A group of participating sophomore students visited the Fernbank Museum of Natural History to see the film “Dream Big.” Photo: Genna Schwarz

For the first year ever at Pace, the Emerging Leaders Program has been initiated for upper school students. This program allows participating students to link their core curriculum to a more personalized course of study within one of the ICGL’s five areas of concentration: Science and Technology, Culture and Arts, Social Entrepreneurship and Business, Service and Sustainability, and Public Policy and International Relations. During sophomore year, the students select an ICGL focus area that they will then research throughout the rest of their time at Pace.

Guided by the ICGL faculty, students will take and complete core-curriculum courses within their chosen area of concentration, as well as attend related extracurricular events and programs. Students learn to dive deeper into their field of study through participating in an internship or similar activity, contributing to the Emerging Leaders Program blog, and eventually enrolling in a senior capstone course in global leadership.

“My hope is that students will have the opportunity, through structured dialogue and reflection with mentors and teachers, to discover and explore an area of significant importance for them,” said ICGL Director and history teacher Trish Anderson. “By the end of the program, I hope that students will have produced some significant body of work – whether a traditional paper, or a more creative piece such as a film, or a play, or a photographic installation – that they can be proud of and that they can share with the members of our community.” 

Ms. Anderson chose to take on the responsibility of being ICGL Director because of her dedication to expanding students’ knowledge about real world issues. “As the Director of the ICGL program, I am always trying to find ways to engage students with the world around them,” said Ms. Anderson. “I, along with Zeena Lattouf [Associate Director of the ICGL program] feel passionate about being a part of a program in the Upper School that gets students thinking about what they are learning, why they are learning it, what else they would like to learn about, how to approach learning with a global lens in place, and how they can connect their learning to their own journey of personal leadership.”

Participating students were required to go and see a film called “Dream Big: Engineering Our World” at the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta in early April. “At first I wasn’t looking forward to seeing the required IMAX movie,” said sophomore Calla Kaminsky. “But it ended up being one of the most interesting films I have ever seen.” The film featured several instances all over the world where modern technology and construction were needed to improve certain situations. For example, the film showed children in Haiti who were in need of a way to cross the river to get to school each day. “A bunch of volunteers built a bridge for the children to use every day on their way to school,” said sophomore Leah Mautner. “With my area of concentration being service and sustainability, the film really inspired me to want to help out in the community as I looked at the smiling faces of the children once the bridge was finished.”

Students concentrating on Science and Technology were also inspired by the film. The movie showed how cities with huge populations, like Hong Kong, are running out of space for all of its residents to live. Engineers want to create more living space vertically. However, taller structures must accommodate for strong winds and other natural complications. “The engineers found a way to create the building with a twist design so it was more secure because the wind couldn’t knock it over,” said sophomore Conor Hartman. “I learned that science is always a factor in creating successful architectural advancements.”

As well as looking to deepen their learning and understanding of specific topics, the students will have increased their leadership capacity by demonstrating commitment to a long-term project. “It takes a lot of dedication to be part of this program,” said sophomore Andrew Ladden. “From lectures to films to meetings, the program uses up a lot of out-of-school time, but I’m ready to commit to it.” By the end of the program, the Emerging Leaders are hoping to be able to analyze global issues from multiple perspectives, as well as understand the interdependence of social, political, technological, economic and environmental systems. 

“I hope that the Emerging Leaders Program will help Pace high school students connect with the process of learning and discovery in a new or deeper way that values the classroom even more genuinely as a space for scholarship; a way that has no grades attached; a way that allows for redirection and even failure without affecting the transcript; a way that is self-directed rather than requirement driven; and a way that allows them to develop a set of personal priorities to contribute to the development of a more just, peaceful and sustainable world,” said Ms. Anderson.