Phillips, Otis fellowships support research abroad for nine students

Thanks to two Bates College fellowship programs, nine Bates students will have the opportunity to pursue cultural and environmental research in countries around the globe this year.

Three students have received Philip J. Otis Fellowships to support research into the relationships among individuals, societies and nature.

Six have been awarded Phillips Student Fellowships, providing funding for summer projects involving meaningful immersion in different cultures.

The 2005 Otis recipients are:

Lindsy Blazej, a junior from Dixmont, Maine. She will go to Europe to investigate “ecovillages,” settlements designed to support a full range of human activities with the least impact on the natural environment.

Carlos Challen Willemsen, a sophomore from Guatemala City, Guatemala. He will travel to the Peruvian Andes to visit the native Quechua people and study their relationships to the plant life around them and their traditional uses of plants as medicine and food.

Andrea Wolf, a junior from Nashville, Tenn. She will visit the Central Andes to study the traditional weavings of the Aymara indigenous group, examining how woven textiles symbolize Aymara cosmology and express the wider relationship of communities with the environment.

The 2005 Phillips recipients are:

Ainur Begim, a sophomore from Aktobe City, Kazakhstan, who will visit Britain and Greece to research the Panathenaic Festival, the most important religious festival in ancient Athens.

Jacob Bluestone, a sophomore from Huntington, N.Y. In Bolivia, he will teach and work with disadvantaged children, and he hopes to supply his students with disposable cameras to record life in their neighborhoods.

Arda Gucler, a sophomore from Istanbul, Turkey, who will investigate aspects of the World War I battle of Gallipoli through interviews with the families of Gallipoli veterans in Australia and New Zealand.

Tyler Paul, a junior from Great Falls, Mont. Paul will travel to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to study the economic progress and national identity of these former Soviet republics.

Vanni Thach, a junior from Camden, N.J. She will go to Cambodia to explore her personal heritage and the history of Cambodia, especially its recent past and legacy of genocide.

Chelsea Tryder, a junior from Fryeburg, Maine. She will spend the summer at an orphanage for girls in Santiago, Chile, assisting with the day-to-day activities of the orphanage, teaching dance to the girls and working with them to create a mural.

Established in 1996 by Margaret V.B. and C. Angus Wurtele, the Philip J. Otis Endowment commemorates their son, Philip, a member of the Bates class of 1995. A park ranger, Otis died attempting to rescue an injured climber on Mount Rainier.

Otis was deeply concerned with nurturing a sense of responsibility for the natural environment. The Otis Endowment sponsors opportunities for study, exploration and reflection by students, faculty and other members of the Bates community. Each year a small number of students are selected as Otis Fellows to receive grants between $2,000 and $5,000 to support off-campus projects that explore an environmental and/or eco-spiritual topic.

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 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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