Rachel Robinson International Fellow Dejah Powell shares her Hawaiian experience

August 25, 2015 - RRIF, Scholars

Entering her sophomore year at Cornell University, JRF Scholar Dejah Powell was one of 12 students named as a 2015 Rachel Robinson International Fellow (RRIF). Through the fellowship program, Dejah was able to participate in the Sea Semester Aloha Aina: People and Nature in the Hawaiian Islands, a month-long project in the Islands of Hawaii that focused on the social, ecological, and cultural dimensions and ocean environment of the Pacific Islands.

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Dejah recently wrote to JRF about her experience:

“In Maui, we volunteered at a watershed. Ekola, the gentlemen who oversaw our work, gave us an in-depth review of Hawaiian history, and I learned new things each and every day about Hawaiian culture. He told us about the Koa and Kokui trees, both extremely important for Hawaiians. They provide natural remedies as well as food and resources of great use to the Hawaiians. In terms of volunteer work, we helped clear a piece of land by removing invasive plants that prohibit native plants from flourishing. The program, while educational, also included a lot of community service opportunities such as interacting with elementary and high school students as well as helping to restore fishponds and watersheds/valleys.”

JRF established RRIF in 2008 with a generous grant from the Sheila C. Johnson Foundation to promote and support international and study abroad opportunities for JRF Scholars. Additional support for the program is provided by the United Health Foundation and Nike. Since its inception, 37 students have traveled to study and volunteer on six different continents. Fellows are selected on the basis of their leadership potential, academic excellence and commitment to community or national development.


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