Leavitt ALG Personal Statement
January 4, 2022
Junior standing, third year
Enrolled fall 2019
6th quarter at Fairhaven
Concentration: Narrative Ecologies
Adventure Learning Grant Application
Ecosystems of Edges: A Journalistic Examination of Cultural Edges in Turkey and Morocco
This grant is appropriate to me right now because of the urgency I feel to promote values of inclusion and care given the rise of ethno-nationalist ideologies both in the US and globally. Discriminatory perspectives continue to damage communities and divide societies all over the world. I believe that a major way to combat these perspectives is through education. By learning about this theme, I hope to gain and share insights that can serve me and my community both long term and immediately in the struggle against discrimination and oppression.
One reason I feel so motivated to complete this project is because multimedia journalism, the field I feel called to, requires hands-on experience. No number of classes can compare to the experience of going somewhere foreign and diving into a fascinating subject. My interdisciplinary concentration, titled Narrative Ecologies, centers around the stories that guide human lives through environmental, social, cultural, and personal ecosystems. I’ve designed an ALG project as thoughtfully as I can to fit my interests, apply my interdisciplinary concentration, help me grow and develop skills, and offer value to the Fairhaven community through multimedia journalism.
Due to the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, recipients of the Adventure Learning Grant must be especially able to adapt, overcome challenges, and not become discouraged. My ingenuity, discipline, and commitment to growth make me an especially strong candidate for the Adventure Learning Grant during pandemic times. Throughout my life I have sought to push my boundaries, face discomfort, and put myself in situations that will help me grow. From spending the first 8 years of my life in an intentional community, a gap year of solo travel in Asia, a National Outdoor Leadership School course, and exposure to psychotherapy, I have learned to grow through discomfort. This has made me more open, caring, and vulnerable across all areas of my life. I want to continue expanding my comfort zone, interacting with people from other cultures, and facing the questions posed by my privilege and social
position. By putting myself in these situations, I want to become a more active member of the interconnected global community.
I have been privileged to have a fair amount of international experience in my life. At the age of 17, I spent two months alone in Peru attending a Spanish immersion school. This trip gave me, for the first time, the confidence to navigate foreign places and cultures on my own. After working and saving money during high school, I also spent 9 months traveling in Indonesia, Vietnam, Nepal, and India. In Nepal I spent a month volunteering with Conscious Impact, an NGO that worked with a rural community to rebuild after the 2015 earthquake. By staying in this town and working every day with natural building, agriculture, and social programs to help this community rebuild from the earthquake, I was able to connect to the local community in a way I couldn’t when simply traveling through. It showed me how crucial it is to be in conversation with the local communities while traveling — to listen and hear what is important to the community and what you can do to give back as a foreigner traveling in their country. This experience taught me about the stark realities of my privilege and the power of human connection to bridge barriers of culture and social position. I found myself absorbed by the stories of these people's lives and it inspired me to want to spend more time working and volunteering internationally.
I am eager to continue connecting with people from other cultures and expanding my perceptions of the interconnected global community. My curiosity and eagerness to learn gives me a great basis to form bonds, conduct interviews, and collect meaningful stories. I also have a strong work ethic, am self-sufficient and accountable — characteristics that will serve me during this project. A primary job experience that helped me cultivate these skills was working as the Permaculture Coordinator at the Outback Farm. I made my own hours, decided what projects I wanted to work on and had a tremendous amount of freedom within the scope of my duties. I led work parties of other
students, helped guide work study students, maintained the forest garden, and collaborated with two other coordinators under a manager to run the farm.
The factor that could make it challenging for me to fully take advantage of the grant is the COVID-19 pandemic. While I may not be able to control the presence of COVID, I can control how I react to it. I can brainstorm creative solutions and am not easily discouraged by technical challenges. If things change before I can leave and the countries become inaccessible, I will brainstorm other options with the help of my advisor and the committee. If things change while I'm abroad and it becomes too risky to stay, I will again brainstorm solutions and other options. I am confident that my adaptability and resilience will allow me to find creative ways to overcome challenges posed by Covid.