Environmental studies major Theresa Edick ’18 of Dublin, N.H., was one of 20 scholars from around the world – and the only undergraduate – chosen to participate in a week-long fellowship this month in San Francisco with The Unschool of Disruptive Design, an international organization that aims to activate positive social change by facilitating experiential knowledge labs.

The Unschool describes itself as “a small startup that has been busy building a global community of emerging leaders and established professionals who work to proactively and provocatively disrupt the status quo for positive change.” Previous Unschool fellowships have taken place in Berlin; São Paulo; and Melbourne, Australia. The Unschool describes them as “adventures into social innovation and activated change-making.” The programs cover topics such as systems thinking, sustainability, research strategies and cognitive science.

“My brother told me about the Unschool’s founder, Leyla Acaroglu, who has a TED Talk about sustainability,” said Edick. While researching Acaroglu and the Unschool, she stumbled upon the fellowship application and applied on a whim.

In addition to receiving a scholarship from the Unschool, Edick’s experience is made possible by financial backing from Colby-Sawyer. As soon as she was notified of her acceptance into the program, Edick met with her adviser, Jennifer White ’90, assistant professor of Environmental Studies and director of Sustainability. White urged Edick to apply for student aid from the college. After explaining the benefits of the fellowship to Susan D. Stuebner, president of the college, and meeting with Financial Services, Edick received the support necessary for her to participate in the program.

“Only 20 participants are chosen from approximately 650 international applicants,” said White, “and these individuals are primarily young professionals, not students, with backgrounds as designers, activists, entrepreneurs, educators and change agents.” She added that the entire Environmental Science program is proud of Edick.

“It’s really cool that Colby-Sawyer is helping me to do this,” Edick said. “I can’t wait to come back and share what I learned.”