Claremont, Calif. (December 15, 2021) — Pitzer College seniors Kenneth Butler ’22, Jessica Sass ’22, and Benjamin Sievers ’22 have been named 2021-22 Napier Fellows by the Napier Initiative, a partnership between Pilgrim Place senior community and The Claremont Colleges dedicated to encouraging leadership for social change. Each of the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges may nominate up to three seniors who demonstrate outstanding leadership ability and commitment to social justice to be Napier Initiative Fellows. Napier Fellows are eligible to receive a Napier Award for Creative Leadership; two $20,000 Napier Awards will be announced in spring 2022 to support a project dedicated to social change.
To be selected as a Napier Fellow, seniors must propose a project designed to create social change. Below are descriptions, drawn from the Napier Initiative’s website, of Pitzer’s three Napier Fellows’ projects.
Kenneth Butler proposes establishing a peace and reconciliation program that brings together formerly incarcerated people whose lives have been impacted by gang culture, especially in Los Angeles County. Butler, who is one of the first members of Pitzer’s Inside-Out Pathway-to-BA program, would work in partnership with Pitzer’s Institute for Global/Local Action and Study and the Reintegration Academy and the Prison Education Project, both founded by Cal Poly Pomona Professor Renford Reese. An organizational studies major, Butler intends to develop workshops incorporating environmental and social justice education that eventually will build towards a larger goal of achieving conflict resolution and racial justice.
Jessica Sass proposes partnering with Facing History & Ourselves – Canada to co-produce a case study that would ask if knowledge brings justice and how knowledge can be democratized through teaching community to rebuild a society where humanity is centered. A political studies/media studies major, Sass would utilize community-based participatory research methods to conduct in-depth interviews with educators and school board members to gauge their willingness to adopt a justice framework together with Indigenous partners. Ultimately, she hopes her project will inform how institutions and teachers support Indigenous educators as the main authors of curricula concerning Indigeneity.
A biology major, Benjamin Sievers proposes working with remote, mobile, boat-dwelling people in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to discern their attitudes towards measles outbreaks and the possibility of self-vaccination using an inhaled dry-powder measles vaccine. In partnership with the Pasteur Institute of Cambodia and with the World Health Organization’s mobile immunization team, Sievers would integrate his research findings as he launches a self-vaccination educational campaign towards the goal of achieving Cambodian and eventually global, measles eradication.
The Napier Initiative is an intergenerational mentoring program that connects the Claremont Colleges seniors who are selected as Napier Fellows with elders at Pilgrim Place who have “built a lifetime of experience, leadership, and professional skills in fostering social justice for all people, caring for our fragile Earth home, and nurturing peace and reconciliation.”