Introducing the 2020 Shansi Fellow to India!

Oberlin Shansi is excited to introduce our newly selected Fellows! Over the next two weeks we will share photos and short bios for the newest members of the Shansi family, who will be heading to India, Indonesia, China, and Japan.

This year, Shansi will commence our new partnership with The Keystone Foundation, an eco-development organization based near the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in South India. Our inaugural Fellow is Madeleine Gefke, class of 2020.

Madeleine is a Biology and Environmental Studies double major who loves to cook in Pyle Cooperative, sing in choirs, teach watershed education in the public schools, and garden in the butterfly courtyard at Oberlin. Her love for the outdoors has led her to study natural processes and learn about relationships between land and people. Madeleine has conducted research on disease ecology, woody agriculture, and community participation with Oberlin Professors Mary Garvin and John Petersen, while also working on wildlife corridor and pollination projects during her summers. She explored interdisciplinary aspects of the conservation field as a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar in Arizona, learning about land management, Navajo and Hopi perspectives, and diversity in the field. Madeleine continued her studies abroad in Thailand, where she learned the Thai language to converse with host families, market vendors, Karen and Hmong communities, and government agencies about sustainable agriculture, forestry management, and small-scale fishing. Inspired by the stories and traditional knowledge she listened to, both in the American Southwest and in Thailand, Madeleine’s interests lie in community sustainability and cultural resiliency, which she hopes to learn more about in her collaborations with colleagues and local communities as a Shansi Fellow at The Keystone Foundation.

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