Yasmeen Porter ’22 of Woodlawn, who just completed her sophomore year at Saint Ursula Academy, was awarded a full scholarship to the 2020 Telluride Association Sophomore Seminar (TASS) at Cornell University called Black Protest from Slavery to Black Lives Matter. The six-week-long educational summer program is centered around a college-level seminar for gifted and highly motivated high school sophomores.
Admission to TASS is highly selective. Saint Ursula teachers and guidance counselors first nominated Yasmeen for candidacy to TASS. After completing a rigorous application and submitting an academic recommendation and transcript, Yasmeen was chosen as a TASS finalists from an already competitive group of applicants. Each candidate receives a personal interview by an associate member of the Telluride Association board, after which a central committee selects the scholarship recipients. Due to COVID-19, this year’s seminar took place online.
Yasmeen said she felt the seminar would be an opportunity to improve her writing and public speaking skills and to learn more about issues pertaining to communities of color.
“As people who know me understand, I love writing and plan on pursuing a career in the field. Attending TASS mimicked the liberal arts educational environment that I am looking at for further education. It also helped me see how black creatives became extremely successful and how I can do the same.”
Yasmeen said she applied to TASS because “I wanted to get a chance to learn and engage in intellectual conversation about black and ethnic studies. I don't think that either are discussed enough in school.”
Yasmeen said she felt well-prepared by Saint Ursula to apply for this scholarship. “SUA helped me in my development to be ready to apply by giving me an education where I don't accept that there is never an answer. Due to this teaching style, I have become very interested in different philosophical ideas, and this was evident in my application and interview. I don't know if I would have been confident enough to apply if it weren't for SUA, specifically my counselors Mrs. Roman and Mrs. Jeurgensen who encouraged me to try and English teacher Ms. Adkins, who wrote my letter of recommendation.