Joining Worlds

Oberlin Shansi Announces the 2013-15 Shansi Fellowship Awardees

Carl Jacobson, Executive Director of Oberlin Shansi is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the Oberlin Shansi Fellowships to Asia.   Nine Oberlin seniors who will graduate in 2013 were selected to serve at Shansi partner institutions in China, India, Indonesia and Japan.

Alessandra Ferrer, fellow to Beijing Normal University

Alessandra Ferrer, Xenna Goh and Charlotte Hopkinson will receive Shansi fellowships to partner institutions in China.   Alessandra was selected for the one-year fellowship to Beijing Normal University and currently is pursuing a major in East Asian Studies with a concentration in Chinese Studies and a minor in Politics.   A recipient of a John F. Oberlin Scholarship, Alessandra has strong French and Chinese language skills.  She was on the CET Intensive Language Program in Beijing from January to June 2012 and has extensive experience as a tutor and teacher.  She also has served as a swim instructor and lifeguard and as the treasurer of the Oberlin Chapter of Active Minds, a group that organizes educational activities to promote mental health awareness.  This past summer she worked with the San Antonio Education Partnership and helped first generation low-income high school graduates with their transition to college.   Alessandra is looking forward to spending the next year in China and to learn more about Chinese culture and language.


Xenna Goh, fellow to Shanxi Agricultural University

Xenna and Charlotte have been selected for the two-year fellowships at Shanxi Agricultural University (SAU) in TaiguXenna is pursuing a major in East Asian Studies and a minor in Geology.  For her EAS honors project she is currently conducting research on the Chinese National Parks initiative to find a correlation between re-emerging attitudes towards nature and new waves of ecotourism in post-Modern China.   A 2011 recipient of a Shansi in-Asia study grant to engage in a part heritage, part agricultural project in Sichuan province she visited family members and worked alongside Yi farmers on a sheep ranch.  She is the Forward Captain on the OC Women’s Rugby Team and is a Student Librarian Assistant in the Oberlin Science Library and a Geographic Information Systems Assistant in the Geology Department. She speaks Chinese, Swedish and French and is interested in rock-climbing and backpacking!  Xenna is excited to develop a deeper understanding of rural China, to be a bridge between Oberlin and SAU and to continue her development as a teacher.


Charlotte Hopkinson, fellow to Shanxi Agricultural University

Charlotte is pursuing a double major in Neuroscience and Law and Society.  She speaks French, Spanish and Chinese and is a Resident Advisor in Spanish House.  She has served internships with the National Institutes of Health, two law offices, and as a news intern for WUSA 9.  She is a mediator for the Oberlin College Dialogue Center, is Co-chair of Welcome Nursing Home Friends, a community service group in Oberlin and has served as Event Chair for the Relay for Life in Oberlin.  Charlotte was selected in 2011 as an Oberlin Law Scholar and in March of this year was nominated by Oberlin College to Nu Rho Psi, the National Honor society in Neuroscience.  At SAU she hopes to achieve fluency in Chinese and learn the stories of the people in the community. Her experience working at SAU will enrich the perspective she will bring to the Georgetown Global Law Scholar Program she plans to attend after her fellowship.


Stephanie Mora Hernandez, fellow to Lady Doak College

Receiving two-year fellowships to Shansi partner institutions in India are Stephanie Mora Hernandez and Kiran Puri.   Stephanie will be heading to Lady Doak College in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.  She is pursuing a major in Neuroscience and a minor in Hispanic Studies.  A recipient of the Posse Foundation Full-Tuition Leadership Scholarship she has served as a summer Lab Research Assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital and as a Bone Marrow Transplant Intern at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.   She spent one Winter Term as a volunteer in El Salvador where she shadowed a local health promoter for the rural community and has served as an intern for Teach for America.  She is a Village Assistant and is Co-Chair of La Alianza Latina.  A Kendal at Oberlin volunteer Stephanie loves to dance and is a member of the Koreo hip-Hop Dance Troupe and OC Senior Gift Committee.   She is excited to volunteer at LDC and is looking forward to sharing her interests with the community in Madurai.

Kiran Puri, fellow to Jagori Grameen



Kiran was selected for the fellowship at Jagori Grameen in Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh.  She is pursuing an individual major in South Asian Studies and also has pursued a Premed Concentration.  Captain of the OC Varsity Field Hockey Team, a Student Worker at Oberlin Community Services, and Co-Treasurer of Asia House, Kiran grew up speaking Hindi in her home.  She plans to teach and Exco course next semester in Conversational Hindi.  She also has served a tutor for AmericaCounts at Langston Middle School and has worked with the OC Athletic Department to help sponsor a program called “Kids Night Out” that seeks to engage 1ST-5TH graders on Friday nights with creative activities and games.   In the future Kiran wants to apply to medical school and looks at the fellowship at Jagori Grameen as not only an opportunity to learn about public health challenges in the area, but also as a chance to engage in discussions of the difficulties that women experience in rural India.


