Drawing from all four undergraduate schools, the SNF Paideia Fellowship Program is a unique, three-year program that integrates students’ personal, professional, and academic interests through SNF Paideia designated courses, a senior capstone project, and co-curricular activities.
The Class of 2025 Paideia Fellows includes:
Faith Applegate, C’25, Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Faith is pursuing a degree in urban studies, with an emphasis on urban education, economic policy, and Hispanic studies. She hopes to work in the School District of Philadelphia and eventually become a leader in the field of education, impacting educational policy. As a graduate of the Philadelphia public school system and a current mentor to students in the district, she is inspired to be an advocate for the city’s youth. Faith hopes to effect change in the education system through participating in dialogue and learning from community members and leaders while voicing her own opinions and standing up for what she believes in.
Andrew Chiang, SEAS’25, Hometown: Saratoga, CA
Andrew is a student in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, with an interest in Bioengineering. His goal is to create devices or solutions to medical problems. Through this process, Andrew knows he will encounter bioethical questions. He is interested in exploring complex contemporary issues through respectful discussion, finding ways to have conversations about controversial, yet pertinent topics. Through the SNF Paideia Fellowship Program, Andrew hopes to gain a more complete understanding of the complexities of his goal of improving people’s lives in a community of students and staff that are open minded and eager to change the world for the better.
Salvador Galvez Jr., N’25, Hometown: Chicago, IL
As a future male nurse, Salvador hopes to contribute new insights to the healthcare field and serve as a resource for others. He is enthusiastic to learn the skills, theory, and practice of dialogue across difference to give back to communities like the one he grew up in. Coming from a predominantly Latino community with Mexican parents in Chicago, IL, Salvador has first-hand experience of what it is to live in a minority community. As a fellow, he hopes to serve as a resource to better understand methods for approaching Latino populations. He would like to be an advocate for minority communities and increase their agency to impact the world around them.
Gabriella Gibson, W’25, Hometown: Ebensburg, PA
Gabriella values dialogue both to enact change as well as to build community with her peers. Coming from a small, rural community, Gabriella understands a worldview that may differ from that of the average college student. During high school, Gabriella was very involved in promoting civic engagement among the youth of her hometown and understands the value of training students to recognize and reject polarized thinking early in their education. Gabriella looks forward to complementing her academic pursuits at Wharton with training in fostering healthy dialogues, promoting both individual and community wellness, serving the community, and being an advocate for citizenship and civic engagement. She is eager to engage with students from across all of Penn’s undergraduate schools and hear their viewpoints on a wide array of issues. If she pursues a career in government, Gabriella believes the fellows program will prepare her to better serve her constituents and the larger citizenry by learning to listen and engage in robust discourse.
Isobel Glass, C’25, Hometown: Beverly, MA
Isobel is pursuing a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics major and History and Legal Studies minor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Penn. Her interest in history and philosophy started during high school when she developed an appreciation for the role critical dialogue with others plays in understanding past and current events from all perspectives. The SNF Paideia pillars of service and citizenship relate to Isobel’s interest in justice and the law and she looks forward to taking SNF Paideia designated courses that can help her integrate dialogic skills with her academic interests.
Emilee Gu, C’25, Hometown: Changzhou, China
Emilee is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences pursuing majors in Philosophy Politics and Economics and English. She is passionate about exploring the intersection of gender, public policy, and economics. As an international student from China, Emilee became fascinated with facilitating conversations across communities at a young age. Her childhood love for reading global novels translated into a passion for intercultural communication, fueling her efforts to teach herself English. Eventually, Emilee studied abroad for high school in Pebble Beach, California, where she delved into feminist advocacy and news writing. She believes in the power of facilitating change through respectful dialogue and journalism. She looks forward to deepening her understanding of dialogue, wellness, citizenship and service through the SNF Paideia Fellows program and contributing to the diverse conversations happening within the cohort and the wider Penn community.
