The Middlebury Center for Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship 2013 selection committee has selected the six student fellows for 2013! Keep reading to meet these six superstar young social entrepreneurs.
Gaby Fuentes ‘16
Gaby a sophomore Psychology major and Educational Studies and Art History double minor. A Chicago native, Gaby is a member of the first Chicago Posse cohort at Middlebury. In the spring of her freshman year, she was awarded the MCSC Summer Grant, which alongside funding from Middlebury alumni allowed her to launch Project: BECOMING Pilsen. In collaboration with Professor Christal Brown, the founder of the program and the chair of the dance program at Middlebury College, Gaby expanded Project: BECOMING, an empowerment program including dance and dialogue for teenage girls, to Chicago. The program worked closely with Pilsen, a predominately Mexican-American neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago. She spends much of her time outside of academics involved in themes that affect Mexican-American communities. Other activities that Gaby participates in on campus include Residential Life, Distinguished Men of Color, Café con Leché, and Alianza.
Sarah James ’16.5
Sarah, a sophomore Feb from Cleveland, Ohio, is an English and American Literatures major and an Environmental Studies minor. During her gap semester, Sarah interned at a human rights law firm in Cleveland and spent time in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. While in Cambodia, Sarah taught English and French to young children infected with HIV. This past summer, Sarah graduated from Middlebury’s MiddCORE program, where she now works as an intern. On campus, Sarah also serves as a founding mother and student advocate for Middlebury College’s soon-to-be launched sexual assault advocacy program.
Sarah believes the key to creating lasting social change lies in solving our climate crisis. As a CSE fellow, Sarah looks forward to learning more about how social entrepreneurship can work to improve both environmental and education issues simultaneously.
Rabeya Jawaid ‘16
Rabeya grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, but attended high school in Hong Kong before coming to Middlebury. Last year, Rabeya organized a program to train deaf Pakistani women how to sew and embroider as well as how to communicate in sign language in order to help these women gain financial independence, and she returned to Pakistan last summer to implement her project with a grant from the MCSE. Rabeya is currently undeclared but is considering majoring in Economics, and is passionate about women’s rights, public policy and journalism.
Winson Law ‘16
Winson Law was born and raised in Seattle, WA. After graduating from high school, he served as a Global Citizen Year Fellow in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Challenged by learning Portuguese, navigating a new culture, and figuring out how to use the city’s bus system, Winson discovered the value of taking intentional time away from academics. He arrived at Middlebury with new questions and curiosities about the world. Guided by these questions, Winson is currently studying Geography. He draws inspiration from people who have dared to compete, unconventional approaches to old problems, and his family.
Among many developing interests, Winson plans to increase access to gap semester and bridge year opportunities. He is also interested in human centered design thinking.
Debanjan Roychoudhury ‘16
Debanjan is a sophomore Sociology major from Queens, New York. He attended public school in Queens for grades 1-12 before being awarded the Posse Foundation Scholarship. He has always valued civic engagement and community building as an essential part of a complete academic experience. As a result of this, he is actively involved with Addison County Teens, mentoring high school students and facilitating poetry/Hip-Hop workshops. While mentoring he draws upon his experiences performing as a Rap/Spoken Word artist at various academic and artistic institutions around the country. On campus Debanjan is also a member of the Student Advisory Board for the Center for Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, as well as a board member of Distinguished Men of Color.
Debanjan was a Field/Organizing Intern this past summer for New Yorkers for de Blasio, campaigning throughout New York City for the recent mayoral election.
Mzwakithi Prestige Shongwe ‘16
An International Politics & Economics major with an African Studies minor, Prestige grew up in the Kingdom of Swaziland in Southern Africa, in loving family of five in a community that had a strong Swazi tradition, and experienced social hardships such as the spread of HIV during the early 2000s.
“I sometimes think back to the images of the Mozambican women in my neighborhood who made a living as fresh fruit vendors in the local market,” Prestige said, reflecting on his sources of inspiration. “In their silent, patient and preserving way, they went from nearly escaping Mozambique’s civil war to providing an education of their children through working hard in a country that did not document them as legal citizens.”
In working with the CSE, Prestige hopes to learn more about different models of financial sustainability, and incorporating lessons learnt from these experiences in making his organization, Platforms for Hope, more financially-independent and sound.