1999 Fellows

Wendi Adelson '01 studied American Studies, Spanish, and was in ithe Legal Studies Program. She came to Brandeis from Coral Springs, Florida, where at the age of 13 she founded Starting Blocks, a program that has amassed over $17,000 worth of educational materials for underprivileged and underfunded day care centers in both Dade and Broward counties. At Brandeis, Wendi continued her community activism as one of the Co-Coordinators of the Big Siblings Program and as a Big Sibling to a local Waltham student. Wendi was also an active member of the International Club, a Justice Brandeis Scholar Peer Advisor, and a member of the core committee of the Senate Student Advisory Committee.

Project:"Education for Memory and the Continuing Struggle for Justice and Human Rights in Argentina"
Wendi worked in Buenos Aires, Argentina with La Linea Fundadora de las Madres de Plaza de Mayo. She conducted interviews with families of the disappeared and worked on writing government proposals. Her mentor was Professor Dora Older of the romance and comparative literature department.

In the spring of 2000, Wendi was awarded a prestigious Truman Scholarship. The award provides up to $30,000 in graduate studies to enable her to pursue a career in public service. Each year the Truman Foundation awards one scholarship per state and up to thirty-two at-large scholarships.

Tamara Beliak '00 is from Los Angeles, California. She majored in linguistic anthropology and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. She also participated in the Peace and Conflict Studies Program. Tamara is fluent in Hebrew and has lived in Israel sporadically over her lifetime. She has studied at an Israeli secular school, a conservative "Misorti" school, and at an Ultra Orthodox institution. At Brandeis, Tamara was a Schiff Undergraduate Fellow, an active member of the Interfaith House and was a Co-Coordinator of the Tibetan-Jewish Liberation Seder in 1998.

Project:"Understanding Jerusalem"
Tamara worked in Jerusalem with Middle East Non-Violence and Democracy in East Jerusalem and Bat Shalom in West Jerusalem. She organized workshops for Palestinian youth, wrote materials for the Web page on Jerusalem ID confiscations, and outlined a workbook "Stereotypes of Palestinians" using writing by Palestinian youth. Her mentor was Professor Gordie Fellman of the sociology department .

Lauren Elson '00 designed an independent major (Human Movement Studies) and also majored in neuroscience. During high school in Thousand Oaks, California, she initiated a conflict mediation program to address the issue of hate crimes on campus. As a member of Interfaith House at Brandeis and a Peer Perspectives Program participant, Lauren continued to engage in working towards mutual understanding with her peers. During the summer of 1998, she received an Undergraduate Research Program Grant to pursue movement research in the Graybiel Spatial Orientation Lab. Lauren was president of the Adagio dance group and was a founding member of the African Dance Club on campus. Lauren also was a Justice Brandeis Scholarship Peer Advisor.

Project:"Culture Preservation and Education In the Gambia, West Africa"
Lauren worked in Banjul, The Gambia doing an internship with the Baatu Askan Wi (The Voice of the Tribes) in Banjul, and Cotton Tree Heritage Theater, Gambia Chapter in Serrekunda. She learned traditional African dances and worked with various members of the dance troupe to study ways that dance is used to bring people together across cultural differences. Her mentor was Susan Dibble, theater arts department.

Keren Ghitis '01 came to Brandeis from Herzlia, Israel. She majored in politics and was in the Journalism and Latin American Studies programs. Keren is fluent in Hebrew, Spanish, and English and is proficient in Portuguese. Prior to coming to Brandeis, she fulfilled her two year obligation of serving in the Israeli Military, where she was promoted to Public Relations Commander, conducting visits by foreign army commanders, Israeli and foreign ministers, and soldiers of all ranks. At Brandeis, Keren worked as an intern in the News Bureau, assisting with the news, publicity, and public affairs of the University. She also was co-director and treasurer for the Brandeis' Israel 50 Club, helping to organize special events for "Brandeis Celebrates Israel at 50."

Project:"Media and Coexistence in Bosnia - Herzegovina"
Keren worked with The Soros Media Center in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Jakob Finci, Brandeis International Fellow, is Executive Director of the Soros Foundation for Bosnia and Herzegovina. She interviewed journalists, local and foreign media representatives, refugees and local folks to collect information about 'hate speech' and media reconciliation projects.Her mentor was Steve Burg, politics department.

Karen Hovav '00 came from Upland, California. She majored in psychology and neuroscience, with a minor in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, and was in the pre-med program. She was a Justice Louis Brandeis Scholar and is fluent in Hebrew and French. Prior to coming to Brandeis, she attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel for one year. Karen co-founded the Brandeis Students for Bangladeshi Relief organization which provided monetary aid to flood victims in Bangladesh. She worked at the Lemberg Daycare Center and taught Hebrew to seventh graders through the Brandeis Jewish Educational Program. Karen was a member of Women in Diverse Societies, a specialty housing program promoting awareness of women's issues in different cultures. She also was on the board of the "Israel at 50" Executive Committee.

Project:"Grenada's Children: Educational Development on a Caribbean Island"
Karen was part of a larger Ethics Center project: a pilot "education partnership" with GRENED, a non-governmental organization focused on education issues in Grenada. She was joined by three other Brandeis undergraduates: Lucas Baker-Siroty '00, Tal Delman, '00, and Tova Neugut '01. The program's focus is teaching science and mathematics to elementary school children. The project also includes research on community environmental education, work in a rural medical clinic, and research on women leaders. Educators from Grenada participated and are involved in an international exchange focused on sharing ideas about the relationship between grassroots education and social change. Her mentor was Dessima Williams of the sociology department; who is also the founder of GRENED.

Devika Mahadevan '00 came to Brandeis from Bombay, India where she received the Cambridge Cup for highest marks in Indian School Certificate Examination 1995. She majored in sociology, with a minor in economics and was in the Women's Studies Program. Devika was a Wien Scholar and co-president of the programming board for the InterCultural Center. She helped to organize the panel discussion "Gender and Race" in the Spring of 1998. She also served as a tutor for the Waltham Group. She has been studying Mandarin since the Fall of 1997 and spent the summer of 1998 at a language school in Beijing, China. In addition to Mandarin, Devika is fluent in Hindi, English, and Marathi.

Project:"Claiming Half the Sky: Understanding Women - Centered Development in China"
Devika worked in Beijing, China with the United Nations Development Fund for Women. She visited centers and "help lines," and interviewed laid-off women to assess the key development needs of women. Devika also spent the previous summer (1998) in Beijing taking an intensive summer-long language course offered by Hamilton College, and has studied Mandarin at Brandeis as well. Her mentor was Dessima Williams of the sociology department.

In the Spring of 2000, Devika was awarded a Hart Fellowship by Duke University to spend the next year working at an international non-profit organization. Currently she is looking into working in Harare, Zimbabwe with Inter-Country People's Aid, a local organization that works with youth groups in peri-urban squatter settlements to identify pressing community development needs.