Jamie Nadeau '10 has become the first Bowdoin student to receive the prestigious Princeton in Africa Fellowship. This was the first year the fellowship was offered to non-Princeton students.

With the fellowship, Nadeau plans to travel to Zambia in July to work for 11 months with the Kucetekela Foundation, which provides scholarships to Zambian children so they can attend elite secondary schools.

Nadeau will be working in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia.

Nadeau studied abroad at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa during his junior year, but decided he wanted to return to Africa after being unsatisfied with the community service opportunities presented to him in Cape Town.

"I felt unfulfilled," said Nadeau. "I felt like I didn't fulfill what I set out to do, so I wanted to go back and have some hands-on experience and work towards a tangible goal."

After completing the application, he traveled to Princeton University for an interview. Representatives asked him where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do in order to consider him for one of their affiliated organizations.

When they suggested he might be placed in Zambia, Nadeau said he was excited about the possibility of returning to southern Africa.

His connection with Zambia began with his time in Cape Town when he visited a Zambian resort with his friend, a Zambian native.

"I was talking to a bartender at the resort and I told him my brother went to Boston College, and he told me his dream was to go to Boston," said Nadeau, "and there was this acceptance in his eyes that that's not possible for him. That sort of stuck with me. There are people at this resort town who aren't going to leave here; they don't have the choice."

With the Kucetekela Foundation, Nadeau will have the flexibility to design his own program, which will include mentoring and tutoring the children, meeting their families and raising awareness of the Kucetekela foundation and issues of poverty and education.

"I can steer the job in a direction I want and figure out the best way to make a difference and enact change in a community," said Nadeau.

Nadeau's dedication to community service is long standing. He helped plan last year's Common Good Day and will lead an Alternative Spring Break trip to Guatemala this year to help Safe Passage, a non-profit organization.

"[Safe Passage's] mission is to break the cycle of poverty through education. It's a very similar organization [to the Kucetekela Foundation], and I'm actually astounded at how closely related these two organizations are," he said.

Nadeau was informed last week that he would receive the Princeton in Africa Fellowship.

"Being in Africa for 11 months is not something you can be fully sure of until you get there," said Nadeau, "and I was sort of nervous waiting for this, but never questioning whether this was right for me. This is the type of experience that there is no way you can be sure of until you are doing it. Once I read the e-mail, it just felt right."

The fellowship covers on-ground expenses, such as housing, and includes a living stipend. It, however, does not include airfare.

Nadeau said he plans to fundraise to cover the cost of flights, which often cost almost $2000.

For more information, or if you would like to become involved, e-mail Jamie Nadeau at jnadeau@bowdoin.edu.