2018 Inspired Learning Summer Grants Provide Unique Opportunities for Students

Hours before we experienced a weather-related, campuswide power outage, a group of students, faculty, and administrators filled a classroom to hear three students present on their summer experiences as recipients of the School’s 2018 Inspired Learning Summer Grants.  This unique funding program awarded four grants last spring to students to pursue projects that they are passionate about, including tackling the issue of community-police relations in Baltimore, championing the rights of women in Nepal, exploring animal rights and conservation in South Africa, and helping to build a library in Nigeria. Of the four grant recipients this year, three students traveled near and far over the summer and recently shared their remarkable experiences about their individual projects.
Elizabeth B. ’19 explored perceptions of Baltimore Police Department
Inspired by social justice and stories about police brutality in Baltimore, MD, following some high-profile incidents that garnered national attention and news headlines, Elizabeth B. ’19 chose to focus on learning more about the local residents’ interactions with, and perceptions of, the Baltimore Police Department. Having previously interned at a law firm in Baltimore, she learned about issues between the police and the citizens of Baltimore had heightened her interest. Elizabeth’s work for the Inspired Learning Summer Grant involved creating a website called “Rate Baltimore Police” for residents across nine distinct areas of Baltimore to evaluate the police department.

Although she had limited knowledge of building websites, Elizabeth chose to do it herself and learned a bit of coding along the way. She also researched and visited a company in New York City that specializes in measuring how residents in specific neighborhoods feel about trust and safety, including how much they trust their local police, in order to better understand how to implement her own project through data collection. “I hope that this website is not only an incentive for officers to act fair and just, but also serves to recognize those who are already doing so,” Elizabeth said.

Kayla L. ’19 experienced wildlife in South Africa
As a student in the Animal Science Concentration program at Foxcroft, Kayla traveled to South Africa last summer for an internship in which she worked alongside three veterinarians focused on wildlife and clinics, and a fourth vet who performed small-animal surgeries. While there, Kayla had opportunities to go into the field with animals, analyze x-rays, and observe such processes as administering anesthesia to animals in need of care. She also helped with game capture to support ethical hunting and visited animal farms where crocodiles, lions, and hippopotamuses live. After traveling to Thailand in the summer of 2017 to participate in an animal program focused on learning clinical skills, Kayla had looked for a similar program that offered additional hands-on learning. “I wanted to go somewhere where I could spread my wings more and really practice the skills,” she said.

While there were other students participating in the South Africa animal program experience, Kayla was the youngest attending. She lived in an apartment with a group of other people, something she felt well prepared to do because of her years at Foxcroft. Kayla’s passion for animals is well founded, and she continues to take advantage of opportunities to expand her knowledge, here in the U.S. and abroad. “One of the things I loved culturally about South Africa was everyone was so nice,” she said. “It was really like we were living there and it gave me an authentic experience, which I really appreciated.”

Annie Z ’19 focused on Women’s Empowerment in Nepal
Annie Z. thinks on a global level. While participating in Foxcroft’s newly established Global Studies Concentration program, she received an Inspired Learning Summer Grant which took her to Kathmandu, Nepal, last summer to help champion the rights of women there. Annie understands that education is key to overall wellbeing in Nepal, so she taught English to women in their 40’s and 50’s as a way to help them feel more empowered to advocate for themselves. Still, “many of the women told their husbands that they were going to cooking class,” she said,  The Nepalese women were motivated to learn English because their children often leave the country when they get older and the women want to be able to communicate with them. Annie also observed that while younger women in Nepal work as shopkeepers, most of them do not actually earn a paycheck, making them beholden to their husbands. Annie says she plans to focus future efforts on the high incidence of violence against women in such countries as Nepal.

Ify N. ’19 is working to raise the literacy bar in Nigeria
Ify was unable to travel over the summer but her grant focuses improving literacy in her native country, Nigeria. Aware that the literacy rate is 59% in parts of NIgeria, Ify chose to use her Inspired Learning Summer Grant to help create The Little Library in several schools in a village where she lived as a young child. With Ify’s guidance, the space will be the size of a large shed, filled with education materials and books to encourage children to read. Ify is partnering with several other agencies and non-profit groups familiar with this type of international outreach to help support her goals, and plans to travel to Nigeria in the near future to launch the project. We look forward to learning more about her progress in the coming months.
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.