To navigate to different Grant Winners, simply click on the year you would like to visit.
Jamie Yelland ’13
Jamie Yelland ’13 is a Biochemistry major who spent his winter term in the village of Eromoko in central Java, studying gamelan under Midiyanto, a master performer and teacher. Jamie’s goals were to assess the role of gamelan performance in a small village, meet local Javanese performers, learn about gamelan composition, and experience traditional performances firsthand; all while refining his musical skills. He returned to Oberlin and taught an introductory ExCo upon return, complementing Professor Fraser’s Conservatory ensemble. When not playing gongs, Jamie can occasionally be found plucking a banjo or a sitar, fencing saber on Oberlin’s club team, devoting time to the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association, or mixing dangerous (fun) reagents in Mr. Fuchsman’s research lab.
Christine Chang ’13
Christine Chang ’13 is a neuroscience and creative writing double major on the pre-med track. She is one of the co-chairs of Oberlin’s pre-med AMSA chapter, as well as a site coordinator for America Reads. After taking a course on global health emergencies this semester, she decided to study traditional medicine systems in comparison to the Western biomedical system. To this end, she spent winter term in southern Taiwan, shadowing physicians and pharmacists to learn more about traditional medicine, including herbalism and acupuncture.
Leila Goldstein ’14 is a Comparative American Studies and Theater major at Oberlin College. She has performed in several Theater and Dance Department productions on campus. She is also a Girls in Motion mentor, working with girls on fitness and self-esteem through dance at Langston Middle School. For her project, Leila traveled to Chennai, India to learn about Indian street theater and how it can be used to bring about social change. In working with the non-profit organization Nalamdana, she participated in the development of plays, theater workshops, and radio entertainment addressing issues of health and youth education. She is also the current Shansi fellow to Banda Aceh, Indonesia!
Patrick Gilfether ’15
Patrick Gilfether ’15 is a first-year student of Chinese language at Oberlin. His travel experiences in Asia and his enthusiasm to learn Chinese have him considering an East Asian Studies major. He is a Bonner Scholar, a tutor for America Reads, and an active member of the Oberlin College Climbing Club and the Oberlin Bike Co-op. He spent the summer of 2012 in Yangshuo, China researching the development of the local tourism industry surrounding rock climbing, climbing himself, and performing community service. Patrick used this opportunity to immerse himself in Chinese language and culture whilst developing a better understanding of tourism industry– both its negative impacts and its potential as a driver for positive social and economic growth.
Tania Mukherjee ’15
Tania Mukherjee ’15 is a Biology and Neuroscience major, and a possible GSFS minor. Her interests primarily lie in the field of public health in South Asia, and the variety of factors that influence access to healthcare. During winter term, she traveled to Bangladesh to study the human rights model to health that is followed by Naripokkho–an NGO in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The reasons for this are twofold: she sees this project as one of the first steps towards understanding efforts made at different levels to improve health and healthcare, especially for women. She also has deeply personal reasons for visiting Bangladesh. While she was born in India, and has been brought up in different parts of the country, her family is from Bangladesh, and through this visit, she would like to understand how Bangladeshi customs and practices have influenced her life and identity as a Bengali woman. Tania planned to document her experience in Bangladesh in the form of a short film as well as a journal.
Sarah Fries ’12
Sarah Fries ’12 is a East Asian Studies and Mathematics double major. On campus, she is an officer of Oberlin Film Series and co-chair of the Exco Committee. This past summer, Sarah enrolled in intensive Japanese language courses at Middlebury Summer Language School. There, she was able to meet three rakugo masters and performed rakugo. Sarah will study the evolution of rakugo in Japan, and understand how three well-established rakugo theaters thrive in the center of Tokyo, one of the most modern cities in the world.