Julie Gaynes, fellow to Universitas Gadjah Mada

Julie Gaynes and Karl Orozco have been selected for two-year fellowships to Shansi partners in Indonesia.  With majors in Creative Writing and Religious Studies Julie will be heading to Yogyakarta where she will serve as a Shansi Fellow at Universitas Gadjah Mada.  Active as a performer, acrobatics instructor and public relations administrator for OC Circus Julie also serves as a Creative Writing Intern.  She also has interned in publishing and performance during her summer breaks from Oberlin.  She has traveled to Ghana where she interviewed approximately 40 local religious leaders and also conducted a review of spiritual organizations throughout Chicago for a 100-page paper exploring religious and cultural diversity. She was drawn to Yogya because it is an intersection of all her interests: religious and cultural diversity, story telling and performance.  In the future Julie hopes to pursue a PhD in Anthropology in South East Asian religion and would like to incorporate her experience as a Shansi Fellow in her research.


Karl Orozco, fellow to Syiah Kuala University

Karl will graduate with majors in Visual Art and Sociology and has been selected for the fellowship at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh.  He has been quite involved this year in organizing an initiative of his own, a major four-day arts festival “the Asia America Art Collective” scheduled to take place in April.  A free-lance graphic designer, he has worked as the head graphic designer for the Oberlin College Office of Communications, has taught an EXCO course on Adobe Illustrator, has been publicist for the Asian American Alliance, and was part of the 12-person team responsible for designing and marketing a new line of Oberlin College apparel. As a member of Third World Co-op, Karl has served as kitchen coordinator, dining coordinator and cook. He is the Chair of the Filipino American Student Association and co-chaired the Midwest Asian American Student Conference last year. He was awarded a Shansi in-Asia undergraduate grant in 2011 for a project entitled Illustrating Identity.  This WT project explored his Filipino heritage and resulted in a series of silk screens based on his impressions of the Philippines. He gifted these to Shansi House.  Karl hopes to bring his design and visual arts skills to the students at UnSyiah and is looking forward to learning about Indonesia drawing on parallels of his experiences in the Netherlands and the Philippines.


Cassandra Guevara, fellow to J.F. Oberlin University

The Japan partner institution, J.F. Oberlin University and Affiliated Schools, Machida, will welcome Cassandra Guevara and Anabel Hirano.  Cassandra (Cassie) will graduate in May 2013 with an East Asian Studies major with a focus on Japan, though she has also studied Korean history and Mandarin.   During her time at Oberlin she has served as a host for prospective students and as a Senior Intern in the Admissions Office.  Cassandra sings in Collegium Musicum and plays in OC Taiko, for which she is a co-chair and ExCo instructor, and is a member of the Filipino-American Students Association. In the past she has been involved in Musical Union and the OC Flaming Blades (fencing club), and has served as a tutor for America Counts at Prospect Elementary School in Oberlin and for OC students in Japanese levels 101-202. From February to December 2011 she studied at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka. During this time, her pursuit of taiko led to an interest in Okinawan music and festivals, which developed into a passion for Okinawan history and culture.  Over the next two years, she hopes to attain fluency in Japanese and looks forward to continuing her studies of issues such as Okinawa’s ongoing conflict with the Japanese government and the U.S. over American military bases.


Anabel Hirano, fellow to J.F. Oberlin University

Anabel will graduate in May with a degree in History and is currently enrolled in Japanese 101.  She grew up attending a Japanese bilingual school, and although she has not studied Japanese since high school, she is finding that it is coming back to her quickly.  She also has studied Russian and Spanish.  She has experience as a Trombone and Piano teacher and has interned with the San Francisco Youth Orchestra and was a member of the Oberlin Orchestra that toured China and Singapore in 2011. She also has been member of Oberlin Steel and the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble.  Over the past two years she has developed a passion for teaching that started with the Oberlin WAVE program in the summer of 2011. She was not fazed by the difficulty of tutoring six – year-olds and returned for 2012. During 2012 Winter Term she was an assistant ESL teacher in San Mateo California for beginner students. She currently is tutoring with America Reads and is the Student Assistant to the President. Anabel will bring her love of teaching and music to JFO and hopes to find an opportunity to engage with young children.

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