Two juniors named Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholars
Stanford juniors HOLDEN GIBBONS, a neuroscience major, and MARC ROBERT WONG, a computer science major, have been awarded scholarships from the Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship Foundation for their commitment to public service, outstanding leadership potential and desire to make a difference in local, national and international communities.
The program was created as a memorial to the late DONALD STRAUSS, ’37, who demonstrated a lifelong commitment to public service and education. The foundation annually awards $15,000 scholarships to California college sophomores or juniors who have reflected a similar commitment.
Gibbons’ project, “Educating and Deploying Student Health Disruptors,” is a pilot education program for at-risk youth that uses urban farm sites as ecology and agriculture classrooms. This work builds on three years Gibbons has spent building a nonprofit urban farming group called Veterans Combating Child Hunger, which turns blighted plots of land into food gardens and then donates the produce to various nonprofit organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House.
Through Strauss Foundation support of the education program, Gibbons hopes to increase young people’s understanding of nutritional principles and help them become ambassadors for healthy decision-making and hope within their families and communities.
ROBERT WONG started TeenTechSF as a high school sophomore to empower the next generation of tech innovators and civic entrepreneurs by providing access to tech resources. Now in its fifth year, TeenTechSF annually connects more than 2,000 students with tech leaders at such organizations as Apple and Zynga. The organization organized in-person events, as well as livestreaming programs, such as the annual TeenTechSF Global Civic Hackathon with partners and chapters in Seattle, New York, Paris, Tunis, Nairobi, Shanghai and Chengdu. Locally, the organization’s hands-on STEM workshops have been featured at the California Academy of Sciences, the San Francisco March for Science, and at schools, libraries and community centers throughout the Bay Area.
Strauss Foundation support will enable TeenTechSF to purchase additional livestream equipment and laptops for coding workshops targeting underserved communities in San Francisco, Oakland and East Palo Alto.
“We are thrilled that Holden and Marc are getting support to sustain and enhance multi-year efforts to serve youth,” said TOM SCHNAUBELT, executive director of the Haas Center for Public Service. “It’s terrific that they are being recognized along with other entrepreneurial students in California who are working side-by-side with community members to address community needs.”