Sofia Gutierrez Boker, W’25, Hometown: New York, NY
Originally from Mexico, Sofia spent time growing up in Panama, Switzerland, and the United States. This cross-cultural upbringing provided her with an appreciation for parallels between cultures, ideas, and histories. Academically, Sofia is pursuing a finance and management degree with a minor in nutrition. Her goal is to be a food entrepreneur to address the challenges of equity, sustainability, and accessibility in the food industry. She sees the SNF Paideia Fellowship as an incubator to delve deeper into these diverse areas. She is inspired by the intersectional approach to dialogue, citizenship, wellness, and service framing the SNF Paideia Program’s mission and looks forward to being part of a community of students with diverse and shared interests.
Vinay Khosla, C’25, Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Vinay is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in political science and philosophy with intended minors in math and art history. He is an opinion columnist for The Daily Pennsylvanian and writes weekly articles focused on promoting dialogue especially centered around socioeconomic diversity at Penn. Vinay is also a member of the Penn Club Cross Country and Track teams. With varied research interests ranging from domestic polarization to the comparative politics of petrostates, Vinay is very interested in academic research and hopes to explore career options in academia through the SNF Paideia Fellowship.
Zachary Koung, C’25, Hometown: Ellicott City, MD
Zach is studying political science and sees a natural fit between the SNF Paideia Fellowship and his interests in politics and public service. Most of his focus in politics is on protecting and preserving democracy. He has been civically engaged since high school when he was elected as the Student Member of the Howard County Board of Education, allowing him to vote on many important issues. He experienced firsthand the negative implications of political divisiveness as he was targeted for his stance on contentious issues. This experience provided him with a more nuanced understanding of how those serving in public office behave. While serving, he had to learn to navigate his identity in public and private spaces and has since sought to help others in similar situations.
Hana Le, W’25, Hometown: Ruston, LA
Hana is a student in the Wharton School hoping to concentrate in Management and Legal Studies and Business Ethics. Concerned about corporate impacts on urban environments, she is fascinated by the motivations behind strategic activism—especially in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts—and the nature of non-market strategy components in the scaling of modern organizations. An advocate for increased DEI efforts since high school, Hana believes strongly that the strength of a community should be measured by the experiences of all its members.
Sabirah Mahmud, C’25, Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
As an international relations major, Sabirah is interested in an interdisciplinary approach to global affairs and political science. She aspires to work with refugees and is taking classes that intersect with linguistics, sociology, archeology, philosophy, comparative literature, and more. She is dedicated to broadening her academic horizons for a better understanding of the world and the experiences of people from an interdisciplinary perspective. Sabirah is excited by the opportunity to develop her skills with an experiential and dialogic approach to conflict resolution offered by the SNF Paideia Fellows program.
Anusha Mathur, C’25, Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Prior to learning of the SNF Paideia Fellows program, Anusha considered her academic study of democracy and citizenship separate from her interest in mental health and wellness. Anusha is looking forward to having an immersive experience with a cohort of supportive peers and faculty mentors who will help her integrate wellness and dialogue into her dedication for democracy and community impact. Anusha’s interest in criminal justice reform has inspired her involvement in the Penn Democrats Club as Legislative Director, where she organizes speaker panels, club discussions, and community advocacy events. Her participation in the SNF Paideia Program will provide a more nuanced perspective on legal advocacy through dialogue and discussion.
Traci McEachern, N’25, Hometown: Hampton, GA
Traci pursued a career in nursing partly because of her commitment to serving others. The nursing school at Penn emphasizes serving the surrounding Philadelphia community as well as those around the world. Traci sees the SNF Paideia Program’s pillars, especially service, wellness, and dialogue, as integrating well with her academic pursuits. As an SNF Paideia Fellow, Traci plans to gain a more thorough understanding of how service, wellness, and dialogue are interconnected with her role as a citizen within the communities she participates.
