Pamela Daniels '59 Fellowship
The Pamela Daniels '59 Fellowship addresses:
"What would you love to do?" It is but part of the
panoply of Wellesley's intellectual excitement
and it encourages the maverick spirit
Read Pamela Daniels' commencement speech from 2000.
Pamela Daniels, Class of 1959, is among the loyal and impassioned alumnae to give back to Wellesley in a uniquely creative way. A Class Dean at Wellesley from 1981- 2000, she says, “‘Doing what you love’ means knowing yourself well enough to be able to answer the question, ‘What would you love to do?’ and loving yourself enough to ask it.” *
*From Working It Out: 23 Women Writers, Artists, Scientists, and Scholars Talk about Their Lives and Work (1977)
Upon her retirement in May of 2000, her former students, classmates, family, and friends endowed the Pamela Daniels ’59 Fellowship, to be offered annually to support an original senior project.
Fellowships are in the amount of $3500 each. Each fellowship provides an opportunity for selected seniors (four this year) to envision and carry out a piece of work that she would love to do before she graduates – a work of imagination as well as intellect, a “worthy and vivid dream project” that explores who she is as well as what she knows.
The fellowship project may be an exploration of a familiar topic from a new perspective, or it may venture into an entirely new realm. Whether it entails research in a remote archive, travel into a new landscape, production of a work of art or recording the life history of a social activist, the creators of the fellowship hope that the experience will affirm the student’s identity as an intellectual or artistic risk-taker.
See examples of fellowship projects below.
|Oral Histories of Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent, 1950-60|
|Nora Mishanec, Class of 2014|
|Double major in Cognitive & Linguistic Sciences & Psychology|
|“My project was inspired by an assignment in Professor Brenna Greer's history course titled Modern Black Freedom Struggle,” said Nora Mishanec ’14, who majors in psychology. “The assignment was to collect one oral history, but with Professor Greer's encouragement I ended up doing several because I got so wrapped up in it. Fast-forward to today and I'm working on creating a whole collection of oral histories in the Archives from Wellesley alumnae of African descent who graduated in the pre-Ethos era of the 1950s.” The fellowship will enable Nora to travel to collect these oral histories, histories she hopes will be useful for future research.
|Effects of E-Readers on Children's Recall of Mental State and Factual Information: From a Socioeconomic Point of View|
|Rosa Guzman, Class of 2014|
|“My project was inspired by my passion in language and literacy development,” said Rosa Guzman ’14, who is interested in how socioeconomic status affects language and literacy democracy. She explained, “Children from families of lower socioeconomic status are found to be exposed to little linguistic input from birth and few instances of shared book reading time. Children from low socioeconomic environments have fewer access to books, and their parents do not always read to them, because of work obligations or language barriers. Shared book reading is vital for children to not only become familiar with books, words, and letters, but it also helps them in their ability to understand that people have different beliefs, intentions, and desires, among other mental states that differ from their own.” The psychology major plans to study the effects of electronic readers or e-readers on children’s narrative comprehension, through testing pre-schoolers in Framingham. She is excited for the opportunity the fellowship provides to “to network with preschools all around the Boston area and help explore a possible intervention to help children have access to reading.”|
|Engagement in Nature: A Visual Exploration of Wellesley Botanical Gardens|
|Zhengyang “Echo” Yue, Class of 2014|
|For Zhengyang “Echo” Yue ’14, it was the fusion of her love of the Wellesley landscape combined with her art education and her experience at the Botanical Gardens that inspired her Daniels project. “As an international student, I found the sense of home in Wellesley's timeless nature by learning the trees, familiarizing the space, and getting to know the landscape,” said Echo, who majors in architecture and minors in mathematics. “I want to relate myself even more to the nature and leave my own marks on this campus. Through my project, I hope to give back to the community through the art and architecture education I gained in the past years and allow others to partake in nature and love nature as I do.” Using the fellowship funds, she will create artworks using natural materials, and then place them in strategic locations throughout the campus.|
|The To the Lighthouse Reader: Virginia Woolf and the Problem of Knowing Another|
|Ava Bramson, Class of 2014|
|English major Ava Bramson ’14 found her inspiration exploring the work of Virginia Woolf in a class with Barbara Morris Caspersen Associate Professor in the Humanities and Associate Professor of English Lisa Rodensky. In Rodensky’s course, Ava became excited by the possibilities of using Woolf’s lesser-known essays and diary entries as a window into her notoriously complex works. “I found that an exposure to Woolf's world, and her thoughts when possible, was the most fun and rewarding way to come to my own understanding of her words,” she said. For her senior thesis project, she set out to create a casebook of Woolf’s short stories, essays, letters, and other works which will illuminate the questions she has about Woolf’s work. When the casebook is complete, Ava said, “I would hope that somebody could pick up my thesis project before, after, or during their reading of To the Lighthouse, for example, and all on their own come to understand my argument about Woolf's ethic of life-writing, with examples (or evidence) straight from Woolf’s mouth.” Using the fellowship funds, she will travel to England in January to visit archives, the author’s homes, and other important Woolf sites. - See more at: http://www.wellesley.edu/news/2013/11/node/40270#sthash.X7YuzDIz.dpuf
|Space, place, home: a visual study of interiors|
|Zsofia Schweger, Class of 2012|
|Double major in Studio Art and Comparative Literature|
A painter and videographer, Zsofia is the first Daniels Fellow in the Studio Art Department. Her Fellowship project, and studio art honors thesis, is an exploration of the concept of home through the visual study of interiors. In her diminutive canvases and striking videos, Zsofia asks how space becomes place and how place becomes home: “How do we occupy space?” “How do we personalize place?” “What objects matter?” “What does home look like?” “Can we have multiple homes?” And, ultimately, for this peripatetic artist and native of Hungary: “Where am I at home?”
