Three Receive Keegan Scholarships | Vanderbilt News

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Class of 2020 graduates Frances Burton and Matt Zhang have been named Michael B. Keegan Itinerant Fellows for 2020-21, and Barton Christmas, a graduate of the class of 2021, has been named a Keegan Fellow for 2021-22. The Keegan Fellowship aims to enhance the development of future leaders through global travel and experiential learning.

The scholarship provides senior graduates of Vanderbilt with the opportunity to pursue an idea or problem that they are passionate about in the context of the day-to-day life of communities around the world. The $ 20,000 scholarship funds one year of travel.

Francoise Burton

Keegan sponsored trips are currently postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Keegan Fellows will be allowed to begin their scholarship trips in accordance with State Department travel guidelines once Vanderbilt University resumes sponsored international travel.

Burton, a major in Economics and Spanish, Environmental and Sustainability Studies and a minor in Commerce from Dallas, Texas, became interested in her Strategic Environmental Conservation Fellowship through an exploration of a US National Parks months before coming to Vanderbilt and through UN Climate Change 2019. Lecture in Madrid, Spain, which she attended as part of the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program.

“My biggest goal is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of conservation through the prism of national parks in order to develop more equitable and nature-based climate solutions,” said Burton. “For me, national parks represent a unique and untapped opportunity in the context of global climate change. “

Matt zhang
Matt zhang

Zhang, a cognitive studies student from Lake Barrington, Ill., Began developing his Keegan project proposal while studying abroad in Seville, Spain, in 2018. Through his interactions with his family from home, he began to wonder how an intimate conversation connects individuals and what defines connection. as a basic human need.

“What exactly happens to build a life with another person? Why do some relationships last while others fade? And how do the answers to these questions change or persist in different legal, social, religious and cultural contexts? Zhang asked. “These are the universally significant but deeply personal themes that I will explore during my year with Keegan.”

Barton Christmas
Barton Christmas

Christmas, a history and high school education student from Paducah, Ky., Will explore how artists, especially street performers, come to create their art and how they plan to continue their art after a global pandemic, through his project titled “Art, High and Low.” Christmas is a balloon artist who has performed in several countries.

“I think artists have a sixth sense of the world, a way of seeing the impulses that drive us, the story that hums beneath the surface of our daily lives,” said Christmas. “I want to listen to this story, and I want to listen to this story all over the world. Particularly in the aftermath of a pandemic, it will be crucial that we know how to tell ourselves stories that give us hope, give us perspective and enlighten us on what we have all just survived and what some have to do with it. ‘between us did not survive. to survive.”

Students and alumni interested in applying for the Michael B. Keegan Scholarship or other competitive awards should contact Elizabeth Harrington Lambert, Associate Director of Scholarships.

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