Xenna Goh ’13
Xenna Goh ’13 is an East Asian studies and economics major. Her interest in Chinese culture has been cultivated through studying Chinese language and literature at Oberlin. Xenna is a member of OSCA, works as a circulation desk assistant at the science library, and plays violin. Last summer she worked at an ecological farm in South Carolina, where she was learned about animal husbandry and basic veterinary skills. This summer she plans to work on her cousin’s farm located in Sichuan province, China to further develop her knowledge in sustainable farming, particularly in areas of high elevation. She sees this opportunity as a way to not only explore her passion of agriculture, but also continue her study of Chinese language and culture. She is also excited to develop a connection with her Chinese relatives with this experience. She’s also the recipient of an Oberlin Shansi Fellowship to China! Read about her adventures on her blog, 满载而归.
Joseph Monticello ’14 is a Flute Performance major in the Oberlin Conservatory class of 2014, and a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy. While there, Joseph was introduced to Japanese traditional dance and music by some of his peers. This past summer, Joseph studied traditional Nagauta shamisen with Kimisen Katada in New Jersey; with whom Joseph will be continuing his studies on shamisen and Nagauta during Winter Term 2011. For his project, Joseph will travel to Japan to learn the traditional Japanese flutes, and study how they are incorporated into the traditional Japanese music ensembles of Kabuki. Through this In-Asia study, he hopes to compare and contrast Hogaku and Western Music and hopefully show people an exciting and completely different kind of music.
Karl Orozco ’12
Karl Orozco ’12 is a second-year Studio Art major at Oberlin College. One of his biggest passions is print-making. Karl has designed and printed dozens of posters advertising the wide range of events, lectures, speakers and concerts around campus. Much of his artistic interests lie in the realm of print-making, though he also has much interest in graphic design, animation and illustration. He was featured in the New York Times for his work with the Oberlin Apparel Design Competition, in which a group of students worked to revamp the college’s campus apparel. Karl is currently the chair of Oberlin’s Filipino American Student Association. He sees Shansi as an opportunity to spread issues of Filipino and Filipino-American identity, through both the community and the artistic world. Karl was also a recipient of an Oberlin Shansi fellowship to Indonesia. Here’s a small image of the prints he made.
Lauren Dickel ’12
This winter Lauren Dickel ’12 and fellow Oberlin student Anna Park ’12 will travel to Seoul, Korea to study the musical art form of Pansori. Pansori is a genre of Korean traditional music, combining vocal story telling and percussion, that has been passed down orally since the 12th century. In Seoul, Lauren will work with Pansori recording artist, Soo Jung Choe, as well as Professor Tong Hyun Choe, the author of What is Pansori, in exploring both the traditional form of Pansori and the way Pansori has been incorporated into contemporary Korean musical styles. Lauren plans to interview and survey university students and to attend modern and traditional performances of Pansori music. In Oberlin she will host a musical presentation, an informative lecture and play musical examples of Pansori on Oberlin’s WOBC radio channel. health emergencies this semester, she decided to study traditional medicine systems in comparison to the Western biomedical system. To this end, she spent winter term in southern Taiwan, shadowing physicians and pharmacists to learn more about traditional medicine, including herbalism and acupuncture.
Emmanuel Magara '11
Emmanuel Magara ’11 is a junior East Asian Studies and Biochemistry major. This winter term he plans to travel to a community on the Malaysian island of Penang, where there are several organizations helping HIV/AIDS patients. As a hotline advocate for the Lorain County Rape Crisis Center, Emmanuel has become interested in learning how to help HIV positive people through the socio and psychological challenges they face. He calls his project “Penang, Malaysia in Perspective: Confronting HIV/AIDS While Embracing the Infected and Affected,” and hopes that by learning ways in which the Penang community is dealing with the difficulties of HIV/AIDS, he will be better able to reach out to sexual assault survivors in Lorain Country who have contracted the virus. While in Penang, Emmanuel will post journal entries, pictures, and videos to an online blog. Back in Oberlin he hopes to offer a multi-media presentation as well as publish some of his findings in an Oberlin news column.
