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My Swat Story: Grace Dumdaw ’21

Grace Dumdaw '21

Majors: Peace & Conflict Studies, Entertainment Production
Hometown: New Orleans, La.

She’s Passionate About Photography

I started doing photography around my freshman year of high school—my parents just had a camera lying around, and I wanted to use it to take pictures of my friends. I really enjoy portraiture because it’s a great way to get to know people and show everyone else what their essence is like.”

She’s Originally From Myanmar

“I was born in Myanmar. Ethnically, I’m Kachin, which is an ethnic group from northern Myanmar. But I grew up in Louisiana. The majority of my family is still back in Myanmar. The first time I went back since I was born was the summer before my senior year of high school. That was a really interesting experience because I split my time between completely urban and rural areas. In the city, I met a bunch of family I did not know I had.

“Then, I spent time at an internally displaced peoples’ camp—my ethnic group has been part of the longest ongoing civil war in the world. Being there so close to the conflict really made me start thinking things like, ‘Oh. These are my people.’ I could definitely be in their position, but I’ve been incredibly fortunate.”

She Is Creating Her Own Major

“I initially came to Swarthmore to be a religion and political science double major, and I’m still sort of doing those things in my peace & conflict studies major. Religion has had a really interesting role in my life; I was raised in a very religious household, and it’s always been something that intrigues me because I love trying to understand what drives people to keep going. This is why peace studies caught my attention—it focuses completely on humanity.

“I also am creating my own entertainment production special major. I’ve always been a performer in one way or another, and I’m trying to combine theater, film & media studies, and art to give me a foundation for producing my own works of performance art.”