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Roseanna Sommers

Roseanna Sommers

Hometown: Piedmont, Ca.
High School: Piedmont High
Major: Psychology, minor in educational studies
Possible Career: Undecided

Roseanna attended a small public high school not far from Berkeley, CA which afforded her access to the opportunities and services of the University and the San Francisco Bay area. It also allowed her to become passionately involved in community service projects. She became a facilitator for DiversityWorks, a non-profit organization that educates youth about equity issues and activism. During her two years at DiversityWorks, Roseanna devoted nine hours a week to lead groups in after school workshops on diversity to promote understanding and tolerance in inner-city high schools.

Roseanna's other passions include tap dancing, swimming, and all things math-related. She was president and activities organizer of her school's Mathletes Club, a member of the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee, the Gay-Straight Alliance, Camp Fire USA and a delegate to the California Girls State. In her last days at Piedmont High School, Roseanna was honored by her teachers with departmental awards for social science, mathematics, and Chinese. In addition to being named the Outstanding Student in these three areas, she also received the Susan Kawaichi Appreciating Diversity Award, given to two students each year who display leadership and commitment to issues of diversity.

In the summer of 2007, Roseanna was a research intern at the Near East Foundation in New York City. Her project focused on locating the survivors of the Armenian genocide and the surviving children who were put in orphanages sponsored by the Near East Relief, and to gather photos and memoirs of the victims and the survivors to build a lasting archive of the organization's history. (Historical documents and other artifacts from the Near East Foundation's archives have since been added to the collection of the Armenian Genocide Museum of America, which is slated to open in 2010 in Washington, D.C. Much of Roseanna's work will be incorporated into the museum's exhibits.) Later that summer she traveled to Armenia to follow up on her research, experience the unique culture firsthand, and learn more about her Armenian roots.

The next summer, Roseanna spent two months in Venezuela, volunteering with Pemón Health, a group committed to raising the health and overall living standards in the indigenous community of Urimán, Venezuela. Roseanna, along with a dozen other Swarthmore undergrads, pioneered a sanitation project that involved meeting with community leaders, teaching lessons on environmental stewardship in the school, building trash and recycling bins out of chicken wire, and working alongside the people of Urimán to clean up their community. In addition to improving her Spanish considerably, Roseanna also got a taste of what it takes to be the only doctor in all of the thirteen Pemón communities (which span over a hundred miles; patients travel for hours and sometimes days to reach the clinic), as she and other students provided assistance to the village doctor in the overextended clinic.

In December of 2008, Swarthmore recognized Roseanna's accomplishments and contributions to the College by selecting her for the Flack Achievement Award for the Class of 2010. The Award is presented to the student who, during the first two years at Swarthmore, has demonstrated an outstanding record of achievement in both academic and extracurricular activities while showing leadership potential as a constructive member of the College.

This past summer, Roseanna participated in an undergraduate research program at the University of South Florida and served as the principal investigator on an independent research project. She spent nine weeks researching disparities in the treatment of depression among Florida Medicaid enrollees and is currently in the process of submitting her findings for publication.

As Roseanna enters her final year at Swarthmore, she continues to be heavily involved in the Learning for Life program, taiko drumming, and Swarthmore's Council on Educational Policy. She is also excited about her new position as a Resident Assistant (RA) and for her senior thesis, which will focus on moral psychology.