Friday, June 21, 2013

One Person’s Passion for Salta – and Why You Should Go Soon

As someone who has worked as a professional college consultant as the founder of ScholarEdge for over 13 years, I was very happy to learn about FSD’s wide-ranging programs around the world, especially in developing parts of Latin America. I wanted to offer a few perspectives as someone who not only counsels high school and college students, but also as someone who spent a year abroad and the impact it had on my life.

I chose to spend my year in Southeast Asia after college, and it was the single most important experience in my life. It exposed me not only to unique cultures, languages, and legal systems, but more importantly it afforded me different perspectives on the United States. I often tell the students I work with that I never learned more about the United States than when I was living abroad. I suspect that most students who take advantage of FSD’s amazing programs will probably come home and say the same thing – they learned not only about how others view us, but also about the tremendous goodwill Americans generate around the world despite the many serious problems we face domestically and internationally.

The one program that I can attest to is FSD’s Salta, Argentina program. I’ve been to Salta at least six times over the last 10 years because I have friends there, and I find it to be one the most fascinating parts of Latin America. Unlike Buenos Aires, Salta feels like the arid American Southwest, and incorporates parts of indigenous Bolivia and gaucho Argentina. It’s not a very heavily populated province of Argentina, and it seems a world away from the hustle and bustle and European flavor of the Argentinean capital. But it has perhaps the most genuine, friendly, and kindhearted people I’ve ever met my travels around the world. 

There is poverty in Salta Province but it is not the type of poverty that is grinding – you generally won’t see people begging on the streets, and you won’t see people in tattered clothes. But there is certainly a need for young people to work with the people of Salta to improve not only their infrastructure but also in their knowledge of processes and skills that can help their province modernize and be more equitable.

Salta is becoming more discovered by tourists as the years go by, but if you choose to go to Salta or any of the programs offered by FSD, you will be encountering people that will forever change your life, will challenge your perspectives of the United States, and more importantly will imprint upon you memories that will last long after you board a plane to return to United States. 

I’m living proof of this – my year in Southeast Asia allowed me to visit no less than half a dozen countries and to visit villages that suffer from severe socioeconomic problems. It made me truly feel as though I had a greater perspective on the world and forever changed my attitudes about politics, and society. I would encourage everyone to examine FSD’s programs, just as I am encouraging my clients to do as a private college consultant.

About Jason Lum
A graduate on full scholarship to MIT, Harvard and Berkeley, Jason serves as a private college consultant with clients in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia through his company, ScholarEdge. Jason’s work with high school students and families has been profiled by US News & World Report, USA Today,, and CNBC.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

FSD awards the Katie Evans Memorial Scholarship

The Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) is honored to carry the legacy of Katie Evans through administering the Katie Evans Memorial Scholarship (KEMS). This scholarship enables college students, who otherwise may not be able to afford international field work, the opportunity to apply their skills alongisde our community partners in India, East Africa, and Latin America through our community development internship program. 

It is with great pleasure that we announce the first recipients of FSD's Katie Evans Memorial Scholarship: Anna Thorn and Carey Mittermeier. 
"We are so honored to support the legacy of the Katie Evans Memorial Scholarship," said FSD's Executive Director Mireille Cronin Mather. "We are thrilled to continue her life's work by providing this scholarship and advancing sustainable community health programs. I am excited to hear about the work of Anna Thorn and Carey Mittermeier - they are impressive scholars and our community partners will certainly put their skill sets to good use."
Carey Mittermeier will graduate in December 2013 with a Master’s Degree in Behavioral and Community Health Science from the University of Pittsburgh and will be interning this summer at Vikalp Sansthan in Udaipur, India. Vikalp Sansthan, a long-standing partner of FSD, works to organize and sensitize youth on issues related to  discrimination, gender, and violence against women. She will work with their staff to design a project that utilizes her public health training to further the Vikalp Sansthan mission. Mittermeier is very passionate about community development issues. “At times, the most we can offer to another human being is the gift of our best self: our perseverance, our empathy, and our compassion,” said Mittermeier. “Our reward is in better outcomes, visible improvements, and the humble voice of a mother thankful that her toddler’s death has been prevented.” 
Anna Thorn is graduating this year with a Master’s Degree in Public Health from George Washington University. She will be starting her women’s health focused project with a community health partner organization in Jodhpur, Indiastarting fall 2013. When we spoke with Thorn, her excitement for the internship was palpable. “I am committed to and interested in development and health, and this [FSD] internship will be valuable personally and professionally,” said Thorn. “As well as enthusiasm, I would bring experience, knowledge, and dedication to this internship, and hope that I could be a versatile  intern in many sectors. Thank you very much for this opportunity.”
Katie Evans embodied the spirit of community work and international development. Her family and friends established the Katie Memorial Foundation (KMF) in her honor in 2008. The Foundation supported outstanding work in international public health through scholarships to student leaders who were completing their Masters in Public Health degrees and showed passion for doing meaningful field work. In January 2013, the Foundation for Sustainable Development began awarding this scholarship on behalf of the Katie Memorial Foundation.

John Evans, Executive Director of KMF, says: "I am thrilled that the Katie Evans Memorial Scholarship (KEMS) has found a new home with FSD, and to know that graduate student leaders in public health who embody Katie’s spirit, work, and values continue to be honored in her name. The decision to place KEMS in the able hands of FSD’s experienced leadership is a positive solution that allows the scholarship to grow in directions we could take it on our own. With so many former KMF directors and volunteers involved in KEMS as it continues, we remain connected to this good work." 
Graduate Public Health students who are passionate about community development and global health issues are encouraged to apply for the Katie Evans Memorial Scholarship. Fall scholarship application deadline now extended to July 1, 2013.
To learn moreKEMS webpage
You can also send a check to:
FSD, 1000 Brannan St, Suite 207, San Francisco, CA 94103
(Please indicate the donation is for the KEMS fund)
Anna Welton | International Programs Officer