"This summer, I embarked on a path to gain a deeper understanding of myself and my connection to the world around me. Growing up as an Italian in America, I have always experienced a duality in my life as I have attempted to balance both sides of my identity. I picked my brain through hours of writing, some successful and some not, and shooting film photography to find my voice through these creative lenses. Spending time in Europe and Asia, across 7 countries, I was able to use these means to connect with family and strangers. Finding my voice was not only in English, as I used my ability to speak several languages to engage in diverse and interesting conversations with locals and fellow backpackers. This fellowship allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of who I am and how I can interact with those around me to gain a more robust connection and understanding of the world."
"For decades, Slab City has been a destination for individuals desperately seeking individuality. The barren desert repels societal presence and allows for the Slabbers to reject their advance. But the summer is different. Only the most broke or the most committed brave the 100+ degrees heat, shrinking the population to 10% of the winter months. My goal in visiting the slabs for one month is to ingratiate myself into its community, thereby gaining an understanding of what compels people to convert to its lifestyle. My writing project will take inspiration from the style of New Journalism as written by the likes of Joan Didion and Hunter S. Thompson."
"Growing up as a mixed-race individual in an extremely homogenous country, I often felt detached from my Japanese identity. I grew up excluded from many cultural traditions and interactions that are essential to the life of any Japanese person. Through the Appel Fellowship, I hope to explore ways to deepen my connection to Japan and come out of the experience with answers to the question “What does it mean to be Japanese?” In addition to visiting historical sites and immersing myself in cultural experiences that are relevant to the Japanese identity, I will be traveling to Kyushu to learn about my family history. I will be writing personal essays that reflect this journey of embracing my Japanese heritage as a mixed race individual and also coauthor a segment about general Japanese identity with my project partner Seiya who will be writing from the perspective of a first-generation Japanese-American."
"I will be traveling to Amsterdam to write a screenplay. It is the story of a troubled artist who navigates through a descent into madness. I will be interviewing artists on the street as well as going to art museums such as the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. I will incorporate what I learn from these people and museums into my character. Since my film takes place in Amsterdam, I will also incorporate the culture and values that I notice into my screenplay."
"Our entire society has been deceived by modern consumerism and the belief that self-worth and happiness are attached to material goods. The fashion industry is particularly notorious for perpetuating this mindset and producing tremendous waste from both the manufacturing process and post-consumption disposal. For my project, I will look at individuals, communities, and companies in Japan and Hong Kong who have successfully applied sustainable fashion practices. Throughout my travels, I will keep a journal-sketchbook, detailing research, personal reflections, and inspiration for designs and concepts. As a final project, I will design and create a fashion collection that reflects and incorporates my research on how to balance fashion and sustainability."
"To me, food is love. Growing up, cooking for someone was how to show you cared about them. Food brings people together. It’s a nourishing hug. I grew up cooking and eating foods from all around the world due to my multi ethnic and rather exploratory family. Taiwanese, Eastern European, German, Italian, French, Japanese, Thai, American Southern, my family bonded through culinary adventures. Food was central to the way my family experienced travel as well. We would go out of our way to find the most authentic restaurants and food stalls; experiencing the local culture through their foods and often making friends with the street vendors and restaurateurs. Traveling became one of my passions, as did recreating dishes I experienced abroad. This culminated in my working under a James Beard nominated chef at a Japanese restaurant as a sous chef during high school. This opportunity afforded me the opportunity to connect with local and international Japanese vendors, and the more I talked with these vendors, the more I realized how drastically small changes in weather and environment could be for their trade and livelihood. An extra hot summer, or an unseasonably cold winter could destroy entire harvests. As this dawned on me, I couldn’t help but think of the people who had continually impressed me, and inspired me to work in the culinary industry in the first place, the street vendors I’d met while traveling. I wondered how climate change has affected access to foods they have to buy, their margins so tight. When Covid seized the globe, I transitioned from being curious, to being worried. One third of small businesses in the US closed during Covid, and it could be worse abroad. With travel screeching to a halt, vendors have to rely on only their local market, and with the shifting access to ingredients and potentially rising prices due to climate change, their customers may not be able to afford the street food they previously relied on. My hope is to find out what is happening to these street food vendors, engage with them in their local environments and research and document their current conditions to validate my suspicions, and amplify their voices."
