Class of 2020 Newcomb Scholars present digital symposium

At the beginning of every school year, a small group of first-year Tulane students vie for a spot in the selective Newcomb Scholars Program, an academically rigorous, interdisciplinary learning experience focused on feminist leadership.

Upon completing the program, the Newcomb Scholars present their research at the annual Scholars Symposium. This year’s symposium, like so many other end-of-year traditions, has moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The symposium represents the culmination of a four-year journey of learning and leadership. The scholars’ research took them all over the world, from Paris to Jerusalem to Colombia to South Africa, with topics ranging from international labor relations to environment studies and neuroscience.

Scholar Sophie Drew said the most rewarding aspect of the program was the in-depth focus on interdisciplinary research that took her outside the classroom.

“This year, I wrote an independent study on the globalization of Mexican food retail, something that combined my studies of business, international development and Spanish with my interest in Latin America,” Drew said. “I am grateful for the freedom that the scholars program gave me to design my own project while supporting my progress at different stages of research.”

Though the cohort has dispersed around the world, they remain connected to Tulane University and Newcomb Institute. The symposium provides information on each scholar, including their post-graduation plans, which range from attending law school to volunteering with the Peace Corps.

“Even in the midst of an international pandemic, the Class of 2020 followed through on their commitment to the program and each other by completing their work on their individual projects,” said Dr. Aidan Smith, director of the Newcomb Scholars Program. “I am incredibly proud of these students and their resilience,” said Smith. “As you can see from their biographies, they are bound for great things.”

View the 2020 Scholars Symposium here.