Seven Bates students receive Phillips Fellowships

Seven Bates juniors have been named 2001 Phillips Student Fellows and will each receive grants of up to $10,000 for summer research projects. The 2001 Phillips Student Fellows are Smadar Bakovic of Neve Ilan, Israel; Jenny Blau of Greenbrae, Calif.; Abdelfetah Jibril of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Brian O’Doherty of Kennebunkport, Maine; Diana Sepehri of Rancho Cordova, Calif.; Volkan Stodolsky of Germantown, Md.; and Jason Surdukowski of Concord, N.H.Phillips Student Fellowships provide major funding to students who design exceptional international or cross-cultural projects focusing on research, service-learning, or career exploration, or some combination of the three. Projects must involve substantial immersion in a different culture.Bakovic will live in Arab villages and Bedouin settlements in her native Israel, in an effort to understand the non-Jewish cultures of Israel, she will reflect, from the Arab side, on the history of mistrust among Arabs and Jews in that country. She will create a documentary upon her return to Bates.

Blau will volunteer in health education and family planning in a rural health center and examine the complex social, medical, and humans rights issues facing such centers.

Jibril will tutor Jamaican middle-and high-school students in math and physics. He will observe the teaching and learning of math and science at Mannings High School in Sav la Mar, and will hold regular tutoring sessions throughout the summer, in an effort to enrich students’ understanding of physics and math, and to encourage more Jamaican students to continue their studies in the sciences beyond high school.

O’Doherty, a member of the Brooks Quimby Debate Council, will establish in Washington, D.C., high schools an intra-city parliamentary debate league, involving high school teachers and debate team members from area colleges as mentors and coaches.

Sepehri, who participated in the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Off-Campus Study Program in Ecuador, will study traditional medicine in Ecuador and Bolivia by interviewing shamans of indigenous communities, to explore the natural and spiritual remedies they employ.

Stodolsky will interview Bosnian Muslims in Sarajevo who were children and teenagers during the Bosnian War. He will explore the relationship between war and cultural identity and will investigate in particular the myth of “ancient hatreds” used to explain longstanding conflicts in the region.

Surdukowski will conduct field research and interviews in preparation for his senior thesis in political science connecting the discourse of law with the reality of genocide. Working in Arusha, Tanzania and Rwanda, he will study the intersection of law and reality by examining the views of prosecutors, judges, court staff, witnesses, victims, and defendants, and political dissidents, all players in the Rwandan genocide.

The Phillips Student Fellowships, along with the Phillips Faculty Fellowships and Phillips Professorships at Bates, are part of the Phillips Endowment Program, an ambitious initiative of awards, honors and opportunities for faculty and students funded by a $9-million endowment bequest to the College from former Bates President Charles F. Phillips and his wife, Evelyn Minard Phillips, in 1999.

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