Center Celebrates 10 Years of Student Fellowships

October 30, 2007

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Celebrating 10 years of a life-changing program, the Center hosted past and present fellows who recalled their experiences and looked to future opportunities to make a difference in the world during the ECSF Extravaganza on October 26-27.

The Ethics Center Student Fellowships offer Brandeis sophomores and juniors a chance to intern for a summer with an organization of their choice anywhere in the world. The experience allows students to effect change and learn about issues of international importance, as many alumni of the program outlined during the Extravaganza.

Launching the event on Friday night was "Africa Remembered: Reflections from ECSF Alumni," featuring former fellows who interned in South Africa and performances by the Brandeis Playback Theatre Society (founded by Will Chalmus '07 after his 2006 ECSF internship with theatre centers in New York and Australia) and the African Dance Club. Brahmy Poologasingham '00, now an attorney in Seattle, spoke about her work in Soweto and Embalenhle townships as an ECSF. Part of her experience focused on legal matters, including working on the draft of the South African Constitution, which helped to inspire her future career, she said.

"I learned so much about how much the fabric of the legal system makes a difference," Poologasingham said. "I wouldn't be an attorney if I hadn't gone to South Africa."

Darnisa Amante '06 recounted her experience working at an art studio in Johannesburg that helped primarily young black South African men recover from trauma through artistic expression. "It's one of the most remarkable, memorable moments of my life," she said about the internship. She now works with children in her native Brooklyn at the Score Educational, placing a photo of her in South Africa in her staff biography to inspire youth about the possibilities they can strive for.

Naomi Safran-Hon '08 also focused on art in her internship in Johannesburg, where she worked at an art therapy center. She showed images from her upcoming exhibit "Healing, Community and Transformation: Student Visions from Johannesburg," featuring children with whom she worked and other scenes from South Africa.

At Saturday's event, ECSF alumni convened for discussions on subjects such as legal careers in social justice, poverty, community development, fundraising, and coexistence. For a summary of the presentations, click here.