We’re looking forward to an exciting new semester of Fast Track: our honors program that grants students dedicated space to prototype and playtest personal passion projects. This fall, longtime DSI faculty Maggie Breslin and Asi Burak have returned as mentors for four diverse, hand-selected projects working to address underserved communities seeking to overcome specific cultural limitations.
Coming Out, Coming Home by Yikun Wang (‘22) is a storytelling project–and also Yikun’s thesis project foundation–compiling the coming out stories of 20+ gay men with the goal of offering guidance and frameworks to members of the LGBTQ+ community who feel unsupported. The project also directly focuses on the impact and challenges faced by the gay community in China, which enforces traditional heteronormative familial and economic structures. By the end of the semester, Yikun hopes to bring together a large supportive community of gay men that allows room for the project to grow in the future.
Creating Language for Non-Traditional Relationships by Pallavi Rawla (‘22) is addressing gaps in traditional Hindi language and the Devanagari script to help normalize queer identities and relationships in India following the 2018 decision to decriminalize homosexuality in the country. Over the course of the semester, she aims to develop an inclusive nomenclature map, and use her experience in typeface design to create a new equally-inclusive font that both embraces historic script and introduces non-traditional elements.
Wanqiu (Nancy) Wang (‘22) and Xianru (Daphne) Luo (‘22) are developing a Miao Embroidery Exhibition to uplift the Miao community–one of the primary national minorities in China. As a group with no formal written language, embroidery has been the primary source of cultural and traditional documentation, but the art is being slowly lost among the younger generations. The duo plans to increase the connection between the younger generation of Miao and their history by experimenting with various mediums and exhibition formats.
Lastly, first year Sungkwon Ha (‘23) will be further developing his company: educational platform OpenLearn. The goal of OpenLearn is to grant students from South Korea access to college-level courses, awards and work opportunities in New York without expensive travel and tuition fees. Since the platform already exists and has completed a few years of successful instruction, Sung Kwon’s fast track goal is to develop a more user-friendly site that best presents the service in order to increase enrollment globally–starting with South America!