Informatics Ph.D. student Marie Tsaasan recently received the Brython Davis Fellowship for a second year. Funds for the fellowship were donated to the University of California in 1967 by the Brython Parry David Trust to provide financial support for children of U.S. Navy and Marine veterans.
Tsaasan was born in a Naval hospital and comes from a long line of service members. Her father served in the U.S. military for 15 years and was deployed in the Vietnam War. When Tsaasan was 12 years old, however, she says her father made the difficult to decision to “change the nature of his service to humankind.” After being “honorably discharged as a conscientious objector,” she says, he went on to “live a life of community service” and is now a special education teacher. “Service in many forms is part of the family values I learned from the veteran central to my life.”
Tsaasan will forever feel a sense of obligation to service members, who she says “commit all of themselves fully, bodily, to the will of the entire nation.” However, like her father in his later years, she is drawn to “service to humanity.” Her research examines practices of inclusion in playful learning contexts, and she is currently studying how student participation in the Orange County High School Esports League is tied to STEM education and socioemotional learning outcomes. The fellowship will help Tsaasan by covering her resident fees for Spring 2018 and by providing a $6,000 stipend, paid in three monthly installments. Tsaasan says she’s honored to receive the fellowship, adding, “I am grateful for the recognition and assume a responsibility that my work be of service.”
— Shani Murray