Sarah Schear '12

An anthropology major and premedical student, Sarah Schear '12 of Bethesda, MD has been awarded the Thomas H. Wyman 1951 Medal. Sarah wrote her senior thesis on transformations in kinship and activism related to the falling female-to-male child sex ratio in parts of North India. Sarah’s thesis project grew out of her interest in medical anthropology and global feminisms (which developed at Amherst), as well as her study abroad year in Varanasi, India. For the 2010-2011 academic year, Sarah lived in Varanasi where she studied Hindi language and Kathak Dance, and examined the work of social programs for children with disabilities in the city. Sarah will continue her thesis research next year as a Fulbright Fellow in India.

In her Fulbright application, Schear explains that she hopes to contribute something which she believes is “notably lacking” to existing demographic and anthropological literature on sex-selective abortion in India: “fieldwork rooted in particular contexts and privileging the views and experiences of families" and of workers in local NGOs (non-governmental organizations) focused on women's empowerment. Her project will examine the impact of specific women's empowerment programs on the perceived value of daughters, and on their health and survival in their families and communities. Professor Ranjana Sheel, who observed Schear during her time in Varanasi, praises her “penchant for details and hard work” which she believes will allow her to “be successful in meeting her objectives and bringing forth much-needed facts.” Beside her previous experience in India, Sarah has worked in China and visited Norway, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

While at Amherst, Sarah was a leader in the Amherst College Public Health Collaborative, an organization that connects Amherst College students, faculty, and alumni with local and global public health organizations and practitioners who are working to address health disparities in the Pioneer Valley and beyond. For two years, she served as a volunteer EMT with Amherst’s Emergency Medical Services.

An avid dancer, Sarah performed in a number of student-choreographed shows at Amherst, and in a 2009 piece by Israeli choreographer and visiting artist Idan Cohen, supported by the Five College Dance Department. She also sang in the Choral Society and served as Vice President of the Women's Chorus. Miss Schear  is shown on you your right dancing in the photo above.

Ultimately, Sarah plans to earn a joint degree in medicine and public health before becoming a pediatrician or family practitioner, and working to address health disparities linked to social inequalities in the United States and India.

Sarah says that she is honored to have received such a meaningful award. Miss Schear expresses her gratitude for the many academic and personal opportunities Amherst has afforded her, as well as the unfaltering support of her mentors and peers at Amherst College.