Once again, the Library Media Center is helping hardworking students earn the scholarships they need, all by simply reading. The BC Reads! program is a literacy program aimed to strengthen literacy practices of students by having everyone read a “common book,” a literary work selected every academic year by an official selection committee. The common book for this year is “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black tobacco farmer and the journey of her cells, known as HeLa cells. Taken from Henrietta in the 1950s without her knowledge, HeLa cells have enabled scientists to generate vaccines against polio, techniques for cloning and provided the foundations for gene mapping, in-vitro fertilization and countless other advances. Meanwhile Henrietta’s children have struggled to make ends meet, learning years later about the cancerous cells taken from their mother and the profits being made from discoveries based on Henrietta’s biological material.
“[‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’] brings a lot of current situations into play … it goes into a look at healthcare, healthcare in the 1950s and the racial situation there … [and] who owns tissue when your bodily tissue is taken from you,” said Wilma Dougherty, chair of the BC Reads! Selection Committee and a reference librarian at the LMC.
Students who have read the selection now must create a presentation that addresses the themes of the book while drawing original, insightful inferences, whether intuitive or analytical, from the text. A wide range of formats will be accepted: students may use practically whatever format they desire to get their points across, from traditional essays to modern interpretive dance. Tech-savvy readers can feel free to create a software program or design a website, if they are inclined to do so. Those choosing to create a video should make sure that their content is original, all sources are cited, and should not be published elsewhere (YouTube, etc.). Producing, directing, camera work and editing must be credited.
Once their presentations are complete, students must obtain an endorsement from a faculty member concerning the suitability of their proposed project. Endorsements may be provided by teaching faculty, library faculty and faculty associated with the various laboratories. Faculty members may not judge their own students.
After collecting an approval, students should write a statement of 100 words or fewer indicating the form of the student’s submission and its connection to “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” They should then turn in the presentation, endorsement and statement to the Reference Desk or Circulation Desk in the Library Media Center, D126. The deadline for submitting a presentation for the scholarship is Feb. 3, 2014. There will be two $1,000 scholarships, one of which is reserved exclusively for students enrolled in the developmental English program.
For more information regarding the submission requirements, visit the Reference Desk at the Library Media Center or their website, www.bellevuecollege.edu/lmc/bcreads.html