Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of features on recipients of the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award. The award, named after the late 1963 Keuka graduate, is supported by Brown’s family and the Class of ’63. It is designed to assist students who pursue a culturally-oriented Field Period™.
Since sophomore Caitlin Malican was 13, she’s wanted to make a difference on a more global scale, specifically in a Third World country. Thanks to receiving the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award, she will spend her summer Field Period™ pursuing that dream by volunteering in Tanzania and Zanzibar.
The Irving, Texas resident will travel with Growth International Volunteer Exploration (GIVE) for three weeks in July to the Eastern African nations. GIVE is a Seattle-based volunteer organization that unites international volunteering with adventure travel to create a meaningful volunteer experience abroad.
“GIVE’s slogan, ‘be the change you wish to see in the world,’ encompasses the ideals of experiential learning through adventure, selflessness, and willingness to go outside your comfort zone,” said Malican, an occupational science major. “I am a firm believer that life is what you make of it, and going to Africa this summer is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I can’t pass up.”
As an occupational science major and a facilitator for TeamWorks!, Malican expects this experience will positively influence her roles on campus.
“I want to be able to apply what I will learn by volunteering and working directly with those living in Tanzania to better enhance my holistic intervention strategies in occupational therapy,” said Malican. “By immersing myself fully in Tanzanian culture, I will bring back to Keuka College a more diverse perception of life that will guide me through the rest of my life.”
Part of that immersion includes helping build a school out of sustainable materials—recycled water bottles filled with sand—and creating a fresh water system for the village. She, and about 40 other volunteers from across the world, will also work in the local community teaching English, math, and other subjects to local children and adults.
“We will also go to Zanzibar and live in a beach bungalow, swim with dolphins in the Indian Ocean, go on a two-day safari in Tarangire National Park, and learn Swahili and tribal dances from the Massai tribe,” said Malican.
Malican will also climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.
By climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, Malican “wants to do something that I will look back on in 20 years and still feel proud of accomplishing. I want to develop as an individual though the personal challenges and triumph of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.”
She chose to climb the 19,341-foot mountain to “prove to myself that I am capable of more than I believe,” said Malican. “When I climb the tallest freestanding mountain in the world this summer, I will learn more about myself than I think any other experience could teach me. From this experience, I intend to gain a greater understanding of the world around me, and who I want to continue to become.”