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Esterly Award

Established in 1949 in memory of Virginia Judy Esterly, former assistant to the president and counselor of human relations at Scripps College, this award is granted to students combining good scholarship, effective service in student activities, and responsible citizenship while presenting “worthwhile educational projects to be conducted during the summer for which they do not have readily available funds.” Several small stipends up to $1,400 are given; recipients presenting research at conferences are also provided with supplementary funds for travel.

Nancy Herrera ’15 Project: On Immigration and Justice: Writing and Delivering the Story of My Grandfather Major: Science, technology and society; self-designed writing minor Two years before Nancy Herrera’s grandfather passed away, he requested that she pass down his story. When he died last February, Herrera decided to do just that, using her summer Esterly award to memorialize his life in an online writing project. Working with Kimberly Drake, director of the Writing Program and assistant professor of writing, Herrera devised four points her writing would focus on—four things she knew about her grandfather. Over the course of the summer, however, Herrera discovered she had it all wrong. “Everything I thought I knew was wrong; things were intentionally hidden from me,” Herrera says. “It was an emotional process. I was trying to simultaneously deal with grief, and sometimes I just couldn’t write anymore.” To fully unearth her grandfather’s true story, Herrera conducted in-depth interviews with four family members, all in Spanish. She then transcribed the conversations into English to craft her paper, and finally transcribed her work back into Spanish to share with her family in Mexico. Herrera was constantly in dialogue with her family about how to present information about her grandfather to show that while he wasn’t perfect, he should be respected for his contributions.

“This project is a perfect example of the kind of critical work Scripps students learn to do while here.” —PROFESSOR KIMBERLY DRAKE

“I think this project has turned out to be a perfect example of the kind of critical work Scripps students learn to do while here—destabilizing academic conventions and forms, combining critical concepts from disparate disciplines, and showing how social structures and boundaries shape individual lives,” says Drake. Herrera learned it’s invaluable to know about your ancestors, because everyone has a story to tell.

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Winter 2014  

Scripps Magazine is published quarterly by the Scripps College Office of Communication and Marketing.