Past Yarrow Award Winners

Past Yarrow Award Winners

The Mike Yarrow Adventurous Education Award honors Clarence “Mike” Yarrow (DS25 CB28 TA28), who led the establishment and operation of the Pasadena Branch of Telluride Association (1947-1952). In addition to his Telluride activities, Mike was a committed Quaker who worked for world peace in many capacities, at home and abroad. A number of Pasadena Branch alumni and friends have worked to establish the Mike Yarrow Adventurous Education Award in his memory to enable Telluride associates to pursue summer educational projects that reflect his spirit.

The award is designed to allow the recipient to undertake a non-paying, public service activity during the summer that is outside of an academic institution and clearly reflects Mike Yarrow’s interests in peace and service to humanity. Learn more about applying here.

Recent Yarrow Award Recipients

2023 – Jeanne D’arc Koffi

Jeanne was awarded funds to both support and learn from a community of birth workers in Clarkston, Georgia, that work directly with pregnant resettled individuals to assist them throughout their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences. Throughout the span of June, July, and early August, Jeanne interned at Embrace Refugee Birth, an organization based in a vibrant refugee resettlement hub in Georgia, that is committed to providing birth assistance to recently resettled refugees in the area.

2022 – Elizabeth Berenguer

Elizabeth was given the award funds to support her work with organizations Sin Fronteras. “Sin Fronteras was founded by CDMX activities in 1995 to defend the human rights and living conditions of migrants passing through Mexico. I chose Sin Fronteras as a partner for a few reasons. The organization serves multiple migrants from countries all over South and Central America and has partners throughout the United States and Latin American. They conduct legal work but also ensure the wellbeing of families by offering economic support and basic needs like childcare.”

2021 – Bianca Waked

Bianca received the award for their project to grow Academia Arrested, a program dedicated to supporting individuals with criminal backgrounds, previous arrests, or who have been incarcerated in their pursuit of post-graduate education. Release and reintegration organizations are generally overworked, underfunded, and minimally staffed, which means their ability to develop projects beyond immediate release are often tempered. Moreover, even those individuals who are supported and successful post-incarceration or arrest often face intersecting factors (poverty, lack of support, undiagnosed disabilities, racism) which restricts their professional and postgraduate educational opportunities. Academia Arrested works to support formerly arrested and/or incarcerated individuals in Montréal, Québec, Canada in pursuit of these educational opportunities to promote upward mobility, financial stability, and racial equity across professional and academic spaces.

2020 – James Munene

“As social political and economic pressures increase globally, more children are pushed from homes into the streets in urban centers in many parts of the world. In Kenya, for example, many of these children find themselves in children’s homes that rely mostly on philanthropy to meet their needs. In partnership with Mully Children Family Group of Homes and Schools, I will facilitate the training of farm managers from various children’s homes in Meru, Kenya, to equip them with the relevant knowledge and skills to turn their farms into social enterprises. The aim is to make these homes more self-sustaining in terms of food and hopefully earn them some income that they can put into other uses.”

2019 – Sohum Pal

Sohum received support to work as a Field Examiner Intern with the National Labor Relations Board Region 15 office in New Orleans, Louisiana. He learned labor law and investigated labor complaints on behalf of labor organizations and individuals. During that time, he also thought about patterns and bias in the labor ecosystem. “Although I came into the summer not knowing much about either workers’ rights or labor law, I am returning to my studies and the prospect of working after graduation not only with a keen eye for what worker organizing can do, but also with a fuller understanding of how the state, private enterprises, unions, and workers function together. The questions I asked myself during the summer–who wronged whom, and how can harm be repaired?–never have easy answers, I have realized.”

2018 – Emma Morgan-Bennett

Emma received support to work as a doula and researcher at a non-profit midwifery center in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and a birthing collective at Austin, Texas. She learned birth work hands-on and experienced two distinct and different models of supporting women through the birthing process. Further, she conducted 25 interviews with women of color about their birthing experiences, as well as conducting historical research into reproductive justice. “I originally intended this project to be a personal introduction to doulas and birth work as contextualized by racialized America; I additionally envisioned this project to have a finite timeline. I am returning to Swarthmore realizing that this is the beginning of my relationship with the world of Reproductive Justice. Furthermore, I embrace the knowledge that I am simply one in the line of many who have benefited from generations of women of color who have been fighting and organizing to earn their right to have children if and when we want, with the resources that we need, and without the reprehensible effects introduced by America’s systemic racism.”

