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Yi-Fan Lin, Mandarin Teacher, is awarded Lilly Teacher Creativity Grant

Yi-Fan Lin, Mandarin Teacher, is awarded Lilly Teacher Creativity Grant

Ms. Yi-Fan Lin, a Mandarin teacher at Mt. Vernon High School, is one of two fortunate teachers in Hancock County to be awarded a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Grant. This fellowship program provides a select few Indiana teachers up to $12,000 allowing them to explore new opportunities that will inspire them and help in their teaching career. Ms. Lin plans to travel to various Chinatowns across the United States to help her understand her Asian students' experiences in America and share her findings with all students.

Ms. Lin plans to travel to some of the oldest and largest Chinatowns in the country, including Hawaii, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. This educational experience will not take place in just one trip, as Yi-Fan looks to spread them into different breaks beginning in the fall of 2023. 

“It’s a nice surprise,” Ms. Lin shared. “I just feel super excited that I will be able to go on this journey, go to different Chinatowns and learn different stories. I plan to get to know and interact with local people in the context of their daily life practices. Through this natural way to connect with people, I hope to gain an insight into their experiences and find authentic stories.” 

Ms. Lin teaching Mandarin students

The educational opportunity will immerse Yi-Fan in her Asian American culture while she learns how other cities honor and celebrate their Asian roots. Ms. Lin plans to document what she experiences and share the stories with her classes. She is also going to attend a writing conference to improve her creative writing; she will be documenting her experiences in not only English, but Mandarin as well, so she can share her writing with those in Chinese-speaking countries too. 

Ms. Lin also said, “To be able to share the stories that I collect and deliver them well enough to touch upon souls, I would like to improve my creative writing skill, especially in English since it is not my native language. I plan to achieve this goal by attending monthly writing classes offered by The Indiana Writers Center to learn from experienced writers. I would also like to attend The San Francisco Writers Conference, which is one of the largest conferences in the U.S. and it provides writing workshops that serve different goals of writing for all kinds of genres.”

Ms. Lin is a highly admired educator at Mt. Vernon and has been teaching all of her six years in the U.S. at Mt. Vernon. Her colleagues describe her as humble and caring. She says, “The teachers here are very supportive. Some of my coworkers encouraged me to submit this proposal so I really need to thank them for encouraging me.”

Her creativity, aspirations and dedication are all factors that contributed to her obtaining this incredible achievement, and the Mt. Vernon students and staff are looking forward to the stories she will be sharing about this experience. Congratulations Ms. Lin!