Cullman Scholar Learns 'Life Finds a Way'

When Jingbang ’21 was awarded a Cullman Scholarship in February 2020, he was looking forward to spending his summer on two meaningful projects: creating a documentary film about the world’s largest beach cleanup in Mumbai, India; and interning in the Machine Shop at Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering. Then COVID-19 struck and derailed his plans.

The Cullman Scholar Program was created in 1983 with support from Hugh Cullman '42 to provide KUA students with off-campus study opportunities. When the pandemic swept the nation in March, it impacted the projects of all 10 of KUA’s 2020 scholarship recipients, resulting in some unique and innovative summer experiences.
With international travel a risky proposition and Dartmouth College closed, Jingbang reimagined his summer around the world of business.
He enrolled in a six-week, in-person “Future of the Business World” summer program hosted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. However, by the time the course took off, it had evolved into a two-week, truncated virtual program. Jingbang worked in teams on business simulations around the worldwide oil market, struggling retail businesses taking on large online corporate giants, and entrepreneurial ventures in the COVID-19 landscape. 
Notably, in the final simulation, Jingbang’s group conceived of an app they called Out&About, designed to “track [COVID-19] exposure, display testing certificates, and location history with a QR code scan to allow for more precise contract tracing and to monitor social distancing,” explained Jingbang.
Following the Wharton program, Jingbang stayed in contact with his teammates and together they formed MASKOT Inc., a non-profit organization that donates masks to communities in need by soliciting grants from private companies. The grants go toward production and distribution of high-quality two-ply masks that display the brand logo of each contributing company. As treasurer, Jingbang registered MASKOT Inc. as a 501c3 non-profit and obtained the company trademark. 
So far, MASKOT has secured one grant from language services software giant CSOFT International Ltd., and is processing applications from others. The CSOFT grant led to the production of 270 masks, some of which will be distributed to organizations within the Upper Valley including The Listen Center, the Haven, and the Claremont Food Bank, which are connected to Kimball Union’s Penny Fellowship community service club. 
Reflecting upon his whirlwind experience, Jingbang remarks “If there is one thing I learned this summer, it’s that life finds a way.” And as far as his documentary project goes, he hopes to pursue this opportunity in the summer of 2021.