DANFORTH NEWSLETTER 2020-2021
IN HONOR OF OUR GRADUATING SENIORS
A LETTER FROM JEFFERY Dear scholars, What a year this has been! The pandemic brought us many unanticipated obstacles in this most challenging academic year. First, we were disappointed to learn that we couldn’t go to camp, where so much of our community bonding and traditions are annually honored and shared with our incoming first-year scholars. We were forced to hold our orientation programming over Zoom, so we had to work to build a close community while constantly remaining physically distant. I was impressed with our older scholars who brought their best, kindest selves to the task and made the very best of a difficult situation. The incoming class proved to be great citizens and made the most of the opportunities they were given. Our Danforth Scholars dinners, a great tradition for our community, became online events rather than in person. We just couldn’t be together in the way we always had, and when we did see one another we were masked and uncomfortably separated. Oldfashioned hugs became elbow bumps and toe taps. Then in September, we lost Bill Danforth; and although Bill lived a very long and full life, his passing left us feeling a deep emotional void. Bill was our lodestar, his way of being was a true inspiration for us. Bill loved to meet us at Camp Miniwanca, in Michigan and would read to us and share stories that were meaningful to him and guided his life. Losing him was a great blow. But it wasn’t long after Bill’s passing that we learned of the great fundraising effort Andy Bursky and Bob Virgil were putting together to honor Bill’s legacy by supporting the Danforth Scholars. I had tears in my eyes after experiencing the beautiful memorial tribute that was produced in support of this effort, and I want to express my deep gratitude to Andy and Bob and all who have donated to the Danforth Scholars program in honor of Bill. Then I learned that George and Carol Bauer had given a very generous gift, addressing many of our fundamental needs with an eye to ensuring a strong, sustained future for the program. I am deeply grateful to them for this tremendous investment. So after a difficult start to the academic year and the feeling of loss, spring has brought us a great feeling of renewal. Thanks to the generosity of so many donors honoring Bill, the future is looking very bright for the program. The Danforth Scholars program always hopes to shape the lives of our scholars for the better, but this year I must say I feel the scholars have helped to shape me. Whenever I was feeling down I was lifted just by being in their presence, and I marveled at the resilience they demonstrated throughout the year. I am so proud of this community of scholars and every time I meet with them I am reminded that the future is in very good hands. This newsletter also lifts my spirits as it demonstrates just what a caring, generous, talented and inspirational community we are. Many thanks to Emily A for all her hard work in putting it together, among all the other amazing things she’s doing for us and the greater community. And to Kirsten Smith who makes everything she touches a little better. Jeffery Matthews
BAUER LEADERS ACADEMY FOR THE DANFORTH SCHOLARS George & Carol Bauer’s most recent commitment was just announced by Chancellor Martin at the Board of Trustees meeting. This gift will underwrite a very exciting new offering of your program, the George & Carol Bauer Leaders Academy. The Bauers are longtime benefactors of WashU and have been inspired by Dr. Danforth’s life of service, quiet leadership, and his virtues which each of you embody in unique ways. They are passionate about values-based leadership. In Mr. Bauer’s words, “Effective leadership of our institutions, at all levels, is one of the most important societal challenges of the 21st Century.” The new Bauer Leaders Academy will provide Danforth Scholars with the option of engaging in dedicated leadership and character development experiences to help you discover your talents and clarify your values. The overarching goal of the program will be to encourage you to engage with these questions over the course of your undergraduate experience: 1.
What are my values?
What are my gifts?
How can I leverage my talents to make a principled difference in the world?
The Academy will offer opportunities each year which supplement the first year Camp Miniwanca retreat and seminar. It will provide a $3,000 stipend to Danforth Scholars who spend a summer in St. Louis working in a nonprofit or on a community service project, a startup business, or—pending approval from the program director—creating your own leadership project. It will provide funds for an “Alumni-in-Residence” program to connect current Scholars with alumni who are excelling in their chosen fields and giving back to their communities. It also will introduce “Living with Intentionality” Discussion groups, Leadership Immersion experiences with St. Louis business and community leaders, access to a leadership course through the Bauer Leadership Center in the Olin Business School, and a senior capstone through which Scholars will present Chancellor Martin and other university leaders with insights on their undergraduate experience and offer suggestions for future students.