2017 – Helena Ratté

Helena received support to conduct research in Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of an evaluation project for the German humanitarian women’s organization AMICA e.V. She assisted in designing a strategy for assessing the impact of AMICA’s programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) over a 25-year period, constructed a narrative history of the work on the basis of archival materials, and conducted field research with formal project participants and beneficiaries in the north Bosnian city of Tuzla. “This project has meant a lot to me both personally as a scholarly hopeful… My conversations with women who were expelled from their homes and forced to make new lives in an unfamiliar urban environments have furnished me with a new, fascinating perspective on a familiar topic…All along, I have been struck by the extraordinary strength displayed by so many of these women twenty years later; heartened by their achievements, and how far they have come with the benefit of mutual support; and saddened by the ongoing economic hopelessness they and others in BiH face … Intellectually, I have been faced with the peculiar situation of having to reconcile my critical impulses as a ‘scholar’ with my role working on this project from within the organization—and to recognize that the goal in this case is to think pragmatically, with a view toward gathering ‘usable’ insights for improvement.”

2016 – Melissa Kil

Melissa originally received support for a project to volunteer on the Island of Lesvos in Greece to provide support for incoming refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Subsequently to receiving the award, circumstances forced a revision of the project to providing support for refugee camps at Calais and Dunkirk; however, a lack of affordable accommodation due to a surfeit of volunteers necessitated a second change in plans to a project supporting refugees in El Cajon, CA. “I was filled with excitement from the moment I began writing my plan for the Yarrow Award to travel to Greece and volunteer with an NGO to help Syrian refugees. After my project was approved however, the European Union signed a deal with Turkey to send all refugees back to Turkey from Greece, making me unable to fulfill my original project. While there were many setbacks along the way, I ultimately changed my plan and fulfilled by goal of helping refugees by collecting and donating goods to refugee families relocated in El Cajon, CA. I helped organize Arabic speakers, collected clothes and toys for refugee families and drove down to El Cajon multiple times throughout the holiday season to help distribute the donated goods to refugee families in need. While this was not my original plan, I was fulfilled by my Yarrow Award experience and was able to contribute to the cause I originally set out to help.”

2015 – Ibironke Otusile

Ibironke received support for an internship to compile data on pollution and to work on water collection and conservation practices in partnership with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency in Nigeria. A highlight of her trip was teaching grammar school students about water sanitation and building and installing a water filtration system for the school in Lagos. “They were so attentive and unbelievably respectful. I have never seen such focus before… The students held on to my every word and followed along although the teachers said the topic was out of the scope of what they were learning. It was so exciting to see hands fly up and hear them answer each question correctly. It was even more exciting to hear their ideas when I asked thought-provoking questions about how we could resolve the issue at hand and how to possibly prevent a future water crisis in Lagos.”

2014 – Angela Abiodun

Angela’s project involved supporting the work of the Paolo Freire Project at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, an experimental institute that puts the pedagogical theories of Freire into effect. In particular, she helped to develop a film series, organized data on bullying and conflict, and laid the groundwork for a Trade School program in which individuals from varying backgrounds teach classes about areas in which they have expertise. “Through working on the foundational work for a Trade School, researching films and videos documenting human movement around the globe, supporting a staff member on compiling data about violence in schools and building engaging relationships, I was able to explore my understanding of Freirean thought and see a part of the world that I otherwise would not be able to engage with…This trip solidified my desire to leave the US for an extended period of time and confirmed that I could do it by myself. It showed me ways to continue to challenge the systems that oppress us and allowed me to reflect on ways for the systems and the challenging of them to not overwhelm or burn me out. I’m incredibly grateful for the experience.”

