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My Swat Story: Lamia Makkar '21

The Lang Center Piqued Her Interest

"In Abu Dhabi, I had a teacher who was kind of a mentor. He knew me very well and said, 'I know you don't want to go to the U.S. but if you're going to go, here's one college you should consider.' And he went on about Swarthmore and how it's the perfect place to be socially engaged. I wasn't sure I wanted to go, but looking into it more, I realized I should apply here early, just to see. One of the main reasons I enjoyed it was the Lang Center. I already had social impact projects under way, and I was also intending on starting a few other things, so getting funding would be huge."

She Contains Multitudes

"Adjusting to life here was a challenge, but I've found my own niches on campus where I can switch into the other tendencies that I had back home. There is a big African student association, a big international student community and a growing Middle Eastern student population. So I feel in between all of those; I get to be the different versions of myself. But it is something that I am quite conscious of in my daily life. I've had friends ask me, 'Which version of yourself do you think is the most you?'' I think it's the version of me that's using all of these different facets at the same time."

She's Exploring Social Entrepreneurship

"My personal mission is to help support people in marginalized situations. At first I thought that the best way to do that was an NGO, so I started Haiti: Hands on with a friend when I was 13. Then, the summer before college, I was at an event and somebody referred to me as a social entrepreneur, a term I'd never heard before. The first semester at Swat, I took a class on social entrepreneurship with visiting Lang professor, Denise Crossan.

I am intrigued by social entrepreneurship because the ideas for solutions to local challenges can come from the people who are actually facing the problem, so based on that experience, I have set out to understand social entrepreneurship further. I might stumble across something different and I'm actively trying to find other models, but right now, the method that I'm exploring is social entrepreneurship. It's all working toward the same larger goal."