To be a Danforth Scholar means to be
engage in meaningful conversations about
BY ELISE DECONICK
important issues, opportunity to use our
granted opportunity: opportunity to learn about a new perspective, opportunity to
unique experiences, knowledges, or personalities for good. In response to the
I had no idea that the beautiful whirlwind of an
opportunities afforded to us as members
all-cohort dinner over Danforth Finalist
of this community, I have seen my peers,
weekend, punctuated by Jeffrey’s notorious and absolutely unforgettable song, would
I was convinced early on that the people
serve as the defining foundation of my
involved in this program serve as beacons
experience at WashU. At that dinner, the
for good, but I had yet to fully understand
mantra of “Myself, at my very best, all the
how impactful this would be to me as an
time” was presented to me for the first time as
individual, and to society on a larger scale.
a motivating theme of this program. From that
After being immersed in this community
instant, that motto was seared into my mind,
for four years (and an entire pandemic!), I
and since then, has permeated every aspect of
have come to see so clearly what being a
my undergraduate experience – as a student,
Danforth Scholar really means.
as an athlete, and most significantly, as a
my friends, my mentors in the Danforth Scholars Program create opportunities for others. This chain of positive impact, of humble leadership through service, of selfless impact driven by genuine empathy, leaves an indelible mark on others – I know this for a fact, because the people in this program have left an ineffaceable mark on me. This community has inspired me, it has challenged me, it has opened my eyes and mind, it has cared for me in an unceasing
young woman finding her place in this world.
way, and it has showed me time and time
The values of the Danforth Scholars Program
again what it means to lead and to serve.
guided me throughout my individual journey as an undergraduate student. But even more
I believe that the people you surround
significantly, the people that comprise this
yourself with make life meaningful. I
Danforth Scholars community have shaped my
cannot think of a more inspiring group of
experience in an unparalleled magnitude.
people than that of the Danforth Scholars Program to give meaning to my life. As my time as an undergraduate student comes to an all-too-quick ending, I know that the values of Danforth community will continue to motivate me. I am proud to see my colleagues redefining excellence To be a Danforth Scholar means to be engaged with these extraordinary, multifaceted, and inspiring people who bring their own selves, their own strengths, and their own passions to both the WashU and greater St. Louis community. I have watched my peers use the kindness and compassion that define them as people to elicit positive change.
every day through their every action. I am grateful to have cultivated relationships with both my fellow Danforths and all of the people who tirelessly build this community. I am excited to watch my peers use the foundational values of the Danforth Scholars Program to give purpose to our post-graduate lives. It has been a great privilege to be a member of this community, and a great honor to have my life forever shaped by this collection of incredible people.
3 YEARS OF DANFORTH BY RACHEL WANG
There are very few things that have remained constant in my life since entering college. Friends have come and gone, majors have been declared and undeclared (then re-declared), and even my most consistent source of stability was changed when my family moved across the country last year. I have always been someone who craves this sense of stability, of knowing that no matter what happens, there is something that will keep me grounded. During my time at WashU, Danforth has been that source of stability. As Danforth Scholars, we are often asked to describe what Danforth means to us or what it has done for us. My answers to these questions are ever changing, but the connection I feel to the Danforth community and my fellow scholars has been the most constant thing in my life these past few years. My first year of college, Danforth introduced me to some of my best friends at a time in which I felt more alone than I ever had before. My sophomore year of college, Danforth reminded me of my priorities and values at a time in which I felt confused about who I wanted to be. And now, in my junior year of college, Danforth has gifted me with a sense of hope and love at a time in which I feel overwhelmed by the world we live in.
I think it is quite difficult to sum up what Danforth means to me or what it has done for me simply because Danforth is ultimately a product of its people. My Danforth experience has been shaped by my cohort, my DanFam, and the various friendships I have formed with fellow scholars during my time at WashU. All I know is that whenever I have felt lonely or confused or overwhelmed or anything in between, the Danforth community has been there for me, even when I have not always shown the same commitment. As I enter my last year of college, I am uncertain as to what my future holds. But for now, I am grateful to be able to hold onto the Danforth community for just a bit longer. I am not sure what Danforth will mean to me or do for me in this coming year, but I know that the community will be there for me when I need it most, and that makes the uncertainty of the future feel a little more bearable for this (soon to be) Senior.