David Ohana ’12
David Ohana ’12 is a sophomore with a self-designed independent major, a combination of Economics, Environmental Studies, and Middle East and North African Studies. This January he will travel to Phakumba, a village located in the eastern crevices of the Sherpa region of Nepal. Phakumba is remote, so little is known of the Phakumban Sherpa culture. Calling his project “The Path on Paper Bridges,” David Ohana will conduct basic ethnographic research through interviews with members of the Phakumban community, focusing on how families relate to other families and how religion influences that relationship. When he returns to Oberlin, he plans to share his experiences through a PowerPoint presentation, through posting journal entries to a blog titled “A Child Ethnographer’s Journal,” and through writing a scholarly essay on his findings.
Thao Phan ’11
Thao Phan ’11, a junior Neuroscience major, will travel to Quang Tri, Vietnam this summer where she will develop a primary school program to teach students good health habits. Titling her project “Teaching Personal Care and Hygiene to Rural Vietnamese Youth,” Thao Phan plans to visit a number of schools in the province to collaborate with teachers and administrators in creating lesson plans to teach children simple hygiene practices like hand washing. Thao Phan was born and spent her early childhood in Quang Tri before moving to Erie, Pennsylvania with her family. She remembers that they did not have toilets at school, something that “would never happen in Erie and… should not happen in Quang Tri.” By teaching basic hygiene practices, Thao wants to help combat the transmission of parasites, disease-causing bacteria, and viruses such as H1N1. When she returns to Oberlin she will share her experiences through a PowerPoint presentation that she hopes will inspire other Oberlin students to “develop humanitarian projects aimed at producing profound improvements in the lives of poor and disadvantaged people globally.”
Christopher Pierce ’12
This winter Christopher Pierce ’12, a junior Timara and Physics double major, will travel to India where he will conduct a series of field recordings documenting the musical life of the state of Gujarat. As Christopher describes it, “Field recording is the most unbiased method by which musical culture can be transmitted across borders. Only the process of editing and the act of recording itself reflect the decisions of the documenter.” The focal point of his trip will be attending and recording music at the traditional wedding of a family friend, but he also plans to attend two major Gujarati festivals, the Kite Festival and the Dance Festival. Christopher is interested in the diversity and range of Indian musical practice, and hopes to record music from the traditional to the modern. He will also be conducting interviews with the musicians, to provide the field recordings with context, and hopes, when possible, to keep the musicians up-to-date on where the recordings go and how they are received. The product of the project will be a short documentary film, a collection of recordings to be added to the Oberlin electronic library holdings, written work on the experience of documentation, the music itself, and electronic music employing audio samples collected from the ambient sound.
Jack Popper ’12
Jack Popper ’12, a sophomore East Asian and Environmental Studies double major, plans to travel to Tajimi, Japan to study Japanese cooking techniques. In Tajimi he will attend cooking classes at an international exchange organization, as well as learn recipes from friends living in Japan. Originally inspired by cooking at his Co-op, where he feels he can “only offer to chop the carrots into awkward shapes and burn the deliciousness out of whatever portion of the meal I’m in charge of,” his project’s final product, the beginnings of an All-OSCA InternationalCookbook, will contribute to the Co-op community. The recipes included in the cookbook will be specifically tailored to Co-op needs, calling only for ingredients available to OSCA food buyers. Jack will also host an interactive presentation that will include a talk, a slideshow, and a walkthrough of the final steps of a Japanese recipe.
Sage Aronson '12
Sage Aronson ‘12, Nepali Mythology. This winter, Sage will be traveling to Nepal to document Nepali folklore and mythology in face of recent modernization attempts in the country. Working with a student translator, he will spend time working throughout Katmandu Valley (in Durbar Square, Swayambnath and Pashupat) and the Anaphora and Pokhara valley regions. Sage’s end project will include a presentation of transcribed and recorded myths, photos, and the reading of a cross-cultural story of his own authorship. He also hopes to publish his work in both Oberlin and outside publications.
