Lund Grant recipients present work from China, Ghana

Five Lund Grant recipients presented the products of their work abroad, covering three very different topics, to a large group of students, faculty and staff.

Medill Professor Jack Doppelt credited the “extraordinary crowd” to “the magnetism of [the] five presenters as well as the Medill student motivation.

“Medill has become a place of global intrigue, consequence and interest among our students in particular, and the presentation that these [students] are doing, the eagerness that the [students] have in exploring the world and using their considerable talents to learn about the world is remarkable,” Doppelt said.

The Lund Grant recipients travelled as three groups. The projects presented were: “Investigation of Witch Camps in Northern Ghana” by Madeleine May (BSJ14) and Jaclyn Skurie (BSJ14), “A Look at China’s Mental Health System” by Alice Li and Susan Du (BSJ14), and “One City, Two Worlds: Race Relations Between the Uighurs and Han Chinese of Urumqi,” by Cathaleen Chen (BSJ15).

May and Skurie spent five weeks in the Ghana district of Gushegu studying and producing a documentary on women who were accused of being witches. The region does not have many tourist attractions, but, surprisingly, there is a new phenomenon of witch camp tourism, Skurie said.

Li and Du travelled to China for three months and explored the country’s policies for mental illness healthcare by shadowing a doctor, a mental therapy project called “Crazy Bake” and people suffering from mental illnesses.

“The major theme that developed for us [was] that the people who were trying to hide their mental illnesses, who were trying to remain fully active in society without acknowledging their needs, were still pretty isolated because it’s difficult to feel belonging when you have to hide who you are,” Du said.

Cathaleen Chen spent her research time studying Uighur cultural issues in Urumqi, the capital of the Chinese province Xinjiang, where Chen lived for eight years. Han Chinese are the majority ethnic group in Urumqi.

“I actually had a lot of trouble interacting with Uighurs because I am Han,” Chen said. “Even [with] these photos that I took, I had to really present myself as an American student and not a Han student.”

The opportunity to be associated with a wonderful program for Medill students, and that the students get so much out of, is amazing, said Eric Lund (BSJ49), an adjunct lecturer during the 1950s and 1960s. Lund, who lives in Evanston and is a former editor at the Chicago Daily News and the Evanston Review, attended with his wife, Grace.

The Lund Grant is extremely important for these students’ experiences covering underreported parts of the world, said Desiree Hanford, Medill’s director of undergraduate journalism.

“The grant allows students to go beyond their comfort level and continue to hone their skills, to learn new skills and to meet people. Who knows what other stories will come out of these experiences?” Hanford said.