Felix Chen Memorial Fund

The Asian Culture Center of Indiana University is proud to announce Abigail Alyn Grose as this year’s winner of the Felix Chen Memorial Fund. Grose is a graduate student in the Elementary Certification Master's Program (ECMP) through the School of Education.

Her project will use the example of “Indian Boarding Schools” ” – the schools established by the United States government in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century with the goal of culturally assimilating young Native American students into Euro/American culture – to examine issues of cultural tolerance, the challenges ethnic and racial minorities face living in a pluralistic society, the ethnic histories of the native peoples of the U.S., and issues of discrimination and prejudice.

Through her lesson plan of guided discussions, inquiry based learning, and examination of primary source documents including photographs, interviews, letters, and diaries, students will not only explore the sometimes turbulent historical relationship between state-sponsored education and multi-culturalism, but also will develop the tools to critically examine their own education within the framework of a pluralistic, democratic society. Grose hopes that students can learn from these experiences and “identify possible solutions for addressing issues of cultural tolerance in the future.”

The $250 award will go toward obtaining readings and photographs through online sources and a variety of text and trade books. Guest speakers from the Indiana University Department of Anthropology and former teachers with the American Indian Reservation Project, if available, will provide additional commentary on contemporary practices in Native American education. The proposed lesson will be taught to sixth grade students at University Elementary School in Bloomington, Indiana and addresses Indiana Sixth Grade Social Studies Standards, Geography, and Human Systems.

“I am drawn to education because I find it incredibly challenging and exciting. There is no "one-size-fits-all" or perfect formula a teacher can apply to provide each and every student with the best possible education for him/her,” says Grose. She adds, “Diversity and diversity education is a crucial component of education today because the world in which we live is increasingly diverse, and students must be prepared to live in such a world… they need to understand both the benefits and the challenges of living in a pluralistic society.”

The Felix Chen Memorial Fund was established to honor the life of Felix Chen, a special needs child who died in 2004 at only 6 years old. Through the love and commitment of his mother, Lingling Chen, this fund supports educational programs that bring awareness to cultural and ethnic diversity. This grant supports initiatives aimed at enlightening area school children about the differences among various groups of people, the core of human concern, and humanitarian interests that affect all people.

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