Joseph Campbell ‘11
Joseph Campbell ‘11, They Read Books Don’t They? A Voyage through the Literary Scene of Japan. Joseph Campbell will be traveling to Japan this winter term to shoot footage for a documentary on the history and subculture of Tokyo used bookstores, alongside a film based upon a narrative written by him in spring 2008. “Since the days of the old Edo capital,” he writes, “second-hand stores for texts were present in many parts of the city.” Campbell’s documentary will focus on the influence of these establishments on the Japanese culture of book-reading in comparison to the United States and their role with regards to the general public and literacy rate. Joseph will then make a presentation in which he will discuss the filmmaking process and where he will screen his documentary at Oberlin during spring semester.
Juli Martin ‘10
Juli Martin ‘10, The Long Way Home: Finding Selves amongst Korean Adoptees Living in Seoul. This summer, Juli Martin will be heading to Korea to explore the physical, social and emotional landscapes of adult Korean Adoptees (KADs), and to examine what it means to live in a place so fraught with questions and history. Working with several organizations, she will meet other adoptees, attend adoptee events and explore the social reality of KADs in Korea and how they are received in the country. Her observations and reflections will be portrayed through a variety of media, resulting in the creation of a body of work (including poetry, film, photography, etc.) that will be shared with the community through the Edmonia Lewis Center next fall.
Asha Tamirisa ‘10
Asha Tamirisa ‘10, Tabla Immersion in Hyderabad, India. In winter, Asha Tamirisa will study in Hyderabad, India, with guru Ustad Shabbir Nisar to better learn the tabla, a drum used in North Indian Hindustani music. She will study four to six hours a day and practice outside of this time in hopes of not only becoming more technically proficient, but also learning about the history and context of this instrument, both nationally and in Hyderabad, laying the foundations for her senior capstone in Ethnomusicology. Upon returning, she will give a demonstration and performance and she will also record live footage of her playing to be archived at Oberlin for future Ethnomusicology courses. Her senior capstone will involve a video documentary on the tabla and she intends to shoot footage for this documentary while studying on the In-Asia Study Grant and she hopes to present part of it to the Oberlin community this spring.
Shinri Tanimoto ‘11
Shinri Tanimoto ‘11, Noh, Bunraku, and the Cello. In preparation for performances of Toshiro Mayuzumi’s Bunraku and Tokuhide Niimi’s Ohju, Shinri Tanimoto will travel to Japan this winter to study the art of Noh and Bunraku theater. Noh, a theatrical form consisting of actors, chorus chanters, and instrumentalists blending music and drama into one art, dates back to the fourteenth century, while Bunraku, a traditional puppet theatre, dates back to the late seventeenth. Tanimoto will attend several of these performances and study Noh with his aunt, a performer of Noh plays for several years. He will apply this information to his interpretation of the cello solos and attempt to study with Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi (the artist that premiered the works). Upon returning to Oberlin, he shall give a lecture and concert in which he will share his findings regarding both traditional art forms and perform these two works for the Oberlin Community.
Rosa Tu ‘11
Rosa Tu ‘11, Shades of Beijing: Internship at the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. Over the summer, Rosa Tu will be interning with the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in Beijing, where she will translate, organize events, meet with Chinese artists, lead discussions, give tours, set up workshops, and improve the artist-in-residence program of this relatively new centre. Her efforts will help further establish the struggling centre, which also constitutes the largest photography library in China, so that it does not disappear in the future. Alongside this work, she will potentially create a short book comprised of photographs and interviews with artists about the art scene in Chaoyang and its evolution, which will serve as a snapshot of the ever-changing Beijing art scene. Here she is giving her presentation back at Oberlin!
Olivia Winter is traveling to Thailand for her winter term to study its successful HIV/AIDS prevention program. As the coordinator of Oberlin Peer HIV Testers, Olivia feels that American culture and its political climate make prevention education efforts difficult here in the US, and learning about other nations’ efforts may help her understand our own. While in Thailand, she will interview individuals on their responses to current sexual health education and to examine the political and social techniques used to overcome cultural taboos about sex. Upon her return to Oberlin, she will share her comparative analysis of HIV/AIDS prevention efforts between Thailand and the United States.
