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Danielle Bero ’07 (Astoria, N.Y.) is the recipient of the 2007 George Wharton Pepper Prize, awarded annually to the senior “who most nearly represents the Lafayette ideal.”

The prize was established in 1923 by George Wharton Pepper, a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, attorney, and founding member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. In his gift, Pepper noted that the “ideal” Lafayette student combines a “sound academic record” with “noteworthy participation in College activities and student life.”

“I don’t think any option or path can define what is ‘ideal,’” says Bero. “I believe what is crucial is taking those opportunities and paths available to you and using them as means to make positive change in the community, both on and off campus.”

Bero, who created her own major of creative mediums and social justice, was one of 10 finalists for the Pepper Prize. She was chosen through a vote of the student body and faculty, and will speak at Lafayette’s 172nd Commencement Saturday, May 19.

During her time at Lafayette, Bero, who is a Posse scholar, has dedicated herself to community service, travel, and teaching.

“I believe that the ideal Lafayette student cannot be defined through words but through actions and experience,” she says. “At Lafayette we all are given the chance to bridge gaps and make a difference, we just must take advantage of it.”

Bero has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to work at a high school outside of Jakarta, Indonesia. She will teach students conversational English and improve their knowledge of the United States from July 2007 to May 2008.

When she returns from Indonesia, Bero will work through Teach For America. The program matches college graduates with urban and rural public schools in the nation’s lowest-income communities. It will enable her to complete a master’s degree in education.

Last spring, she traveled to Namibia and South Africa, where she mentored and taught children in an informal settlement. She also spent three weeks in Guatemala and the Bahamas through Lafayette’s distinctive interim-abroad courses.

Bero performed independent study research with Deborah Byrd, associate professor of English, teaching the creative arts to teens and received the Riley Temple ’71 Creative and Artistic Citizenship Award at this year’s Diversity Awards. The honor is given to a student whose creative scholarship in the visual and/or performance arts contributes to knowledge on societal issues of multicultural or intercultural concerns.

Bero is program coordinator for the Landis Community Outreach Center’s Kids in the Community (KIC) program. In addition to KIC, she is involved with the Landis Center’s Teen Moms program and served as an assistant director this past summer for its Pre-Orientation Service Program. She also is leading Teens in the Community at Easton’s new teen center.

She is co-founder of Writing Organization Reaching Dynamic Students and a member of Questioning Established Sexual Taboos, Students for Social Justice, Africans Creating African Consciousness and Interest Abroad, and Association for Black Collegians. She has also participated in United Against Hate week, Take Back the Night, Consciousness Conference, Lights on After-school, Hunger and Homelessness week, Midnight Run, and anti-violence mural painting in Philadelphia.

Categorized in: Academic News