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Lawrenceville’s First Cohort of Hutchins Scholars in Social Justice Selected

The Lawrenceville School is pleased to announce the inaugural cohort of Hutchins Scholars in Social Justice. Congratulations to Awo Addo, Viraj Agarwala, Andrew Chen, Eric Frankel, Lauren Hennis, Raymond Lee, Anoushka Sharma, Akeil Smith, Jourdan Wright, and Uma Zimmerman – all members of Lawrenceville’s Class of 2023.

Lawrenceville’s Hutchins Institute for Social Justice oversees the Scholars program for students that have demonstrated achievement and promise in advancing social justice through their academic performance and co-curricular activities at Lawrenceville. The program will offer students opportunities to use a variety of lenses to explore theoretical and practical questions of social, economic, and political rights.

Through a two-week summer residential program (June 12-June 26, 2022), followed by a fall term interdisciplinary course, Hutchins Scholars in Social Justice will engage social justice as a subject of study, as a method of inquiry and analysis, and as an ethical practice of community engagement. They will explore theories of change, models of leadership, strategies for organizing, and the power of narrative. Through study, trips, and guest speakers, their work will engage the power of storytelling and listening through historic sites, including landmarks, monuments, and museums; memorial events such as civic holidays and commemorations; and popular culture, including music, television, and film.

In order to develop projects of their own, Scholars will be introduced to the tools of interactive, experiential, multimedia, and digital storytelling. In addition, each Scholar will receive public narrative training (on the story of self, us, and, now) based on the method developed by Harvard University’s Marshall Ganz. Scholars will complete their individual projects in a fall class, culminating in a School-wide event where they will get to share their work with the community.

According to Hutchins Institute for Social Justice Executive Director Zaheer Ali, Scholars were selected through an application process that asked students to compose their personal narrative, reflect on a time they experienced change, and submit a sample of their writing on a social justice theme. Each application was read by at least two reviewers, and finalists were interviewed.

“We were looking for accomplishment as well as promise - students who have demonstrated, as well as those who, provided the opportunity, can demonstrate their commitment to social justice,” said Ali. “We sought students who will benefit from being in a cohort of intellectually humble, curious, and courageous budding scholars willing to share learning and teaching in community with each other.

Ali, who will lead the Scholars program, said he is “absolutely thrilled and excited" to work with the inaugural Scholars. “The breadth of their interests anchored by their deep commitment to social justice has inspired my thinking about the many ways to activate and support their work,” Ali stated.

He said his only regret is that the program could not accommodate more students. “The number of outstanding applicants exceeded the number of available slots. Reading through the impressive applications, which detailed the deep interest our students have in social justice as well as the work they have already done, was truly encouraging. I hope that each and every one who applied will remain committed to the social good,” said Ali.

Founded in 2021, Lawrenceville’s Hutchins Institute for Social Justice, is an innovation in secondary education, providing an interdisciplinary hub for transformational, real-world experiences for the Lawrenceville community and beyond. It advances the School’s vision of applied, experiential learning and will empower students to pursue original research and writing, actively seeking solutions to some of the greatest societal challenges of our time. The Hutchins Institute offers direct access to scholars and leaders at highly respected national organizations, as well as opportunities for guided student research, faculty and staff fellowships, and summer studies.

Primary financial support for the Hutchins Center is provided by Glenn Hutchins (a trustee emeritus and member of the Lawrenceville Class of 1973), who also was highly influential in developing the vision that focuses on both scholarship and social activism.

For additional information, please contact Lisa M. Gillard H'17, director of public relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.