"In response to the current civil war taking place in Ethiopia, I examined the ethnic divide in Ethiopia and how that has led to generations of conflict. I studied Ethiopian history, went to Ethiopian cultural hotspots in America, and interviewed Ethiopians from 3 significant Ethiopian tribes in order to understand how this tension began and what is allowing it to last."
“For my Appel Fellowship, I’ll be traveling to Italy and around the US to study family farms and sustainability as they connect to my family’s three different generations of farming. In the US, I’ll work on a Montana apple orchard, an Arkansas horse ranch, and finally, an off-the-grid Wisconsin farm. Each of those farming disciplines corresponds with a different family generation. I'd like to learn more about sustainability and the viability of family farms as a future food source for generations to come. By immersing myself in these farms, I hope to feel a greater sense of belonging to my family. After my travels, I plan on completing an essay collection that encompasses my experience and the sustainable processes I learn about. I’ll compose my project through the lens of storytelling. Every aunt, uncle, and cousin is a master at chronicling stories that could make you laugh, tear up, or marvel at our tiny world. At each farm, I want to enhance my understanding of how family farms operate, what kind of organic farming practices they utilize, and ultimately convey their stories like the rest of my family does so skillfully.”
"I have a broken relationship with my local accent. My whole life, I felt pride in never succumbing to the tinges of my hometown and the particular pronunciations I disdained. There is no moment quite like being told you have an accent for the first time – and it happened to everyone. No matter your identity or geographic location, someone will think your voice is weird, your accent abnormal. With my Appel Fellowship, I travel through Europe and conduct personal interviews with people about their accents. By understanding how other people see their voices, I can come to terms with my own and help each person recognize the importance and legitimacy of their unique voices, no matter how much society pressures people to fall into a vernacular mold."
"Korean culture emphasizes the value of silence as a sign of respect. But what happens when this silence prevents conversations about important parts of history, namely, the Korean War? My Appel project will explore untold stories about the Korean War, and how those experiences might connect to an overwhelmingly positive view of America that exists in Korea. I plan on visiting three places: Oakland’s Koreatown (specifically Telegraph Avenue), Los Angeles’ Koreatown, and South Korea. In South Korea, I will ask people of various demographics what they know/remember about the Korean War, what they thought of America’s intervention, and their current view of America. In Oakland and Los Angeles, I will ask Korean immigrants and Korean-Americans the same questions, while additionally asking what they’re initial thoughts of America were 6 months into arrival, and how that perspective may have changed over time. Oakland’s Telegraph Avenue presents a unique perspective in that the Korean district was designed, while LA’s Koreatown, which developed naturally, is the oldest and most famous of its kind. These interviews and stories will be compiled into an oral history meant to provide some answers for me and any other Korean-American who may be trying to uncover their rich history."
"In nearly every country around the world, levels of homelessness are on the rise. That is - everywhere but Finland. Over the past few decades, Finland has drastically decreased homelessness across the country by adopting an innovative housing first approach. My own work with homelessness in Southern California has taught me just how difficult it can be to implement solutions like those used in Finland. Through my writing project, I hope to find out how the Finnish people were able to accomplish such incredible progress on the issue of homelessness. I will be traveling to Helsinki, Finland for 6 weeks to research the Finnish approach to homelessness. My writing project will be a blend of personal reflection on my experiences with homelessness in the U.S. and Finland, as well as an investigation into the underlying attitudes towards homelessness in both countries."
