Emory student receives fellowship grant for humanities work

By April Hunt | Emory Report | Oct. 6, 2020

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Emory junior Annie Li has received a fellowship grant for her work on the university’s Stories from the Pandemic website. The site collects and publishes stories about experiences related to COVID-19.

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Emory College of Arts and Sciences junior Annie Li has been selected as a 2020-2021 Imagining America Joy of Giving Something (JGS) Fellow for her work on the university’s Stories from the Pandemic website.

Li, a double major in history and sociology, is one of only eight undergraduates nationwide to receive the award. It includes a tuition scholarship, mentorship and financial support for a community arts project.

The pandemic website, launched through Emory Telling and Hearing Our Stories (ETHOS) and the Institute for the Liberal Arts, collects and publishes stories from members of the Emory community about their experiences related to COVID-19. As a fellow with the Interdisciplinary Exploration and Scholarship (IDEAS) program, Li designed the website and logo, curates the stories and publicizes the site on social media and elsewhere.

“Her work on this project was crucial,” says Kim Loudermilk, senior lecturer and director of the IDEAS Fellowship, who nominated Li for the award. “Annie is a passionate advocate for the liberal arts and understands deeply the ways the humanities, art and design can contribute to changing the world for the better.”

In addition to the IDEAS program, Li works as a teaching and research assistant in the Department of Sociology and serves as editor-in-chief of a new Christian thought journal on campus, Emory In Via. She also is a resident advisor in Turman Hall and a member of Journey Church of Atlanta.

A course on Asian-American history that Li took with history assistant professor Chris Suh last spring, which expanded to include discussions of the evolving global pandemic, inspired her community project. She plans to create a film sharing narratives of Chinese Americans in Atlanta regarding their experiences during COVID-19’s emergence in China and later the United States.

The project, she says, will confront the complexities in the experiences of Chinese Americans, including the dichotomy of the “model minority” and “perpetual foreigner” that has reemerged during the pandemic.

“I hope to continue catalyzing and participating in these conversations, bringing my creativity, interdisciplinary perspective and humility as a storyteller,” Li says.

The grant also provides funding for Li to attend the national gathering of Imagining America, a group of higher education institutions that partner with their communities to address issues through the arts, humanities and design.

She is the second Emory recipient of the JGS fellowship in two years. Junior Mario Becerra Alemán was selected last year for his initiative to provide a safe outlet for troubled high school students through digital storytelling journals.