DANFORTH'S IMPACTS ON MY COLLEGE EXPERIENCE BY GUINTER VOGG
Kindness can be observed in many ways, but for me, the most impactful one was when this virtue was translated to a strong sense of a family inside the community, which has changed my college experience. Back home, a medical emergency would make me call my mom and ask her for help – here, I sent an email to my Danforth advisor, and she carefully
Different than what it is expected for a
assisted me about the next steps of
first-year student, as I walked into the
the process; when I needed to fill up
South 40 for the first time, I had
tax forms, a dreadful period for any
already decided my first lunch plans.
international student and something
In between BD orders and boxed
that my dad has always taken care of,
water conversations, I met the other
I knew I could ask a Danforth
scholars that were part of my cohort
upperclassman for help and I was sure
and started to understand why each
they will not hesitate to help me get
one of us was selected to be there,
through it; and even in the simpler
and most importantly, what we all
things, when I just need someone to
had in common – a deep compassion
listen to what I have to say, I know the
for the ones around us. We have
community will be there waiting for
defined such compassion as part of us
me, just like my family would.
when we stated that kindness is one of the core values of our scholarship,
My biggest fear when coming to
but I didn’t realize what this fully
college was that I was going to lose
meant at first.
the support that my family has always provided me, but now I know that family is a broader concept then I expected. As long I am part of a community that supports me, I am part of a family, and this shift in perspective made me realize that the Danforth Scholars program is part of what makes WashU feel like home.
THE DANFORTH EXPERIENCE IN QUARANTINE BY CLAUDIA BERMUDEZ
With this year being so different, I honestly didn’t really expect to hang out with anyone. But, I sorely underestimated the power of danforth bonds. 80% of my interactions with people this year (granted, there weren’t a lot) were with Danforths. I was always either with one danforth or a whole group of danforths just enjoying each other’s company and being silly. Even when we would sometimes get annoyed with each other, there was always this underlying feeling of love and appreciation for each other. It was also amazing to become a parent and get the chance to bond with my child (shoutout to Guinter). Becoming a parent and hanging out with other danforths was such a cool experience and made me so appreciative to have this community to rely on. In a year that should’ve felt lonely, isolated, and all around uncomfortable, the Danforth community was there to support me, have fun with me, and contribute to an amazing sophomore year.
SPOTLIGHTING OUR SCHOLARS JAMILA DAWKINS Jamila is a Sophomore Danforth Scholar, Nemrov Scholar, and McLeod Scholar. She is a Forum Editor for Student LIfe and this year she was also the Playwright for Black Anthology!
GUINTER VOGG Guinter is a First-Year Danforth Scholar. He helped enhance the experience of Finalist Weekend by creating several videos to showcase the Danforth experience. Additionally, he had a leading role in this year's Carnaval skit!
CHRISTIAN ALEXANDER Christian Alexander is a Sophomore Danforth Scholar in the McKelvey School of Engineering. He was accepted into the Civic Scholars Program and will be given a $5,000 grant to conduct a Civic Project!
CAITLIND WALKER Caitlind Walker is a Junior Danforth Scholar in the McKelvey School of Engineering. The rocket design team that she started, WURocketry, competed for the first time in the NASA Student Launch Competition. She also led WashU's chapter of Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to host personal development, professional development, and social events to create a community for women engineers at WashU!
SOPHIE FRIES Sophie Fries is a First-Year Danforth Scholar. She served as the Vice President of WashU's TAMID Group and was accepted into the Praxis Program at WashU!
JIMMY RAO Jimmy Rao is a Senior Danforth Scholar. After graduation, he is starting a job with a national Christian organization called RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) and he'll be at Boston University working on their campus ministry staff!
LOGAN WETZ Logan is a Sophomore Danforth Scholar. He is pursuing his own research in the Psychology Department that will help bridge a gap between mind wandering and distractors!
SHAE COMETTANT Shae is a Junior Danforth Scholar. She wrote a play titled FOCUS and also spearheaded a project called Pop-Up Theatre for Thyrsus. She also became a Team Lead Manager at Kayaks by Kaldi's Coffee!
KASHISH GUPTA Kashish is a Sophomore Danforth Scholar. This past year, she served as the VP of Finance for DSP and consulted on two Pro Bono projects through Arch Consulting. This summer she will be a Finance Intern at Medtronic. Additionally, she has spent the last semester recruiting for Summer 2022 internships and has accepted an offer to go into Investment Banking!
CHRISTIAN BUTLER Christian is a Junior Danforth Scholar and McLeod Scholar. This summer he will be interning for Dowd Bennet Law Offices, one of the largest firms in the region, which specializes in corporate representation and litigation!
AUDREY ENGMAN Audrey is a First-Year Danforth in the Sam Fox School of Art and Design. She is a Creative Director and Social Media Manager for Armour Magazine and recently became a Lead Designer for User Interface and Branding at the Students for Oncological Aid and Relief!