"When I walked 500 miles through Spain on El Camino de Santiago, I found myself with a luxury of time, opportunity and freedom to think about life and discover a new culture. During long and reflective walks, conversations with fellow pilgrims and experiences in rural Spanish villages and large cities, I was inspired to further explore my relationship with religion and spirituality, and consider more deeply the way I wish to live my life as an burgeoning adult.
My Appel project is a collection of essays that reflect my experiences and feelings on El Camino de Santiago. By writing daily, I was able to capture my progression of thought throughout my journey in a way that illustrates my personal growth over time. Walking El Camino de Santiago was the most formative experience of my life and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to record and share my journey."
"For my Appel Project, I traveled to Taiwan to interview Taiwanese people about their ethnic, national, and party identities in relation to their perspective on Taiwan-China Cross-Strait Relations. I wanted to connect the less heard stories of Taiwanese people to the statistics that are readily available about their multi-faceted identities. I also wanted to learn more about how Taiwanese people view their past, present, and future in conjunction with China."
"There are millions of untold stories around the world. Living in the small community of CMC, we only hear a tiny fraction of these hardships and triumphs. This summer I will be traveling to Spain to walk a section of El Camino de Santiago. This trail spans 500 miles across Spain through small towns, cities, and countryside. Thousands of people from all over the world walk it every summer. I plan to interview fellow walkers along the way and ask them questions about themselves, their homes, families, and general life. My main focus is to walk away with a story from a moment in their lives that changed them as a person. These moments are rare in life, and I want to capture them to share with others. In the end, I will compile all of these stories into a collection of writings. My hope is to bring other people's stories from around the world back home to CMC."
"For my Appel Writing Project, I will be traveling to India with my close friend, Muthu. Muthu was born in the Tamil Nadu region of India and travels there regularly to visit extended family. I plan to fly to Chennai, India, and stay with Muthu’s family in various places across Tamil Nadu. While there, I hope to write several essays in the style of Michel de Montaigne's essays about my friendship with Muthu and my encounter with Tamil culture. While Montaigne wrote his essays from the isolation of his library, I plan to write my essays while immersed in an unfamiliar geographic, cultural, religious, and moral matrix. In his essay On friendship, Montaigne writes about his friendship with Etienne de La Boétie. He writes that friendship “is a spiritual thing and the soul is purified by its practice.” Through this project, I hope to purify my own soul by learning more about my friend Muthu and his upbringing."
"Having lived in Wuhan, I consider myself truly to understand the city. When the pandemic hit, I was one of the first people to know about the crisis in the world. I found myself in the center of this "tornado" imposed on all of us. I remember leaving the downtown area in the middle of the night, right before the lockdown; I remember not stepping out of my house for six months; I remember hearing bad news about people my family was close to. My personal experience led me to spend more time thinking about the issue. One of my biggest curiosities was the role of the media in this ongoing crisis. As someone who traveled from Wuhan to California amid the pandemic, I observed the varying approaches between media in America and China. This got me wondering about the extent and the origin of the different coverage and how that affected people's lives. In my project, instead of giving general and broad information about the media's different representation of Wuhan, I want to put together a compilation of short stories based on interviews with individuals from other countries to show the influence of the pandemic on different people. By comparing these stories, readers can better understand the various roles of media throughout the pandemic."
Description coming soon.
"For my Appel fellowship project, I have taken a DNA test to find out more about my ethnicity and roots in hopes that I will be able to understand more about my family and where we come from. I will be using the information I gather from this DNA test to guide me around the world, visiting the countries where my DNA test connects me too. I'll be capturing my experiences and new perspective on the different cultures I am introduced to in the forms of daily journal entries, short memoirs and interview memos. If I am able to get my hands on a camera, I will also try to add a photographic component to my project (as I have been doing professional photography for over 3 years now) hoping to visually capture some of the emotions and sentiments in my writing."
