Mike Scanlin (Founder)
And then there were four! Because one of the three scholarships we awarded in 2002 was not used, we added it to the 2003 awards and solved a near tiebreaker selection situation by helping four UC San Diego students to study abroad during the current school year, each with a $3000 Chris Borton Memorial Scholarship. This brings the total number of scholarships awarded since 1997 to sixteen. The recipients, their families and we, the board of directors, all are extremely grateful to you for your continuing support of this program that honors the memory of Chris while encouraging a sense of world citizenship among the leaders of tomorrow.
A web site has been created for the Chris Borton Memorial Scholarship Fund, accessible in this location: https://starreveld.com/CBB/. We will endeavor to keep it updated as much as possible, but with the high mobility of this group that is not an easy task!
We are pleased to introduce to you this year’s scholarship recipients:
Marisol Gutiérrez is majoring in Political Science with a minor in Spanish Literature and plans a career in Immigration Law. At UCSD she worked on the bilingual newspaper “Voz Fronteriza” and performed with the Aztec Dance Group. This year Marisol is enrolled at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City, getting used to a different teaching style (“mostly one-on-one learning and debate with the professors”) while taking classes like Government and Public Issues and The Sociology of Indigenous Cultures in Mexico. She is trying to join UNAM’s soccer team and starting to practice Aztec dance. Besides travel to various destinations in Mexico, Marisol is enjoying life in a metropolis. “One of the things I have come to love about the city are the abundant small coffee shops and bookstores, not to mention the museums and foreign films. My book collection has started to grow, and I have no idea how I’m going to take them back to the States.” In accepting her scholarship, Marisol wrote: “As I prepare to study abroad, I carry with me the comfort of knowing that there are people like you who care about enriching a student’s experiences during college.”
With a double major in General Biology and Religion, Jacob Habinek is planning to pursue graduate studies in Religion after finishing his undergraduate degree. He will divide his year abroad between Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary (fall 2003) and Charles University’s Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education (CERGE) in Prague, Czech Republic (spring 2004). In a recent letter, Jacob commented: “While there is little I can pursue here with regards to my Biology major, Central Europe offers a fascinating number of opportunities for the student of religion, having been a meeting place of religious traditions for nearly a thousand years and many times a model of coexistence or a flashpoint of religious conflict during that tenure.” To improve his understanding of these complex situations and developments in the formerly Communist countries, Jacob is taking Sociology, Anthropology and History classes during the fall semester, and learning Hungarian as well. The fact that his ancestors came from this part of the world gives him an added motivation to learn about the region.
Brian Israel was able to visit with Ray and Verena in Davis prior to his departure for a year at the University of Bristol School of Law in the United Kingdom. We heard first-hand about some of Brian’s many international experiences in a number of countries in Latin America and Europe, his efforts “to harness technology to shrink the distance between young people around the world” through his project called “The Internationalist,” his involvement in student government and his aspirations to practice international law. After our evening together, Brian wrote: “It is extremely refreshing to learn that others share my desire to spread opportunities for international experience, and your efforts inspire me.” Earlier he had written: “For me it is both challenging and at the same time immensely stimulating to step outside of my North American ideology and into one very different from my own to make sense of events in the world. I much prefer to view the world as a primary text rather than reading someone else’s account of it, and my travels have allowed me to do this.” Living with Portuguese and Serbian roommates will undoubtedly add new perspectives, too.
With a major in International Studies/Political Science and a minor in European Studies, Brian is now taking classes in EU Politics and European Law. Before classes began, he commented that his “academic life is going to be radically different than it is in San Diego – the style of instruction is as different as the place in which it is set.” He continued: “This year I hope to gain a lot of insight into an interest and possible research topic of mine. I am interested in the way in which many Central/Eastern European countries are having to reform their legal/economic systems to fulfill their EU aspirations and/or to attract foreign investment. I became especially interested in this during my recent trip to Belgrade, where I spoke with many international lawyers about the subject.” He hopes to follow up his research in Belgrade next summer.
Jonathan Wang‘s choice to major in Computer Science with a minor in Japanese Studies is reminiscent of Chris’ combination of science and humanities. He is aiming for a career in computer graphics and animation, artificial intelligence and sound manipulation. Jonathan is spending his year at Osaka University taking engineering classes, doing research and honing his fluency in Japanese. Living in the Foreign Student House, he is paired up with a faculty member for a research project involving virtual reality. As for other courses, Jonathan describes a situation very different from that found in U.S. universities: “I cannot say for certain which classes I’m taking. In Japan a student can enter a class at any time, because entering a class requires no more or less than the professor’s permission. So one can theoretically enter a class the day before finals and pass. What this means, however, is that I will have to attend classes I’m thinking of taking before I can decide which ones to attend to the end of the semester, and which professors to speak to for their permission.” Jonathan contrasted the rigorous testing that determines what high school and college a Japanese student can attend with the relaxed demands on the Japanese college student.
Why did Jonathan decide to go to Japan? “My interest in Japan is based on a mixture of its history, its modern media, and both old and modern culture. Japan is in many ways what American cities are not – it is compact, homogenized, commercialized to the point of being systematized, and there exist standards of politeness, quality, and customs that are unmatched in any other place I have visited. I wanted to come to Japan to be in the middle of a culture which puts so much emphasis on the new, the next, and innovation. I wanted to meet the caliber of people who manage to survive the trying process of becoming a student at a prestigious Japanese university. Most of all, I wanted to be in a world where when I wake up every morning I can expect something new to be seen and learned. Everything is different here, and I love it that way.”
Recent news from other members of our scholarship “family: ” Upon her return from Egypt, Julia Carter visited Davis in August to treat Ray and Verena to a lovely summary of her experiences in words and pictures. After spending spring break doing community work in a village in El Salvador, Ellen Holloway was chosen to be the student commencement speaker for UCSD’s Eleanor Roosevelt College (from which she graduated cum laude) in June. Austin Leininger was married in August and is now attending the Episcopal Seminary in Berkeley. When we heard from Mark Morris in March he was working on his MFA degree in New Genres at San Francisco Art Institute and running for mayor of the city. In recalling memories from his year in Ghana, he wrote: “Those incredible experiences were all made a reality by the generosity of your scholarship.” Mary Jo Velasco fell in love with Salzburg on her return trip from Bordeaux via Italy, Croatia and Austria in July. Ben Winkler McCue completed his research in the rain forests of Costa Rica in September and will return to UCSD for his final two quarters in January.
As the group of recipients grows, it becomes more difficult to stay in touch with everyone. We make a great effort, though, for at least two reasons besides the obvious interest in the lives of such promising young people. Many of you have let us know that you appreciate hearing about the experiences of the students in whom you invested, making the personal connection beyond the financial support. Brian Israel’s mother expressed the other reason when she wrote: “It became apparent to me that through the recipients of Chris’ scholarship, and your communications with them, you keep Chris’ spirit alive.” At a time when international understanding is desperately needed at every level of society, we appreciate your recognition of the fact that these scholarships for study abroad are true building blocks for the foundation of a more peaceful world.