ELISE DECONICK Elise is a Senior Danforth Scholar. After graduation, she will be attending her dream school, University of Michigan School of Dentistry!
ONYI ONYEADOR Onyi is a Junior Danforth Scholar and part of the University Scholars Program in Medicine. She presented on an Immunology panel that she organized with other undergraduate researchers. She also served as the President of TRUTH and resumed facilitations during COVID!
ISA HUESA Isa is a First-Year Danforth Scholar. She joined Uncle Joe's Peer Counseling, danced with WUBB, presented at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, got a job in a lab on the med campus, and performed in Carnaval!
DAKOTAH JENNIFER Dakotah is a Junior Danforth Scholar. Alongside writing several impactful pieces for WashU's Stud Life, she is also the recipient of this year's Dramatics Club of St. Louis Prize for her essay, "Macbeth and King Henry IV: The Dichotomous Nature of Royal Authority and Gaining Legitimacy Through Performance"!
EMILY ANGSTREICH Emily is a Junior Danforth Scholar and Civic Scholar. This year, she won the Friends of Music Concerto Competition and also became the new Co-Director for Uncle Joe's Peer Counseling and Resource Center!
EMILY GERBER Emily Gerber is a Junior Danforth Scholar on the Student Executive Board at the First Year Center and was recently appointed to the University's Strategic Planning Committee. On top of all that, she was recognized by her hometown of Lee Summit, MO, with the Mayor's Character Award for Kindness!
MAX KLAPOW Max is a Senior Danforth Scholar and Civic Scholar. He is a recipient of the Truman Scholarship and will be attending the University of Oxford next year as an MSc Student in Social Policy and intervention!
CONGRATULATIONS TO TO CONGRATULATIONS ALL OF OUR SENIORS! ALL OF OUR SENIORS!
SENIOR YEAR CAPSTONES
TIRZAH REED - SKIN The show was called "Skin" at Des Lee Gallery. This piece is titled "Pilfered," made in 2021. Materials: Ceramic dog recreated from memory, screen-printed cloth with text, MDF, sound (2:15) emanating from the top of the pedestal Tizrah is a multimedia artist exploring questions about family, faith, and memory. She enjoys swriting, working with sound, and thinking about the poetics of materials—all while poorly playing guitar and consuming too much peanut butter. She graduates in May of 2021 with a BFA in Art and a minor in Educational Studies from Washington University in St. Louis.
ERIN YONAK - EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE WORKBOOK Erin's capstone is a workbook for 5th graders that helps them develop emotional vocabulary. They practice emotion words, journal, do activities, and color animals all to help then engage with their emotions and promote Social Emotional Learning in a classroom environment. There are 6 emotion coaches that help them learn along the way: Mad Moose, Excited Ermine, Happy Hedgehog, Scared Squirrel, Sad Salamander, and Calm Capybara. Those are the illustrations featured, all drawn by Erin. Text from Master Your Emotions by Eric Robertson.
MAX KLAPOW SENIOR THESIS - REIMAGINING CORRECTIONS: DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT OF A NOVEL POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY-BASED INTERVENTION PROGRAM FOR INCARCERATED PEOPLE Abstract: Criminal corrections in the United States are typically unsuccessful in helping incarcerated people gain the tools and skills necessary to not only survive, but flourish, upon exiting the correctional system. In fact, evidence indicates that the experience of incarceration directly impacts psychosocial functioning, making success after incarceration all the more difficult. Positive psychology aims to identify constructs and interventions that promote flourishing. Positive corrections, the application of positive psychology concepts to the study of criminal rehabilitation, offers an alternative strengths-based approach for improving incarcerated people's short and long-term outcomes after incarceration. Drawing on the philosophical, criminological, and psychological literature, this thesis aims to categorize various approaches to positive intervention programs in prison settings and design a novel intervention program based on identified best practices. First, I review the existing literature in corrections, identifying positive psychology-based correctional programs and categorize them into 3 types: framework-based programs, multi-modal programs, and psychoeducational programs. Then, I identify best practices and limitations of each approach to positive corrections. Next, I design and describe a novel positive intervention program ("Thrive-Inside") based on these best practices, optimizing both program efficacy and scalability. Finally, I describe the expected outcomes of the Thrive-Inside program as well as it will be implemented and evaluated in a pilot. By utilizing a positive psychology lens for understanding and alleviating stressors of inequality, poverty, and the traumatization associated with incarceration, this project proposes a sustainable, scalable intervention program for reducing criminal behavior and empowering incarcerated people to thrive.
