Lia Tavarez, first-generation rising junior at Franklin & Marshall College, was one of eight students nationwide this year chosen to participate in the 2018 Frank Karel Fellowship in Public Interest Communications.
The government major, whose nine-week summer internship in Washington, D.C., begins June 11, is the fourth F&M student to participate in the fellowship. She looks forward to working with children at the Urban Alliance, a nonprofit that empowers city youth.
“Urban Alliance helps inner-city youth get internships and work opportunities over the summer so they can maximize their experience in the field that they’re interested in,” Tavarez said. “I hope to interact with the kids. I have a lot of my own experiences that I’d love to share.”
The Karel Fellowship focuses on translating personal passion for a more just world into communications skills that elicit social change. Since 2012, the Fellowship has matched first-generation and/or minority students like Tavarez with leading nonprofits in the D.C. area. They work on social-justice issues under the guidance of a communications mentor.
Frank Karel is credited with establishing the field of public interest communications. Andy Burness, a former colleague of Karel’s who chairs the Fellowship, said Tavarez “is exactly the type of student that we look for in this Fellowship. She is passionate, hardworking and committed to using her skills to do good.”
Since high school, Tavarez has been involved with A Better Chance, a nonprofit that helps young people of color gain access to the nation’s top schools. The program helped her get into Wilton High School, a prestigious high school in Connecticut.
“I really enjoy helping people,” Tavarez said. “I’m a government major and an Arabic minor, and I’ve been thinking about international relations, but every summer I keep doing nonprofit work in the United States, and I really love it. Especially when it comes to education accessibility and inner-city minorities. I just want to expand my palette.”