Two Furman University Seniors Receive Compton Fellowships

April 30, 2008

GREENVILLE, SC – April 30, 2008 – Two Furman University seniors have been awarded Mentor Fellowships from the Compton Foundation of California that will allow them to pursue yearlong projects related to the environment following graduation.

Elizabeth Cooke of Richland Center, Wis., and Angel Cruz of Burnsville, N.C., both of whom will graduate from Furman May 31, have received fellowships worth $35,000 each.  The one-year fellowships will begin in mid-June.

Cooke and Cruz are the fourth Furman students to be named Compton Fellows.  Colin Hagan and Kartikeya Singh were named Fellows after
graduating in 2007. 

Cooke will spend her Compton year combating deforestation in Haiti through the introduction of alternative fuel sources to eliminate the need for charcoal fuels. Cooke will work under the mentorship of Georges Valme, founding president of the Haitian American Agro Industries.

Cruz’s project is entitled A Community Approach to Sustainable Agriculture in Rural El Salvador, which will be one of the first projects in El Salvador to approach sustainable agriculture within a community instead of with a single farm.  Armando Marquez Ochoa, executive director of FUNDAHMER in El Salvador, will be Cruz’s mentor.

Furman is one of nine schools nationwide invited to compete in the prestigious and innovative Compton Mentor Fellowship program, which supports graduating seniors as they transform their academic studies into real world applications.  The fellowship program, which was started in 2002, has traditionally been focused in the areas of environment and sustainability, peace and conflict resolution, or population and reproductive health.  The Foundation has since added a focus on climate change and energy policy.

Each Mentor Fellow is responsible for implementing a self-directed project and choosing a mentor who will provide guidance, encouragement, and impetus for continued learning and service.  The fellows are expected to demonstrate imagination, intelligence, integrity and leadership as well as a commitment to compassionate and effective participation in the world community.

Cooke is double majoring in English and environmental science at Furman.

A Furman Advantage Teaching Fellow, she is president of the Environmental Action Group and a student representative on Furman’s Sustainability
Planning Group.   She is also a member of the Bartram Society, in which she attends geologic conferences and sponsors speakers and films to educate the local community about the earth sciences.   A 2004 graduate of Richland Center High School in Richland Center, she is the daughter of William and Linda Cooke of Richland Center.

Cruz is studying biology at Furman with a concentration in Latin American Studies.  She was selected for the Associated Colleges of the South Environmental Fellows Internship for the last two years.  She was also the 2007-2008 recipient of the Foothills Garden Club Scholarship, which encourages the study of botany, ecology and conservation at Furman.  A 2004 graduate of Mountain Heritage High School of Burnsville, she is the daughter of Miguel and Lesia Cruz of Burnsville.