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Otis Fellows 2008-2012

Otis Fellowships provide major funding for students who have designed exceptional ways to explore the relationship of individuals and societies and the natural world. Otis Fellowships are funded by an endowment established by the Wurtele and Otis families, in memory of Philip J. Otis ’95, who died while still a student, attempting to rescue a hiker on Mt. Rainier.

Otis Fellow for 2012:

SONJA FAVALORO, ’14: Red Earth Farm: Life in an Intentional Community. Ms. Falavoro joined the Red Earth Farms community for 3 months. During this time she worked with residents in permaculture farming and sustainable building. She also participated in activities at the adjacent intentional community, Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Sonja was able to experience living in a way that emphasizes connection to nature and to one another.

BRIAN KENNEDY, ’14 AND JOSH STURTEVANT, ’14:Exploring the Communities and Terrain of Kujalleq, Southern Greenland. Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Sturtevant hiked and packrafted through the Kujalleq region, an area framed by mountains and fjords hiding fertile plains and small towns. Throughout their journey they spent time with the local people, learning about and recording their stories as they relate to environmental and cultural changes that have occurred or are on the horizon.

Otis Fellow for 2011:

LEIGH MICHAEL ’12: Entwined Bonds: The Complex Relationship Between the Logging Industry, Communities, Individuals, and the Environment.  The purpose of this project was to explore the way in which the logging industry has shaped Oregon’s communities and its landscape.  Ms. Michael visited communities in the Pacific Northwest and explored lumber production’s role in their survival or deterioration.  In speaking with people, visiting logging operations and saw mills, and soaking up the essence of towns touched by the industry, she gathered the many perspectives that surround logging.  She also explored landscapes that have been affected by the timber industry.

Otis Fellows for 2010:

GOHAR SHAHINYAN ’12: Planting the Roots to Self-Empowerment on Community. Ms. Shahinyan returned to Yerevan, Armenia, where she worked with the people in peripheral residential neighborhoods to rejuvenate their neighborhood courtyards.  Through her project she created a sense of community stewardship and ownership, and helped them to improve their self-confidence by illustrating their power to alter their own environment for the better.

Otis Fellows for 2009:

WILLIAM LOOPESKO ’10 and RUSSELL MILHOLLAND ’10: Yukon Bound: Documenting the Passage and Presence of Humans in The Last Great Wilderness. Mr. Loopesko and Mr. Milholland hiked the Chilkoot Trail, the historic miner’s trail from the Pacific Coast to the river’s headwaters, and then paddled down the Yukon to discover the relics from its historic past and experience the rich local culture. Throughout their journey they used different media to record the passage or presence of humans through the area.

CHAD FRISBIE ’10: Biking the Ring Road: Rethinking the Icelandic Landscape. Mr. Frisbie biked  the 870 mile “Ring Road”, which circles Iceland, and interior roads to experienced the natural dynamic and open space of Iceland. Along the way he conducted interviews with Icelanders on their diverse outlooks on the future treatment of the landscape in regards to the proposed hydroelectric dam projects. He used the medium of poetry, to express his thoughts and feelings.

KAITLIN WEBBER ’11: The Tradition of Sustainability: Folklore and Organic Farming in Scotland. Ms. Webber worked on organic farms in Scotland to get a better understanding of the relationship between the farmers and the land that is depended on for sustenance.  Through the bonding experience of working the land with her host family, she became immersed in the local ecology and history, and became aware of the vital connection between them.

Otis Fellows for 2008:

HWI ING NG ’09: Following the Ganges – A Collision of Flesh and Spirit in Water. Ms. Ng documented in photography and writing the changing phases of the River Ganges from the place of its birth to the point of its union with the ocean, and explored how man has altered the banks and course over the miles.

ELLEN SABINA ’09: The Faroe Islands. Ms. Sabina traveled to Faroe Islands and explored the relationship between the Faroese people and ocean. Isolated by geography and fiercely proud of their heritage, the people of the Faroe Island depend almost entirely on the sea for survival and adhere to the traditions that sustained their ancestors, including the driving of the pilot whales.

ANNA SKARSTAD ’11: Farming in the Western Fjords of Norway: An Endangered Life? Ms. Skarstad spent her summer on a remote, traditional farm in the western fjords of Norway, working and learning centuries-old farming techniques and handicrafts used in the challenging conditions of the mountainous ‘shelf-farm’, many of which already stand abandoned. She focused on whether the new pressures of obtrusive tourism and further human interference would change the farmers’ profound relationship with their land.


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