On April 28, a virtual reception was held to honor the students who received scholar grants in the 2019-20 John Near and Mitra Family endowment programs. Each year, the John Near Excellence in History Education Endowment Fund and the Mitra Family Endowment for the Humanities – founded in 2009 and 2011, respectively – provide funding for students to research topics they find highly interesting and important.
The reception began with opening words by the co-directors of the programs, upper school history chair Donna Gilbert and upper school librarian Lauri Vaughn, who commended the students on their hard work and intellectual curiosity in creating this year’s papers. Joe Rosenthal, executive director of strategic initiatives, then recapped the history of the endowments and announced the Chen-Lin Family Inspiring Faculty Growth in the Humanities Endowment, a new professional development opportunity for Harker faculty.
Following an introduction by Harker advancement director Kim Lobe, each of this year’s scholars and their respective mentors spoke on the experience of creating their research projects.
2019-20 Near Scholars:
Simar Bajaj, mentored by Katy Rees, Mike Pistacchi and Meredith Cranston: “Wealthy White Men Only: Examining the American Medical Association’s Use of ‘The Flexner Report’ as Propaganda to Reform Medical Education”
Ellen Guo, mentored by Donna Gilbert and Meredith Cranston: “Bi Means of Queer: A Bisexual View of Sedgwick’s ‘Closet'”
Madison Huynh, mentored by Julie Wheeler and Amy Pelman: “Door Half-Open: Postwar American Legislation’s Failure to Support Vietnamese Assimilation”
Kalyan Narayanan, mentored by Pauline Paskali and Lauri Vaughn: “’We’ve Got to Fight the Powers That Be’: Discourse and Disobedience in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing”
2019-20 Mitra Scholars:
Prerana Acharyya, mentored by Roxana Pianko and Lauri Vaughn: “Dancing into Propaganda: Nazi Appropriation of Ausdruckstanz”
Kathy Fang, mentored by Beth Wahl and Lauri Vaughn: “’But a Woman’: Reassessing Portrayals of Women and Sex in the Restoration ‘Tempest'”
Jeffrey Fung, mentored by Byron Stevens and Meredith Cranston: “Take Up the Cross: Pagan Elements in Lactantius’ De Mortibus Persecutorum”
Anya Gert, mentored by Amy Pelman, Damon Halback and Trish Ludovici: “Squatters and Their Street Art: How the Counterculture Undermined Sanctioned Artwork in Occupied West Berlin”