Moore woman makes difference at PSCORE

Posted by: Michele Cohen

Senior Illustration major Geneva Champagne secured her summer internship in December, 2014, but knew she would need a scholarship from Moore to see it through. Her positive attitude and hard work paid off. One of five recipients to receive the 2015 Penny Fox Internship Fellowship, Champagne spent her summer interning for an advocacy group in Seoul, South Korea.

Funded by a generous gift from Penny Fox, Chair Emerita of Moore’s Board of Trustees, and her husband Bob, the competitive Fox Internship Fellowships provide $3,000 to each student.

“During Honors Convocation I was super nervous because I was the last one out of the five recipients to receive the fellowship,” Champagne said. “My heart was beating out of my chest. They started referencing my proposal and I burst into tears.”

Champagne interned at PSCORE, which stands for People for Successful COrean REunification. A non-government organization, its mission is to advocate for the rights of North Korean people, empower North Korean defectors and ultimately reunify Korea. As part of her internship, Champagne created illustrations for the organization’s publications and campaigns, built branding strategies and contributed original design proposals.

“As an illustrator, my job is to convey complex ideas and stories simply and effectively,” she said. “Working with PSCORE and illustrating the experiences of North Korean defectors sharpened my conceptual practices, composition and ability to make impactful imagery while assisting in a cause close to my heart and gaining professional experience in Korea, where I hope to build a career one day. By putting my talents to use in this way, I was able to make a difference.”

Champagne’s love of Asian culture inspired her to apply for the Penny Fox internship. She became interested at a young age, watching TV shows like Sailor Moon, a Japanese-style animation show. Japanese animation, or “anime,” inspired a serious interest in art.

Champagne began drawing, taking art classes and eventually enrolled in the BFA program at Moore. While here, she learned that some of the shows she watched growing up were made in Korea so she began studying Korean animation, style and artistic aesthetics. “I had already been in love with Korean music and culture, but I fell in love with Korean art as well. I just wanted to learn more.”

Korea’s history and current struggles were also of interest, and Champagne’s research led her to the PSCORE organization.

“While focusing on improving human rights within North Korea, PSCORE also helps the journey of North Korean defectors into China and South Korea,” she said. “The North Korean defectors take a path to South Korea and that’s when PSCORE can help them by providing English lessons, helping them find housing and employment.”

Champagne said that her summer internship changed her life. “I had the opportunity to work in a different country, with different people, surrounded by a different culture and it gave me a different outlook on my art and the way in which I create as well. My experience in Korea was a transformative one and one that I’m truly grateful to have had.”

Champagne said she wouldn’t have been able to even attend Moore – let alone do an internship so far away – if it wasn’t for the support of a woman she affectionately calls “Grandma.”  She had been in foster care with Juanita Champagne since age 3 but was formally adopted by her at age 7. She lived in her home in Yeadon, PA.

“Grandma was an older woman who already had six kids of her own. Taking me in was an extra burden – one more person to take care of – but she never made me feel like I was a burden and loved me like one of her own,” Champagne said. “She taught me that it only takes one person to change a life and make a difference. She made a difference in my life and is the reason I am the woman I am today: a Visionary Woman’s Scholar, a student leader, and a capable, driven Moore woman.”

Geneva Champagne will represent her fellow Visionary Woman Scholars at the 2015 Visionary Woman Awards honoring Alexa Hampton and Pat Steir on Thursday, October 1, 2015. She will be speaking to donors and attendees at the gala reception that night. Proceeds from the gala benefit Moore undergraduate women through scholarships and leadership training

Check out Champagne’s Behance page to view her work.