"For my Appel project I plan to visit my family’s hometown and important cultural sites all across Japan. Growing up as a Japanese-American, I often felt a disconnect between me and my father's country. I seek to rekindle this relationship with Japan, while also exploring my own personal identity as a Half-Japanese American. Throughout this experience I will co-author a personal essay, with my project partner Leo, in which we explore our connection to our heritage and Japanese identity. I will offer the perspective of a Japanese-American, while Leo shares his perspective as a born and raised Japanese individual. I hope for this writing project to act as a guide for Japanese Americans or any first-generation American, in which I detail how to connect with your home country's culture while also highlighting the importance of not losing cultural ties."
"As a first-generation American who cannot speak Hindi, trips to visit my family in India paradoxically emphasized rather than diminished the distance I felt from my family’s culture. It was only a few years ago that I recognized a fundamental piece of Indian-ness within myself: my tastebuds, which are the reason I am taking on this project. Indian cooking is not just spectacular because it’s delicious, but because of the practices and history surrounding it. A simple brilliance exists in the exchange of one generation’s entire culinary repertoire to the next through folk knowledge. Hours spent at the stove pay off as the younger learns through doing while the older looks on. A fundamental problem with continuing this tradition is globalization.
My project seeks to provide a solution for the problem that globalization poses for the exchange of Indian cooking through folk knowledge. I am travelling to India to stay with my Aunt for two weeks, during which she will teach me the most important recipes from my late grandmother's repertoire. My Aunt, who moved in with my uncle and my grandparents when she got married, spent thirty years learning from my grandmother. While learning how to cook through folk knowledge, I plan to transcribe the intricacies of the process, although this seems somewhat sacreligious, and document the process. I will also collect anecdotes about my grandmother and explore broader research questions about Indian cooking. I will put all of these aspects together to create a cookbook that somehow replicates and encompasses folk knowledge, and hopefully publish it."
"The fabrics of Thailand boast incredible beauty in their designs, most often reflected in the intricate weavings of each fabric. Behind these weavings lie stories: folklore of a specific region; linen threads revealing an important scene from one of Thailand's national epics; or even the rising of the sun over a river in a Northern province. No matter what story is being told, there lies a certain magic to it that I seek to explore, and bring into new life through my own writing. I plan to create a series of written pieces, each inspired by its own fabric from a different Thai region. To culminate this project, I will then sew a dress from all the collected fabrics. I want my stories to weave into one another, as will the dress I create — silken stories, if you will."
"Music has the ability to transcend a moment in time and leave you with a tangible memory. To me, my music is a storehouse of the collection of stories and experiences I pick up along the way. This summer I travelled to over 10 cities across Austria and Italy for a project I called the Sonic Skyline: I was able to create an album of music inspired by different features in the city skylines. Gathering different sounds and stories, the songs capture lost moments in history of people, paintings, and places in hopes of bringing them back to life even in a small way."
"For my Appel project, I will be exploring and cultivating my spirituality through intense, immersive spiritual experiences. This will involve studying two spiritual practices: mediation and yoga. First, I'll participate in a 10-day silent meditation retreat at a Vipassana meditation center in Vancouver. These retreats are meditation boot camps - participants meditate roughly ten hours per day, only stopping for meals or private conversations with the teachers. Then, I'll travel to the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in upstate New York, where I’ll enroll in a month-long yoga teacher certification course. The schedule consists of four hours of yoga practice, two hours of group meditation, and two hours of yogic philosophy each day. My writing project will consist of two, complementary components: a poetry project and a series of transcribed interviews with my spiritual teachers. Combining these writing projects into one booklet - my reflective journal - will generate an interplay between my internal experience and external teachings. The journal will include my poems displayed in chronological order with snippets of each interview spliced in between. This will showcase the lessons I’m learning alongside how I’m processing them."
"I will be staying in Oaxaca, Mexico with a homestay family through Child Family Health International for a month this summer. While there, I will shadow physicians at different hospitals and clinics, as well as take Spanish lessons at a local school. My writing project will be a collection of writings and pictures that highlight the medical setting as well as the culture and people I encounter."