Six Swarthmore College sophomores are the newest winners of the Eugene M. Lang Opportunity Grant, which provides a scholarship, a guaranteed summer internship, and the opportunity to apply for up to $10,000 to create a project that addresses a social problem. Scholars who successfully complete a project are also eligible for up to $10,000 of additional support for graduate studies.
Elizabeth Crow plans to create an art curriculum in an elementary school in Romania; Kylah Field plans to develop a service project between Swarthmore and a historically black college in Virginia; Diego Garcia-Montufar will build a waste management program in an Amazonian village;
Camila Leiva plans to create media workshops for young women in Santiago, Chile; Hansi Lo Wang will create a student-produced radio program about issues in China; and Toby Wu plans to implement an oral history campaign and plan of action in New York's Chinatown.
Elizabeth Crow is the daughter of Karen Ward and Steven Crow of Dallas, Tex., and a 2004 graduate of the Hockaday School. She plans to use her Lang Grant to travel to Romania and create an art curriculum in the local elementary school using the rare frescoes of a 500-year-old monastery in the village of Arbore. Crow spent last summer working in a school/orphanage in Romania and part of the summer learning about the monastery and the history of Arbore. She hopes to use this local historical monument to help create a greater awareness among the students and the community, and even with the outside world, of the importance of this example of rare Byzantine art, art history, and the village's importance in its own country's history. At Swarthmore, Crow plans to major in sociology and anthropology.
Kylah Field, the daughter of Kelly Riley-Brown (Charles Brown) of Lumberton, N.J., and Phillip Field of East Orange, N.J., is a 2005 graduate of the Rancocas Valley Regional High School. She plans to start a community service program between Swarthmore and Saint Paul's College, a historically black college in Lawrenceville,Va. Field plans to have Swarthmore students go to Saint Paul's during winter and spring breaks, sharing in a community-building spirit, "bringing various furniture items, books, and computers that the school and its students need." Field hopes to build a long-term relationship between Swarthmore and Saint Paul's and other historically black schools, "building synergies, sharing similarities and differences, learning and growing from each others' experiences." The long-term goal of her project is to help raise funds to build a new dormitory for the students of Saint Paul's. At Swarthmore, Field, a political science/education special major and religion minor, is the co-coordinator of the Dare To Soar Saturday mentoring program for youth in the nearby city of Chester, Pa., a research assistant in the Center for Social and Policy Studies, and treasurer of the Swarthmore African American Student Society.
Diego Garcia-Montufar, son of Cecilia and Guillermo Garcia-Montufar of Lima, Peru, is a 2005 graduate of Markham College. He plans to use his Lang Grant to work in a Shipibo community, San Francisco de Yarinacocha, in the Peruvian Amazon, setting up a waste management program where currently none exists. The program will work mainly with composting, reusing, and recycling. It will have a strong educational component to address waste reduction, focusing on educating adults and young people, but especially targeting the elementary school-age children. Garcia-Montafur will have an internship with a non-profit organization, Ciudad Saludable (Healthy City, www.ciudadsaludable.org), which has successfully run similar projects in other parts of Peru. Garcia-Montafur plans to visit nine such community projects on the Peruvian coast and in the highlands before setting up his own. At Swarthmore, Garcia-Montafur is a philosophy major and environmental studies minor.
Camila Leiva, daughter of Karen Anderson and Fernando Leiva of Santiago, Chile, currently living in Albany, N.Y., is a 2005 graduate of Guilderland Central High School. She plans to start a media literacy, filmmaking, and media workshop for young women from public high schools in Santiago. Working with the support and experience of several Chilean non-profit organizations, she hopes to develop a collaborative-based program that will have participants analyze representations of gender and sexuality in media through the creation of mini-documentaries. At Swarthmore, Leiva plans to be an education studies and sociology/anthropology special major with a Latin American studies minor. She is active with the Intercultural Center as the Latino student group (ENLACE) intern and was a member of the Latino Heritage Month committee and the Swarthmore Kick Coke Campaign. On a national level, she worked with United Students Against Sweatshops and the Language Bank, a project started by former Lang Scholar Bernadette Baird-Zairs, Swarthmore Class of 2006.
Hansi Lo Wang is a 2005 graduate of Garnet Valley High School. Since coming to Swarthmore, Wang has been active with War News Radio, a weekly news program that provides in-depth coverage of the conflict in Iraq and now Afghanistan. He currently serves as one of the co-producers of the country's only student-run news program on the war carried by more than 40 public radio stations worldwide. Employing traditional journalistic methods and Skype, an Internet-based technology that allows callers to search out people by country and make low-cost calls, student reporters are able to interview people from Baghdad to Basra. This allows reporters to convey Iraqi perspectives on a wide variety of topics that the national news media frequently miss. Wang's Lang project will be a spin-off of War News Radio, a youth-produced news program focused on China. Wang feels that "the average young American is more familiar with the latest Chinese take-out menu than with the current Chinese political scene, and the fact that China remains a mystery is to the detriment of most Americans." He hopes that the program will be "an experience in democratic journalism for youth" that will ultimately help to "bridge the gap between the two cultures and better inform tomorrow's world leaders."
Toby Wu, son of Jian Mei Ning and Ri Ping Wu of Brooklyn and a 2005 graduate of Stuyvesant High School, plans to implement a summer youth-led program in New York City's Chinatown, focusing on oral history which would be undertaken in three parts. The first part will examine the different functions and forms of communities. It will challenge the young people to identify their communities and to define and critically analyze their relationships to these communities. In this stage, the youth will be trained to document oral history, as they conduct a pilot oral history campaign. The second part will use Chinatown as a case study. The youth will design and carry out a major oral history campaign with different people in the Chinatown community, and will meet with different community organizations and leaders to learn more about the specific issues affecting the community and how they propose to or are working to address these issues. The last part of the program will have the youth design and implement a plan of action based on the oral histories collected. Some actions might be a print or online publication, a community-wide exhibit, or a meeting with local policymakers.
Wu hopes that a program such as this will "give more dimension to the oversimplified images of Chinatown coming from the media and even from recent tourism campaigns (to boost New York's economy after 9/11) and will bring forth the different ways in which people relate to Chinatown as a community." Wu's vision for this project has its roots in the different nonprofit organizations and projects with which he has worked, including Chinatown Youth Initiatives, the Summer Leadership Institute, the Chinatown Literacy Project (of which he was a founding coordinator), the Coalition for Asian American Children & Families, Asian American Students Advocacy Project, and Museum of the Chinese in the Americas. At Swarthmore, Wu is a member of the Student Council Housing Committee, is co-president of the Swarthmore Asian Organization, and is a Multicultural Recruitment Intern for the Admissions Office.
Lang Opportunity Grants are awarded on the basis of demonstrated commitment to social action and academic achievement. Projects created by the Lang Scholars, which must be approved in advance by a faculty committee, are expected to facilitate social change in a significant way. The program is made possible by the gift of Eugene M. Lang, Swarthmore Class of '38.