Cecelia King ’23 Named John Robert Lewis Scholar

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With mentorship, scholars “will be inspired to create positive societal change.”

Cecelia King
Cecelia King ’23 has been named a John Robert Lewis Scholar. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Cecelia “Cece” King ’23 has been named a John Robert Lewis Scholar, joining a nationwide network of young civic-minded leaders supported by the Washington-based nonprofit Faith and Politics Institute, which honors the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia.

“The John Robert Lewis Scholars & Fellows Program is designed for undergraduate scholars and graduate student fellows to examine Lewis’s nonviolent philosophy from a historical perspective; define its principles and strategies; and identify their applicability to modern times and movements, current issues, and everyday life,” the FPI website says

Each year, FPI invites 20 students from across the U.S. “to be effective changemakers in civic life through their engagement in an applied learning program of nonviolent social impact philosophy that grounded John Lewis.”

Inspired in part by her own family history, King will focus her scholarship project, still to be designed, on issues surrounding immigration.

“My grandmother’s parents were Holocaust survivors and arrived in Bolivia from Poland. My great-grandfather was a doctor in the Bolivian army. Growing up, I was always fascinated by these stories,” she says.

King has long been interested in social equity. As a high school junior in New York City, she spent a semester at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington, D.C. She’s served as an interpreter for asylum seekers through legal clinics in New York and Texas, worked on a documentary film called The Art of Making It about the challenges COVID-19 posed to artists, and is a founding member of Curious Cardinals, an e-learning startup that develops personalized learning models for students.

At Dartmouth, King has been an active member of the Coalition for Immigration Reform and Equality at Dartmouth and the Sexual Violence Prevention Project. A gymnast-turned-aerial performer who got her start with French Woods, a circus camp for children, King is pursuing College recognition for the Dartmouth Aerial Arts (DAARTS) club that she started.

As a geography major with an Arabic/Middle Eastern studies minor, King says she has been influenced by “Global Movements,” taught by  Richard Wright, the Orvil Dryfoos Professor of Public Affairs.

Another class, “Geographies of Displacement” with Postdoctoral Fellow Son Ca Lam, also had an impact.

“Through this class, with a group of refugee students at Dartmouth, and students without refugee status, we formed the Dartmouth Displaced Students and Scholars Initiative at Dartmouth, which is a burgeoning program with support from the Department of Government and the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, to support displaced students on campus, particularly in light of Dartmouth’s decision to grant need-blind admission to international applicants,” says King.

She says the Lewis scholarship will pair her “with a mentor on an oral history project that reflects the civil rights leader’s dedication to principles of nonviolence, and how we can apply them as the next generation of leaders.”

Charlotte Albright