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ON AND OFF CAMPUS: STUDENT HIGHLIGHTS

Sophia Jackson ’25, photo by AnnAnn Puttithanasorn ’23

Sophia Jackson ’25 has been selected as a 2021 Frederick Douglass Global Fellow. On St. Patrick’s Day at the White House, Vice President Kamala Harris and Ireland’s prime minister, Micheál Martin, joined Nettie Washington Douglass, the great-great-granddaughter of Frederick Douglass, and representatives from the Council on International Educational Exchange, which sponsors the fellowship, to recognize the 10 winners (from a pool of more than 500 applicants) chosen to attend a fully funded four-week summer study-abroad program focused on leadership, intercultural communication, and social justice. Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs is cosponsor in Dublin, where the 27-year-old abolitionist Frederick Douglass and the Irish reformer Daniel O’Connell met in 1845.

Aleksandar Vitanov ’25, photo by AnnAnn Puttithanasorn ’23

Aleksandar Vitanov ’25, photo by AnnAnn Puttithanasorn ’23

The Music Mentorship Initiative (MMI), launched last fall by instrumentalists Aleksandar Vitanov ’25 (trumpet) and Sophia Jackson ’25 (cello) with the support of the Trustee Leader Scholar Program, offers tutoring and free private lessons to music students who otherwise cannot afford them, while allowing mentors—current Bard College Conservatory students who have completed a pedagogical training seminar—to gain teaching experience. MMI now has 33 Bard student mentors and 10 mentees from Red Hook, New York, who receive free private lessons from members of the Conservatory. The goal for this year is to disseminate the MMI model to music schools around the United States while continuing with local outreach.

Verónica Martínez-Cruz ’24, photo by AnnAnn Puttithanasorn ’23

Verónica Martínez-Cruz ’24, photo by AnnAnn Puttithanasorn ’23

Human Rights and Global Public Health major Verónica Martínez-Cruz ’24, a Bard Baccalaureate (BardBac) student, received a New York State Senate Commendation Award for her work to bridge language barriers and ensure full and equal participation of Hispanic residents in all aspects of civic, economic, and cultural life in the Hudson Valley. State Senator Michelle Hinchey (D-Saugerties) presented Martínez-Cruz with her commendation. BardBac, a full-scholarship pathway for adults to complete bachelor’s degrees from Bard College, was launched in 2020 in response to the mass unemployment precipitated by COVID-19.

Diana McCready ’23, photo by AnnAnn Puttithanasorn ’23

Diana McCready ’23, photo by AnnAnn Puttithanasorn ’23

Diana McCready ’23 has been named to Gucci’s 2021 Class of Changemakers North America Scholars. The initiative is part of a program committed to fostering diversity and inclusion within the company and beyond. McCready will receive an academic scholarship for up to $20,000, as well as mentorship and virtual internship opportunities through Gucci America. Of the 450 students who applied for the scholarship funding, only 22 were selected.

Sonita Alizada ’23, photo by Khadija Ghanizada

Sonita Alizada ’23, photo by Khadija Ghanizada

Sonita Alizada ’23 has won the 2021 Freedom Prize for her advocacy to end forced marriage. The prize, organized by the Normandy for Peace Initiative and implemented with the International Institute of Human Rights and Peace, recognizes an inspiring young person committed to an exemplary fight for freedom and comes with a €25,000 ($30,000) award. Alizada, a rapper and human rights activist, fled with her family to Iran from her native Afghanistan as a child. She then escaped two arranged marriages and, after hearing a song by Eminem, began to tell her story—and the story of millions of other children—in rhyme. Sonita, a 2015 documentary about her, won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award (World Cinema Documentary). Alizada is majoring in human rights and plans to become a lawyer.

Anna Schupack ’22, photo by AnnAnn Puttithanasorn ’23

Anna Schupack ’22, photo by AnnAnn Puttithanasorn ’23

Anna Schupack ’22 has been named a Campus Compact 2021 Newman Civic Fellow. The fellowship recognizes and supports students who are changemakers and public problem solvers. In 2019, Schupack mobilized her local community, in Albany, New York, to build crosscultural solidarity in response to the human rights crisis in Sudan. She has also addressed food insecurity in Albany with the South End Children’s Café distribution and delivery program and focused additional engagement efforts on Kakamega, Kenya, and the Kakamega Care Center, which she visits every year. Schupack, who is majoring in sociology and photography, is a course fellow for Engaged Citizenship, one of Bard’s International Network Courses, and has been active with the Center for Civic Engagement.