Modesto grad at Northwestern wins graduate scholarship
Northwestern University undergraduate Conner VanderBeek, a Modesto High School graduate, won a $34,000 Beinecke Scholarship that will support his graduate education in music composition.
VanderBeek is in his fourth year as a five-year senior majoring in music composition in the Bienen School of Music and Asian studies at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, according to a press release from Northwestern. With the Beinecke Scholarship, he plans to pursue both topics at Oxford University, Yale University or the New England Conservatory.
VanderBeek envisioned himself as a professional pianist until he developed stress fractures in his hands as a high school junior, the result of too many hours trying to master Chopin’s Etude in C-Sharp Minor. At Northwestern, he began to study Hindi to satisfy Weinberg’s language requirement. And the study of Hindi led him to South Asian studies. Because his mother is from Punjab, a northwestern province of India, he already spoke fluent Punjabi and had exposure to Sikhism, a religion founded in the Punjab region.
“Composition is part of my personal and musical identity,” VanderBeek, a 2010 graduate of Modesto High’s International Baccalaureate program, said in the press release. “South Asian studies is part of my cultural or ‘where do I belong in the world’ identity.”
Most of his ethnographic explorations have involved the Sikh temple in Chicago, where he is a member. In independent study with Inna Naroditskaya, associate professor of musicology, he is researching Sikh weddings in Chicago as well as current literary theory.
The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by the board of directors of the Sperry and Hutchinson Co. to provide substantial scholarships for exceptional undergraduates to pursue graduate education. Colleges and universities can select only one student from their school to apply for the award. VanderBeek was one of 20 undergraduates out of 88 students selected by their institutions to compete for the prestigious scholarship.
VanderBeek is the son of Modesto Bee copy editor Sharon K. Ghag and sportswriter Brian VanderBeek.
Six girls selected
for STEM camp
The Turlock/Modesto chapter of the American Association of University Women has selected six seventh-grade girls to attend Tech Trek, a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) camp at California State University, Fresno, from June 15-21.
The girls selected are: Andrea Brown and Zoe Zuidema, Dan Savage Middle School, Modesto; Alexa Marquez, Ross Middle School, Hughson; Courtney Malmberg, Mountain View Middle School, Crows Landing; and Carolyn Boster and Margaret Creighton, Turlock Junior High School.
This is the 17th year for Tech Trek camps in California. Camps are held at eight university sites throughout California – Davis, Fresno, Irvine, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Stanford and Whittier.
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