Vicki (Ning) Wang
Vicki (Ning) Wang, a junior and Piano Performance and Biology major, will visit China to study Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). She will be shadowing Dr. He Ruo Ping of the Acupuncture & Tuina Hospital of Zhejiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Hangzhou, Zhejiang to observe the way this practice is taught, and to examine treatment plans for chronic diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes and hypertension. Vicki also wishes to familiarize herself with patient care by the TCM practitioners and to study how modern technologies are combined with the traditional practice of herbs, massage and acupuncture. She also hopes to better understand chronic disease management by interviewing individuals who are undergoing TCM treatment. She believes that Traditional Chinese Medicine will become an integral part of the Western health care system in the future, and hopes that the result of her studies will provide a better understanding as to why traditional practices are imperative in medical treatment.
Nikrad Mahdi is a junior whose major is Economics with a Math concentration. This January, he is going to the coastal rural areas of Hadsamran in Thailand, where farming and fisheries are the major industries in this local Muslim community. He will conduct research on environmental problems, the actions taken to solve such problems and the sustainability of the production method through literature review, field observation, photo/video documentation and interviews, as well as by participating in an environmental awareness program. While in the Thai village, Nikrad will be engaging with local high school students through a project that raises the community’s environmental awareness and organizes clean-up efforts with the assistance of Dr. Barbara Mitchell Tull from Ohio Wesleyan University who is currently a Peace Corps volunteer at this school. He believes that his project will contribute to a cross-cultural understanding by engaging with a small community in Asia to explore environmental problems from local and global perspectives. Upon his return to Oberlin, he will present his research results through an interactive multimedia presentation. Here he is playing a little soccer.
Anna Isaacson, a senior and History major, will visit China to conduct a research project on the relationship between changes in land use and changes in Chinese society since the 1978 economic reform. She will be interviewing people to explore how national economic changes have influenced local environments in the communities of the Beijing municipality. Three major shifts Anna identifies in land use are: rural lands’ transition to urban land; shifts in agricultural land use due to marketization and technological advances; and a shift in industry from state ownership to private and township-enterprise ownership. She will spend most of her time in the districts of Huairou and Miyun, to the north and northeast of Beijing, a region which consists of “mountain agriculture communities, plains agriculture communities, and township enterprises with small but burgeoning industries.” She also hopes to travel to Tongzhou and Daxing districts, which are examples of cities that have rapidly developed. She believes that her project “links environment with culture and history and thus has particular significance in an increasingly environmentally-aware world.” She intends to share her experience by way of a public presentation upon her return to Oberlin.
Nesaru Tchaas traveled to India on one of Shansi’s In-Asia Study Grants, where he spent four weeks in Delhi and one week in Himachal Pradesh. While in Delhi, he lived with a local family and carried out an exploratory research project on the caste system. His research began with asking young people about their opinions regarding the Indian government’s decision to implement an affirmative action act in centrally-run Indian universities for a group called “Other Backwards Castes.” As he spent more time talking to students in Delhi, he came to realize the depth of caste as a subject and that it could not be understood well by solely discussing educational policy so from there his project opened up to include a discussion of caste identity and social interactions. He interviewed college students of all four varnas from both Jawarhalal Nehru University and Delhi University. Moreover, he spoke with the founder of Youth for Equality, a nationwide medical student group against the implementation of the O.B.C. Reservation Act as well as students from BSU, a lower-caste student group that promotes caste-equality. Perhaps most importantly, he spent time with students outside of the interviews, exchanged stories, and got to know them on a personal level.