2013 – Abdramane Diabate, DS’12 and Jonathan DeBorst, DS’12

Abdramane and Jonathan were the joint recipients of the 2013 Yarrow Award.  Their project included supporting the work of the organization, Casa Adobe, in Costa Rica where they tutored public school children.  They also planned to work on sustainability projects such as a community garden and a composting toilet. “The aim of Proyecto Aventura was to enhance the educational experience of kids living in the area of Santa Rosa, Santo Domingo. We organized several activities including trips, artwork, and physical labor which we believe benefited the kids more than we could have imagined. All our participants were from disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds with challenging familial problems…Most of them had never engaged before in creative activities or physical labor that could contribute positively to their community. We are grateful for the opportunity and look forward to organizing more education projects in Latin America and Africa in the years to come, and will surely use what knowledge we have gained in this time to do so.”

2012 – Diana Louis, SS01

Diana’s summer project involved teaching English to students at the Wamato Primary School (with the Help2Kids charity) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

2011 – Elan Jones, CB09

Elan spent her summer in Madrid, Spain and the Canary Islands working with African migrant advocacy groups to provide help accessing housing, finding employment and providing legal advice. “We’re learning, we’re laughing we’re sharing, all of us strangers…This adventure has caused me to question what I’m doing with my life. The change I’m hoping to inspire won’t come out of a questionnaire or an equation; it comes from connecting people to one another…going out and experiencing the world and the people in it.  I’m incredibly thankful that the Yarrow scholarship gave me the opportunity to do just that.”

2010 – Seth Galligan, MB08

Seth used the award to fund a video production program at the Children’s Project Trust (CPT), a school and home for destitute children in Karnataka, India. “My original intention was to return to the Children’s Project Trust (CPT), a home and school for destitute children in India, install a video production curriculum and begin production of a short promotional video. Not only was I able to achieve these things, but I was also able to construct a computer lab with internet connectivity for the school.” 

2009 – Flojaune Griffin, MB05

Flojaune spent the summer of 2009 working on two projects in South Africa: an early childhood education conference in Johannesburg and a college preparation mini-course in Durban. “One moving highlight were the workshops on CPR and First Aid I led at the Early Childhood Education Conference, the first in Soweto history, and for high school students at a leadership conference in Durban. Students told me stories of diabetic emergencies, cardiac arrest, and seizures and some of the misguided steps people in the community took to address them.”

2008 – Beenish Ahmed, MB07

Beenish used her Yarrow Award to help with a literacy/literary program for women and children in Pakistan. “The students at the Dosti School had exceptionally low literacy rates since their studies were so often interrupted to pursue odd-jobs to support the family. Thus, I worked to bolster their skills in Urdu and English and encourage further study in these fields.”

2007 – Alvar Ayala, MB06

The award supported Alaya’s work as a legal intern at the Working Hands Legal Clinic. The clinic provides legal assistance to Chicago’s immigrant worker populations.

2006 – Eunice Yu, MB04

To work for a project supporting the South African HIV/AIDS prevention and an internship with the Program on International Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health.

2005 – Adey Fettene, SP00 CB01

To travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she had first-hand experience of the post-election fallout, volunteered at the Mother Teresa Orphanage, and advance her research on LGBT experiences in the Ethiopian Diaspora.

2004 – Shawna-Kim Lowey-Ball, SP00 CB01 TA04

To support volunteer work (MercyCorps) and observe elections in Indonesia.

2003 – Henrique Suguri, SP99 CB00 TA01

To produce a film documentary exploring the gay community in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

2002 – Aoife Naughton, CB00

To facilitate an environmental theater workshop for Belfast’s inner-city teens.

2002 – Theron Tingstad, MB01

To document the activities of the Guadalupe Foundation in Honduras through film, photography, and drawing. “Without the Mike Yarrow Award my project in Honduras would have been difficult if not impossible.”

2001 – Jennifer “Vern” Long, CB99 TA02

A project to help young women further their education in Zimbabwe.

2001 – Sarah Uhler Morton, MB00 TA01 

To study the correlation between maternal mortality and child morbidity/mortality in Haiti. 

2000 – Seth Yalcin, MB99

A service project aimed at improving the educational opportunities in rural Nepal.

1999 – Stanka Fitneva, CB98 TA01

A project exploring psychological aspects of child development and primary education in Bulgaria.