First-years to embark on summer of exploration with 2019 Appel fellowships

A record 22 first-year students have been named 2019 Appel fellows and will pursue independent writing projects over the summer.

The Appel Fellowship, funded by Joel Appel ’87, provides students completing their first year at CMC with a distinct summer opportunity to explore storytelling in a domestic or international setting. Students share their work when they return to campus in fall.

Christine Crockett ’01, director of the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, said students are encouraged to choose projects and locations that hold meaning or could hold meaning for them—whether because of family history, academic studies, personal inspiration, or a combination of those factors.

“Many times, the places are chosen because of curiosity,” said Crockett, who oversees the Appel program. “Students are looking to learn something they don’t know yet—about the place, about its relevance, about who they are in that location, about who they can become.”

Proposals run the creative gamut—from a children’s book about South Korean travels and a podcast that examines gentrification in New York and Chicago to essays along the John Muir Trail and an animated short connecting Black identity and Seminole history in Oklahoma. This year also marks the first collaboration between two students, who will travel and document their experience in places like Mumbai and Beijing together.

Four years into the fellowship, Crockett said she is most appreciative of how students uniquely “bridge the personal with the academic" by pushing themselves to ask big questions.

“These are first-year students who have just started opening doors. They’re peering around the corner, and now they get to step into the doorway and learn a bit more,” she said.

“Writing helps us grow, helps us explore. It’s the pillar of the Appel program—and a tool that is deeply embedded in the CMC ethos of welcoming challenges, building resiliency, and learning more about the world so we can all become better global citizens.”

This year’s projects include:

  • Axel Ahdritz ’22: A song album and journal inspired by conversations with refugees in Jordan and Germany.
  • T.J. Askew ’22: A series of essays describing travels along the Pacific Crest Trail.
  • Raj Bhutoria ’22: Articles that examine the intersection of family history and national identity in India.
  • Raimundo Farmer ’22: An animated short representing the connection between black identity and Seminole history in Oklahoma.
  • Alex Futterman ’22: Essays based on interviews with extreme athletes in Chile, Peru, and New Zealand.
  • Maria Gastelum-Vera ’22: Vignettes that capture the experiences of the author’s grandmother in her homeland of Mexico.
  • Madeyln Kwun ’22: A children's book that introduces young readers to Asian American history and culture, based on travels through South Korea.
  • Madison Menard ’22: A photojournalism series that captures the culture of "historic soccer" in rival Italian provinces.
  • Marisa Mestichella ’22: A documentary and "how-to" guide to street performance, inspired by travels to New York, New Orleans, and Nashville.
  • Serena Myjer ’22: Essays in response to John Muir’s writing, created while the author walks the John Muir Trail.
  • Ahmad Nabi ’22: A series of articles reflecting the experiences of refugee populations in Germany and Greece.
  • Robin Peterson ’22: A short story collection that represents the experiences of refugees in Jordan.
  • Daenerys Pineda ’22: Short stories in the tradition of magical realism that depict heritage sites in Northern California.
  • Courtney Reed ’22: A documentary that recounts the history of the hair industry in Atlanta, China, and India.
  • Toluwani Roberts ’22: A zine featuring essays, poetry, and interviews related to the expression of spirituality and the natural world in Ecuador.
  • Dorcas Saka ’22: Short stories that reflect the experiences of Muslim communities in Chicago, New Jersey, Arkansas, and Arizona.
  • Sobechukwu Uwajeh ’22: A podcast that examines the effect of gentrification on people of color in Chicago and New York.
  • Kyril Van Schendel ’22: A documentary film based on the author's experiences as a distance runner in southwestern United States.
  • Laura Vences ’22: A zine that explores the connections between immigration, labor, and the Latinx community in several United States cities.
  • Kimberly Zamora-Delgado ’22: A collection of stories based on interviews with park rangers and visitors at national parks on the West Coast.
  • Alison Marouk-Coe ’22 and Shania Sharna ’22: An experiment in immersive empathy and collaborative writing based on travels to locations like Mumbai and Beijing.

—Thomas Rozwadowski