At School Meeting on Wednesday, May 17, four St. Markers received Class of 1968 Fellowship Grants.
Established at their 25th reunion, the Class of 1968 created this fund to provide opportunities for students to participate in a fellowship program or independent project the summer before graduation. The members of the Class of 1968 review the proposals and make the award decisions. As part of the program, each grant recipient must share the outcomes of their projects with the St. Mark's community during the fall.
Michelle Li '18 will be "Discovering Ethnic Diversity in China" for her project. "I plan to go on a cultural immersion and exploration trip in Yingxiu, Sichuan province, China during the summer of 2017," she says. "On this voyage, I will learn about the Qiang and the Tibetan people's culture, including traditional celebrations, cuisine, visual arts, dance, and language; learn about Qiang embroidery; find out why are their traditions and language are slowly disappearing among the younger generations."
Yusra Syed '18 will use her Class of 1968 Fellowship Grant for a microfinance project. Microfinance is a source of financial services for low-income individuals or those who do not have access to typical banking services. Microfinance is also the idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services. "I hope to identify multiple individuals that I interacted with during my trips to India, who have the capacity and the willingness to further develop and manage their already existing business," says Yusra. "I will lend these entrepreneurs US$300 or INR20,000 each and guide them in developing their business venture and help them scale."
Gillian Yue '18 will work on the design and production of an IOS Game App. "My project is to produce an IOS game app that involves a physics engine and 3D modeling," Gillian says. "The game would be playable on an iPhone, and ideally it would be of publishing quality, so that I can put it on Appstore as a developer after I become 18 next April." The purpose of this project is to have an opportunity to practice coding in Swift, the language for IOS app development, and to apply what she's learned in St. Mark's Computer Science courses to create a complete app.
Isabela Zhang '18 has chosen autism as the focus for her 1968 Fellowship Grant work. "My plan during the summer." She reports, "is to visit and volunteer at two day-care centers for kids with autism in China, one in Beijing (Culture Center of Xicheng District) and one in Hangzhou (Carnation Recovering Center for Kids with Autism). During my visit this time, I will not only do the typical volunteer work of taking care and teaching the autistic kids, but also start a survey aiming to know better about the current situation of kids with autism." She is planning to make a video recording of her experience volunteering at the two autism centers and interviewing different people. She will also analyze the results of the survey and write a report illustrating her findings.
This year's grant certificates were presented by Mr. John Camp, Assistant Director of the SM Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. In attendance at Wednesday's School meeting for the presentation of these Fellowship Grants were members of the St. Mark's Class of 1968: Bob Masland, Chris Stack, and Mike Kinnicutt. All three, along with the four recipients and Head of School John C. Warren '74 are pictured here, above right.
Congratulations to all these enterprising St. Markers, all of whom exemplify both the intellectual and creative spirit central to the St. Mark's experience.