Experiential Learning

Bowden Student Fellowship in the Humanities

The Dan Leslie Bowden Fellowships in the Humanities honor a legendary Ransom Everglades career that began in 1955 and continued until Mr. Bowden's death on Sept. 14, 2018, while also providing an invaluable educational opportunity for select Ransom Everglades students.

For 63 years, Mr. Bowden served Ransom Everglades as an inspirational teacher of English, gifted educational administrator, valued advisor to the head of school, and most importantly, mentor to thousands of students and faculty. His unabashed love of language and literature, combined with a passionate and inspiring advocacy for the humanities, provided the intellectual foundation for generations of students.

That very passion and advocacy motivated these special fellowships. A generous endowment gift by Jeffrey Miller '79, who studied under Mr. Bowden, created the fellowship program in June 2016, allowing select students with a range of financial grants to pursue advanced summer studies in the humanities. All students in 11th grade are eligible to apply for Bowden fellowships to be used in the summer prior to their final year at Ransom Everglades. In the fall of their senior year, all Bowden fellows will present a summary of their research or project experience to the Ransom Everglades community and submit a written synopsis of their work.

The Bowden fellowship grants help support the expenses of advanced study in the humanities that may include, but not be restricted to, travel costs, fellowship related program fees and study materials. The Bowden Fellowship Committee, which until his death included Mr. Bowden, most favors proposals that project courage in the passionate pursuit of what makes us human.

2018 Bowden Fellows engage in summer study

Eight rising seniors received 2018 Dan Leslie Bowden Fellowships in the Humanities, enabling them to undertake ambitious projects in various humanities fields this past summer. Here's a glimpse of their work, in their own words:

List of 7 items.

  • Sofia Andrade '19: investigating effects of the coal industry

    I conducted interviews with citizens of Somerset County, Pa., ranging from retired coal miners to environmental activists to homeowners to the director of the Chamber of Commerce. My goal was to investigate the effects of the coal industry on the human condition, both positive and negative. I am currently working to create a documentary and website showcasing my findings.

  • Nathalie Han '19: intensive summer Arabic class

    At the beginning of last year, I attended a dinner prepared by recently arrived Syrian refugees, and I became aware of the intense language barrier they were facing. The Bowden fellowship granted me the opportunity to attend an eight-week intensive summer Arabic class at the University of Chicago. Though I still have a lot more to learn, I am now able to communicate with Arabic speakers in basic sentences.

  • Laura Liu ’19: Heifetz International Music Institute

    During my time at Heifetz International Music Institute, I took lessons on not only how to play the viola but also how to perform and truly communicate something to the audience. It was a truly eye-opening experience on what it means to be a musician; it is not just about technique but how well you can tell a story with your music.
  • Maddie MacEachern ’19: capturing the magic of Shake-A-Leg

    My goal was to capture the magic of Shake-A-Leg through photography and spread its mission of inclusion to the surrounding community. I am turning the photos into a gallery and book with captions describing the joy of the kids.

  • Andrea Pearl ’19 and Mia Tellechea-Choi ’19: illustrating how music can transform futures

    We traveled to Mexico to understand how music can greatly improve the lives of underprivileged children. We spent a few weeks producing a short video illustrating the way impoverished students are transforming their futures through Auge, a non-profit that provides them with access to instruments and instruction.

  • Isa Peña ’19: a production of Shrek: The Musical Jr.

    I spent my time this summer training and rehearsing with students from the Inclusion Theater Project for a production of Shrek: The
    Musical Jr. I worked as a director and musical director alongside staff from the Ransom Everglades Performing Arts Department and
    Area Stage Company. The Sept. 8 performance at the Lewis Family Auditorium highlighted students with developmental disabilities such as autism and Down syndrome.

  • Nicole Verde ’19: The New York Times’ Summer Academy

    The Bowden fellowship allowed me to attend The New York Times’ Summer Academy and take a journalism course taught by writer Helene Stapinski. I interviewed many subjects including street artist RAE BK and New York assemblywoman Yuh Line Niou. I also got
    the amazing opportunity to sit in on the official morning briefing meeting with the editors of The New York Times and spend
    the morning with national correspondent writer Shaila Dewan.

While all of the Bowden fellows spent their summers creating original work, their activities and ideas did not emerge without the input and inspiration of others. We are extremely thankful to Jeffrey Miller ’79, whose generous endowment gift to the school has created opportunities for our students that, in the words of one fellow, have been “life changing” and “otherwise would not have been possible.” We appreciate the work of the fellowship committee members — Mike Groeninger, Department Chair Jen Nero, Dean of the Junior Class Paul Natland ’02, and Advisor to the Head of School Mr. Bowden himself, who took an active role in the fellowships until his death on Sept. 14, 2018  — as well as that of the parents, professionals, artists and alumni who engaged our fellows.

Dan Leslie Bowden’s sharp intellect and sense of humor, his high expectations coupled with caring and compassion, the humility of his teaching and the honest way he lived, and his deep curiosity about the humanities and his lifelong quest to come closer to knowing what is really meaningful made possible these fellowships. He also enhanced the lives of so many by encouraging them to hold themselves accountable to higher truths and to wonder. He helped to create the culture of learning at Ransom Everglades, where we all strive to help others be their best selves — intellectually, morally, aesthetically — that is, to embody at all times, the best of what it means to be human.

Dan Leslie Bowden Fellowships in the Humanities

John A. King Jr., Associate Head of School

"From making films to doing international historical research to exploring more carefully the uniqueness of the human body itself, all of the fellows in their own way explored what it means to be human."


List of 1 news stories.

  • 2019 Bowden Fellows announced

    Ransom Everglades named 10 juniors to its third class of Dan Leslie Bowden Fellows in the Humanities, awarding grants and support for a range of ambitious summer projects. Associate Head of School John A. King, Jr., congratulated the 2019 fellows – Olivia Byrd '20, Mia Williamson '20, Jolie Dreiling '20, Diego Duckenfield-Lopez '20, Becca Fisher '20, Mia Landman '20, Kate Menninger '20, Sofia Mora '20, Charith Reddy '20 and Zoe San Martin '20 – and provided details about the journey they will undertake this summer during a meeting in the Ransom Cottage on March 14.
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2017 Bowden Fellows share their work with peers during assembly on Oct. 10, 2017

To contribute to the Dan Leslie Bowden Endowment in the Humanities, contact Director of Alumni Relations Vicki Carbonell Williamson '88 via email.
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Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The mission of Ransom Everglades School is to provide an educational environment in which the pursuit of honor, academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by concern for the physical, cultural and character development of each student. The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.