Stamps Scholars to present today

by Heyi Jiang | 3/6/16 8:20pm

The Experiential Learning symposium, sponsored by the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning, will take place this afternoon in Baker-Berry Library. The symposium will feature 2016-17 Stamps Scholars Julia Marino ’17, Andrew Nalani ’16, Connie Jiang ’17 and Patrick Saylor ’16, who will be sharing their work and experiences through the Stamps program.

Through the Stamps Scholarship program, students are eligible for up to $10,000 grants from the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation to pursue co-curricular or academic experiential learning opportunities. The program first started at Dartmouth about two years ago, associate director of the Experiential Learning Initiative Ashley Kehoe said. Previously managed by the Provost’s Office, DCAL now runs the program.

Nalani, a religion major modified with women’s, gender and sexuality studies and environmental studies, wants to go into education. Nalani’s project revolves around redesigning the curriculum of a leadership program he directed in Uganda. After the successful pilot program in the summer of 2014, Nalani began considering how to expand it into an ongoing program by redesigning the curriculum.

Through the Stamps Scholarship, Nalani also conducted research at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. The program he did in Uganda also involved components of social emotional learning, and Nalani’s research at Yale expanded on how to adapt such learning for different populations, especially minority populations.

“The opportunity to be a Stamps Scholar has made my learning experience come alive,” Nalani said.

Nalani hopes to finish the curriculum handbook by the end of spring term.

Marino’s project centers on Basil O’Connor, who she called “the founding father of modern philanthropy.” Marino, a history major, has written papers about O’Connor in seven different classes and plans on compiling them into a biography. To write these papers, she traveled to four different archives in Minnesota and New York, uncovering original, primary source material related to O’Connor in the history of polio from different angles. She plans to travel to 10 more archives across America and in Europe.

“I think that it’s been a great experience to produce original research and take ownership of an area that I’ve come to really appreciate,” Marino said. “I have always loved history and this Stamps Scholarship has allowed me to feel like I’m participating in history, not just learning it in a classroom but really broadening my knowledge and participating in the craft of history.”

Jiang, a physics major, said she hopes to become a theoretical physicist and conduct research in condensed matter theory. She has been working on theoretical physics research on quantum spin chains, which are chains of quantum particles interacting in a certain way.

“Quantum spin chains make up very realistic physical models of a lot of different kinds of systems that are very important in condensed matter physics,” she said. “What we are trying to do is understand many physical properties of these quantum spin chains.”

Jiang said the Stamps Scholarship has allowed her to apply her classroom learning when working on problems that have yet to be solved, as well as to fully dedicate herself to research. Her senior honors thesis will expand on this research.

Saylor, a double-major in earth sciences modified with biology and environmental engineering, said that his interest in earth sciences came from experiences with drought conditions in New Mexico. As a Stamps Scholar, Saylor has been working on a project evaluating the iron hypothesis in the North Pacific Ocean. The project looks at how dust and iron from Asia affect productivity in the ocean, which ultimately affects the balance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“The question we are looking at is whether or not we can evaluate that relationship, using ice cores from Alaska and Canada, to interpret how that has changed over the past thousand years,” he said.

Part of the work Saylor has been doing requires field research, including data collection. Experiential learning comes from having the opportunity to engage with “what goes into doing rigorous scientific work,” he said, by producing new information and data points that do not already exist.

Saylor said that the Stamps program has been a valuable opportunity for him, because it has given him the resources, tools and support network to pursue this project.

Another enriching aspect of his experience as a Stamps Scholar is the interaction he has had with other Scholars in an “intellectually curious environment.”

Kehoe hopes to raise the profile and awareness of the Stamps Scholars program and give the existing scholars a venue to share with the broader campus community. She noted that experiential learning at the College aims to equip students with skills “relevant to 21st century life.”

“The scholars we have presenting on Monday represent a very good range of experiential learning,” Kehoe said. “It really cuts across the range of academic disciplines and functional types of experiential learning, so we thought those are really good examples of the breadth of experience that students have.”

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!