By Haley White '12
The University recently hosted a reception for the winners of the 2010 Martin A. Dale Summer Awards and for the 2009-2010 Dale Fellow. The Dale funds students to work on projects that they have always dreamed of pursuing. The Summer Award winners were rising juniors who spent the past summer doing everything from learning hula in Hawaii to traveling to London to research Jack the Ripper. The 2009-2010 Dale Fellow, Christopher Simpson '09, returned to South Kingston, RI, his hometown, after graduation and spent the past year developing a community theater company. The winners of the Dale Awards all began their projects with clearly stated goals and ideas. In many cases, they ended their projects on completely new paths. Genevieve Bentz '12, who went to Rome to paint, got distracted by her camera and wound up taking thousands of frames of pictures. Gabrielle Wilkerson-Melnick '12 stuck with her plan to experiment with communal living by staying on an ashram in India, a kibbutz in Israel, and a commune in Virginia, but decided to change her major from Religion to Anthropology along the way.
If Dale grants were traditional research grants, the U. would probably fault the recipients for changing course during the summer. The beauty of the Dale Awards are that they are not traditional research grants. They give students the power to follow their intellectual whimsy, something that we all need to do sometimes, especially when we are twenty.