Danforth Scholars' Impactful Words With permission from both authors, we are sharing two beautifully written articles that talk about experiences of living and moving forward through acts of hate and racism in the United States.
OP-ED: THE DAY AFTER
Then the pandemic hit, and Donald
In the dark, you see, I look like a white
Trump called COVID-19 the “Chinese
person. If you don’t see my face, you may
Virus.” The same month, a man on the
be able to mistake me as one. Selfishly, I
Delmar Loop yells at me to “get out of this
always thought that this proximity to
f—— country.” For most of this tumultuous
whiteness would save me, and I don’t deny
year, I feel like I’ve been asleep: like I’m
that as a light-skinned person I have
dreaming, or like I’ve been screaming into
privilege, but in the end, I am not white,
The day after the Atlanta spa shootings, I
an echo chamber, repeating the same
and that will always cost me my life.
couldn’t get out of bed. I went to one class—
chants to silent ears. I want to take a
Zoom on, camera off—and when that proved
break—I need to take a break—but if I stop
Today, I couldn’t get out of bed because I
to be too much, I crawled under the covers
screaming, then who’s going to save us?
am mourning. I’ve been mourning for a
BY JAREA FANG REPRODUCED FROM STUDENT LIFE WITH PERMISSION BY THE AUTHOR
while now, actually, but Atlanta was the
once again. For the rest of the day, I slept. Asian-American hate crimes didn’t start
last nail in the coffin, the last drop of water
These days, going on social media is a death
with “Chinese Virus.” It started with the
before the dam breaks. If the age was not
sentence. By that I mean, it hurts me to see
Opium Wars, the US invasions of the
dark before, it is dark now, and all I want
the news but it also hurts me not to. It pains
Philippines and Hawai’i, and the burning
to do is sleep in the dark forever. So, here
me to see the statistics, the deaths, but also
and lynching of Chinese migrant workers
is what I ask of you.
everything else. I cry even more when I realize
during the California gold rush. It started
While I am sleeping, I need you to share
that for some people this is just another day,
with the Chinese Exclusion Act, the
the infographics, donate to the funds and
and that I’m the only one who is crying.
Japanese internment camps and the
go to the protests. I need you to attend the
In my head, I’ve started categorizing people
condemnation and demolition of
seminars, unlearn your inner biases and
into two different types: the ones who would
Chinatown, St. Louis in 1958 in order to
include Asian-Americans into your anti-
care if I died, and the ones who wouldn’t. The
construct Busch Stadium. It started with
racism agenda. I need you to learn the
ones who are willing to march at protests
wars, refugees and careless stereotypes.
history that has been written out of history
with me, and the ones who won’t. The ones
Do you eat dogs? Are you allowed to date
books, and #stopasianhate. Please, do this
who will learn to be better allies, and the ones
outside your race? If I ask you to, will you
for me while I sleep. I’ll wake up and join
who don’t care.
wear a kimono and have sex with me?
you when I’m ready.
Here’s a lesson I learned over the past year, as
Did you know? After 9/11, Islamaphobic
I watched Asian-American hate crimes rise
hate crimes skyrocketed in the US and the
1900% since the start of the pandemic: There
lives of muslims everywhere have never
are more people than I thought who don’t
been the same. I have always thought that
care. Through my art, writing and social
one day, if I am murdered in the streets
media, I share about Asian-American activism
while walking home to my apartment, it
to the world. For many of my peers, this is the
will be because of my womanhood. If I am
first time they’re hearing about any of this.
holding hands with a girl then, it would be
They like anime and k-pop and know about
because of my queerness. I never thought
nothing else, but at least they’re willing to
that most likely, it would be because I’m
listen. It gives me a little bit of hope; maybe I
won’t be a stranger in my own home for much longer.
PLEASE, POST THAT INFOGRAPHIC
Seeing so many of my followers posting
In high school, I was the only person in most
every day, finding ways to spread the word
of my classes who advocated for the racial
about important racial issues, even in such
issues I believed in. I was constantly being
a small way, made a difference. When I
debated by several people at a time, inside
logged on to Instagram the day after
and outside the classroom. This deeply
George Floyd was murdered, I expected to
affected my mental health and, frankly, it still
BY DAKOTAH JENNIFER REPRODUCED FROM STUDENT LIFE WITH PERMISSION BY THE AUTHOR
feel alone—like no one in this world loved
does today. Learning another Black man died
me, loved us, at all. But instead, I found
and seeing that it was not my personal
people who were concerned, appalled and
responsibility to educate people for once,
learning, and in such a vulnerable
seeing that I did not have to push through the
moment, that brought me comfort.
