Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Merretta Dickinson ’12

Merretta Dickinson 2012Merretta Dickinson ’12, a double major in anthropology and classics, found her true passion thousands of miles from home, working with schoolchildren in Namibia. “I discovered that I have a passion for helping others, one stronger than I had thought,” she says, recalling her work in an after-school program at the Bernhard Nordkamp Center in Katutura. “This work made me less materialistic than I had ever been, extremely grateful for the opportunities that I have been given by my parents, country and Wheaton, and made me realize that I really do want to devote my life to making a difference for people.” The Bowdoin, Maine, native has been awarded a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant to establish a sustainable tutoring program that aims to change lives by helping students with mild learning differences learn to read fluently. She will start tutoring programs in two schools, set up a training program for volunteer tutors, and hold workshops for the schools’ teachers. Her peace project continues work that she took on last summer as a volunteer at a nonprofit organization located just north of Katutura’s capital. “My project for peace will bring opportunity and help some of the dreams of these children become reality. This is not only about individual successes, but also about improving the quality of life for the community in Katutura.”


Jessica Emory ’11

Jessica Emory 2011Jessica Emory ’11, a double major in math and biochemistry, entered the world of weavers, spinners and knitters as a child growing up in New Hampshire. She plans to expand her horizons by working with other artisans around the globe on a yearlong project that will be supported by the Watson Foundation. Emory will work with and learn from farmers and fiber artists in Cambodia, Romania, Iceland, Mongolia and the Falkland Islands. The Barnstead, N.H., native plans to explore how native crafts are made, marketed and used in each country, and discover how these traditional arts maintain their place in modern society. “I may be part of a dying breed from a small New England town, but being a Watson scholar means having the opportunity to become a part of an inclusive international league of artisans who continue to perpetuate traditional crafts and shape the relevance of art.”


Erin Ryan ’11

Erin Ryan 2011Erin Ryan ’11 discovered her life’s passion in a sixth grade social studies class. The 12-year-old from Craftsbury, Vt., knew she wanted to help build peace in the world after several community members came to speak about their experiences in the Peace Corps. “After hearing their accounts of all the good they had done and the difference they had made, I knew what I wanted to be ‘when I grew up,’” she says. “I brought this aspiration with me to Wheaton, where I continued my interest in international relations and discovered my love for the Russian language.” A double major in Russian and international relations, she will take another step toward fulfilling her passion in the coming year. With the support of a Fulbright grant, she will travel to Russia to teach English and pursue her quest for fluency in Russian. After that, she hopes to join the Peace Corps herself.


Nadila Yusuf ’11

Nadila Yusuf 2011Nadila Yusuf ’11 says that leadership and teaching have been constants in her life, starting in high school. During those years, as she worked through her own cultural and religious identity crisis as an Islamic Bangladeshi-American attending a predominantly white Catholic high school, she was the one to take the lead by founding a multicultural club to help her peers learn about and embrace diversity. And during her four years at Wheaton, teaching has been an integral part of her experiences—in settings from Rhode Island to Ghana. All of the experiences have paid off. Yusuf, a Flushing, N.Y., resident, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Bangladesh. As a teacher in Dhaka, Bangladesh, she plans to create inventive lessons and programs through group projects aimed at fostering academic development, interaction and a peer-to-peer learning environment. “Receiving the English teaching assistantship will allow me to continue to pursue my goals as an educator and fuel my passion to work with youth and young adults in a variety of settings.”