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.

2021 Bowden Fellows share their summer work during upper school assembly on October 12, 2021


The Class of 2022 Dan Leslie Bowden Fellows in the Humanities shared their summer work during an assembly for the upper school community on October 12. The presentations offered insight into research that took the fellows to Israel, Brazil, The Bahamas and other locales, and allowed them to examine a diverse and exciting range of topics in the humanities.

List of 9 items.

  • Anya Dua ’22: Gen Z’s Political, Social, and Cultural Values

    Observing that individual identity is a fusion of age, ethnicity, spirituality and other traits, Dua set out to study the identity of Generation Z, people born between 1997 and 2015. Using results from a survey sent to thousands of members of Gen-Z, she set out to use clustering techniques to determine dominant identity archetypes, which can helpful in drawing conclusions about concepts such as identity. The survey polled respondents on topics including mental health, COVID-19, race, climate change, religion and spirituality and more. Dua, still analyzing her results, will present her findings in February.
  • Rebecca Gotterer ’22: Unity in the Face of a Divided Homeland

    Gotterer examined the history of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, traveling to Israel for in-person interviews and on-the-ground research in museums and through lectures. She is working on a podcast that will share her findings, namely that Israeli and Palestinian people have shown a willingness to come together to hear and accept each other’s points of view. She noted that her work showed that it is our differences that make us human, and even in the face of significant societal or political disagreement, individuals can still be friends and respect one another.
  • Lauren Heller ’22: BreakIn the Ropes

    Heller, a nationally ranked jump-rope competitor, explored the foundations of the sport in the multi-cultural breakdance and double-dutch jump-rope communities that grew up in New York City around the turn of the century. She followed the evolutions of both traditions, which eventually broke apart as girls were funneled into jump rope, and boys into hip-hop and breakdance. During a visit to New York, she found the connections between the disciplines still strong, and she invited experts to come together to share their histories and merge their activities in the present.
  • Alexa Hommen ’22: Spirit and Sound

    Hommen studied the importance of music as a component of religious expression, examining how churches in Coconut Grove have used music to share and celebrate their faith over decades. By visiting and studying four churches – Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, Plymouth Congregational Church, Greater St. Paul AME Church and St. Hugh Catholic Church – she discovered the uniquely human form of connection brought about by spiritual music traditions.
  • Mark Mateo ’22: Freedom as a Core Human Value

    Mateo examined the trend toward anti-democratic forms of government in Poland and the United States in recent decades, questioning what would make people work against freedom and gravitate to authoritarianism. By taking a class on the history of democracy, studying the two countries and interviewing professors and activists, Mateo came to understand what makes a people free, the constraints in place to prevent the centralization of power, and the lengths people will go to circumvent those safeguards.
  • Kira Oglesby ’22: The Great Migration and Effects on African Americans in the City of Milwaukee

    Oglesby spent two weeks in June in Milwaukee – her family’s hometown – doing interviews and research, looking at what drove African Americans from the South to Milwaukee during the Great Migration between 1916-70. In what ultimately was a quest to escape racism and find opportunity, she saw the force of educational aspirations. She wondered how this city of opportunity became a city of poverty; her research showed the importance of access to education, and the necessity that all citizens have the opportunity for a proper education.
  • Maria Luiza Schuchovski ’22: The Green Exchange

    Schuchovski traveled to Brazil to study The Green Exchange, an innovative recycling program started in 1981 in Curitiba, Brazil. The program, which views waste as a resource and provides goods to residents who bring it to recycling centers, is considered a model of how to combine community and sustainability. Schuchovski conducted interviews, did research in Curitiba, and considered whether the program could be implemented in Miami, and what it would mean to the Miami community.
  • Kathleen Stanton-Sharpless ’22: Blackout

    Stanton-Sharpless explored how theater is, was and will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. She studied the financial loss and despair brought about by the theater lockdowns, and also examined the creativity that emerged during that period: the Zoom productions, plays in parking lots and storefronts, and drive-through productions. The pandemic demonstrated, she said, that human beings will work relentlessly to create, and she speculated about how the forced innovation would affect the theater world in the future, possibly changing the nature of productions forever.
  • Leah Thorpe ’22: Discovering Culture and Humanity through Architecture: the Impact of the Early Bahamian Settlers

    Thorpe studied how the original Bahamian settlers in Coconut Grove brought skills and architecture styles, contributions that helped build community while helping to create new traditions. She visited and built models of shotgun-style houses, noting that their trademark front porches and other features brought people together, introduced elements of Bahamian style and contributed to the region’s storied history. Thorpe interviewed Thelma Gibson, Leona Cooper-Baker and the Rev. Jonathan Archer, among others.
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

Jeffrey Miller '79, creator of the Dan Leslie Bowden Endowment for the Humanities

"We wanted to offer the opportunity for kids to tap into their souls, see what their passion is to move forward, and have the opportunity to experience something great."


List of 2 news stories.

  • The Class of 2022 Dan Leslie Bowden Fellows in the Humanities and Associate Head of School John A. King, Jr.

    Bowden fellows share their summer research

    The Class of 2022 Dan Leslie Bowden Fellows in the Humanities shared their summer work during an assembly for the upper school community on October 12. The presentations offered insight into research that took the fellows to Israel, Brazil, The Bahamas and other locales, and allowed them to examine a diverse and exciting range of topics in the humanities.
    Read More
  • 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

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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.