Experiential Learning

Bowden Student Fellowship in the Humanities

The Dan Leslie Bowden Fellowships in the Humanities offer an invaluable educational opportunity for select Ransom Everglades students in honor of the eponymous and legendary Ransom Everglades faculty member.

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. From his start at RE in 1955 and until his death on Sept. 14, 2018, Mr. Bowden’s unabashed love of language and literature and his passionate advocacy for the humanities provided the intellectual foundation for generations of students.

A generous endowment gift by Jeffrey Miller '79, who studied under Mr. Bowden, created the fellowship program in June 2016. Students in 11th grade are eligible to apply for Bowden fellowships for the summer prior to their senior year. In the fall, the fellows present summaries of their summer work to the RE community. The Bowden Fellowship Committee, which until his death included Mr. Bowden, favors proposals that project courage in the passionate pursuit of what makes us human.

2020 Bowden Fellows share their work during virtual assembly on Nov. 23, 2020


The 2020 Dan Leslie Bowden Fellows in the Humanities met the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak with determination and creativity: The pandemic scuttled their travel plans, interview schedules and original objectives, but it did not upend their projects. The 11 fellows recast and refocused their work, weathering delays but avoiding derailment. At an all-school assembly on November 23, the fellows shared their inspiring accomplishments during the summer and into the fall – as most continued work on their revised projects.

List of 10 items.

  • Isabel Almada-Sabaté ’21: Faith, Hope, and Meaning: Finding Shared Humanity in the Migrant Journey

    Isabel Almada-Sabaté ’21 set out to explore the depths of our shared humanity through the plight of migrant communities, and to discover the unifying and integrative role that faith and religion have at each step of the migrant journey. Because of travel restrictions, she canceled a trip to Mexico City, where she had scheduled in-person visits at universities, aid organizations and shelters, and began working virtually, reaching out to a broad range of universities, demographers and researchers. As she interviewed members of migrant communities, she gained a new perspective on religious institutions – how they offered support through concrete deeds along with the comfort of real faith. She also discovered that, despite their differences, “each person shared a desire to connect and belong.” Inspired by this work, she plans to shift her attention to human rights advocacy for migrants.
  • Danny Amron ’21 & Kiran Desai ’21: Beyond the Field: How COVID-19 Altered South Florida High School Athletics

    Danny Amron ’21 & Kiran Desai ’21 sought to study community through the street basketball leagues in New York City, but they pivoted to something closer to home after the pandemic hit. They interviewed and filmed student-athletes and coaches from various high schools across South Florida, trying to determine the impact of the lost spring and summer on student-athletes' opportunities, social connections and emotional, financial and mental health. Danny and Kiran found the toll was significant; they are working on a documentary that they will eventually share with the RE community.
  • Ricardo Andrade ’21: The Humanity in Healing

    Ricardo Andrade ’21 sought out both doctors and families who have had to deal with craniosynostosis, a condition that affects infants and which afflicted him in his youth. It prevents the skull from growing as it should, and the resulting pressure can lead to dangerous conditions. Despite the constraints of the pandemic, Ricardo found families who had received cranial vault remodeling and the more modern endoscopic craniectomy, and listened to their tales, observing their grief, inner strength and love for their children. The surgeons, who he had expected to be less emotional, shared their own stories of growth and acceptance as they battled the disease, as well as sharing insights about why they chose to work in a field of innovative medicine. His interviews showcased the bravery of parents facing frightening and little-known medical problems in their newborns, and the determination of medical pioneers working to change the lives of others for the better. “The strength and love of these families and surgeons are what teaches us how to be human,” Ricardo said. 
  • Sebastian Hicks ’21: Nowhere to Hide: Surviving Hurricane Dorian

    Sebastian Hicks ’21 intended to take an exploratory trip to the Bahamas to interview and photograph individuals who survived Hurricane Dorian, documenting the current state of the Bahamas and giving survivors a face in our community. However, COVID-19 stopped all travel to the islands. In October, Sebastian finally had the chance to go to Cat Cay, Bahamas, to meet Bahamians who moved from their homes in Abaco and Grand Bahamas. He decided to shift the project to a documentary so he could better tell the stories of those he interviewed. He has been editing his documentary, which he hopes will capture the severe hardship and loss as well as inspiring courage, resilience and bravery.
  • Mateo Jolivert ’21: A Conscious Life

    Mateo Jolivert ’21 intended to interview patients diagnosed with terminal illness in hospice and palliative care; however, when COVID-19 hit, in-person visits became impossible. Mateo decided to expand the scope of the project to the entire hospice care community, reaching out to hospice care providers and managers of VITAS Healthcare to better understand what their field of work means to them. Mateo recorded the conversations and supplemented them with photography to lend more clarity into the depth of this work. His hope is to share how some patients, as frail as they are, have powerfully transformed their approach to the world around them. “Through their perseverance in the face of the end of their own lives, they have taught me that humanity can mean the simple pursuit of happiness in the present,” Mateo said.
  • Yuhan Liu ’21: Surrealism as a Medium of Storytelling

    Yuhan Liu ’21 virtually attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s six-week Early College Program Summer Institute. In addition to creating art, she conducted research and listened to lectures about movements in art history. During lectures, she often heard her lecturer refer to the conversations that works of art encourage. Art begins or continues a conversation with its viewer, historical context, or even another piece. In critiques, her lecturer placed students' work into movements throughout art history, naming artists with similar styles and discussing details of their work. Yuhan devoted special attention to the surrealist movement, which is characterized by art that unites the natural and dream world. Inspired by what she learned, Yuhan created her own eccentric but detailed narratives, conveying her own emotions while pulling inspiration from historical work. Her own story became a continuation of the larger movement. “I learned that art is a medium for continuing the human narrative,” she said. “To be human is to bring my own artistic vision while building on the foundation of those before me.”

