Katherine Simon ’15 is part of an Earlham legacy that stretches back through generations on her father’s side. Although she is one of many Quakers in her family to attend Earlham, she is the first Quaker Fellow and is part of the first generation of Quaker Fellows.
The Quaker Fellows Program grew out of a renewed effort to attract Quaker students to the College. Meant to prepare students to be agents of change in the world, the program focuses on spirituality, community and leadership development and targets students interested in Quakerism who are serious about serving as leaders in their communities, developing tools for social transformation and living a life grounded in spirit.
“Being a Quaker Fellow has allowed me to learn more about myself and apply that to my time at Earlham, in the world and at home,” says Simon. Yet, she has also found a support system within Quaker Fellows.
“We don’t see each other every day,” Simon explains, “but there’s a common thread between us.” The fellows are “from all the corners of Earlham” allowing her to bond with a pool of people with which she wouldn’t otherwise.
Simon applied her self-exploration to the world when she travelled to Jordan and joined Dozan Wa Awtar (Dozan), an international choir that emphasizes diversity and peace, which is one of the Quaker Testimonies. This experience was a factor in Simon’s decision to study Peace and Global Studies (PAGS), a major that allows her to explore the world with more of a Quaker perspective. Jordan became the obvious study abroad choice because she hopes to minor in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic. It also made the most sense because the conflict in and around that area gave Simon the opportunity to explore diplomacy and non-profit work. Also while in Jordan, Simon completed Melon-funded research about whether music could be an instrument for conflict resolution through her experiences and conversations with Dozan members.
“Music can be a universal language that people can bond over,” she says. “You can come from different countries and different walks of life but if you sing or play an instrument, there’s a common passion.”
Simon has been very involved with the Quaker population on campus by being a Quaker Fellow, attending Earlham Young Friends (EYF) and co-convening Quaker House, one of Earlham’s theme houses. Quaker House strives to provide a space that allows for exploring Quakerism and what it means to the individual. All decisions are made through consensus, and students welcome people into their home for open worship and meals. Simon explains that it’s “a really warm and caring atmosphere which also includes some craziness and excitement.”
The Earlham Lens
Simon’s experiences as a Quaker Fellow and PAGS major have made her love Earlham. She says she knew she would enroll when she got “that feeling” you get from the right college. That feeling has lasted.
“There are so many things I love about Earlham,” she says, “I love the community you develop. I love Earlham’s campus. There are just so many places you can go to relax and be comfortable.”