pain and speak out—it made me feel lighter,
When George Floyd was murdered by police
like I could take a break. And truthfully, that
nearly a year ago, I thought, as I do every time a Black person is killed by the state,
If I had opened Instagram to an empty
was invaluable to me then. Black people so
“My god, not again.” It was then that my
feed, it would have hurt so much more,
often have to work through the mourning,
social media feed was flooded by hundreds
the way it often does when most other
and to have that as a sort of safety net really
of informational posts in people’s
Black people die at the hands of police. All
helped. Even in the smallest of ways, that
Instagram stories, videos, reading lists and
this being said, posting videos or images
support gives me the energy to grow stronger
links in bio. It may sound strange, but this
of Black bodies being harmed is not
and be the advocate I want to be. Reposting
flood of reposts and links put into bios back
included in this category. I still have not
an infographic, whether or not you are
in May actually made me feel a lot better,
watched the video of George Floyd. I scroll
posting for the “right reasons,” still spreads
and since then, these re-posts have brought
past most videos when I see them. I refuse
that information. For those who may be
to watch because it hurts, but most of all, I
acting performatively—who have family
do not need proof.
members they don’t confront, allow friends to make racist remarks or say words they should
I’d like to preface by saying that this is contingent on the way my personal mental
I say all of this with a few qualifiers. In
not say while blasting music with their friends
health works. I know a lot of people despise
tapping through stories and clicking links
—the infographics are probably reaching
this—in fact, I know it makes many Black
in people’s profiles, I only felt this
people who are also more performative.
and brown people feel overwhelmed,
assurance because I trusted many of my
isolated and furious beyond belief, and I
followers. I trusted that they had good
Someone once told me they were very
understand that wholeheartedly. It is true:
intentions. And even if they didn’t, I
hesitant to post anything about George Floyd
Posting is not enough, and it has never been
trusted that they had followers who I
because all of their followers shared their
enough. But as my friend, junior Jarea Fang,
didn’t know, followers who could never
views, and so it wasn’t super important for
said in her article, “Op-Ed: The day after,” “I
hear my voice, who would see an
them to post. This thought process is not only
need you to share the infographics, donate
infographic and ponder it. Being honest, I
a bold assumption, but it also feels like a cop-
to the funds, and go to the protests…
tend to assume that most people are
out to me. I told them, verbatim, that I
Please, do this for me while I sleep. I’ll wake
selfish, self-preserving and uncaring at
believed white people were more willing to
up and join you when I’m ready.”
heart. Even so, scrolling through reposts
listen to other white people about the issues
of infographics instead of new bikini pics, I
BIPOC people face, so it was vital for them to
knew that even if this was done out of fear
post, even if they did think it wasn’t “doing
or peer pressure or performatively
anything.” They agreed. If the reason why you
following the norm, it meant something.
don’t post infographics about minority issues, make your views on social justice known or elevate important issues is because they aren’t directly aiding in the movement itself, then they aren’t reasons to me––they’re excuses.
DANFORTHS SURVIVING (THRIVING) IN QUARANTINE
DANFORTHS SURVIVING (THRIVING) IN QUARANTINE
MEET THE GRADUATE DANFORTHS CARLOS SALAZARLERMONT I am a Venezuelan artist, arts administrator, and curator, studying an MFA in Visual Arts at Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. I work as an Assistant to the Coordinator of the Time Based + Media Art Area and as a Teacher Assistant. I am here to develop my sensibility to complex realities, and the agency to enhance the living experiences of communities and individuals through art. Also, I am participating in the Graduate Art Organization and the Graduate Policy Scholar Program at Brown School. I have had the fortune of winning some grants and awards since I started my program, the Graduate Student Production Grant and CityStudioSTL Student Awards Program among them. These funds are supporting my project Monumento a la Diáspora Venezolana (Monument to the Venezuelan Diaspora), which seeks to engage with the Venezuelan community in St. Louis and serve as a means for strengthening our bonds.
CLARE DAVIES I'm a first-year MBA student at Olin Business School. Prior to Olin, I worked in financial services in New York City and then as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua and Colombia. PostMBA, I hope to pursue a career at the intersection of finance and social impact. I'm currently interested in impact investing and community development financial institutions. At Olin, I've been involved with St. Louis Impact Initiative, the Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation, the Olin/United Way Board Fellows program, and I'm a team lead for a CEL Practicum Project this semester.
