After careful review of a record-setting 31 applications, the Community and Multicultural Development (CAMD) Scholar Program selected DJ Bierwirth ’14, Zoe Chazen ’14, David Cho ’14, Harshita Gaba ’14, Malina Simard-Halm ’14 and Timothy Wynter ’14 as the CAMD Scholars for the 2013-2014 school year on March 1. Wynter will also be the Barbara Landis Chase (BLC) Scholar.
“[The committee] talks a lot about the various proposals and what we are looking for, and [we] discuss what could individually be very good topics, but also a collection of chosen topics that can create a nice cross-section of topics,” said Aya Murata, CAMD Scholar Coordinator.
“It has to be an interesting project proposal that usually doesn’t get a formal place in the academic curriculum,” continued Murata.
The application process included a one-page proposal, applicants’ background information and why they are interested in their topic, a brief bibliography and a recommendation from a faculty advisor who has agreed to work with them. All pieces of the application were due February 6.
Established in 2006, the CAMD Scholar Program gives students an opportunity to pursue independent research projects relating to diversity, multiculturalism, community or identity.
One BLC Scholar is chosen each year by the selection committee to focus on race relations or human rights from United States history.
The CAMD Scholar selection committee consists of Linda Griffith, Dean of CAMD, Murata, Anne Gardner, Director of Spiritual & Religious Life, Sarah Coghlan, Assistant Director of Community Service, Frank Tipton, Advisor of Gay-Straight Alliance, Susanne Torabi, International Student Coordinator, and Monique Cueto-Potts, Director of Community Service.
Advisor: Jennifer Elliott, Instructor in History
Cho plans to explore the effects of the Korean academic system on both students and teachers in his project “ Bullying and Teen Suicide: The Effect of Korea’s Rigorous Test Based Education on Social Dynamics in Schools.”
His interest in the topic began last year, when there were several middle-school suicide reports caused by bullying within Korean schools. Cho, who has a five year old sister, is personally connected to the topic. “I couldn’t imagine if anything like this, the bullying, were to happen to her,” said Cho.
Cho has already accumulated a number of journals and news articles to start his research. In addition, Cho plans to interview students and teachers in Korea to discuss how bullying has been perceived and managed within the classroom.
Advisor: Maggie Jackson, Associate Director of Graham House
Simard-Halm’s project, “LGBT Parenting: Children of Gay Fathers,” will explore the psychological impact of being raised by a gay father with a specific interest in assisted reproduction.
In addition to having been raised by gay fathers, Simard-Halm chose this topic because impact on American families today. “It’s affecting a lot of families here in the United States and around the world. It is definitely important to me and a lot of families, and I think my research could ameliorate the defenses for families like mine, and create more awareness for what it is really like to be raised by LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] parents,” she said.
Over the summer, Simard-Halm will interview people who have used the company Growing Generations, co-founded by her father, as well as send out surveys around her area. Growing Generations is an agency that helps LGBT parents have children through surrogacy.
Advisor: Susanne Torabi, International Student Coordinator
Half Iranian herself, Bierwirth has a personal connection to her project, “The Green Movement: An Examination of Online Media Censorship and its Implications on the Political Sphere of 21st-Century Iran.”
Bierwirth’s interest in the topic stemmed from her experiences with technology-integrated education at Andover, as well as her Iranian background. She said, “After a speaker, Reza Aslan [founder of “Aslan Media,” an online journal that provides news to the Middle East] came to Andover a couple of weeks ago to talk about to talk about the Arab Spring, I realized after speaking to him that I could narrow my topic down even more to the Green Movement…a push toward revolution in 2009 as part of the Arab Spring.”
As part of her research, Bierwirth plans to travel to Iran and interview different students at the University of Iran as well as the International School in Iran to discuss their impressions and reactions to the Green Movement in 2009. Additionally, she has been in contact with Aslan and Professor Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
Advisor: Tracy Ainsworth, Instructor in History
For Gaba’s project, “A Mother’s Worst Nightmare: An Examination of Gendercide in India,” she will research causes of gendercide, the selective abortion and killing of females, in India’s culture and government.
Though Gaba is from India, the main motivation for selecting her topic was the December raping of a medical student in Delhi, India. “With the recent rape case in December, it opened my eyes to the harsh realities that are so true in India,” she said.
In the coming months, Gaba intends to utilize the OWHL, the CAMD office and the Brace Center for her project. In addition to these on-campus resources, Gaba has been in touch with Evan Grae Davis, director of the documentary “It’s a Girl,” a film about gendercide in India and China.
Advisor: Michael Swarttz, Rabi
Chazen’s project, “The Impact of Zionism and the State of Israel on American Jewish Identity,” will revolve around the history of Zionism in America, as well its present day impact.
Chazen was inspired by her visit to Israel in the summer of 2010.
Chazen said, “When I came to Andover, I was intrigued by the different responses to Israel by both non-Jews and Jews. And because I associate my Judaism with Israel, I thought it would be interesting to explore that.” Chazen plans to contact Brandeis University’s Cohen Center for Jewish Studies to talk about its research on the impact of Birthright, a program that sends Jewish kids to Israel, and how the program has affected the students’ perception of Israel. She also plans to interview Rabi Michael Swarttz, her project advisor.
Advisor: Sarah Coghlan, Associate Director of Community Service
Wynter will research the history of prejudice against people with disabilities in his project “Ableism in America: A Historical Overview on Creation of the Other ‘Other.’”
As a student in Jamaica, Wynter was close friends with a girl named Esther Enriquez, a classmate who was bullied because she had a disability. Wynter’s experience with the Sunday Swim program on campus, as well as the MLK day ableism workshop, further developed his passion on the topic. Sunday Swim is a community service program where Andover students teach disabled kids how to swim.
Wynter plans to use scholarly articles and research journals and interview Rhonda Fogle, Sunday Swim director, to get information from an expert.