Oxy Students Win Davis Project for Peace Grants, Other National Awards

Jim Tranquada

Two Oxy seniors with an innovative digital approach to preserving language and history and a recent alumna working with migrants in Morocco have been awarded Davis Projects for Peace grants.

Sociology major Kelsey Martin ’19 of Beaverton, Ore., will use her grant to digitize 4,000 images contained in the United American Indian Involvement (UAII)’s photo archive that document the Native American community in Los Angeles since the late 1970s.

Martin’s project is the culmination of a four-year collaboration between UAII--a comprehensive social service agency--Martin, and Celestina Castillo, director of Occidental’s Center for Community Based Learning. Metadata for each image will include information and stories gathered from community members at photo identification meetings.

“It is highly uncommon for archives to be informed by the community that the archive documents, but this approach is fundamental to maintaining an equitable and community-centered archive,” Martin says.

Computer science major William Chen ’19 of Roslyn, N.Y., plans to develop a website and mobile app to house digital dictionaries that will provide a new resource to promote Bhutia, a language currently at risk of extinction in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim, which lies between Nepal and Bhutan.

“If we are successful, emerging local language speakers will not only develop an appreciation for the language, but also develop an attachment to its history, culture and art,” says Chen, who is working with Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa, associate professor of religious studies.

Cynthia Magallanes-Gonzalez ’17, a sociology major now pursuing a master's degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies University of London, plans to continue her work with sub-Saharan migrants and refugees in Morocco. “I will work with local organizations to facilitate summer programs for the children of migrants/refugees and on a research project that will help make public education more accessible to this population,” Magallanes-Gonzalez says.

The Projects for Peace initiative was started by philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis in 2007 to challenge youth to design and employ innovative techniques that focus on conflict resolution, reconciliation, building understanding and breaking down barriers that cause conflict to build peace throughout the world in the 21st century.

Other Oxy award winners include:

  • Adelaide Willis ’21, a diplomacy and world affairs and French studies double major from Colton, Wash., was awarded a Boren Scholarship to study abroad in Senegal. Boren Scholarships make it possible for U.S. undergraduates to study less commonly taught languages in regions critical to U.S. interests including Africa and Asia. Boren Scholars commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

  • Stella Hong, an undeclared first-year student from Cypress, won a Critical Language Scholarships to study Korean this summer. The Critical Language Scholarship program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State that seeks to expand the number of Americans learning foreign languages that are critical to national security and economic prosperity.

  • Paul Charbonneau 20, a diplomacy and world affairs major from Newcastle, Wash., Hailey Gil ’20, urban & environmental policy major from Citrus Heights, and Joseph Waldow 20, a politics major from Fullerton, will be participants in the Public Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA) junior summer institute. To prepare underrepresented students for graduate school and public service careers, the PPIA seeks out high-potential undergraduates across the country to participate in an intensive seven-week summer institute before their senior year.

  • Reilly Torres 19, a Black studies and American studies double major from Denver, is the first Oxy student to win an NYU Shanghai Writing and Speaking Fellowship. The fellowship enables accomplished individuals with a passion for teaching to provide academic support and enrichment to the students who make up NYU Shanghai's multicultural student body.

  • Charlotte Cullip ’19, a computer science and chemistry double major from Harbor Springs, Mich., won a DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, or German Academic Exchange Service) Study Scholarship to pursue a master's degree in biomedical computing at Technische Universität München in Munich.