Kendra Rosencrans, a doctoral candidate in Organizational Systems at Saybrook University, received the Margaret Mead Memorial Award at the 61st World Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences July 9-14, 2017, in Vienna, Austria. Upon hearing of this honor, I asked if Kendra would share her success with me and the community. I am so thrilled she did - what an honor, indeed!
This award commemorates the life and contributions by Margaret Mead to the systems sciences. Mead was the first woman to serve as president of the ISSS in 1972, at a time when it was called the International Society for General Systems Research. Mead was deeply committed to social process, and her view of systems was fundamentally relational. Her work with peoples “the world over emphasized the role of the individual in the collective, and the role of the collective as enabler for the flourishing of the individual.” (www.isss.org).
The Margaret Mead Memorial Award is given to recognize an outstanding student paper that contributes “systems experience, thinking, design, and action that empower individuals in communities, and in so doing, empower communities as purposeful systems in their own right.” (www.isss.org).
In Kendra's words:
"My research paper used a systemic lens to examine the challenges & opportunities that social media offers small nonprofit organizations to expand community support for K-12 education, tempered by the complexities and larger systemic difficulties with social and public commitments to educational funding.
Receiving an award given in the spirit and memory of Margaret Mead was a tremendous honor, and even more meaningful to me, personally, for connections from another part of my life.
In 1984, the year I graduated from high school in a very small town in North Dakota, New York author Jane Howard published her biography on Margaret Mead titled Margaret Mead: A Life. Oddly, unexpectedly, our paths crossed in 1989, when Jane reached out to the Columbia University School of Journalism, where I was a grad student, looking for an assistant. Jane hired me. For a delightful year or so, I spent a lot of time organizing, filing, and feeding cats, and having my worldview expanded even more by Jane, who had spent five years of her life traveling the world to create a portrait in words of Margaret Mead as a daring, brilliant, and flawed, (as we all are), woman who had lived with zest, curiosity, and passion, intellectual and otherwise."
Congratulations, Kendra! Saybrook is proud of you and the work your doing to advance our social change mission.