2012 Napier FELLOWS

Kimberly Chung – Harvey Mudd College
Kimberly’s vocational commitment to a medical career and her years growing up in Taiwan led to a strong interest in Taiwanese indigenous people’s use of traditional medicines derived from plants. With urbanization, deforestation and drug patent laws increasingly affecting the availability of those plants, it is not clear how the tribes’ medical needs will be met in the future. For her Napier project, Kimberly proposed spending several months living among three indigenous tribes. In conjunction with the government’s Council for Indigenous People, she planned to develop recommendations for improving medical conditions among the tribes.


McKenzie Floyd – Scripps College
McKenzie was the first Scripps student to graduate with a major in Art Conservation. She spent her junior year in Florence, Italy, studying various facets of this field. While there she met a scholar working to establish a new art conservation school in Malta. For her Napier project, McKenzie hoped to accept an invitation to assist in developing the new school. Her special interest was in generating financial aid to allow Maltese youth from low-income families to attend the school. McKenzie recognized that the school contributes significantly to the Maltese people’s access to their rich cultural heritage and its long-term preservation.


Emily Kawahara – Pitzer College
Emily’s skill in creative writing and a semester in Nepal combined to provide the focus of her proposed Napier project. She planned to develop creative writing as an integral part of the Nepali educational system. The several dimensions of the project included teaching the subject in an English class at the innovative Rato Bangala school in Lalitpur; publishing a collection of short fiction stories by the students; and designing lesson plans for the teachers who would continue the subject. Emily wrote that these steps would contribute significantly to initiating interest in creative writing in Nepal, which in turn would heighten the people’s awareness of their cultural tradition and lead to sharing it widely with people of other traditions.


Hannah Michahelles – Pitzer College
Hannah’s major in Theater for Social Change reflected the convergence of two key streams of her experience: longtime involvement in all aspects of theater – acting, directing, writing, teaching – along with commitment to utilizing the power of theater to shape and re-shape lives. That involvement and commitment were evident in her Napier project proposal to work with two San Francisco Bay Area theatrical groups to engage foster-care and inner-city youth in writing and producing plays to give them voice and support in portraying the dehumanizing conditions in which they often live. “I hope,” said Hannah, “I can inspire these kids…to become activists in their communities, advocating for the change they wish to see in the world.”


Felicia Palmer – Scripps College
Felicia’s engagement with her Jewish tradition has been evident in several realms, most notably in her leadership of synagogue music. An accomplished singer and a student of Jewish music, she proposed for her Napier project to work with the Durban Progressive Jewish Synagogue in Durban, South Africa, to help it establish an enduring music program within the congregation. This task would involve her in creating a volunteer choir and teaching them both new and traditional Jewish music. Felicia also hoped to introduce them to the bonding power of music by arranging interfaith musical events with other religious and ethnic groups in Durban.


Allison Ritter – Pitzer College
Allison’s extensive experience in cross-cultural communication led her to propose a Napier project that she planned to implement in Kyrgyzstan, formerly a part of the Soviet Union and now also known as the Kyrgyz Republic. The particular focus of her project was to be an effective conflict resolution program among marginalized youth, which lost its US AID funding in February 2012. Allison’s plan was to revitalize the Youth Theater for Peace program by working with its local leaders to discover viable means of ensuring its continued work in the future among the Kyrgyz people.


Shengwei Sun - Scripps College
A dual major in Politics/International Relations and Gender/Women’s Studies along with deep roots in China and several productive internships pointed Shengwei to her proposed Napier project. She intended to facilitate a first-of-its-kind conference at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, in central China, on the theme of Women and Development. She would use her contacts with Chinese scholars and grassroots activists to bring the two groups together to shed light on the “unrelenting theme” of gender inequality and discrimination in Chinese life, as well as to create networks and strategies for future action. “For millions of Chinese women,” Shengwei said, “this is…a living reality of daily struggle.”


Angie Tyler – Claremont McKenna College
Angie’s junior year in Dakar, Senegal, gave her a rich experience leading young girls, ages 9 -14, in such afterschool activities as arts, athletics, personal leadership, and English. For her Napier project, she proposed a return to Dakar in order to ensure that program’s survival and long-term impact, by connecting it with local female empowerment organizations. With fewer than half of the girls in developing countries who are enrolled in school completing five years of education, Angie recognized this program could provide a major boost to the girls’ continued education, their escape from poverty, and the eventual realization of their highest potential.