Campus & Community

Richardson Fellows focus on public service

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The Class of 2009 recipients of this year’s Elliot and Anne Richardson Fellowships in Public Service will be working on legal issues affecting immigrant guest workers, providing support for young people in a Palestinian refugee camp, and assisting residents of a New Orleans neighborhood to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Vinita Andrapalliyal is a social studies concentrator from New Jersey who will spend her fellowship year working for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Immigrant Justice Project in Atlanta. Having spent a summer at SPLC witnessing some of the abuses of the H-2A and H-2B visa programs, she resolved to focus on litigation against those who traffic in visas and defraud unsuspecting immigrants. Andrapalliyal aspires to an eventual career in public service law.

Walter E. Howell is a government concentrator from Virginia who was deeply affected by his recent visit to the occupied West Bank. With the support provided by his fellowship, he will spend a year teaching English to students at two schools in the Al-Arroub refugee camp. Howell also plans to develop an outreach program to address the socioeconomic constraints his students experience in their daily lives. Howell hopes to become a civil servant in the field of humanitarian aid and international diplomacy.

Alice N. Lee, a social studies concentrator from New York state, first became interested in affordable housing issues as a freshman, while spending a summer as an intern in the Boston office of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy ’54, LL.D. ’08. She will use her fellowship to work as an affordable housing case manager and resource for residents of Broadmoor, New Orleans, a neighborhood that the city had considered turning into a drainage park. Lee intends to pursue a career combining urban planning, public built-environment policy, and community redevelopment.

The Richardson Fellowships are designed to encourage and enhance the pursuit of careers in public service, emphasize Harvard’s commitment to the value of such endeavors, and pay tribute to Elliot ’41 and Anne ’51 Richardson, who as individuals and a team embodied the highest ideals of public service. Elliot Richardson held three successive Cabinet posts during the Nixon administration, as well as an ambassadorship and another Cabinet post in the Ford administration. Anne Richardson joined the national efforts of Reading Is Fundamental during its infancy and served as its chair from 1981 to 1996. Both enjoyed long and diverse records of service at Harvard and remain the only husband and wife to have been members of Harvard’s Board of Overseers.