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Scholarship recipients create art, music, and business blog based on Banana


Edmonds CC Community Read scholarship recipients, left to right, Bethany Friesen, Olivia Yin and Mark Medema.

Edmonds CC Community Read scholarship recipients, left to right, Bethany Friesen, Olivia Yin and Mark Medema.

Bethany Friesen, Mark Medema, and Olivia Yin are recipients of Edmonds CC Community Read scholarships.

The Edmonds College Foundation will award each of the students $1,100 scholarships for their spring quarter tuition. The scholarship recipients will present projects based on the nonfiction book Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World on Tues., March 2 in Mukilteo Hall when the author Dan Koeppel speaks on campus. Koeppel will read from the book and answer questions 12:30-2 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.

To apply for the scholarship, students were asked to first read Banana, which explores the history of America’s most popular fruit. The author, Koeppel, a nature and science writer, has written for magazines including the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Audubon, Popular Science, and National Geographic Adventure.

He is also the author of To See Every Bird on Earth (2005). Banana chronicles the fruit’s history, from early cultivation to modern popularization, and suggests ways to save it from extinction.

Students were then asked to create projects addressing key themes of the book. Each of the scholarship recipients approached the project using their own skills and interests. They will present a business-oriented blog, a hip-hop composition, and two paintings based on the book.

Friesen, who is earning an Associate of Arts degree focused on Business Administration, created a blog, Banana Stand, http://growingcapital.wordpress.com, where she examines the business implications of the banana trade. Her posts explore the ways capital is made and handled from one country to another and she furthers the idea of consumer responsibility, pointing out how buying decisions affect developing nations and their economies.

“Our purchasing power can and does make a difference,” she said.

Medema, who is studying audio engineering and fashion and retail merchandising, composed a hip-hop song about bananas with lyrics inspired by the book.

Yin, who is working on an Associate of Science degree and also takes art classes, combines her interest in art and science in her paintings. They are inspired by the biology and history of the fruit, including the idea in the opening chapter of Banana that the scientific names of the plants suggest that the banana tree was the biblical “tree of knowledge” and the banana the true “forbidden fruit.”

The Edmonds College Foundation supports access, success, and excellence for students, faculty, and staff at Edmonds College. For more information call 425.640.1884, email foundation@edmonds.edu or go to www.edmonds.edu/foundation.