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reed magazine logoSpring 2008

Reed Students Win National Awards

Reed senior Lukas Strickland ’08 has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to support a year of study abroad. A political science major, he plans to use the award for travel to coastal villages in Gabon, Madagascar, and Morocco to investigate the effects of globalization and climate change on traditional subsistence fishing communities. “Subsistence cultures depend even more heavily than other parts of the world on a stable balance with the natural environment and within world markets,” says Strickland. “In this venture—and I hope my premonitions are disproved—I expect to find that fragile ecosystems and the communities that depend on them have a particularly difficult time coping with changes in the environment and global markets.” Raised about 40 miles nort hwest of Anchorage, Alaska, in the town of Palmer, Strickland has been fishing with his parents in the fertile waters of Bristol Bay since he was a child. “I believe in a down-to-earth approach to education,” he says, “one that combines the knowledge of academics with the wisdom of practical experience. This trip for me is sort of a hands-on version of my Reed education—pursuing a deeper understanding of our changing world in locations that have little say in their destiny.” Strickland, who recently bought a drift boat of his own, plans to spend this summer commercial fishing and will embark on his fellowship travels next summer. He is one of 50 recipients of the Watson this year.

John Wilmes ’10, a sophomore from Mundelein, Illinois, has been awarded $7,500 from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. He is among 321 undergraduate sophomores and juniors majoring in mathematics, science, and engineering who were awarded the Goldwater for 2008–09. Wilmes, a mathematics major, will spend the summer participating in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at Rutgers University. Next spring, he will study in Budapest under faculty from Eötvös Loránd University.

Robin Fink ’09, a junior majoring in anthropology, has won a $10,000 award from the Davis Projects for Peace program, now in its second year, to build community gardens in central Ecuador’s rural province of Chimborazo. This summer, Fink and members of Reed’s student-run Ecuador Service Project will work with schoolteachers in Cochaloma, Quishuar, and La Esperanza, communities located high in the Andes, to integrate nutrition and community gardening concepts into the curriculum, construct greenhouses, and plant gardens.

“Malnutrition is very prevalent in these communities,” says Fink. “They consist primarily of subsistence farmers who grow richly nutritive crops such as quinoa, barley, habas beans, and potatoes. But they sell most of these goods to exterior markets to bring home money to their families. As a result, much of their food intake is lacking in protein and iron.”

Ayuda Directa International, a nongovernmental organization that works closely with underprivileged communities in Ecuador to improve basic quality of life, will also work with Fink on the project. The Davis program, an initiative for undergraduate students to design and implement their own grassroots projects for peace over the course of a summer, funds 100 projects each year, based on feasibility. “It’s one small yet extremely powerful step towards addressing social inequality,” says Fink.

Maron Levesque ’08, an anthropology major from Concord, New Hampshire, will head to New York this summer on a 2008 Humanity in Action fellowship. She is one of 59 undergraduate students from American colleges and universities selected for the 2008 summer fellowship programs in Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, and the United States. In each five-week program, American and European college students collaborate to study the condition of minorities in the host country and seek innovative ways to address human rights issues.

reed magazine logoSpring 2008