learning impact 2018 dartmouth Stamps Scholars program

2017-18 Dartmouth Stamps Scholars


The Dartmouth Stamps Scholars Program was established in 2014 in partnership with the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation to recognize and reward exceptional students who exemplify leadership, perseverance, scholarship, service, and innovation. Dartmouth Stamps Scholars are part of a national network of Stamps Scholars located at 40 elite universities across the country.

The program allows the most promising students an opportunity to design an experiential learning plan to build on or respond to what they’ve learned in their first and second years at Dartmouth. The scholars have access to an enrichment fund of up to $10,000 per year to engage in experiential learning opportunities. Funding can be used for a wide variety of experiences, include pursuing an entrepreneurial idea, a research project either on or off campus, leadership training, an internship, service learning, and other unique opportunities.

“My experience as a Stamps Scholar has been instrumental in my confidence and ability as a researcher. In the end, I have definitely strengthened my investigative and writing abilities but more importantly I have developed my critical thinking skills as well as the ability to criticize and reformulate the ideas that I once thought flawless.” –Rafael Nunez '18
Kate Dumanian ’18 hiked in Spain as part of her Stamps project, which investigates connections between literature, history, philosophy, identity, and the act of walking to understand what drives the modern walker.

Since its inception in 2014, the Dartmouth Stamps Scholars Program has awarded enrichment funds to 45 students and received more than 150 program applications. Each scholar has worked closely with a faculty mentor in their discipline to engage in a unique, individually-designed project or experience. Scholar projects and experiences have ranged from searching for ancient Mexican canals to documenting the life of a prominent philanthropist from the 1900s, and represent topics from 26 academic disciplines. During their program experience, Stamps Scholars reflect and report regularly on their learning, personal development, and career aspirations within Dartmouth’s four established experiential learning impact areas:

  • Innovate and take risks
  • Solve complex problems
  • Collaborate across difference
  • Think critically and reflect on learning
Colleen O'Connor '19


My Stamps project focuses on promoting female empowerment through entrepreneurship in South America and East Asia, specifically in Peru and China. I was inspired to pursue this project after speaking with countless young, entrepreneurial female stall owners in Cusco, Peru’s and Beijing, China’s artisan craft markets and knock- off markets. When asked why they chose to work in these markets, I was surprised to hear many women in both Beijing and Cusco reply, “this is the only way I can be my own boss,” and “I feel stuck.” Thus, the common sentiment I found served as the catalyst for my project. Over the next two years, I will carry out additional on-the-ground research in Beijing and Cusco, and travel to other South American and East Asian cities and countries to best situate my findings on a global scale. This research will be completed over the next year in the hopes to find a way to somehow promote female entrepreneurship and innovation during the second year of my project.

Colleen O'Connor '19 at the Great Wall of China
“Not only am I becoming more knowledgeable on the subject of female entrepreneurship and empowerment abroad, but I also feel myself becoming a more independent and confident person, which is something I did not expect when I first learned that I'd been named a Stamps Scholar. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to explore a topic I am passionate about while acquiring real-world skills and gaining the confidence to pursue my interests and passions wherever they may take me.” –Colleen O'Connor '19
Arvind Suresh '19
"I am conducting research on how music and other forms of complementary and alternative medicine can help improve the well-being of patients in synergy with existing therapies and treatments. About 1 in 5 Americans is affected by a mental illness such as depression or anxiety at some point in their life, and such disorders are often stigmatized. I plan to investigate how music therapy can impact patients suffering from mental illness and neurological/behavioral disorders such as autism or Alzheimer's disease. My experiential learning this term as a Stamps Scholar has had a profound impact on my academic, professional, and personal growth. Not only have I become a more compassionate and empathetic individual, but I have also learned a lot about the different health disparities and social determinants that affect patients in different communities. As an aspiring future physician, my experiences will provide me with a unique outlook in patient-centered care. In addition, my work at the intersection of biology, music, and computer science has allowed me to meet and network with physicians and experts whom I would have never had the opportunity to otherwise do so. I have developed meaningful relationships with many others that I hope to carry on with me into the future.”" – Arvind Suresh '19
Sumita Strander '18
"I am studying dementia care for Indian elderly, and have conducted fieldwork in both Calcutta, India and in an “Indian Cultural Unit” of a nursing home in New Jersey. Informed by previous anthropological and clinical work, but grounded in ethnographic observations and interpretations, I hope to contribute to a discussion on the relationship between 'culture' and 'care' and help us understand more concretely what dementia care could - and perhaps should - look like in the future." – Sumita Strander '18
Leah Alpern '18
"I study philosophy and ancient Greek language and literature, and I am most interested in comparing ancient and modern ethics. I've never seen ancient philosophy as "dead history," but as a comparative example of how culture and worldview influence one's conception of what a "good" society and individual are, and especially how to get there. Studying ethics in ancient Greek literature and philosophy shows me what human life was like, but also what it could be." – Leah Alpern '18
Emily Grabowski '18
"Through my Stamps Scholarship,I have been working on Cambodian Teochew, a Chinese language with eight tones. Each syllable is assigned one of these tones. But when individual syllables are put together, for example into words or sentences, we observe that the tones change. This is called tone sandhi. I have been working with speakers here in Hanover as well as in Long Beach, CA to determine what tones they change to and the rules relating tone sandhi to sentence structure." – Emily Grabowski '18
“The Stamps Scholarship has been invaluable in my pursuit of a nuanced interdisciplinary plan of study and global research. It has given me the confidence to pursue questions fully despite the various departmental lenses that become involved in that pursuit and also to let me gather global perspectives through conferences and foreign field research.”–Michael Everett '19
“My dream is to become an animator. Because of Stamps, I have been able to reach out more confidently to various resources I have come across, whether seeking far-away and unpaid internships (here Stamps allows me to feel financially confident) or projects for which I am as under-qualified as I am enthusiastic (here Stamps allows me to feel like someone believes in me).” – Mary Pedicini '19

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