume ‘23 Aleina’s intended project, “FLI to Graduation,” is a six-week college transition summer program for incoming first-generation and low-income (FLI) students. Through near-peer mentorship, project-based learning, and career exploration, a cohort of New York City high school graduates will develop skill sets to maintain their health and wellness, achieve academic success, and begin to become career-ready. This will be achieved through collaborative workshops and activities that encourage self-expression and community building, which lead to the cohort’s graduation and their completed portfolios. “Being a Lang Scholar means that I get to work with others who are giving back to their community and do the same, both with my own project and in the future as a mentor! My main goal with FLI to Graduation is to create a supportive network for incoming college students that encourages them to develop their confidence and agency and, ultimately, finish a degree.”

Mwangangi Haron Kalii ‘23 Kitui County has long suffered from low literacy levels as well as a low socio-economic status, as compared to the national averages. As a Lang Scholar, Mwangangi intends to create the Elimu Kwanza After-School Program in the Kasaala region of Kitui County, Kenya. This project seeks to enhance economic development by increasing education access in the region. It aims to improve the academic experience for students in this region by offering after-school activities, like clubs and sports, and providing the resources required for students to thrive intellectually and stay in school. “Being a Lang Scholar, means that I get to be a member of a very self-driven group of individuals, who have chosen to tackle very challenging problems in a bid to improve society. I feel honored to be under the tutelage of such experienced social innovators, as I prepare work for my own project. In the short term, I hope to see a shift in the students’ attitude towards school and disincentivize them from dropping out of school. Through this process of retaining students in school, my project aims to see a more economically developed Kasaala in the long term, which will be made possible by having a more educated citizenry.”

Philippe Kame '23 In Cameroon, very few museums exists, and the few that are present are not easily accessible or are just not well known. Yet, individuals' connection to their history and culture is important to understand themselves, but also the people and places around them. Philippe’s project thus aims at improving the accessibility of museums; collections to a wider Cameroonian audience, by digitizing these collections and providing an intuitive and interactive way to engage with this content. “To be a Lang Scholar to me means working with diverse and dynamic individuals to make a better sense of the world and attempt to make a meaningful change. I hope for this to be a meaningful learning  opportunity that pushes the boundaries of my abilities, but also a successful attempt at consequentially giving back to my community.”

Chunyang Wang '23 "The FreeArt Initiative [Chunyang's proposed Lang Project] aims to improve disadvantaged children’s access to art education in China. Because of the hukou policy, many migrant students are only able to attend under-resourced schools. The FreeArt Initiative will partner with community-based organizations, university student volunteers, and art galleries to deliver a highly structured art curriculum. As lessons focus on inspiring collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, students will benefit from improved technical and interpersonal skills as well as interaction with the professional art sector. The first program of FreeArt Initiative will take place in the form of a summer camp, which hopes to reach 25 students and produce one student-led group exhibition."

LOS Class of 2022

Tristan Alston '22 "The relationship between structural racism and the poverty, crime, and social unrest in many urban Black communities is indisputable. Through a youth photojournalism program, I hope to address and dismantle the cyclical traumas and forces of systemic racism in Brownsville, Brooklyn. I hope to create positive, lasting relationships between urban youth of color and the various surrounding disconnected/oppressive populations, and to create social and economic hope in the process. Peace in Focus  [Tristan's proposed Lang Project] reimagines a model of social engagement that transcends community boundaries, and that strives to create collective narratives that center and uplift silenced and marginalized voices."

Luke Neureiter '22 "Peace engineering is an emerging field that encompasses a broad set of methodologies all with the same goal: building, preserving, and promoting peace around the world. Whether it be building renewable and sustainable neighborhoods from the ground up or promoting dialogue to build long-lasting connections, peace engineering includes both people and projects. I am incredibly honored to be a part of the LOS community and am excited at the prospect of helping define what peace engineering means at Swarthmore."

Jolleen Opula ’22 Jolleen will create digital skills training workshops to enable the youth in Kenya to have the skills that will help them access online work opportunities. She also partners with organizations looking for remote support to work with the youth who have gone through the digital skills training.

Eduardo Burgos '22 "Communities of color in the U.S. continue to experience repercussive defects in health equality due to generations of Western colonization, violence, U.S. imperialism, and White supremacy. When considering methods to reduce health care inaccessibility of marginalized populations, larger structural forms of oppression must be taken into consideration. As a Lang Scholar, I envision using nonprofit organizations that serve migrant populations as catalysts for immigration policy change. Direct medical services positively impact communities of the present, but long-lasting change can only be approached using medical inequity experiences as evidence for change. By [facilitating] medical care at migrant work sites, roadblocks to care are reduced and long-lasting health practices can be established."

Hussain Zaidi '22 "My project aims to prepare and educate health care professionals, medical students, and policymakers on the negative impact that decentralization can have on health care availability and quality for vulnerable communities (specifically LGBTQ+ communities), advocate for a hybrid approach of both decentralization and centralization of health services to different levels, and introduce relevant educational curriculum in medical and training schools to reduce the negative impacts that devolution of health care has on certain stigmatized communities."