Between her sophomore and junior years, Stacey Sanders ’98 spent the summer in Florence — a trip that family members said she recalled fondly.
More than a year after Sanders died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, Sanders’ family have recalled her experiences in Italy to establish a fellowship in her memory.
The Stacey Sanders Summer Fellowship will be awarded to a freshman or sophomore in Yale College. The fellowship can be used for an internship or study abroad during the summer but does not have rigid guidelines. It requires recipients to have a creative idea for a project for most of the summer.
The fellowship is aimed at students who would not otherwise be able to have the experience, family members said.
Bryan Koplin ’99, Sanders’ finance, said he and the Sanders family wanted to do something at Yale in Sander’s memory that would maximize the opportunity for students, rather than contributing to a general fund.
He said they based their choice on “what’s going to put the biggest smile on her face.”
Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead will chair the selection committee for the fellowship this year and said he met with the family while they worked on the idea of the fellowship.
“How touched and delighted I’ve been by the generosity of spirit that the Sanders family has shown,” Brodhead said. “In the face of this disaster they’ve wanted to find the means to do a good thing for other young people.”
Brodhead said the fellowship has few restrictions and is designed to enable the student to complete his or her proposed project.
“They wanted it to be for a person who could do something fabulous if they go abroad, but who couldn’t afford to do it,” Brodhead said.
Sanders went to Florence the summer between her sophomore and junior years at Yale, Martha Sanders, Sander’s mother, said. Sanders wanted to spend all four years at Yale, but also wanted the experience of studying abroad, Martha Sanders said.
“Stacey was a person who always felt that you should do and be able to do what would make you happy and fulfill yourself,” Martha Sanders said. “I hope whoever goes on these trips really has a wonderful and memorable time either here in the U.S. or somewhere much farther away.”
Koplin said Sander’s experience in Florence gave her perspective because it gave her an understanding of people from many walks of life.
The fellowship is intentionally broad to allow students to do what they want to do but are limited for financial reasons, said Sander’s father, John Sanders.
“I think it is a wonderful thing to the extent that people who might not have been able to do it otherwise will have the opportunity,” John Sanders said.
Koplin said he knew there were more fellowship opportunities available to juniors, so the fellowship is aimed a underclassmen. Travel abroad can also be a defining experience, so it might help to have it earlier on in a college career, Koplin said.