As the newest recipients of the Eugene M. Lang Opportunity Scholarship, four Swarthmore sophomores will be tackling social-action projects around the globe.
“The Lang Center facilitates Swarthmore's commitment to intellectual rigor, ethical engagement, and social responsibility by connecting the curriculum, campus, and communities. The Lang Scholar Class of 2019 will exemplify engaged scholarship through community-based projects informed by coursework and research," says Ben Berger, associate professor of political science and executive director of the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. "Their projects span the domains of youth empowerment in Lebanon, entrepreneurship and social innovation in Israel, interactive STEM education in Thailand, and workforce development among waste collectors in Nepal."
“We believe that these students have demonstrated what it means to be socially responsible, civically engaged, and committed to innovating on behalf of the public good,” says Lang Scholar Advisor Jennifer Magee. “We are excited to see what these promising students are able to accomplish as Lang Scholars."
The Lang Scholar Class of 2019:
Ferial Berjawi '19 - Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders
In partnership with an organization like Makhzoumi Foundation, Ferial Berjawi '19, of Beirut, Lebanon, aims to empower youth in Lebanon. Berjawi writes, “Working with the Lebanese and Syrian communities towards providing [training for] and access to high-skill labor is vital to the creation of a sustainable source of income. More importantly, poverty alleviation is linked to the increase in school enrollment, decrease of child marriage and labor, as well as the reduction of poor health.”
Omri Gal '19 - Entrepreneurship & Social Innovation Programming
Omri Gal '19, of Brooklyn, N.Y., seeks to counter discrimination against Mizrahi youth in Israel through entrepreneurship and social innovation programming. Gal writes, “Given [Israel’s] tech-oriented, innovative context, launching a project that teaches entrepreneurial techniques and methods to Mizrahi students could have significant impact.” Gal is considering a variety of possible approaches: a multi-day, intensive social innovation hackathon; creating an innovation hub where students could collaborate, learn, and develop their own ideas; an afterschool program; and/or a summer camp.
Rose Ridder '19 - Branching Out Through STEM: an Interactive Approach to Thai Science Classes
Rose Ridder '19, of Port Townsend, Wash., aspires to create an interactive approach to STEM education in Thai science classes. “Thai science curriculum focuses on reading and memorization rather than physical engagement through experiments and interaction," Ridder explains. "My project aims to address the request of Phapangwittaya school teachers and administrators to implement a more experiment-based science program in Phapang’s science classrooms and to provide access to students around the area to engage in more interactive scientific processes.”
Eriko Shrestha '19 - सफा घर or Safa Ghar
To combat solid waste management challenges in her hometown of Kathmandu, Nepal, Eriko Shrestha '19 proposes to collaborate with a NGO to establish a center -- सफा घर or Safa Ghar (“clean house”) -- where waste collectors can bring their valuable materials for a higher profit per-kilo. Safa Ghar would “function as a center where waste collectors can learn about proper separation of collected waste, gain access to safety equipment and healthcare,” and increase financial and social capital of waste collectors.
The Eugene M. Lang Opportunity Scholarship Program each year selects up to six members of Swarthmore's sophomore class as Lang Scholars. Selection criteria include distinguished academic and extra-curricular achievement, leadership qualities, and demonstrated commitment to civic and social responsibility. As its central feature, the program offers each scholar the opportunity and related funding to conceive, design, and carry out an opportunity project that creates a needed social resource and/or effects a significant social change or improved condition of a community in the United States or abroad. In addition, it offers each Scholar a diverse succession of undergraduate and graduate financial and other benefits. The program was conceived and endowed by Eugene M. Lang '38.