Global Partners believes that local people have the right to drive change in their schools and communities, and we are privileged to be able to share our methodology with students at Whittier College.

Now in its third year, the BCF Fellowship Program was created from a partnership between the Brethren Community Foundation, the Whittier College Office of International Programs, and Global Partners for Development. The program enables students to not only immerse themselves in East African culture but to also learn about community-led development through meaningful hands-on engagement. Students live with Tanzanian host families, work alongside Global Partners staff, and learn directly from school leaders and communities members about grassroots development work.

We are thrilled to introduce this year’s BCF Fellows: Jillian Weber and Spencer VanDerStarren. Jillian and Spencer were selected from a highly competitive group of exceptional students, and we are pleased to welcome them to the Global Partners team. Here’s a little more about Jillian and Spencer:

Jillian Weber:

My name is Jillian Weber and I am a Second Year at Whittier College with declared majors in Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Communication and Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Performing Arts, and a minor in Global Cultural Studies. I also compete in the Javelin Throw for the Whittier College Track and Field Team. As my life progresses, I plan to be an agent of change surrounding sustainability and social justice issues with special interests in wildlife preservation and ending gender discrimination. My goals of service extend beyond borders and are focused on helping those in need regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, language, ability, or any other trait that adds to the unique beauty of global society. I am so thankful I get to witness such beauty and diversity across the world that has fueled my desire to help others have more beauty and light in their lives as well.

Spencer VanDerStarren:

I am a Canadian-American dual citizen from Toronto, Canada. As a fourth-year student at Whittier College, I am nearing the completion of my self-designed Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainable International Business. I strive to approach all areas of my life with a set of inclusive values: sustainability, diverse perspectives, and partnership. I’ve had the privilege of representing Whittier College during semester-long exchange programs in both Tokyo and Paris. On campus, I have enjoyed leading the International Club and the Sustainability Club, and volunteering with the Food Recovery Network, the Urban Farm Lab, and the Kaplan International Center. I am looking forward to my career in community development and am excited to connect with compassionate individuals in Tanzania. Joining the Global Partners team is an invaluable and empowering opportunity to learn how to serve others with an open heart and informed mind.

After successfully completing pre-departure learning coursework, Jillian and Spencer will spend a month in Tanzania with Global Partners.