Daniels ’59 Fellowships Awarded to Five Wellesley Seniors to Pursue “Dream Projects”

December 2, 2019
Five student pose in front of a door in the Provosts Office

Pamela Daniels ’59 Fellowships have been awarded to five members of the Wellesley class of 2020 to fund individual projects, which they will present at the Ruhlman Conference in May.

The recipients are Elana Bridges, Jessica Budz, Rachel Frazer, Alicia Margarita Olivo, and Amanda J. Wahlstedt.

The fellowships are awarded every fall to a small number of seniors to allow them to pursue “dream projects” in their fields of interest; the award was endowed in 2000 upon the retirement of Class Dean Pamela Daniels by her friends, colleagues, and students to encourage both intellectual and artistic thinking on a new and bold level. In Working It Out (1977), an anthology of feminist essays she co-edited, Daniels wrote, “Doing what you love means knowing yourself well enough to be able to answer the question, ‘What would you love to do?’ and loving yourself enough to ask it.”

This year’s Daniels Fellows will be pursing these projects in the coming months:

Elana Bridges ’20, art history

Project: The Black Contemporary Artist as Archivist: Recontextualizing Black Identity and Personhood through the works of Alexandra Bell, Hank Willis Thomas, and Fatimah Tuggar

Through the works of Alexandra Bell, Hank Willis Thomas, and Fatimah Tuggar I will reassess how we shape our identity and understanding of the world around us through political and social messages we receive from visual media. All three artists use archival material as building blocks for their artwork to place a critical eye on images we take for granted.

Jessica Budz ’20, international relations and economics

Project: The Culture of Food

This research explores the economics and agricultural policies that affect the global food market. Food is incredibly fundamental to humanity. Something as vital as food has the power to shape individuals and cultures alike.

Food is the sharing of stories. There are rich stories embedded in a meal. Who grew the vegetables on your plate? Is this a family recipe passed down for generations? Can you afford to put quality food on your table? I want to spend my Wintersession working in the fields and living in community with Spanish-speaking farmers. The Spanish-speaking community not only feeds its own people, Hispanic people feed everyone. Hispanic people, more than any other ethnic group, are incredibly involved in the food industry.

Rachel Frazer ’20, music

Project: Jazz and World Music

The goal of this thesis project is to investigate how the Panama Jazz Festival (PJF) can bring forth healing in the community by offering an alternative to, and potential treatment for, involvement in gang-related violence, crime, and drug-use. The PJF, established by Grammy award-winning artistic director Danilo Perez in 2003, is a weeklong fundraising event in Panama City, Panama, composed of various educational clinics, symposiums, and concerts. The proceeds are then presented as full-tuition scholarships to the Berklee College of Music for young Panamanian musicians at the end of the week. The entire festival is dedicated to enriching the lives of the youth of Panama.

Alicia Margarita Olivo ’20, theatre studies, comparative race and ethnicity

Project: A Full-Length Play, Flood, About a Houston Family Trapped in Their Home During a Hurricane

I am excited about the opportunity to fund my first full-length play, Flood. It is inspired by my love for community, dedication to bringing understanding between people, and strong interpersonal skills.

Drawn from my personal experiences, Flood follows a working-class Mexican family forced to confront their differences after a hurricane leaves them all trapped inside their Houston, Texas, home. The course will be advised by award-winning Boston playwright and Wellesley College professor Lois Roach. Staged readings are tentatively scheduled for the first weekend of April 2020 in the Ruth Nagel Jones Theater. Beyond Wellesley, I hope to bring this encapsulation of my young adulthood back home to Houston, where I plan on submitting it to local playwriting festivals.

Amanda J. Wahlstedt ’20, education studies

Project: Makersgram App for Use in Kentucky schools

My mission is to create a mobile application, Makersgram, that functions as a supportive portfolio-building tool. For Makersgram to be truly accessible, it must cater to populations who are most in need of postsecondary guidance and career development: low income students from economically disadvantaged areas in schools with limited resources. For the students who may not have internet access, it is crucial that this application functions offline.