Lang Social Impact Fellowship
The intention of this program is to empower scholars with their partners to engage in systems change activities designed to close the gap(s) between social challenges and solutions. Key features of the Lang Social Impact Fellowship program include: mentoring, training, and funding.
- Open to Swarthmore College alumni who have graduated in the past several years (or those 25 and under).
- Documented experience launching or amplifying a project that yielded demonstrable social impact.
- Success in networking and/or leveraging partnerships in order to advance social breakthroughs or systems change goals.
- In-depth knowledge of and connections with key stakeholders as well as the issue(s) in their area of focus.
- Feasible plan to work with others to close the gap(s) between social challenges and solutions in issue/geographic area over the course of the fellowship.
- Compelling social value proposition.
- Commitment to work at least 1040 hours total on the project during a year (for instance, 20 hours per week for 52 weeks).
- Note: Because of their directly relevant experiences to date, Lang Scholars would not only be eligible to apply but likely would be strong candidates for the fellowship. However, other Swarthmore College alumni who meet the criteria listed above could be eligible to apply.
- Mentorship: Fellows will be both mentors – to current Swarthmore College social innovators like Lang Scholars through the Social Innovation Lab (either virtual or in person) – and mentees of Swarthmore alumni or other experts.
- Training: Following a Training Needs Assessment, Fellows will work with program advisor to devise training targets and develop training opportunities for the Fellowship year.
- Funding: $27,000 per Fellow. Fellows may use funds to cover living and project expenses. Note: This grant is not in service of Swarthmore College and does not create an employment relationship between the grantee and the College.
The application process typically involves a written application, a recorded screening interview, and in some instances, an in person (or virtual) interview. Please reach out to Jennifer Magee for information on the application process.
A pdf of the application questions can be found here. Applications may be submitted between March 31 and April 30.
Past Lang Social Impact Fellow Profiles
Raven Bennett ’17 graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College and received High Honors with a major in psychology and a minor in educational studies. During her time at Swarthmore, Raven engaged in social activism efforts to prevent sexual violence. She was an inaugural member of the Swarthmore College Title IX Student Advisory Team and Title IX Liaison Team. As a Lang Scholar, she created the Youth Activist Institute and the Fraternity Mentorship Program. Both initiatives were designed to prevent sexual violence by empowering participants to be activists. In her fellowship year, Raven will be replicating the Fraternity Mentorship Program, a sexual violence prevention program designed to capitalize on the strength of male peer relationships in fraternities in order to create positive culture change, at other US colleges and universities. Raven will also develop a business model to create sustainable infrastructure to support continued dissemination of the Fraternity Mentorship Program.
Fatima Boozarjomehri '18 graduated from Swarthmore College with majors in Peace and Conflict Studies and Islamic Studies. As a student at Swarthmore College, Fatima worked with vulnerable populations in Southern Tehran and designed projects dedicated to improving access to education and training for youth and women through two separate initiatives: The Fanoos Project (sponsored in part by the Project Pericles Fund of Swarthmore College) and ReVision (her Lang Scholar project). During the Fellowship, Fatima is expanding the scope of The Fanoos Project, a vocational training program for single mothers and focus on developing a sustainable business model.
A'Dorian Murray Thomas '16 A special major in Political Science & Educational Studies, A'Dorian founded SHE Wins—a free social action and leadership development program for middle and high school girls in Newark who are affected by violence—while she was a Lang Scholar at Swarthmore College. A trauma-informed program, SHE Wins consists of a summer and afterschool Leadership Academy where girls hone their leadership, literacy, and self-regulatory skills through mentorship, project-based learning, and service-learning opportunities. A'Dorian's goal during the Fellowship year is to continue studying, developing, and scaling systematic and collective approaches to improving outcomes for urban youth.
Nimesh Ghimire ’15.5 graduated from Swarthmore College with a major in Economics. As a Periclean Scholar, Nimesh was deeply involved in experimenting with and learning from grassroots engagement and innovation models, having co-designed and implemented two Innovation Labs in rural Nepal – a space for community members collaboratively to design solutions to pressing local challenges – over the course of four years. For the fellowship year, Nimesh will focus on building the efforts at the Rural Innovation Lab and strengthening the Lab’s core program (as part of the broader effort of Nepal's National Innovation Center), all while working on generating steady revenue streams for sustainable grassroots innovation through the 85°East program.
Rebecca Castillo '20
Lang Social Impact Fellow, 2021-2022
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Rebecca grew up with a passion for storytelling and a severe lack of Latina representation in media. This, along with her observations of barriers to education and unequal distribution of academic resources, inspired her to launch Storyboard. With funding from the Project Pericles Fund of Swarthmore College, Storyboard provided marginalized students tools to tell their stories and support in pursuing higher education. While at Swarthmore College, Rebecca was a special major in Education, Race, and Media Studies. Some of the courses that helped Rebecca link academics with action included: Introduction to Education; Latinos and Education; Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship; Education, Race, and the Law; and A Site of Struggle: Education Policy. In her spare time, her hobbies include traveling, film photography, and watching a good sunset at the beach with her friends. Currently, Rebecca is pursuing an MS in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at USC Marshall with an anticipated graduation date of May 2022. Rebecca says, “I began working on Storyboard in 2018, during my sophomore year at Swarthmore. Since then, we've run programs in Los Angeles and New York, working with middle and high-school students to teach them photography, filmmaking, and writing skills. The Lang Social Impact Fellowship will enable me to scale up and continue providing accessible digital media education to diverse students across the country." Rebecca says, " I am best suited to mentor students with interests in education, racial equity, immigration rights, social entrepreneurship, and digital media.”
It is through the vision and generosity of Eugene M. Lang ’38 that communities facing significant challenges have come to know Swarthmore College students and alumni as social change makers. We are grateful for the opportunity to innovate and build upon the success of the Lang Opportunity Scholarship Program with this pilot program, the Lang Social Impact Fellowship.