Students receive fellowships to travel abroad

Nikta Mansouri

Six students will travel abroad this summer as the 2014 Harvard-Westlake Global Fellows, selected by a faculty selection committee. The students will travel to Cameroon, China, Spain, Korea and Mexico.

Annelise Colvin ’15 received the Junior Summer Fellowship to travel to Cameroon to continue studying French and volunteer at local orphanages. She applied for the fellowship before Spring Break by submitting a detailed explanation of her proposed trip and its goals.

“I am excited to be pushed out of my comfort zone and spend time with the children at an orphanage,” Colvin said. “I think it will be a really humbling experience and I think I’ll learn to be a lot more independent because I’ll be traveling alone across the world.”

The Gunter-Gross Asia Initiative was awarded to Diana Kim ’15, Sophia Szu ’15 and Sabrina Szu ’15. Kim plans to visit Korea to study ceramics and pottery, while the Szus proposed to study the effects of pollution and environmental conditions on Chinese society.

“We hope to not only inform the Harvard-Westlake community about the environment’s current condition and the effect on China’s people, but we also hope that students will take what they have learned and apply it to their everyday lives in order to benefit our own community,” Sophia Szu said.

Alexandra Grande ’16, Karenina Juarez ’16 and David Weitz ’15 were selected to receive the new Iberian Latin American Studies Fellowship.

This fellowship is part of the Harvard-Westlake Global Education initiative.

The fellowship encourages students to immerse themselves and Latin American culture and create something to give back to the school, Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said in an email in March, which announced the fellowship.

Grande will focus on Spanish cuisine and its origins. Juarez plans to research mariachi music and its role in society throughout Mexican and American culture.

“Harvard-Westlake students would greatly benefit from appreciating the culture and contributions of the Mexican American community in Los Angeles and specifically the San Fernando Valley,” Juarez wrote in her fellowship proposal. “In my research on the development of mariachi college ensembles I discovered that many of the key figures are natives of the San Fernando Valley. I want to highlight their contribution.”

Weitz originally planned to go to Costa Rica to immerse himself in the culture and establish an English teaching program for children, but he has declined the fellowship for logistical reasons.

“I felt passionately about my proposal and was excited to go to Costa Rica to help the kids,” Weitz said. “However, I now realize it is for the better that I did not accept the money. There was far too high a risk that something would go wrong and the grant money would go to waste, which would be a shame.”

The applicants did not know who was part of the selection process and likewise the students were anonymous to the faculty members who were reading and vetting the proposals. The proposals only had ID numbers and no names on them.