News of the Collegespring2007

Reedies Win Two Watsons and Two Goldwaters

Four Reed students were honored with prestigious national awards in spring 2007—two with Goldwater scholarships and two with Watson Fellowships.

The Goldwater winners, biology major Molly Schumer ’09 and physics major Grant Meadors ’08, will receive $7,500 each from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation to pursue their studies at Reed for 2007-08. They were among 317 undergraduate sophomore and junior mathematics, science, and engineering students honored this year.

Geoffrey Finger and Jeff Maguire were among 50 college seniors awarded $25,000 fellowships by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation to complete a project of their own design during a year of travel and exploration abroad following graduation.

Finger, a religion major from Easton, Pennsylvania, plans to travel to Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil to study how dance and choreography can affect social change. He is currently working on his thesis with religion professor Kenneth Brashier, writing on Chinese opera, and studying the interaction of drama, exorcisms, and ritual in late-imperial Chinese religion. He is also passionate about dance.

“I knew that really innovative conceptions of the powers and value of dance were occurring outside the U.S., and this fellowship was probably the only foundation willing to fund me,” Finger says. After his sophomore year, Finger spent nine months in China, India, and Southeast Asia. “Dance seems like a wonderfully mysterious and challenging way to interact for 12 months in other parts of the world,” he says.

Maguire will travel to Ukraine, China, India, and Ethiopia to explore culturally-tailored HIV/AIDS prevention and education programs among high-risk groups, where the disease generally concentrates before moving into the general population. “My hypothesis is that utilizing cultural tropes as educational tools for those groups, which are on the fringes of their respective societies, may be ineffective due to their marginalization,” Maguire explains.

The Louisville, Kentucky, native cites his experiences working at Cascade AIDS Project, the Oregon AIDS Hotline, the Men’s Wellness Center, and the African Child’s Foundation as preparatory for the coming year, adding that “I’m not sure anything could prepare a college senior for spending the majority of his or her time in the coming year in brothels, prisons, and methadone clinics in developing countries.”