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CS senior Alice Tang recipient of the Martin A. Dale ’53 Fellowship

Karin Dienst, Office of Communications

Princeton senior Xiaodi Alice Tang AB'18 has received the Martin A. Dale ’53 Fellowship to spend a year after graduation to pursue projects of special interest. 

Tang, a computer science major, seeks to develop a series of workshops, to be held in schools and community centers across the U.S. and China, that integrate STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and the arts.

The fellowship, created by 1953 Princeton alumnus Martin Dale, provides a $35,000 grant for a senior to spend the year after graduation on “an independent project of extraordinary merit that will widen the recipient’s experience of the world and significantly enhance the recipient’s growth and intellectual development.”

Alice Tang

Xiaodi Alice Tang
Photo by Shruthi Rajasekar

Tang’s time at Princeton speaks to her interests in STEM and the arts.

She is a member of the Edwards Collective, a group of students who live together in a residential community in Mathey College that celebrates the humanities and creative arts. She performs with the Chapel Choir, Glee Club, Princeton Pianists Ensemble and Princeton Opera Company.

Tang is also pursuing a certificate in quantitative and computational biology. Over the last three summers, she worked on lab projects in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Molecular Biology and Quantitative and Computational Biology. She is a student ambassador with the Council on Science and Technology.

Tang was born in Chengdu, China, and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since age 5.

Tang said that central to her Dale project, “Erasing the Boundaries,” is the question, “What beauty lies at the intersection of different disciplines?”

She said a course she took, “Transformations in Engineering and the Arts,” was particularly inspiring in that it “existed to answer [that] question.”

In addition to leading hands-on workshops, Tang hopes to document and reflect on the process through photographs, drawings and journalism — especially pertaining to local cultural values and expectations regarding STEM, arts and education. She said, “I hope to spark conversation among students, educators and parents about pedagogy, and inspire, especially, children to believe in the accessibility of all domains of knowledge — especially when understood from interdisciplinary perspectives.”

On her proposed workshop syllabus are activities such as crafting microcontroller-driven instruments, including fretboard interfaces and paper pianos, as well as exploring mathematics in nature through biological illustrations and pinhole cameras.

Aynsley Vandenbroucke, a lecturer in dance and the Lewis Center for the Arts, taught Tang in 2016 in the course “Power, Structure and the Human Body,” and observed Tang’s creativity and sense of purpose.

“In our class together, Alice brought deep curiosity and passion to everything we read, made or discussed,” Vandenbroucke said. “I could always see a new question brewing in her, and whenever she asked these questions of the class, she started whole new areas of exploration and conversation for all of us. She was generous with her time and energy and in her genuine connection with other classmates and with me. Her enthusiasm, intellect, kindness and truly original thinking can’t help but inspire the same in those around her. She makes us better at our work and at thinking beyond our work. She will inspire students and new connections across fields next year. I can’t wait to see what develops!”

After she completes her fellowship, Tang hopes to share what she learned at collaborative makerspaces and cultural centers in the U.S. and China, potentially also creating an interactive book. Later, she plans to attend graduate school.

For the full list of Dale Fellowship and Summer Award receipients, click here.

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