UA Gateway Scholars Find Some Peace of Mind in Meditation


Shenia Girvan is a junior at UA Gateway School in NYC. She recently began wondering what might help her better cope with situations that make her feel uncertain or anxious- thoughts that were triggered by her recent new role as an intern. Faced with new tasks, new responsibilities, new challenges and new people- Shenia and her classmate Ronny Popoteur, who was going through a similar experience, set out to explore the process of meditation. Shenia discussed options with her teacher Adrian Sookchan and the school’s project mentor, Mary Ellen Sullivan of NPower. Ms. Sullivan was quick to suggest the Zen Mountain Monastery in Boerum Hill Brooklyn, a temple she had visited on previous occasions.

After a day at the temple, Shenia was convinced that her fellow scholars and classmates had to try meditation as well. So on Friday, July 29, scholars from UA Gateway visited the monastery and met with the monastic, Shoan Ankele. They were guided through an introductory zen training and participated in a discussion on the goals of the meditative process. Students immediately conceded to the idea of meditation in helping them feel more grounded, focused and at ease when they are more often than not faced with confusing and emotionally trying situations.

The Zen Mountain Monastery is located in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn and offers programs in Zen training and Buddhist Studies in addition to programs for those those interested in exploring the creative process and developing one’s spiritual practice. With meditation sessions that are consistently open to newcomers, it offers the opportunity to experiment with zen spiritualism in an open ended and accessible manner.

As students look ahead to how this summer’s experience might inform the future of their education and careers, we hope they, like Shenia, will embrace the questions and uncertainties that arise in their path to learning and growth.