Espana | 2020 John-Alex Mason ECS Scholarship Recipient

March 03, 2020

Estin N. ’20 is the 2020 recipient of the John-Alex Mason Experience-Centered Se

Senior Estin N. ’20 has studied Spanish since the 1st grade, but he hasn’t had the opportunity to experience a full immersion in the language — until now. He is traveling to Granada, Spain, this week as the 2020 recipient of the John-Alex Mason Experience-Centered Seminar (ECS) Scholarship.

“It means a lot to me. It gives me pride,” he said of receiving the scholarship. “One of the main draws for me with this ECS is I’ve never done home-stays before, and being able to basically have a walk-in-the-life of a culture that we’re studying is a phenomenal opportunity.”

John-Alex Mason, a CSS alumnus of the Class of 1994, had been active in the life of the school and even planned and led a Blues ECS alongside faculty. As a student, his passions were explored and nurtured at CSS. His family credits CSS for offering transformative educational experiences such as ECSs that allowed John-Alex to pursue his music career and become a well-known Blues musician. After John-Alex’s passing in October 2011, memorial gifts from family and friends established a scholarship fund to fully fund an ECS experience for a deserving student.

Estin and other students on the Espana ECS will spend six of their 12 days in Spain living with local families. They will hone their Spanish language skills, explore topics related to the Moorish culture and its influence in the Spanish culture, and engage in meaningful service learning projects. They will seek to answer these essential questions: What was the influence of the Moorish culture in the Spanish architecture, language and culture? How is the Moorish heritage still present in Spain?

“I haven’t had the chance to take a Spanish class this year since I completed AP Spanish my sophomore year and Spanish Literature my junior year,” Estin said. “With this ECS, I’ll get to keep up with my learning of the language and finally put it into an application outside of the classroom, while experiencing the amazing cultures we’ve learned about in Spanish 3 and AP Spanish.”

In previous years, Estin immersed himself in the following Experience-Centered Seminars: Law and Order, an exploration of the inner workings of the American system of criminal justice; Freedom on the River, how the Mississippi River influenced the freedom of American literature, history, society, economics, and art; and Iceland, Earth and Energy, to study the economic, environmental, and societal implications of using and developing various energy sources.

He joined The Colorado Springs School as a 4th grader and Dessert Theatre sparked a passion for the stage that continues today. He has been in every Upper School play and musical. This spring, he will be playing the lead role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Estin co-founded the Upper School Improv Club, and he is also active in six other clubs, including National Honor Society, Garage Band, and robotics. He also plays tennis and lacrosse for the Kodiaks.

For his Senior Capstone project “Experiencing Engineering,” Estin will study nuclear energy and radiation processes while consulting with his mentor, Nabil Mansour P’16, P’20, P’25, an Engineering Manager at Radiation Test Solutions. Estin will conduct several experiments, including irradiating 3-D printed plastics to examine how the tensile strength degrades and electronic transistors to examine how the gain degrades.

Through hands-on learning and getting a background in the theory of nuclear processes, I will be able to see if the field of study matches my interests and intended major,” he said. “I will get to study first-hand the applications this field has in the real world and what they mean.”

Estin plans to pursue two Master’s degrees, one in physics and one in astrophysics, and a doctorate in nuclear physics. He was recently accepted into the Illinois Institute of Technology and is keeping his options open before making a final college decision.

I’m interested in helping the world as much as possible, and I’m sort of an odd optimistic cynic - that’s how I suppose I would describe myself,” he said. “So if the world is destined for the worst, then I believe it is the duty of us to be able to help keep it from that path.”

More about Experience-Centered Seminars (ECSs)
Experience-Centered Seminars (ECSs) are an integral part of the Upper School program and give our students the skills necessary to conduct large-scale investigations in college and beyond. Each March, our students participate in a three- to four-week-long study that immerses them in academic subjects through a hands-on, interdisciplinary approach. ECS’s approach broad, interdisciplinary questions to optimize the teaching of critical thinking, organized inquiry, in-depth analysis, and synthesis of information. They demand direct active participation and primary research in an environment outside of the classroom. Academic requirements include oral and written presentations, term papers, group work and projects, or final exams. The ECS experience sets our students apart as they move into the collegiate world and beyond.

Click here to see this year’s ECS blogs that students will be contributing to.

More About the John-Alex Mason Scholarship
John-Alex Mason '94Established by friends and family of alumnus, John Alex-Mason ‘94, the John-Alex Mason ECS Scholarship is a full, merit-based memorial scholarship for a deserving student to explore their passion through an ECS. John-Alex Mason played an active role in the life of the school and even planned and led a Blues ECS alongside faculty. As a student, John-Alex’s passions were explored and nurtured at CSS. His family credits CSS for offering transformative educational experiences such as ECSs that allowed John-Alex to pursue his music career and become a well-known Blues musician. An application and essay are submitted by students and reviewed by a scholarship committee.

Past Recipients:

2013: Travis McDowell - The Blues

2014: Carl Churchill - Peru

2015: Kristi Tilghman - Sojourn in South East Asia

2016: John Churchill - Cuernavaca, Mexico

2017: Victor Wang - Life in Scandinavia

2018: Emma Walker - Peru

2019: Hannah Gebhardt - Madagascar

About The Colorado Springs School (CSS)
CSS offers an experiential education curriculum for PreKindergarten – 12th graders. Through superior academics and mentoring, The Colorado Springs School prepares students to think independently and to meet the needs of a dynamic world with leadership, ingenuity, problem-solving skills, and personal integrity. Learn more at www.css.org or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheColoradoSpringsSchool

Estin N. ’20 is the 2020 recipient of the John-Alex Mason Experience-Centered Se
John-Alex Mason '94