CALEB WASHINGTON I am currently a 1L (first-year student) at WashU Law, where I serve as President of WashU Law’s Sports Sector of the Sports and Entertainment Society (SELS). I’m currently interested in pursuing Litigation, and this summer I’ll be working at Winston & Strawn LLP in NYC. Due to my strong roots embedded within my community, my intention has always been to find ways to innovatively combine my interests within Sports Law, with my interests within urban policy reform. I ultimately hope to utilize my cross-sectional private and public interests to reform urban and underdeveloped communities throughout the world.
I am a first-year MSW student at the Brown School, where I’m concentrating in social and economic development with a policy specialization. I’m particularly interested in community development solutions to address health and climate equity! In addition to my coursework, I work as a Health Policy Research Analyst at Mathematica, a social policy research firm. I’m also currently completing my practicum with the Sierra Club as a grassroots organizing intern. My academic and research interests are focused in how we can use policy and local community levers to achieve racial, social, economic, and environmental justice. In my free time, I’m training for a half-marathon, am a certified yoga instructor (but haven’t taught since the pandemic), and love listening to podcasts. A few recs I have are: S-Town; All My Relations; and Krystal, Kyle, and Friends.
RICARDO ACUNA I’m studying mathematics in the Ph.D. program here at WashU.
JUNLIN WU I am currently a computer science Ph.D. student at McKelvey School of Engineering.
NEW DANFORTH SCHOLARS CLASS OF 2025 WE CAN'T WAIT TO MEET YOU
JAY ARCHAMBEAULT (SHE/THEY) Jaylynn will be attending the College of Arts and Sciences and will have a focus on Genetics. She is from Centennial, Colorado, and she is interested in cooking, baking, reptiles, research, and Minecraft.
JULIA BERNAT (SHE/HER) Julia will be attending the Sam Fox School of Art and Design and will be focusing on Architecture. She is from Coralville, Iowa, and enjoys photography, soccer, music, cooking, baking, and traveling.
JAI-LAAN BLACKMON (SHE/HER) Jai-Laan will be attending the College of Arts and Sciences with a plan to major in Biology on the Pre-Med track. She is from Los Angeles, California, and enjoys taking trips to the beach, trying new foods, spending time with friends and family, and binge-watching Grey's Anatomy.
BLAKE BUTLER (HE/HIM) Blake will be attending the College of Arts and Sciences with a plan to major in Biology. He is from Gallatin, Tennessee, and enjoys sports such as varsity golf, basketball, and baseball. He also likes the outdoors and exercising.
YOVANNI CARDONA (HE/HIM) Yovannie will be attending the College of Arts and Sciences with a plan to major in Political Science and Economics. He is from Tampa, Florida, and enjoys volunteering, reading, spending time with friends/family, watching classic films, and listening to music.
MEAGAN CHANG (SHE/HER) Meagan will be attending the College of Arts and Sciences with a plan to major in Political Science. She is from Los Angeles, California, and enjoys going on adventures, trying new restaurants with friends, singing with her choir, doing calligraphy, going on beautiful hikes, and advocating for reforms to the criminal justice system.
TIETCHAN DANG (SHE/HER) Tietchan will be attending the College of Arts and Sciences with an interest in Psychology, Creative Writing, and Philosophy. She is from Houston, Texas, and enjoys bullet journaling, drawing, painting, dancing, playing the violin, playing video games, and editorial journalism.
GABY DORMAN (SHE/HER) Gaby will be attending the Olin Business School with a plan to major in Finance. She is from Highland Park, Illinois, and is passionate about environmental activism, hiking, skiing, music, old movie, book stores, and driving around with friends.
AARAV DUBEY (HE/HIM) Aarav will be attending the McKelvey School of Engineering with a plan to major in Biomedical Engineering. He is from Santa Rosa, California, and enjoy running, biology, human rights activism, making people laugh, and storytelling in all its mediums.
ADARA EZEKWE (SHE/HER) Adara will be attending the College of Arts and Sciences with a plan to major in Biology. She is from Kansas City, Missouri, and enjoys Oncology and research on planarian regeneration and RNAi.
VIRGIL GODSIL (THEY/THEM) Virgil will be attending Sam Fox School of Art and Design with a plan to major in Communication Design. They are from Montclair, New Jersey, and enjoy being involved in their local art, music, and LGBT+ communities.
