Next Year’s CAMD Scholars Announced This Week

Five Andover students will embark this summer on research projects involving South African youth, immigrant children, Judaism, class stigmas and Asian-Americans in politics. Mandisa Mjamba ’10, Alessandra Powell ’11, Lily Shaffer ’10, Bijan Torabi ’10 and Jack You ’10 were announced this week as next year’s five CAMD Scholars. The CAMD Office selected these students to spend their summer researching a topics of their choice that pertain to multiculturalism. Rajesh Mundra, Instructor in Biology and Associate Dean of CAMD, said that CAMD “looked for a strong thesis, focused approach and varied perspectives” in the applications. Mjamba, whose project is “A Glimpse of South Africa: Through the Eyes of Its Youth,” said that her presentation examines how South African youth shapes the country’s politics, society and culture. Mjamba said, “What many people don’t know is that the road to democracy in South Africa began with small youth groups in schools and universities who were against Apartheid,” a former policy of racial segregation in South Africa. Mjamba plans to travel home to South Africa to familiarize herself with as many members of the youth community as possible. Mjamba described her project as a “magnifying glass, not a lecture.” She will work with Vuyelwa Maqubela, Instructor in English, as her faculty advisor. Powell will investigate how to ease immigrant children’s transitions into American society with her project, “Dreams: Lost in Translation? The Impact of Immigration on Childhood Aspirations.” Powell said that her project stemmed from her experience last summer when she worked at an orphanage in Honduras. “I worked at a program designed to integrate Latin-American immigrant children. Many of them responded, ‘I don’t want to be anything,’ whenever I inquired about their future dreams or plans,” said Powell. “This sad reality shocked me, and I have always wondered what the root of this pessimistic view of life [is],” she added. Powell said that her topic relates to Phillips Academy because many Andover students work with children in Lawrence who may experience similar issues. Shaffer will examine why many people identify Judaism as both a religion and an ethnicity with her project, “The Changing Face of Judaism: A Search for Jewish Identity in North America.” Shaffer became interested in her topic after All-School Meeting speaker Kip Fulbeck visited campus last fall. During the ASM, Shaffer noticed that many of Fulbeck’s subjects in his “Hapa Project” cited “Jewish” as part of their heritage. Shaffer’s research may take her all the way to Israel, if she travels with the Bronfman Youth Fellowship, an organization dedicated to educating and inspiring Jewish youth. Torabi’s project, “The Stigma of Class,” will address the spectrum of Andover students’ socioeconomic backgrounds. “Although Andover tries its utmost to tackle diversity-related issues such as race, religion, and sexual orientation, the issues of socioeconomic and social class goes entirely unaddressed,” said Torabi. Torabi said he plans to examine why class is a contentious issue at Andover, a place “where other hot-button issues, such as race, are discussed with relative civility.” Torabi will work over the summer with Thomas Kane, Instructor in English, as his advisor. Torabi said that he hopes to facilitate understanding and dialogue between PA community members of all socioeconomic backgrounds. You’s project, “Asian Americans in Political Leadership,” questions the lack of Asian-American participation in American politics. “I hope to gain insight about stereotypes about Asians and possible cultural barriers that may be hindering them from going into politics in America,” said You. You was disappointed that no Asian-Americans were involved in this year’s presidential election, which he described as a “truly ‘American’ election with a diverse group of candidates such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.” You plans to contact some of the few Asian Americans in politics for his summer research. He also hopes to inspire many of the Asian and Asian-American students at Phillips Academy and beyond with his faculty advisor Christopher Jones, Instructor in History. “The support from the PA community for the CAMD Scholar program has been fantastic, and we hope that many students and teachers will continue to attend the programs,” Mundra said.