As a daughter of humanitarians who grew up in several Third-World countries, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) junior Naivasha Dean witnessed firsthand her parents’ labor in working for just causes and now that she is an adult, she has chosen to continue the family tradition, says an LMU spokesman.
For 15 days this summer, Dean, an Honors Summer Research Fellowship recipient, will travel to the province of Fianarantsoa to produce a documentary, in southern Madagascar off the east coast of Africa.
The film will investigate the activities of Corridor Coffee and Spices, a private specialty coffee company. The coffee firm uses groundbreaking agricultural methods such as shade-grown coffee farming which helps to reduce pressure on the environment and represents a viable alternative to destructive practices such as slash-and-burn farming, Dean says.
“Slash-and-burn practices cause great environmental damage and a loss of species in the area,” she says. “I hope my film reveals economically sustainable farming methods that don’t destroy the habitat.”
Dean also will examine the relationship between Corridor Coffee and Spices and TAPFIRE, a nonprofit organization that works through public-private alliances with such companies. Dean says she hopes to explore those alliances because critics have labeled them both controversial and helpful.
Each year, the LMU Honors Program offers several fellowships for summer projects conducted around the world. Fellows are awarded $5,000 to support research, travel, internships, writing or tuition.
“Being a recipient of these types of awards makes it easier for me to afford college and to not put a big strain on my parents,” Dean said. “It also allows me the time to focus on developing the tools I will use to achieve my goals in the future.”