Ten Students Awarded Preston Public Interest Fellowships

Story posted May 27, 2007

Ten students have been awarded Preston Public Interest Career Fund Summer Fellowships. The program was established in 1996 to encourage internships with social service agencies, legal service organizations, humanitarian organizations, public education and similar organizations that serve the needs of underserved and disadvantaged populations.

Thanks to a generous gift from the Preston Family, Bowdoin has funds available to support students who are interested in such internships. By making these kinds of summer work experiences possible, fellows can build foundations for future career interests in these areas.

Amy Ahearn '08 will work with Partners in Ending Hunger, in Portland, Maine, in helping to edit a "how-to" guide about how to conduct the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Security survey. Ahearn will edit and complete the drafted manual, adapt it as a Web-based document, and market the availability of the manual. The survey serves to mobilize communities towards solutions that fit the mission of working to end hunger in Maine. "I have realized that it is important to recognize more invisible, socioeconomic problems confronting the communities I live in everyday in the U.S.," Ahearn says.

Adventures on the Delaware and Chesapeake Rivers aboard a 75-foot schooner — and the lessons they provide underserved youth — attracted Kathleen Auth '08 to the Philadelphia City Sail Program. "I look forward to the opportunity not only to work directly with students but to gain experience working with the executives and directors of the program so that I might better understand how a successful non-profit is run.," says Auth. She will have the opportunity to help create exciting learning experiences for participants as they learn maritime, math, critical thinking, and teamwork skills. They also learn about their local watershed, maritime activities, and job opportunities.

Steven Bartus '08 is heading to Lima, Peru, to work with Solidarity in Action, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health and education among the poor and underprivileged. Steven will be programming the projects for more than 10 volunteer groups throughout the summer months. This will involve planning the social work involved, coordinating activities, transportation, tools and personnel. "I relish the opportunity that I will have as a Volunteer Coordinator, [to] facilitate the same experience that I found to be so meaningful and profoundly life altering, inspiring others to embark on the same path to fight against global poverty," says Bartus.

Grace Moore '08 will be contributing her skills as an environmental scientist during her internship with the Yanapuma Foundation in Quito, Ecuador. Moore will help the ongoing development of sustainable practices in poor, indigenous communities in Ecuador. "This internship program with the Yanapuma Foundation will allow me to explore another culture while helping underprivileged people build a sustainable lifestyle in a truly hands-on and meaningful way," Moore says. "This will provide much needed clarity in my search for a fulfilling career after graduation."

Yong Mei '10 will travel to Mumbai, India, to work with Urban Street Vendors LokSeva Kendra, a non-profit organization which runs micro finance projects to help eliminate poverty. Mei will be conducting surveys and receiving training in micro finance strategies. "I believe working with these anti-poverty pioneers will offer me both inspiration and motivation to find my own way in the non-profit world," says Mei.

Claudia Paz '08 says a passion for health care rights and policy is what drew her to an opportunity to work in Anzaldo, Bolivia, for the Foundation for Sustainable Development. Paz will be working in La Clinica Jesus Maria, a small children's health clinic that specifically addresses the issue of malnourishment. "I plan on pursuing a career focused on extending quality health care services to disadvantaged populations," says Paz. "This opportunity would be a life changing experience that would directly contribute to my future career ambitions."

Doran Rivera '08 will head to Berkeley, Calif., and join the efforts of Community Works to help build a sense of community and give voice to the experiences of the disenfranchised through the arts and education. "My goal is to work with Community Works and teach underserved youth in San Francisco positive ways to channel their experiences through painting, drawing, Martial Arts, Taiko Japanese drumming and Unity Step," says Rivera. "The arts can be a vital tool in healing children, especially those plagued by violence and crime."

Harry Schnur '08 is traveling to Slem Reap, Cambodia to work with Neary Khmer, whose objectives are to address the high malnutrition rates among young children and to improve nutrition for women who are pregnant and nursing. Schnur will provide English language, computer, and organizational training for the staff. "My ability to understand the complex interactions between religion, culture and development would make me a unique and productive contributor," says Schnur. "NK offers a unique opportunity for me to gain intimate public health experience while making a significant contribution to its impact in Siem Reap."

Julie Seltzer '09 will work as an investigator with the staff attorneys at the Legal Aid Society of New York. Seltzer's primary duties will include locating and speaking to witnesses, taking written statements, investigating field locations and delivering subpoenas. "I strongly believe that providing free legal services is essential to maintaining any semblance of fairness in our justice system," Seltzer says.

David Zonana '09 is heading for Coya, Peru, to work at the Kausay Wasi Health Clinic through the Asociacion Pro Salud Calca. Zonana will help the medical staff as it provides basic health care to families living in isolated communities in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. "I am so incredibly lucky as to have been offered a position as the sole intern in a small health clinic," says Zonana. "I will become part of the clinical team, helping with all aspects of clinical operation. I have never been so ready for an experience in my life, and I am certain that I will grow tremendously as a person from it."

Award amounts will be adjusted depending upon the employers' ability to provide partial reimbursement. Students are responsible for travel and other living expenses, which may be negotiated directly with the sponsoring organization.

Current first-years, sophomores and juniors are eligible. For more information, please contact the Career Planning Center.

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