Nicole Méndez, C’25, Hometown: New York, NY
Nicole is a prospective double major in Criminology and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). Nicole aspires to become a lawyer and to serve her community. As a Mexican-American woman of immigrant parents who has lived in Mexico and the United States, Nicole has a keen awareness of the social and political influences the two countries have on one another. While living in Mexico for four years, Nicole witnessed the damaging effects of domestic political instability and U.S. policies on low-income Mexicans. Living in NYC, she had access to more educational and professional opportunities but also observed racial and wealth disparities. These experiences gave Nicole insight into the lives of immigrants, the ways in which economic disparities affect low-income communities, and the government’s role in supporting its people.
Fariha Nawar, C’25, Hometown: Colchester, VT
Fariha is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, concentrating in political science, English and psychology. Fariha would like to use her academic training for humanitarian purposes. Perhaps as an immigration lawyer protecting the right to asylum, or as a clinical psychologist increasing access to adolescents’ mental health, or working with the public school system, advocating for diversity in high school English curriculum. A South Asian, Muslim woman who grew up in Vermont, a state that is 98% white, Fariha knows first hand the value of having a close community and the importance of advocacy. She has a deep appreciation for the importance of dialogue about challenging topics and plans to further integrate the skills, theory, and practice of dialogue through her time as a Fellow.
Jaymaba Ndiaye, C’25, Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Jaymaba is pursuing a degree in Health and Societies in the College of Arts and Sciences and plans to work in the public health sector, with an emphasis on serving underrepresented communities. A child of immigrant parents, Jaymaba has witnessed firsthand the inequities in the healthcare system often experienced by marginalized groups. She looks forward to integrating her academic pursuits with the SNF Paideia Fellows Program, deepening her commitment to civic engagement.
Antoilyn Nguyen, C’25, Hometown: Santa Ana, CA
Antoilyn is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences with ambitions to major in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and minor in International Development and Urban Studies. Antoilyn hopes to pursue a career as a gynecologist to provide culturally competent medical care for refugees and migrants, especially those with marginalized identities or adverse childhood experiences. They look forward to learning how to promote wellness, empathy, and compassion and how to integrate these values in the context of hospitals and reproductive healthcare clinics.
Angel Ortiz, C’25, Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Angel is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, with an interest in politics, history, geography, and linguistics. He hopes to major in Political Science, History, or both. His interest in discourse and deliberation began in high school when he participated in Model UN and Mock Trial. In contrast to the binary, single perspective approach of traditional debate, Angel is attracted to SNF Paideia’s emphasis on healthy dialogue that stresses viewpoint diversity and appreciates nuanced conversation. Through the SNF Paideia Fellows program, Angel wishes to be a part of a community where he feels comfortable, accepted, and engaged through shared experiences. He is also interested in developing his knowledge of democratic deliberation and empathy through passionate and ideologically diverse discussion.
Justin Robertson, C’25, Hometown: Bala Cynwyd, PA
Justin is a prospective Africana Studies major and Computer Science minor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Before coming to West Philadelphia, he was involved in serving communities in and around his high school, located right outside of the city. At Lower Merion High School, Justin helped to start a brand-new organization that encourages more students of color to enroll in Computer Science courses by introducing them to the field in a fun and engaging way. He also served as a peer writing tutor and, with other members of his church, participated in different types of community service projects in the Philadelphia area. Justin is a poet, rapper, and producer who creates and records his own original work. Some of the content included in his music and poetry is based on research and invites dialogue about African American history and heritage.
Selena Rosario, C’25, Hometown: Gettysburg, PA
Selena’s interest in the SNF Paideia Fellows Program stems from her devotion to giving back to her community and prioritizing authentic, respectful dialogue as a path to bridging difference. As a Puerto-Rican (Latina) growing up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Selena witnessed overt displays of racism and racial tensions. This experience taught her the value of discourse. Whether it be in high school or here at Penn, Selena feels deeply connected to her familial roots and is committed to improving conditions for future generations everywhere she goes.
