Junior anthropology major Megan Irons, the daughter of Ann and Martin Irons of Fair Haven, VT, was awarded a prestigious $2,500 Politi International Fellowship in Social Justice that will enable her to study Multiculturalism and Human Rights in Cape Town, South Africa, for the Spring 2013 semester.
Ms. Irons is an anthropology/sociology major and classics minor, with a 3.9 (out of possible 4) grade point average (GPA). She graduated from Fair Haven Union High School before coming to Saint Michael's.
She will study in a program established by the SIT Study Abroad program that includes courses and homestays with families in Cape Town. This program includes two seminars in human rights in South Africa, conversational Xhosa and an independent study project.
The program explores issues of multiculturalism, ethnicity, and identity in the context of South Africa, from both historical and contemporary perspectives.
Ms. Irons spoke of gaining a new "lens" through which to view the world as a result of her experience in a different country, living with four different host families over the course of her stay.
"One of the best qualities of Saint Michael's students," she wrote in her application for the award, "is that they recognize the educational value of the new 'lenses' that they have acquired, and they share them with their peers so that they too might see the world from someone else’s eyes."
She plans to use her camera to document social justices and injustices she encounters while abroad, and then to enlarge and display these images in high traffic areas on campus when she returns to Saint Michael's.
"Through work in the classroom, excursions, and homestays, this study abroad program will provide me with the opportunity to live, talk, and work with South Africans from a variety of backgrounds, supplying me with invaluable experiences," and new lenses, she wrote.