Hometown: Washington, DC:
Celeste’s work on campus has extended to Dining Services, Canaday Library’s Technology Help Desk, Conferences and Events, and this fall she will take over as host of Bryn Mawr’s student-run podcast, “What’s Up Bryn Mawr?” This summer, the English major and Sociology minor is working with the Impact Center, conducting research and interviews with transracial Asian adoptees students and alums on their experiences. The Impact Center is also piloting the new Intercultural Living and Learning Center, where Celeste will be living this fall.
Q: How did you end up with this fellowship?
My interest in this work stems from academics, extracurriculars, and personal experiences. I took a Haverford class on Asian American literature and a lot of the theory that we read included books on adoptees, which showed me that it is a field of study. I wanted to do independent research, so I talked to my Dean and a professor at Haverford, who both encouraged me to apply to different fellowships. I ended up writing a proposal for this project that included oral history and interviewing students about their experiences, which got approved by the Impact Center.
Q: How has Bryn Mawr prepared you for this work?
This project connects to a lot of the higher-level English classes that I’ve taken at Bryn Mawr and Haverford. I was able to take Asian American literature classes, and I realized that I could carve out a space for my identity within English literature. I’ve been able to read books, podcasts, and access information that has taught me about Adoptee and Asian American theory and media. The Writing Center helped me write my project proposals and with mock interviews. The liberal arts aspect of Bryn Mawr has challenged me to expand on my thinking; I’ve become more independent and explored more ways of thinking and living. I have also been prepared by and benefited from, really small class sizes and the ability to get close to professors and gain research skills.
Q: Is there a part of this project that you are most excited for?
I’m excited to interview people and, hear about their stories, and highlight adoptees’ various experiences hear about their stories, and highlight the variety of experiences that adoptees have. I interviewed one individual who grew up outside the States in an Asian country, who has one Asian parent, which is a different experience from adoptees who come to the US and have two white parents and are raised in an American household and environment. It’s interesting that both interviewees hold the label of transracial Asian adoptees, but they have vastly different experiences.
What’s special about this fellowship is that I got to create it and there is a large focus on Bryn Mawr’s history, specifically on students of color, diversity, and how that’s looked throughout time. The audio that I capture and edit will go into Bryn Mawr’s digital archive. Other components of the project include a creative writing piece and a website I hope to create for the completed project.
Besides fellowship work on campus, Celeste also plans to spend her summer exploring, “Now that COVID restrictions have opened, there’s a lot to do in Philly. I went berry picking a couple of days ago, and I’m actually going to New York just for the day this weekend. Bryn Mawr’s close to Philly and a lot of major cities, and you can get around and explore.” 🏙️