Bates College names Phillips Student Fellows

Six Bates College students have been named 2004 Phillips Student Fellows, recipients of an award that provides major funding for summer research projects involving meaningful immersion in different cultures.

Three recipients are sophomores: Aarjan Dixit, of Kathmandu, Nepal; Samuel Falls, of Hartland, Vt.; and Sarah Mazur, an English major from Norwich, Vt.

The remaining three include two juniors — John Karass of Whitefield, Maine, and Rachel Silver, an anthropology major from Houston, Texas — and one first-year student, Kathryn Moore of Pelham, N.H.

For his project titled “Traversing the Ganges,” Dixit will examine whether the economic gains from India’s Inter-Rivers Linking Project, which will harness major rivers to transport large volumes of water into dry regions, are large enough to cover concomitant economic losses and social and environmental consequences. Traveling to cities along the Ganges, he will interview pilgrims dependent upon the river, local religious leaders and academics at the Banares Hindu University.

Fall’s project is titled “Theravada Buddhist Pilgrimage to Wat Suan Mokkhabalarama.” He will travel to Wat Suan Mokkhabalarma, a Theravada Buddhist monastery in southern Thailand, to expand his understanding of Buddhism through first-hand exposure to its practices and beliefs.

Mazur and Moore will work together on a project titled “The Evolution of Celtic Music and Culture in the Canadian Maritime Provinces and Southern Appalachia.” They will visit northeastern Canada and southern Appalachia in the United States, regions where Celtic music and culture first arrived on this continent. They will attend musical festivals, jam sessions, community dances and the Ceilidh Trail School of Celtic Music in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and will interview and play with various musicians.

Karass, in a project called “Following the Footsteps of Epicurus,” will follow the geographical path of Epicurus, the last prolific Greek philosopher to teach in Athens. Karass will trace the spread of Epicurus’ philosophy, a unique blend of atomism and hedonism, from its beginnings on the Greek island of Samos across the Aegean Sea to Athens, hoping to gain a better understanding of a philosophy that still influences contemporary thinking.

For her project “Exploring Purposes of Schooling: Harambee Education in Kenya,” Silver will live, teach and conduct research in Ebukhaya, a rural community in Kenya. She will work at a school in the NGO-run Harambee program to better understand how Kenyans regard this grassroots, community-based approach to education and how they distinguish these schools from standard government schools. She will focus on tensions between the vestiges of colonialism and the egalitarian values on which Harambee schools are built.

Phillips Student Fellowships support students who design exceptional international or cross-cultural projects focusing on research, service-learning, career exploration or a combination of the three. The best Phillips Fellowships are challenging and transformative experiences for the students who undertake them.

The Phillips Student Fellowships, Phillips Faculty Fellowships and Phillips Professorships at Bates are part of the Phillips Endowment Program, an initiative of awards, honors and opportunities funded by a $9 million endowment bequest made to the college in 1999 by Charles F. Phillips, fourth president of Bates, and his wife, Evelyn Minard Phillips.

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