Steph Bowman – Honduras
Steph was awarded a Walker Fellowship to pursue her research project on the system of institutions for homeless children in Honduras in January 2007. Steph’s field research enabled her to complete her honors thesis on the workings of an NGO, Hogar de Niños Emanuel (San Pedro de Sula), and its effectiveness in meeting the children’s short and long term needs. She conducted staff interviews, had conversations with the children and collected budget and logistical data. Steph was able to gain perspective on the day‐to‐day operations of the NGO and compared her findings to other analogous organizations in Honduras. Steph researched effective methods and presented solutions for the NGO regarding best practices and problem solving.
Sarah deLiefde ‐ Guatemala
Sarah was awarded a Walker Fellowship to pursue a microfinance internship with the NGO Friendship Bridge in Panajachel, Guatemala during January 2007. Friendship Bridge provides small loans to impoverished Mayan women throughout Guatemala. Sarah acted as an interpreter for prospective U.S. donors visiting Guatemala and traveled to various communities to meet the organization’s clients. Sarah assisted the NGO staff in preparing for a market study on geographic expansion and then traveled to the el Quiche department to assist the staff in conducting the study. Upon returning, Sarah worked on creating a training manual for the Guatemalan loan advisors. Sarah was able to gain a solid understanding of Guatemalan culture, issues confronting Mayan women in Guatemala, and learned a significant amount on functioning of a microfinance organization. Sarah returned two years later to work for Friendship Bridge in their U.S. office. The experience also sparked her interest in the impact of violence on Maya women, which led to a senior honors thesis.
Sara Gutt – Chile
Sara was awarded a Walker Fellowship to attend Latinimmersion, a Spanish language immersion program in Santiago, Chile during January 2007. This experience allowed Sara to engage in intensive classroom study as well as the opportunity to go on educational field trips. Sara also had the opportunity to conduct interviews with Chilean reporters that survived the Pinochet dictatorship. Through this field work Sara gained unique perspective on the oppressive Pinochet regime and how this affected the Chilean media and society.
Bayley Lawrence – El Salvador
Bayley was awarded a Walker Fellowship to participate in the El Salvador Human Rights Delegation and Workshop with the Global Youth Connect during January 2007. Through the Global Youth Connect program Bayley had the opportunity to participate in talks with government representatives and local groups as well as academic discussions on the specific social, economic, and political issues confronting El Salvador today. Participants in the delegation focused on how to build a more just, equitable, and peaceful society. All sessions and workshops were conducted in Spanish, which challenged her to work on her language skills. The Walker Fellowship gave Bayley a chance to develop skills that will be directly transferable to her future plans and volunteer work.
Erendira Muñoz – Brazil
Erendira was awarded a Walker Fellowship to participate in the non-profit organization, Partners of the Americas. She worked closely with the Maine chapter of the organization, which corresponds to the city of Natal, Brazil, where she spent January teaching basic English classes to elementary school-aged children and taking Portuguese classes at a local private language school. One of her basic goals was to learn more about life in Brazil and how it “fits within the Latin-American model and spectrum.” Acquiring Portuguese language skills and developing a cultural understanding of Brazil helped Erendira complete her knowledge of Latin America.
Angie Polanco – Brazil
Angie was awarded a Walker Fellowship to attend the Centro de Estudios de Língua e Cultura language program in Brazil during February 2007. She participated in the intensive program with the goal of improving her Portuguese language skills and cultural knowledge. Command of the Portuguese language will be especially useful to Angie as she pursues her career as an investment banker. In the future she hopes to use the language skills gained through this program to help her work in banking from the Latin American side of the spectrum.