Near-Mitra scholars visit Stanford Humanities Center

Near-Mitra scholars Nirban Bhatia (12), Jacqueline He (12), Amy Jin (12), Serena Lu (12), Emily Chen (12), Andrew Semenza (12) and Derek Yen (12) pose for a photo outside the Stanford Humanities Center. These seven students met with Stanford's Hume fellows over lunch today.

Courtesy of Donna Gilbert

Near-Mitra scholars Nirban Bhatia (12), Jacqueline He (12), Amy Jin (12), Serena Lu (12), Emily Chen (12), Andrew Semenza (12) and Derek Yen (12) pose for a photo outside the Stanford Humanities Center. These seven students met with Stanford's Hume fellows over lunch today.

by Derek Yen, Winged Post Opinion Editor

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Seven seniors in the Near-Mitra program met with the Hume fellows at Stanford over lunch today.

The Near-Mitra scholars were absent from 10:30 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. during their trip to the Stanford campus. On the trip, the scholars toured the Stanford Humanities Center before meeting with the Hume Undergraduate fellows over lunch.

The Near-Mitra program is a program open to Harker seniors that gives its scholars the chance to conduct a yearlong research project on a humanities topic of their choice. English teacher Dr. Beth Wahl, who had been Associate Director at Stanford’s Humanities Center before coming to Harker a year ago, saw the similarities between the Near-Mitra program and the Hume Humanities Honors Fellowship, which selects eight Stanford seniors each year to conduct research. Dr. Wahl arranged this meeting between the two groups.

“It made sense to try to connect Harker’s Near-Mitra scholars to undergraduates doing humanities research and set up a conversation about research methods, the range of projects that fall under the humanities and the value of a humanities major,” Dr. Wahl said. “We think so much about STEM fields in Silicon Valley that I think it’s too easy to forget about the amazing scholarship taking place in humanities fields.”

Not all of the Near-Mitra scholars went on the trip, but those who did enjoyed the opportunity to learn firsthand about undergraduate humanities research.

“Each of us talked about our research in-depth, and I thought it was really great to hear feedback on our topics,” Near scholar Amy Jin (12) said. “For instance, I got pointed to additional books and resources and articles I could read to dig deeper into one aspect of my research.”

Near-Mitra scholars are currently writing first drafts of their papers, which will be due the first week of February.