MATEO JOLIVERT (HE/HIM) Mateo will be attending the College of Arts and Sciences with a plan to major in Anthropology and Economics. He is from Miami, Florida, and enjoys chess, basketball, debate, Netflix/TV, spending time with friends/family, listening to music, and water polo.
LUKE KIM (HE/HIM) Lucas will be attending the College of Arts and Sciences with a plan to major in Sociology or Chemistry. He is from Crystal Lake, Illinois, and enjoys spending time with family, soccer, track, and cross country.
SEBASTIAN LEE (HE/HIM) Sebastian will be attending the College of Arts and Sciences with a plan to major in Linguistics. He is from Aurora, Colorado, and enjoys learning languages, Taekwondo, helping others, self-improvement, meditation, food, reading books, and watching K-Dramas.
RYAN PADALA (HE/HIM) Ryan will be attending the Olin Business School and is undecided with an interest in Entrepreneurship. He is from Garden City, New York, and enjoys helping others reach their full potential, creating happy and comfortable environments, listening to classic rock music, and then failing miserably at trying to recreate them on the guitar.
KATY PETLYUK (SHE/HER) Katy will be attending the McKelvey School of Engineering and is undecided. She is from Bedford, New York.
MINNIE ROSENBLUM (SHE/HER) Minnie will be attending the College of Arts and Sciences and is interested in Sustainability. She is from Weston, Florida, and enjoys tennis, golf, sewing, heavyweight training, national parks, and working with people with intellectual disabilities and the elderly.
EMMA SMITTH (SHE/HER) Emma will be attending the Sam Fox School of Art and Design and has an interest in Communication Design with an emphasis on illustration. She is from St. Louis, Missouri, and enjoys drawing portraits, running, swimming in the ocean, and hanging out with friends/family.
EMILY TUCKER (SHE/HER) Emily will be attending the Olin Business School with a plan to major in Accounting and Finance. She is from Manhasset HI, New York, and enjoys tennis, writing, traveling, and volunteering.
RACHNA VIPPARLA (SHE/HER) Rachna will be attending the College of Arts and Sciences with a plan to major in Neuroscience. She is from Milford, Connecticut, and enjoys painting, reading, listening to music, and watching TV.
CADI ZHANG (SHE/HER) Cadi will be attending the College of Arts and Sciences with a plan to major in Political Science. She is from Kohler, Wisconsin, and enjoys tennis, trapshooting, drawing, photography, and music.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CLASS OF 2025
SCHOOL BREAKDOWN Arts and Sciences: 61% Olin Business School: 14% McKelvey Engineering: 11% Sam Fox/Architecture: 14%
HOW MANY SCHOLARS ARE... Planning to be Pre-Med? 8 Participating in Performing Arts? 9 Playing Sports? 13 Multilingual? 6
WORDS FROM FUTURE SCHOLARS What is an important identity you hold that you want others to know about? "I am a low-income and first-generation student!" "I'm super passionate about Entrepreneurship and STEM. I'm also a really open, driven, and enthusiastic person who enjoys adventures and trying out new foods." "I am first-gen here in the US so my parents are super foreign, meaning a lot of Polish identity and food recipes" "I love art. I believe in reaching out and helping everyone" "I am of Sierra Leonean descent" "I have two moms!" "An identity that is really meaningful to me is that I am of mixed Asian and Caucasian Heritage" "I'm a first-generation, gay Latino!!"
WORDS FROM FUTURE SCHOLARS What is an activity/extracurricular that you participate/participated in that you are proud of? "Taekwondo" "I'm part of a state-recognized journalism program" "I am the board representative of the Black Student Union which is a position I have grown to love" "My charity, The Linen Lift, that I founded" "I am a volunteer counselor at Camp Courageous where I work with kids with special needs!" "Founded an outreach program called Futbol for Hope as a way to support and encourage impoverished youths in Guatemala City, Guatemala." "I did an independent research project on a genetic disease found in ball pythons" "Tennis, golf, best buddies" "I am proud of creating my own summer camp called Chemistry And Government In Real Life (CAGIRL)."
WORDS FROM FUTURE SCHOLARS What are you the MOST excited about doing at WashU? "I'm really excited to explore St. Louis and try out all the facilities!" "Studying abroad and getting to try the amazing food!" "Making friends" "Exploring the food and scenery in St. Louis and going to Cardinals Games!" "Meet new people and working to discover the things I'm passionate about." "Meeting people who are different than me and exploring coffee shops in STL!" "I think overall I'm going to like the people and the community at WashU, and I'm really excited to be a part of it" "Being in an environment with intellectually motivated people"