Branson has announced the recipients of the Junior Fellowships and In Pursuit of Science Scholarship from the Class of 2024. These fellowships are awarded annually to deserving students through a competitive selection process.
This year, 19 fellowship and scholarship winners were selected from a competitive pool of applicants from the junior class. These students will complete their projects during the summer of 2023 and will report on them to the whole school during the fall. Learn about the winners and their proposed projects:
The Chase Fellowship seeks to foster intellectual and cultural growth and awareness.
Emma will join the National Association of Educating Young Children, where she will conduct research and enroll in courses on early child education and literacy. She will share resources with North Bay parents and caregivers through Knowledge is Power (KIP), a Branson organization she leads, as well as expanding the reach of KIP’s book distribution channels. By sharing her own passion for stories and reading, she hopes to instill a spirit of curiosity and love of learning in the preschool and elementary school children she works with.
Morgan’s project will provide women with advice given by women about financial literacy, pay disparity, and career pathways. She will create a series of podcasts, interviewing women on different aspects of what it takes to succeed in the working world. She will also compile a short documentary film. These resources will serve Branson and the general public.
Alex will use his fellowship to study the hacienda system in Peru – specifically, the hacienda where his grandfather worked. He hopes to travel to Peru to conduct primary research in archives, utilizing both his Spanish language skills and historical acumen to illuminate the history of Indigenous peoples. Alex will also conduct oral history interviews with members of his family, including his grandfather, and ideally turn his work into an ethnographic study.
Alexander seeks to improve mental health support networks for child, adolescent and young adult patients undergoing treatment for chronic or life-threatening conditions. Having recently undergone treatment for a serious illness himself, he has first-hand experience with the inadequacies of the support currently available. He’s already leading a team that’s developing a web-based social network for young cancer patients and survivors. He plans to travel, meet, and partner with hospitals and organizations to set up in-person and online affinity groups for patients and survivors across the country, supported by fundraising.
Henry will travel to Cuba this summer to make a documentary film on the life of Cuban Chess Grandmaster Yuniesky Quesada, under whose tutelage Henry has been pursuing mastery of the game. Widening his curiosities about the game, he will consider its historiography: Why has Cuba produced such a large number of chess champions? And how has chess been used as a geopolitical tool between the US and the USSR? Cross-cultural collaboration and adventure will bring answers to deepen his understanding of the game he loves to play and to teach.
Tara will create an eight-week summer tennis program in partnership with Play Marin, a non-profit organization located in Marin City that advocates for “adequate access to extracurricular and athletic opportunity in Marin City” for youth. Tara hopes youth participants find joy, integrity, and purpose in tennis. She also hopes to see an increase in diversity by inspiring underserved youth to join local clubs and high school tennis teams.
The Werner F. Chilton Fellowship is given annually to students who share Mr. Chilton's unusual talent and appreciation for the spoken and written word.
Expanding on his recent volunteer work with the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project – a collection of oral histories of veterans housed at the library’s American Folklife Center – Charlie will document the stories of women veterans, LGBTQ veterans, and veterans of color. These groups are an important part of the veteran community that has been overlooked in more traditional historical narratives. He will catalog interviews for the LOC and he also hopes to turn his work into a book as well.
Yoga reflects that she “grew up translating” as she navigated a world between cultures and became a bridge between them. For her fellowship, Yoga will translate Chinese queer literature into English, making it more accessible to members of the Chinese diaspora and others in Anglophone countries and sharing the representational narratives with those who feel marginalized in a white-centric society. To prepare for her work, Yoga will attend the Telluride Association Anti-Oppressive Studies Seminar in Ithaca, New York.
The Barney Glaser Jr. Fellowship is given annually to students who want to further their study of mathematics beyond the high school level.