Benjamin Sailors, SEAS’25, Hometown: Bellefontaine, OH
Ben is a student in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, with an interest in the intersection between science and public policy. Prior to attending Penn, Ben was an active member of civically minded groups from local nonprofit organizations to state advisory boards and national policy programs. These opportunities allowed Ben to develop his understanding of the policymaking process at multiple levels, as well as engage with active civic leaders. He looks forward to developing his critical leadership skills through participation in the SNF Paideia Fellows Program, the SNF Paideia designated courses, and co-curricular activities. Ben appreciates the important roles dialogue and interpersonal communication play in both public and private aspects of life. Ben is interested in fostering a more inclusive community on campus while practicing his commitment to civic engagement and wellness.
Gretel Tassah, C’25, Hometown: St. Paul, MN
Gretel is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences with a prospective Anthropology and Psychology major and Urban Education minor. Gretel is interested in and actively working towards addressing education and health inequities. Her interest in the SNF Paideia Fellows Program stems from her interest in learning to navigate difficult conversations that arise in spaces where change happens. She looks forward to continuing to develop the skills, theoretical understanding, and practice of dialogue across difference.
Abigail Weinstein, C’25, Hometown: Titusville, NJ
Abby is excited to bring her dedication to political, social, and environmental activism into an academic setting through the Fellows Program. Her work as a campaign volunteer, poll worker, and canvasser for NJ’s vaccination effort draw on her passion for civic engagement and dialogue. She hopes to engage in meaningful discourse with other students in the program and contribute to the small, creative, spirited community of young people. Growing up in a small, centrist farm town in New Jersey, a traditionally blue state, she witnessed the difficulties of cultivating dialogue across political divides first-hand during the 2020 election, which inspires her to learn more about constructive discourse and strive toward a sense of unity despite political differences. Abby sees a clear connection between her academic pursuits of design and sustainability and the pillars of the SNF Paideia program.
Sophia Young, C’25, Hometown: Greenville, SC
Sophia is a student in the College of Arts and Science with hopes to major in Psychology and minor in Creative Writing. She is very interested in the wellness and dialogue aspects of the Program and the SNF Paideia designated courses Grit Lab and Positive Psychology, which focus on building resilience and self-confidence. Sophia applied to be an SNF Paideia Fellow in part because the Program will help her develop the dialogic skills, knowledge and practices needed to succeed in fostering dialogue among young people and bridging the gap between health care providers and patients. She is already pursuing this interest by participating in a summer research internship on improving youth mental health services with implementation science. She believes the Program will give her the space to pursue her academic interests while integrating experiential tools for engaging across differences and becoming a more well-rounded citizen.
Ian Mijael Zang, C’25, Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Through the SNF Paideia Fellows Program, Ian hopes to continue his well-trod path of constructive disagreement. Having grown up in Argentina, he has experienced firsthand the harm political polarization or La Grieta (Argentine political divide) can cause. Integrating the pillars of SNF Paideia with his academic studies as a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics major, Ian plans to further develop his understanding of obstacles in civic engagement and policy both domestically and internationally.
More information about the Fellows will be available throughout the summer on the SNF Paideia website and social media channels.
About the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Paideia Program
Through the intellectual and financial support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the SNF Paideia Program serves as a hub for civic dialogue in undergraduate education at Penn. SNF Paideia collaborates with many campus entities to promote opportunities for students to develop the knowledge, skills, ethical frameworks, and experiences necessary to be informed, engaged, and effective community members and leaders in society. The SNF Paideia Program encourages the free exchange of ideas, civil and robust discussion of divergent views, and student and community wellness through SNF Paideia-designated courses, a Fellows program, and campus events. For more information visit our website at snfpaideia.upenn.edu.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Paideia Program: firstname.lastname@example.org