Alex Darr, a senior and Creative Writing major, will travel to Cambodia this winter to write poetry about how warfare and the Khmer Rouge has affected present Cambodian life. Modeling his project after Carolyn Forche’s trip to Poland shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain to write poetry on the holocaust, Alex will visit various sites such as a Khmer Rouge torture-concentration camp, and Choeng Ek, a field where 17,000 people were killed, to pursue his “poetry of witness” project. He also wishes to talk with people to explore their lives after the Khmer Rouge. During his stay in Cambodia, he will teach beginning poetry to students at a school for orphans in Phnom Penh, where he will be boarded for a month. This orphanage rescues children off the streets to shelter, feed and educate them. He intends to share his poetry and his experience with the Oberlin community when he returns. He will also submit some of his writings for publication to spread awareness beyond the Oberlin community. Finally, he hopes his students will learn that “writing can help us see things anew and that they will continue to read and develop the ability to communicate in writing.”
Mason Horowitz, a senior majoring in East Asian Studies with a concentration in Japanese, will be traveling to Japan to conduct research on sento, a public bath. He is planning to conduct a historical overview of the role of sento, to asses the current state of sento in Japan, and to produce a business plan to create a Japanese-style sento in America. His project includes reviews of literatures and interviewing of proprietors of small neighborhood sento and big “super sento,” a lavish bath house to illustrate the role of public bath houses in present-day Japan. He will share his experience with the Oberlin Community by way of a PowePoint presentation upon his return to Oberlin. He also plans to open his own bathhouse in America after he graduates from Oberlin.
Joycelyn Eby, a sophomore majoring in music performance (bassoon) and East Asian Studies (Chinese language and literature), will travel to China with three other bassoonists from Oberlin for a winter term concert and education tour organized by Professor George Sakakeeny. This program includes joint performances with Chinese musicians, one-on-one teaching exchange, and living together with Chinese students of middle, high school and college age in Beijing, Changsha, and Guangzhou. Joycelyn believes that this intensive tour will give her an invaluable experience in furthering her Chinese and understanding Chinese methods of teaching as well as their education system. Upon her return to Oberlin, her quartet will give a public concert followed by a showing of video footage of their concerts and classes in China.
Daphnee Jean-Francois is a senior majoring in African American Studies with Fine Arts concentration. She will be traveling to Lady Doak College (LDC) in Madurai, India to learn and incorporate forms and techniques of Indian performance arts with her poetry. She will be attending a folk dance and instrument learning program as well as a course entitled “Social and Cultural History of Southern India.” She hopes to work with a group students at LDC to perform her poetry for the college and community. She believes that this “Poetic Exchange” project will expand and enhance her ideas of performance poetry. She is planning to share her experience with the Oberlin community by way of a PowerPoint presentation and film showing her performance with the students.
Santosh Prakash is a sophomore majoring in history and politics. During this winter term, he will travel to Tamil Nadu, South India where he will be volunteer with education programs at an NGO called the “Organisation for Eelam Refuggees’ Rehabilitatios” and assist in developing curriculum and teaching “coaching classes” in English. He will also be working with college-aged students for their application to higher educational institutions. While there, he will be interviewing the different segment of the refugee population to document their individual narratives and to better understand the refugee condition “in its social political and psychological tones.” He intends to share his experiences through a multimedia presentation with Oberlin community and hopes to illuminate the crisis in Sri Lanka and the state of refuges worldwide.
Cheska Camille Tolentino
Cheska Camille Tolentino is a sophomore, biology major, and a Filipina American. For her winter term project, Cheska is planning to work with the Philippine Legislator’s Committee on Population and Development Foundation (PSCPD). This organization was founded as a non-profit organization to serve as an advocacy institution for the general Philippine population. She will be volunteering with the National Issues and Policy Development Unit, “which takes the leadership role in engaging the legislators to raise their awareness and secure their commitment in pushing for responsive policy measures on population and human development at the national level.” Cheska believes that this project will connect her Oberlin experiences with real-life matters. She plans to share her experience with the Oberlin community with a book or PowerPoint presentation of her understanding about population and human development policies as well as photographs.