Katherine’s project expands on her Branson Ethics and Justice Project on educational inequity in Marin County. Not everyone has the time or resources to help supplement their learning if they are struggling due to learning challenges or other difficulties; she wants to bring greater awareness and shine a light on these educational inequities in order to help foster change. Katherine will take a Cal Berkeley class, “Berkeley Changemaker: Public Speaking,” in order to grow both her leadership and communication skills for continued advocacy.
Cooper is passionate about raising awareness of inequities in the juvenile justice system. Building on his experience with the Next Steps Liaison Project, he seeks to learn more about the support services and positive interventions that can disrupt the cycle of reoffending and help all youth build a brighter future, irrespective of their background. He will conduct interviews with leading academics, perform a quantitative analysis of the data on inequities in the juvenile justice system, and share this past data with local nonprofit organizations.
Wilson plans to build and implement a recycling sorter with artificial intelligence in the Branson Commons. He will use his expertise in machine learning to train a model to correctly classify trash, compost, and recycling, and he will also learn new skills in electronic engineering to build the required hardware. This project has the potential to reduce Branson’s impact on the environment and provide a visible reminder of the need to recycle and reduce waste.
The Reid Mangels Fellowship honors and celebrates Mangels' life, one of dedication to his family, to his friends, to his school, and to the scientific disciplines.
To share his love of STEM with elementary schoolers in the community, Ryder will create affordable, educational, STEM-focused engineering kits. He hopes these kits will inspire kids to “find science everywhere” with engaging challenges that teach them to adapt and grow. Ryder also hopes these kits could become a new Branson program, perhaps as an outreach branch of the Bullworks club.
Inspired by her involvement in Best Buddies and work as an assistant orthodontic technician, Saylor will partner with leading orthodontic experts to research, develop, and distribute a training system to educate orthodontic offices in best practices when working with patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She also plans to produce a video designed to help such patients feel more comfortable with the orthodontic process.
Kasra will nurture his passions for both science and coding with the goal of helping to streamline the lengthy development and approval process for new drugs. After attending Stanford Bioinformatics Internship to learn more about the field of bioinformatics he will create a proof-of-concept mobile application to demonstrate the effectiveness of a centralized database for PRO data. He plans to research the drug development process, the FDA’s requirements for using a digital device as part of a clinical trial, and learn more about building a back-end architecture.
The Raabe Family Fellowship For the Arts is awarded to Branson students who have shown an active interest in deepening their exploration of their craft in the visual or performing arts.
Max Mohan and Will Beere
Max and Will will set up an improv summer camp at Branson for underprivileged middle school students in Marin. They will work with both current and former teachers and Branson alumni to design a program they hope will “give [the students] the opportunity to learn something new and possibly ignite a lifelong passion.”
This summer, Charlotte will join a US Fulbright Scholar who is living and working in southern Taiwan, teaching English at local elementary and middle schools. Charlotte will provide artistic opportunities for these students within regular classroom time and through after-school programs she is designing. “My art class will be student-driven," she says. "I will provide a freeing space as well as materials for these children to express their wonder and imagination to the fullest, or explore anything that is exciting to them.” Additionally, Charlotte will create a book of works from her own portfolio of artwork plus student art.
This summer, Carter will attend the renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. In this program, she will continue to hone the technical painting skills she has developed throughout her life and at Branson. She plans to create an ambitious body of work: a collection of ten portraits that honor influential women on a global scale. She hopes to display the work in the Branson community along with written descriptions of these women’s accomplishments.
The In Pursuit of Science Scholarship will be awarded to Branson juniors who show enthusiasm and interest in exploring and actively immersing themselves in a scientific endeavor.
Oliver is fascinated with the physiological effects of lower air pressure, and lower blood oxygen levels at altitude in the mountains. Leveraging skills he has developed as part of Marin Search and Rescue, he will travel to the White Mountain Research Center, perched at over above 10,000 feet near California’s Owens Valley, to assist UCSF researchers with a phase 3 clinical trial, testing T89, a modern, industrialized version of a traditional Chinese medicine, aimed at combating acute mountain sickness.