Skip to main content

Civic Semester Fellows Fall 2021

The 2021 Civic Semester Fellows are a diverse group of 9 students who will be spending the first semester of their Tufts education in the American Southwest, exploring themes of environmental sustainability and immigrant rights. These young leaders come from around the world and all across the United States- from Illinois, to Maine, to Georgia- but they are all united by their shared commitment to civic engagement and a more just and sustainable future. 

The 2021 Tufts Civic Semester Fellows are:

Photo of Caroline Bewley, a member of the Civic Semester cohort

Caroline Bewley

Caroline grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago, IL. As a kid, Caroline spent a lot of time in Lake Michigan, which instilled in her a love of water and the importance of environmental conservation. While in high school, she played viola in orchestra and wrote for her school's newspaper. Her passion for environmental and social justice developed during the COVID-19 pandemic when she joined the Chicago hub of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led organization dedicated to winning a Green New Deal. In her activism, Caroline is intrested in addressing the intersections between environmental injustice, racism, and classism. Some of her hobbies include listening to podcasts, going to concerts, and reading novels and plays. 

Photo of Ben Chisam, a member of the Civic Semester cohort

Ben Chisam

Growing up in humid North Georgia, Ben is excited to experience a new environment in the Southwest this fall. In high school, Ben's main interest was science, participating in the state science fair, leading his Science Olympiad team, and starting a STEAM Festival to showcase student art. Additionally, Ben has been playing the bassoon for five years and has recently become interested in visual arts as well. As an International Baccalaureate student, he enjoys interdisciplinary learning, which led him to the field of Environmental Studies. Through Civic Semester, he aims to gain a deeper understanding of the environment, strengthen his Spanish language skills, and foster new friendships. While Ben left high school an academic, he hopes to leave the Southwest an activist, with the confidence and skills needed to positively impact his community. 

Photo of Biami Ebie, a member of the Civic Semester cohort

Biani Ebie

Biani was born in Boston, Massachusetts but lived in Nigeria for 15 years before moving back to the US to attend boarding school in Connecticut. She was very involved in her high school community and worked hard to improve the experience of minority students through her role as a Residential Assistant, International Student Ambassador and Peer Support Mentor. Living in both Nigeria and the USA, she has always had a passion for traveling and exploring. Biani is also a huge advocate for environmental sustainability. She is beyond excited to learn more about sustainable farming practices and the greater theme of immigration. In her free time, she likes to attend protests, sign petitions, take walks, and watch old movies. 

Lily Feng

Lily is from a small town in Connecticut where she has lived her whole life and she is incredibly thrilled to be able to experience a completely different way of life this fall. During her time in high school, Lily developed a passion for social justice work as a representative of her school's first Social Justice Council and president of the Asian American Student Union. Additionally, Lily participated in a regional orchestra as a violinist, varsity track and field, and worked with a non-profit focused on immigrant and refugee rights. This led to her interest in community service. During Civic Semester, Lily is beyond excited to fully immerse herself in the culture, language and new perspectives on global issues that will aid in her academic pursuit of International Relations and Community Health.

Empress Jones

Being from the expressive, opportunity-filled New Haven, Connecticut, Empress is no stranger to trying new things and finding diverse ways to become socially involved. As a music lover, her drive to explore new sounds has combined with her love for social justice, leading to a childhood filled with political and social volunteer work. As she moves toward her goal of serving as a bridge between trusted healthcare and underserved communities, she can't wait to see how her time and experience in New Mexico enhance her ability to understand and communicate with diverse groups of people. 

Photo of Isaac Leib, a member of the Civic Semester cohort

Isaac Leib

Isaac is from Somerville, Massachusetts, right next to Tufts' main campus. Before graduating from Somerville High School, he enjoyed three years of drafting classes and participated in ACE, a mentorship program in the Boston area which helped him discover his passions for design and environmentalism. He is eager to explore how aspects from climate and geography to art and culture contribute to the ways communities function in all corners of the globe. Civic Semester is an opportunity to compare and contrast his home community of New England to that of the American Southwest. Having lived in Somerville his entire life, he is excited for the chance to get away and dive deeper into intriguing topics via real life expereinces in a new and unfamiliar landscape. 

Yaxuan (Angelia) Shi

Yaxuan (Angelia) is from Shandong Province, which is in the Northeast of China. She went to Santa Catalina School, an all-girls high school in Monterey, California. At school, she was the head of the mock trial team, served as an admissions ambassador, and volunteered for the community hospital. During her free time she loves to play tennis, dance, and workout with friends. She also enjoys travelling and photography. She is eager to spend her first semester in college with people from around the world and learn about social and environmental justice while exploring the Southwest. 

Sidney Tokwe

Sidney hails from Masvingo, a province in southern Zimbabwe. Having spent most of his life in the village, he has always felt an itch to explore and learn new, fresh perspectives about the world. It was not only this curiosity that drew him to Civic Semester, but the predicaments that plagued his village too. Since he was a child, he witnessed first hand crippling issues to do with gender-based violence, genderism, gender-inequality, family strife, and child marriages. The Civic Semester program is an invaluable opportunity to help him hone his leadership skills and frame a civic engagement roadmap towards spearheading change in his village and beyond. When Sidney is not reading, he is often in nature in the nearby forest or helping Mom in the fields or with house chores. At Tufts he plans on majoring in Cognitive and Brain Science and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Sidney cannot wait to finally meet the whole Civic Semester cohort in the American Southwest!

Photo of Lois Waterman, a member of the Civic Semester cohort

Lois Waterman

Loey is from Yarmouth, which is a quiet town on the coast of Maine where she has lived her whole life. She attended Yarmouth High School and joined any extracurricular activities that would have her, with a focus on student leadership and social activism. Loey was a leader of Student Senate and the Civil Rights Team at her school, but at heart, she is an overzealous theatre kid. She was involved with eight shows, including musicals and one act productions with roles ranging from Morticia Addams to an alien housewife. In her free time, she enjoys finding new music, exploring nature, meeting new people, and doing crafts with friends. Loey wants to spend her life learning from others about cultures that differ from her own, and she knows Civic Semester is the perfect place to start.