This month’s Scholar Spotlight is focused on Valerie Sloane, who works at the Foundation on the Bezos Scholars Program, Students Rebuild, and many other random and unique projects in our office.
What are you up to right now? What projects and new ideas are exciting you personally, academically, professionally?
Thanks for asking! Professionally I have been working on a really cool magazine of student recipes submitted for the Students Rebuild Hunger Challenge, fun videos for Students Rebuild and the Bezos Scholars Program, and some other soon-to-be-announced surprises for BSP coming in September. Personally, I’ve taken up socially distanced boxing, have gotten my house ultra-organized (thanks covid!), and continue to have many summertime camping adventures and misadventures in the great Pacific Northwest (even bumped into a bear… in the deep wilderness… at night!).
Have you been keeping in touch with your Bezos Scholar Alumni, and if so — how?
I’ve been keeping in touch with many Scholars – and even just returned from a trip to Aspen, Colorado. I stopped by the Aspen Institute to see the renovation of our great Boettcher Building (from the outside!) and most importantly caught up with Aspen locals and honorary BSP “alum” Glenn Smith and Eric Mead!
Which influential books, albums, podcasts, or films would you personally recommend to the BSP community of curious minds?
I’ve been reading “The Swerve – How the World Became Modern” by Stephan Greenblatt. It’s about the ancient Roman philosophical epic, "On the Nature of Things" by Lucretius – a text that challenged the nature of religion and even suggested the existence of atoms, long before science was able to confirm them. It’s about literary history, science, philosophy, art – and my favorite topic, ancient and early modern history, all wrapped up into one.
Who or what are you finding inspiration in right now?
I’m finding inspirations in my friends, family, colleagues, and especially the young people in my life who continue to fight and advocate for racial justice, human rights, our environment, and countless other causes that make the world better for others. Reading about such leaders is a pleasure – but knowing such leaders is a most precious gift.
Anything else you want to share with the BSP community?
Bezos Scholars number among my most favorite people – and I have self-described impeccable taste in both music and people. Keep pushing for good, finding joy in unexpected places, and being kind! Miss you all and don’t be strangers.