  • Shuli Rosenfeld ’21: Identity on a Plate

    Shuli Rosenfeld ’21 facilitated “Identity on a Plate,” a five-week virtual engagement with eight Breakthrough Miami Scholars to explore their personal identities through food. Shuli engaged with her scholars through virtual discussions and various culinary adventures designed to help them reflect on their family histories and personal backgrounds. Each week, the group reviewed the histories of various cuisines and their cultural, social and personal impact. Shuli instructed on culturally significant dishes and challenged the scholars with “mystery bag ingredients” to create new dishes. Through the experience, she said, she learned about “the power of food in overcoming boundaries and bringing people with all different histories and backgrounds together.” She is compiling a cookbook of the scholars’ recipes.
  • Emma Rosenthal ’21: Through the Lens of a Pandemic: Activism in 2020

    Emma Rosenthal ’21 had planned to investigate the influence that Gen-Z has on current social issues, photographing teen activists, attending the March for Science in Washington, D.C., and meeting with students from Parkland. COVID-19 inspired a slightly new concept: documenting activism during the pandemic. To help with her work, Emma took an online Boston University photojournalism course during the summer. Through the lens of her camera, Emma focused on how, during a pandemic, inaction can be activism, and she also looked at individual mobilization and national activism. She is creating a photobook documenting her summer journey. “Photographing people and their responses to the pandemic have taught me how humanity constantly aspires to unite and come together, adapting to new obstacles in times like these,” she said.
  • Brooke Scott ’21: Miami’s Manifest Destiny

    Brooke Scott ’21 is working on a documentary about the effects of gentrification on West Coconut Grove after a summer researching the history of the Grove and learning about the effects of segregation, integration and black suburbanization. Delayed by the pandemic, she began filming interviews of West Grove residents in August, exploring the detrimental effects redevelopment has had on local children, businesses and the sense of community that once characterized this section of the Grove. Her interviews highlighted certain themes: a loss of culture and community values. They also revealed how much of our understanding of what it means to be human is tied to our heritage and the community with which we surround ourselves. “The citizens of the West Grove aren’t just worried about the economic effects of gentrification, but also feel that parts of their identities are being stripped away as a result of the changes occurring,” Brooke said.
  • Valeria Solorzano ’21: Stories of Empathy: Impact of COVID-19 in Mexico

    Valeria Solorzano ’21 had planned to partner with an organization that works to build houses and schools for free in San Miguel Xoltepec, an impoverished area in rural Mexico City, with the goal of growing to understand the humanity behind these projects. When the pandemic shut down the construction projects, Valeria decided to analyze the impact of COVID-19 on different parts of Mexico. She spoke with nurses at the Hospital ABC de Observatorio, which has handled many coronavirus cases. During the course of her interviews, she realized the common thread was empathy, the idea of putting others before ourselves. “My fellowship project has since changed from exploring the humanity in physically building community, to exploring the human quality of empathy in individual relationships,” she said. She is assembling a collection of stories that will share hope at a time of uncertainty.
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 — Dean of the Junior Class Tom Dughi, Associate Head of School John King, Humanities Department Chair Jen Nero, Assistant Dean for Student Activities Corinne Rhyner, Upper School History & Social Sciences Department Coordinator Jonathan Scholl, 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.
To contribute to the Dan Leslie Bowden Endowment in the Humanities, contact Director of Alumni Engagement Vicki Carbonell Williamson '88 via email.

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 2 news stories.

  • 2022 Bowden Fellows

    2022 Bowden fellows announced

    I am pleased to share with you the Class of 2022 Dan Leslie Bowden Fellows in the Humanities: Anya Dua '22, Rebecca Gotterer '22, Lauren Heller '22, Alexa Hommen '22, Mark Mateo '22, Kira Oglesby '22, Maria Luiza Schuchovski '22, Kathleen Stanton-Sharpless '22 and Leah Thorpe '22. This was a record year for applications for the prestigious humanities fellowships, and thus the selection process was especially difficult.
    Read More
  • Bowden fellows share 2020 projects

    The 2020 Dan Leslie Bowden Fellows in the Humanities met the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak with determination and creativity: The pandemic scuttled their travel plans, interview schedules and original objectives, but it did not upend their projects. The 11 fellows recast and refocused their work, weathering delays but avoiding derailment. At an all-school assembly on November 23, the fellows shared their inspiring accomplishments during the summer and into the fall – as most continued work on their revised projects.

    View a video recording here.
    Read More

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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.