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A Point of Difference: Diversity at Bryn Mawr College

A Point of Difference: Diversity at Bryn Mawr College

This exhibit was created between summer 2013 and spring 2014 by Alexis De La Rosa '15 and Lauren Footman '14, the 2013 Pensby Interns at Bryn Mawr College.

The original intent of the internship was to reveal and contribute insights into the experiences of Bryn Mawr College students, faculty and/or staff from Africa and the African Diaspora. This opportunity arose from community-wide discussions throughout 2012-13 about the historical, social and cultural significance of Perry House to our College community. Over the course of the internship, the scope of the conversation grew to encompass the broader experience of diversity on campus by all members of the Bryn Mawr College community, and this exhibit serves both as a repository of their findings and as a jumping-off point for the next stage of dialogues.

Alexis created an online survey that explored campus diversity from the student and alumnae perspective. She also took time to focus on the Latina student experience, to gather a deeper understanding of their time at Bryn Mawr. While conducting the project, Alexis also used photography as a means to interact with and document current students on campus. Some of these images can be seen throughout the exhibit.

Lauren conducted oral history interviews with faculty, staff, and alumnae across different decades, in order to gather multiple opinions of the history and current state of campus diversity. During the summer she was able to interview Florence Goff, Nia Turner, and Juliet Jeter. 

Both interns also conducted in an interview with Evelyn Jones Rich, class of 1954, who in 1950 became the first black student at Bryn Mawr to reside on campus. An initial oral history with Rich was recorded in 1978, and that conversation became a spring-board for a meeting and follow-up interview between Rich and the interns about the events of her life since graduating and what the College means to her 60 years after the fact. Over the course of the summer, both interns also archived a collection of Rich's personal papers that she recently donated to Special Collections, making them available for use by students and researchers interested in Rich's remarkable life and work.