The spaces Zsofia depicts and transforms in her work include the studios in Pendleton West, the kitchen of her childhood home, Wellesley’s fencing cabinet (she is a saber fencer) and the fireplace room in the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center – the “only living-room-like space on our campus that is shared by the entire community.” Zsofia defines space as purely functional, place as familiar, and home as intimate. “Creating a place of comfort and intimacy through the act of painting is of utmost interest to me,” she writes. And more: “In my work I want to show my affection for Wellesley as a home where I lived for four years and grew attached to unlikely places such as hectic studios, messy fencing closets, or views of the power plant.”
|Named a Harriet A. Shaw Fellow this spring, Zsofia plans to work in the arts next year and as soon as possible to undertake graduate study in fine arts.|
|deaf preschoolers' social-emotional development in the classroom|
|Jenny Lu, Class of 2012|
Jenny received a cochlear implant at the age of nineteen. She identifies with the Deaf community and is passionate about deaf education. For her Fellowship project she undertook a two-semester independent study in Education and Psychology in which she sought to gain new understanding of the impact of cochlear implants on deaf children, on their quality of life and their learning experience in school. Many deaf children now receive cochlear implants at an early age, and, as Jenny notes, although there has been extensive research on the effects of implantation on these children’s speech development, very little is known about their social-emotional development.
In order to begin to bridge this gap, Jenny decided to look at curricular and pedagogic approaches to fostering development in young children with and without cochlear implants. She interviewed teachers and administrators to identify both successful teaching strategies and also the challenges. She observed and documented classroom arrangements and schedules as well as how children use the classroom space during play. In addition, she has been working with Children’s Hospital to gather data on parents’ perspectives on their children’s development. She hopes the findings of her two-pronged project will be useful to early interventionists, doctors, psychologists and parents of deaf children.
|Next year, on a Knafel Fellowship, Jenny will be doing research on deaf children’s cognitive development at University College London.|
|hope in action: providing a holistic educational experience through community partnerships|
|Amanda Wyatt, Class of 2011|
|Peace and Justice Studies Major|
“Reflection drives the action, and the action makes you reflect.” Amanda cites Paolo Freire when she describes her Fellowship project, part of an independent study in Education, as an “action proposal” and a necessary counterpoint to the “abstract ideas of my wonderful liberal arts education.” With the passionate commitment of a born community organizer, Amanda devised and implemented a working partnership between a predominantly low-income school in Boston’s South End, a community organization across the street in an Episcopal church, and Wellesley students.
Under the banner “Stronger Communities, Stronger Schools,” she recruited a cohort of ten volunteers who made the weekly trip into Boston to provide supplemental one-on-one tutorial and emotional support to struggling students in the classroom as well as recreation, instruction in the martial art of Wushu, and playful friendship after school. Determined to make this kind of collaboration permanent, Amanda created a new service organization on campus, “Sed Ministrare,” for which she wrote a Handbook to inspire and guide Wellesley’s next class of inner-city volunteers, and the next…
Amanda’s future plans are to study law and pursue a lifework addressing and redressing
|social synapses: an art installation in the science center|
|Alexandra Olivier, Class of 2011|
|Double major in Computer Science and French|
An offshoot of Alex’s senior thesis project in computer science (an electronic toolkit to enable others to create interactive spaces), “Social Synapses” was (and is) an installation “designed to provoke contemplation about the interconnectivity of our community.” Here’s how it works: Sensors placed under tables in the focus area of the Science Center monitor traffic and activity there, causing artificial neurons along the walkways and windows overhead to light up and twinkle – literally and metaphorically illuminating the power of student interaction and communication.
