2020 COHN GRANT RECIPIENTS 

Kayla Vinh '22 and Isabel Perez-Albuerne '22

Kayla Vinh '22 and Isabel Perez-Albuerne '22 will create a digital archive that will include family history, a series of essays, a compilation of primary sources, and a short film or documentary. These products will revolve around how the governmental systems of communist countries have affected both of their families—who sought political refuge from either Vietnam or Cuba—and how these countries have survived in an ever-growing capitalist world.

Below is the announcement Josh Rilla—faculty chair of the Alex Cohn Grant—made to Upper School students:

This year I was reminded that we are a community of big ideas.

 

The following 11 applicants did not receive the Grant but may continue to pursue their project, so keep an eye out for their initiatives and how you may be able to help.

We have philanthropists in this year’s submissions. One student proposed to join ZIH International’s mission to provide Haitian youth with appropriate gear to play soccer by coordinating with Beaver’s athletic department and other athletic departments throughout New England. Another wants to create a website and book, documenting the lasting damages done by Hurricane Dorian in small townships throughout the Bahamas with the hopes of raising awareness of the destruction and helping rebuild those communities.

 

In an era where gender-neutral fashion is on the rise, another student proposed to capture contemporary fashion through photography and film exploring the interaction between identity and clothing in New England. Another photographer-applicant requested funds to study and photograph the stars using online courses and the latest telescopic technology, then use those findings to aid in developing a comprehensive curriculum for Beaver students, including an astronomy club that anyone can join. A third student with experience behind the camera applied to create a documentary capturing the process of preparing for a marathon with the aim of showing others how exercise and goal-setting can impact Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) and other mental/emotional/biological challenges.

 

There are also some entrepreneurs that applied this year. One proposed to start a food stand business specializing in creative Grilled Cheese sandwiches using locally sourced products. Another pair pitched a business creating portable “Starter Gardens” in an effort to provide homegrown, organic produce to people living in urban environments.

There are also some musicians in the mix this year. One requested funds to build a vintage Rhodes piano from scratch, then perform in Bradley Hall during an Upper School meeting following in the footsteps of their favorite jazz legends. Another would like to interview composers from around the world and research the origins of different musical styles to fuel an original composition attempting to combine “world music” into a single song to be performed live. 

 

Lastly, there were a few coders who applied. In conjunction with an SDP on the science of empathy, one student wants to develop and code an App to help teens kindle greater empathy and become involved in social activism. Another aims to design and code a social media network specifically for folks disenchanted by current social media and looking to organize with others to create real social change.

 

And the 2020 winner is ... 

Communism’s Survival in a Capitalist World
 

Using research done during two upcoming student-directed projects, as well as the funds provided to them, Kayla and Isabel will create a digital archive that will include family history, a series of essays, a compilation of primary sources, and a short film or documentary. These products will revolve around how the governmental systems of communist countries have affected both of their families—who sought political refuge from either Vietnam or Cuba—and how these countries have survived in an ever-growing capitalist world.

 

CONGRATS TO KAYLA AND ISABEL!