The Dwight Fund: Student Impact Beyond the Circle


Arjun Ray ’24 at his digital literacy workshop.

Starting in late February, the rigorous selection process for the coveted George H.P. Dwight 1945 Internship Fund began. Described as a project advancing “causes of economic development, community building, education, health, job training, or youth development programs in students’ home communities” by the Groton Community Engagement grant faculty committee, the opportunity seeks to serve as a stepping stone for any students hoping to make an impact on their community during the summer. 

By late May, the grant faculty committee honored just a handful of students for their promising project proposals. Among the fund projects, Arjun Ray ’24 and David Wang ’23 have conducted initiatives that highlight the true breadth and depth of the difference that Groton students are making in their communities. 

Arjun Ray ’24 – Reducing the Inequities of Education in Philadelphia

Having grown up in Philadelphia, Arjun Ray ‘24 had always heard of the “severe disparities in students’ access to devices, internet connection, and academic resources” in local communities. With these problems only exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, Arjun set out to study the scale of declining digital literacy rates and educational opportunities by demographic shifts. 

Geared with data on the gravity of educational inequity, Arjun received guidance from Professor Fernando Reimers of Harvard University and a graduate fellow at the University of Pennsylvania to structure his very own five-day digital literacy workshop at local libraries. The workshops assessed the digital capabilities of students and informed students about basic tools to navigate academic materials online. 

Further, he conducted a nationwide poll surveying hundreds of parents on technology and school during the pandemic. The insight he gathered allowed him to analyze student outcomes based on geographic, cultural, demographic, and economic factors. He plans to meet with local education policymakers to explore potential reforms in problematic K-12 systems. 

David Wang ’23 –  Empowering Kids with the Ability to Bring their Ideas to Life 

Having fallen in love with design and programming early on as a student, David Wang ’23 sought to share his expertise with younger students who may not have had the same opportunities that he did. 

David partnered with the Groton township’s Prescott Community Center to create a summer course “on the basics of product design, 3D printing, and computer programming.” Through extensive planning, David’s vision transformed into a free, week-long summer course for sixteen middle school students with one objective: to allow for the exploration of computer-based creations and programming.

But David’s work did not stop there: He worked with the Groton Destination Committee and Groton Visit Center to implement a centralized calendar on the visitor center’s website detailing and promoting local events such as yard sales or celebrations such as Grotonfest. The Prescott Community Center said it greatly appreciated David’s drive to both create a free program for students and an organized community event planner.