Jewish family history, hands-on health care in Africa motivate 2013 Phillips Student Fellows

The 2013 Phillips Fellows, Asha Mohamud '15 and Rachel Baumann '14. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

The 2013 Phillips Fellows, Asha Mohamud ’15 and Rachel Baumann ’14. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

“The next world is already on its way. College education in the U.S. faces the urgent task of getting ready for it,” Bates President Charles F. Phillips told the incoming class during Convocation 1959.

Asha Mohamud '15, one of two Phillips Student Fellows for 2013. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Intersections between culture and medicine drew Asha Mohamud to Tanzania.

Phillips was referring specifically to Asia, which was just beginning its ascent to today’s global influence. But Bates’ fourth president was getting at a broader notion as well: the educational importance of understanding cultures different from one’s own.

Since 1999, Phillips Student Fellowships have put that concept into action. Phillips Fellows create outstanding international or cross-cultural projects involving research, community-engaged learning or career exploration.

The program supports immersion in another culture, opportunities for intense meaningful work and unique prospects for intellectual and personal growth.

Meet Phillips Fellows Rachel Baumann ’14 and Asha Mohamud ’15.

Shown during a presentation last fall of her Phillips Fellowship research is Rachel Baumann '14. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

The story of her grandparents’ escape from the Holocaust drew Rachel Baumann to Europe.

The student fellowships, along with faculty fellowships and professorships, are supported by the Phillips Endowment Program, a suite of awards, honors and opportunities funded by a $9 million bequest to Bates by Phillips and his wife, Evelyn Minard Phillips.

“The fellowships take students out of their comfort zone in ways that are personally transformative, and prepare them to be citizens of the world,” says Kerry O’Brien, assistant dean of the faculty. “They really embody the mission of the college on several levels: educating the whole person, honoring diversity, cultivating intellectual discovery and civic action, and preparing future leaders.”

In 2013, seeking to understand experiences outside the U.S. that had changed the lives of people close to them, two Bates students sought and were awarded Phillips Fellowships.