David White, of Braintree, Mass., is a graduate student of interdisciplinary studies at the Goddard Graduate Institute in Plainfield, Vt., where he is writing his thesis on mimesis and representation of Native spirituality in American cultural narratives. His research areas of interest are cultural memory and social identity in contemporary American visual culture.
He has been selected as research assistant to interdisciplinary artist and faculty member Devora Neumark (MFAIA) on a work entitled “Ageing in Place: Understanding Older People's Perceptions and Experiences.” (Dr. Neumark is part of a team closing out a multi-year Ageing in Place research project, directed by Dr. Nancy Guberman of the School of Social Work, University of Quebec, Montreal, and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.)
Says David about his Goddard experience:
"Like many who find their way to Goddard, my past experiences with education have not exactly been what I would call positive. As someone who has always been curious about everything, my ceaseless questions and frequent unwillingness to do things the way that they are 'supposed' to be done made me a less than ideal candidate for the public school system.
"After years of being shut down by teachers and administrators, by the time I finished high school I had thoroughly convinced myself that I was not the type of person that goes to college. Still, thanks to some strong encouragement from friends, I decided to take a shot at it after someone had recommended Goddard to me.
"It's hard to sum up my feelings about Goddard in a concise statement, but for the first time in my life I didn't associate education and curiosity with guilt or shame, but rather with enthusiasm and passion. I have been encouraged to pursue my areas of interest in ways that make sense to me, and am constantly motivated by peers and faculty who, despite differences of studies or opinions, are there to support and each other through their words and commitments.
"My recent work with Devora Neumark on ageing in place has been a wonderful experience and a tremendous opportunity to gain experience in the field. As someone whose areas of interest and work tend to be theoretical or abstract, working on this project has helped me gain a better sense of how to apply my academic interests in material culture and visual representations to real world situations in an effort to achieve positive outcomes."