Brewster High School sophomore Madison Dakin is one of a select group of students worldwide who will take part in Yale University’s Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) Connect program this summer.
The virtual program is designed to be globally diverse and, according to Yale, “as rigorous and intellectually rewarding as [their] on-campus experience.”
“I am super excited to have the opportunity to take part in this program and to represent Brewster,” Dakin said.
The program is divided into four different courses that are offered in three two-week sessions over the course of the summer. Sessions include Innovations in Science & Technology; Literature, Philosophy & Culture; Politics, Law & Economics; and Solving Global Challenges, which Madison will be attending.
“We’ll be developing solutions to the greatest challenges facing the global community in the 21st century!” Dakin explained. “A main focus will be on the 17 key challenges featured in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Some topics we’ll be discussing are global health, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability, cyber security, and gene editing.”
Dakin said she was inspired to apply to the program after participating in the “We Walk for Water” initiative in Jessica Juska’s freshman English class.
“We learned about the lack of clean water in South Sudan and how it leads to interrupted education, scarcity of food, lack of hygiene, dehydration, and most importantly, deadly diseases,” she said. “Young girls there have to walk six to eight hours a day in order to obtain contaminated water from water holes.”
Dakin said her class walked for six to eight hours, raising nearly $4,000 towards sponsoring a well in South Sudan.
“Participating in the We Walk for Water project last year made me realize that I have an opportunity to make change in the world and that I am capable of working towards solutions to influence lives globally,” she said.
Students in Yale’s Young Global Scholars Connect program will spend about 20 hours a week participating in Yale faculty lectures, breakout sessions, small-scale seminars, simulations and more. There is no homework or course credits. Instead, the program “focuses on encouraging our intellectual curiosities and deepening our understanding of the world around us,” Madison said.
According to the program website, last year’s program included participants from all 50 states as well as students from more than 130 countries. “We are dedicated to a curriculum that remains intensive and collaborative, while continuing to foster connections from across the globe,” the site stated.
The global diversity of the program is a huge plus for Dakin.
“I’m definitely most excited about meeting other kids my age from all around the world who are interested in the same topics as I am,” she said.
Madison hopes to emerge from the program with a new perspective on life.
“Working alongside peers from around the world and learning from their viewpoints on certain topics will broaden my worldview and I hope to gain a better understanding of how I can make a difference in the world,” she said.