Alex’s engagement with her Fellowship project is threefold: She sees it as a serious challenge to herself to design and execute an artistic vision electronically, as a way of showcasing the importance of collaboration within Wellesley’s academic community, and as a “magical, playful and really cool” experiment. Work on the project took Alex into the summer – building, testing, installing and programming the neuron ‘sculptures.’ She describes the process as “unlike anything I’d ever experienced in class. I felt like a Ninja in the Science Center; I would stay up late and just WORK – no assignment, just the passion. Hanging the neurons made me feel like I was adjusting sails on a ship, trying to get the synapses just right.” The installation is intended to be permanent. Come see for yourselves.
|This fall, Alex will be starting a Master’s program at NYU-ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program), where she hopes to keep on constructing compelling and beautiful objects.|
|singing for my supper: an album of original songs|
|Claire Davis, Class of 201o|
“The most immediate and intimate way to handle a text is to place it humming in the
throat,” writes singer-songwriter Claire Davis. Claire came into her senior year having performed in numerous choirs, taught and created music curricula for elementary school children in Washington, D.C., studied at Oxford, and “sung out somewhere or another four nights a week on the streets of New York City.” She had studied texts and melodies across the ages, from Hildegard of Bingen to Bach and Bartok, from John Donne and Robert Burns to Bob Dylan and Al Green. She had explored chant and gospel, chorale, ballad and blues. She had mastered the guitar. It was time to ignite for herself what she calls the “combustible spark between words and music.”
Claire’s Fellowship project was the production, performance and public release of an album of original songs. In the context of her creative-writing honors thesis in English, which “explored contemporary American lyric at the crossroads of honky-tonk, gospel and Sappho,” Claire wrote the lyrics and composed the music and arrangements for a dozen new songs, recorded them in the studio and in live performance (solo and with other musicians), and produced an album of the collection entitled “Thrift and Industry.”
|After graduation, Claire moved on out into the wider world to sing for her supper under the name Cal Folger Day.|
|george sand's "mauprat: a new adaptation for a new era"|
|Janine Hegarty, Class of 201o|
|Double major in French and Neuroscience|
George Sand’s 1837 novel Mauprat is the story of the transformation of a savage child, Bernard de Mauprat, into a civilized human being through teaching and the love of his fair cousin, Edmee. George Sand’s own stage adaptation of her very long novel was unsuccessful. For her Fellowship project and senior honors thesis in French, Janine, an accomplished actor and theatre maven “ferociously devoted” to Sand, set out to accomplish what the French novelist had not. Her senior honors thesis and Fellowship project would be a ‘trifecta’ of adaptation, translation and performance.
In order to understand the lukewarm reception that greeted Sand’s theatrical version of Mauprat, Janine immersed herself in nineteenth-century theatre criticism, popular reviews, and Sand’s correspondence of the period. From there, she proceeded to write a new adaptation of the original novel, in French, and then translated her adaptation into English for performance. In the spring, with a cast drawn from fellow thespians in Shakespeare Society and Dead Serious, she produced and directed “her” Mauprat. Performed as a late eighteenth-century courtroom drama (in Wellesley’s Academic Council chamber), Janine’s adaptation wryly conveyed the convention-defying novelist’s socialist and feminist messages – “but with a modern twist.” And she realized her lifelong dream of directing a full-length play, which received a rousing reception from the Wellesley community.
Janine is currently a Master’s degree candidate in Performance Studies at NYU’s Tisch
School of the Arts.
||"SolSource 3-in-1 Solar Cooker for Tibet: Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons from Yak Dung Combustion"
Imagine a clean cooking, heating and electricity solution for 2.5 billion of the world’s poorest people – at a price they can afford. This is the promise of the “SolSource 3-in-1,” a portable solar cooker that Catlin and fellow students at MIT imagined, built and field-tested in Tibet.
|Class of 2009|
|Chemistry & Environmental Studies||After graduation: PhD candidate in Environmental Health at Harvard School of Public Health; co-founder of One Earth Designs, a non-profit that designs and develops technical innovations and environmental solutions for low-income communities around the world. Also awarded $75,000 from the St. Andrews Prize for the Environment and $6,000 from the Clinton Global Initiative.|
|Susan Muensterman||"Did You Forget Your Name?"
Susan completed a first draft of an entire novel (twenty chapters), eventually entitled Did You Forget Your Name? Like the heroine of her novel, Susan has stuttered since she was a child. Her novel is a darkly comical, ultimately uplifting account of a young girl who is unable to speak when she most needs to.
|Class of 2009|
After graduation: A Jacob Javits Fellow in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. She is doing a final revision of her novel, which she hopes to publish.
||"Rewriting History: Editing the Past in Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama"
A writer herself and passionate student of Irish history, wanting to understand the process of revision that turns deed into story, she focused on characters who tell and retell their tales until the end product barely resembles the original action.
|Class of 2008|
|English & Mathematics||After graduation: Summer internship at a literary magazine; then living, working, and writing in Paris, where she is learning to appreciate another culture and literature. She has been accepted into the Master’s program in Anglo-Irish literature at Trinity College Dublin.|
||"Pain: Memories of My Childhood"
A memoir that explored critical traumatic events of her childhood. Her goals in this project were personal, intellectual and social: to create a healing arc from her past to her future, to become a clear and eloquent writer, and to participate in and further a dialog among women about “taboo subjects in society today.”
|Class of 2008|
After graduation: Working on completing her memoir for publication. An ardent soccer fan, she is contemplating a ‘day job’ as a sports writer.
View more projects from previous fellows.