Say you have a few thousand dollars to spend on 12 weeks of summer. If you’re not already committed to an internship, summer program or trip abroad, the money could finance three months of hard-won relaxation. After waking up luxuriously late at 11 a.m., a student might spend some of it when they head over to Venice Beach or on parking at the Getty Museum. Dinner at, say, Katsuya would leave the student’s wallet a little emptier, and dessert at Blockhead’s Shavery would take a couple dollars more. Repeat for the rest of the summer, with some variation in the excursions, and that would be that: the money gone and the student satisfied.
But not every student’s idea of a perfect summer entails weeks of well-deserved leisure in Los Angeles. For this past year’s recipients of the $3,500 Junior Fellowship and the $4,500 Gunter-Gross Asia Initiative grants, the perfect summer meant something else.
It meant the chance to deepen their understanding of a subject they love. It meant the chance to go abroad so that they could encounter firsthand what they had previously studied only in books, online or in the classroom. It meant the chance to learn for themselves what time in a classroom could never teach.
Shelby Heitner ’14 traveled to England to study the effects of the bubonic plague, Mazelle Etessami ’14 to Haiti to volunteer and take photographs, Sinclair Cook ’14 to China to research the simplification of the Chinese language and Divya Siddarth ’14 to India to study at a yoga institute. Although their fellowships took them to disparate corners of the globe, they’re united by their commitment to bring back what they learned to Los Angeles.