Nine juniors honored for their character, contributions

Nine Yale College juniors received honors from the Council of Masters in recognition of their scholarship, contributions to college life, and their character.

The prizes, winning students, and the award citations written by masters who nominated them follow:

Joseph Lentilhon Selden Memorial Award

The Joseph Lentilhon Selden Memorial Junior Award is to given each year to a member of the junior class of Yale College whose verve, idealism, and constructive interest in music and the humanities exemplify those qualities for which Selden is remembered. In recent years this award has gone to a student especially notable for his or her contribution in the field of music.

Lamtharn Hantrakul, Morse College

Lamtharn Hantrakul, or DJ Hanoi as he is also known, has rocked our world, sharing his music with a laid-back generosity that invites everyone in. Teaching fellow students to make instruments in engineering workshops, performing with a band made up of his suitemates, rolling out his lights and soundboards for dancing in the dining hall, Hanoi transmits the joy of music with supreme technical mastery. A serious researcher in the field of digital interfaces, he is working toward a future where people with physical disabilities can create music with the same ease that has defined his own artistic life.

Sarah Norvell, Jonathan Edwards College

With a glorious, well-trained voice, Sarah has given her talents to a multitude of musical organizations where her contributions make a difference. Loyal member of the Glee Club, and of the elite Glee Club Chamber singers, of the Institute for Sacred Music Repertory Chorus and of the choirs of Christ Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Church at Yale, soprano in the Opera Theater of Yale College, she is also a fine organist, and an excellent classicist, who will receive the joint B.A./M.A. in Latin and Greek. For her gifts as an all-around musician who is an accomplished humanities student, doesn’t hog the limelight, and keeps on contributing her gifts to the glories of music at Yale she is well deserving of the Joseph Lentilhon Selden Award.

Lisa Zhang, Saybrook College

A molecular, cellular, and developmental biology major with a 3.82 GPA, she has participated in research and physician shadowing in chemistry and the Yale School of Medicine. In addition to her outstanding academic achievements, she is an accomplished singer. A member of both the Yale Glee Club and the Opera Theater of Yale College, she has performed in many choral performances and theatrical productions at Yale. Her operatic performances have received particular acclaim, with significant roles in operas by Mozart, Purcell, Verdi, and others.

The F. Wilder Bellamy Jr. Memorial Prize

Established in 1939 by friends of F. Wilder Bellamy Jr., B.A. 1937, the prize is awarded to a junior, man or woman, who best exemplifies the qualities for which F. Wilder Bellamy, Jr. is remembered, including personal integrity, loyalty to friends, and high-spiritedness in athletics, academics, and social life.

Francesca Coxe, Jonathan Edwards College

Varsity soccer player; president of the Jonathan Edwards College Council; devoted student; part of the heart and soul of Operation Smile; a member of the university-wide committee on sexual misconduct; initiator of outreach to the New Haven Boys and Girls Club where she teaches modules on anti-bullying, nutrition, and college planning; Capital One Academic All-District First Team honoree — Frannie Coxe somehow seems to do it all. She is one of those people who seem never at rest: full of energy, extremely active, always smiling, and constantly full of good will. For her refusal to be typed, her energy, her enthusiasm, her accomplishments, and her determination to excel, she is a worthy recipient of the F. Wilder Bellamy Award.

John Varga, Berkeley College

Mr. Varga is a nationally recognized, award-winning member of the football team who is so talented that, in his team’s time of need, he was able to switch between tailback and quarterback and excel in both positions. An ecology and evolutionary biology major and pre-med, he is equally devoted to his academic pursuits. He is a loyal friend and has old-fashioned morals and a true sense of community: You can often find him cheering on his fellow students at arts and athletic events, studying throughout the college, or joining his peers in IMs (especially inner tube water polo). 

Jordan Konell, Pierson College

In the college, he is a master’s aide and president of the Pierson College Council and has been selected as a freshman counselor. Across the campus and beyond, he has served as a Yale tour guide, a community health educator, editor-in-chief for the Yale Undergraduate Law Review, and as a board member of Operation Understanding, an organization that works to connect the African-American and Jewish communities in his hometown of Philadelphia. Through his leadership in Pierson College, Yale University, and in the larger community, he embodies the spirit of the Bellamy Prize.

The John C. Schroeder Award

This award, which honors former Calhoun College master John C. Schroeder, is given to students who have contributed to residential college life and who, in the opinion of the committee, will "play a part in the good labor of the world."

Daniel Avraham, Branford College

As an Israeli citizen and 2014 president of the Yale College Council, Danny Avraham is exceptionally committed to social justice and peaceful relationships. He has seen the devastation of disrespect for difference among neighbors and is committed to devoting his life to shaping a world that is exponentially more peaceful and productive. He has a tremendous amount of motivation and is yet humble in all that he does. He interacts with people of all interests and background with consistent poise and good humor. Conversations with Danny reveal a creative and intellectual approach to complex problems, a thirst for continuous learning, and openness to diverse communities, with a strong moral calling for service.

James Knight,Morse Residential College

A man of many good works, James Knight is committed to the well-being of each community he touches. James’ abiding interest in medical research is matched by a determination to increase medical access. Coordinating medical and dental care in Honduras, volunteering at the HAVEN Free Clinic in Fair Haven, and organizing successful blood drives on campus, James marries medicine to social justice. Sharing his love of science, he runs demonstrations in public schools and, as a member of the Yale Black Men’s Union, mentors at-risk New Haven students. James meets the highest ideals of public service with humility and utter dedication.

Helen Fang, Jonathan Edwards Residential College

It is not any one thing Helen Fang does that makes her so special. Yes, she races for Shoes4Africa; is treasurer of TeamU which raises funds and awareness for global poverty; has organized the college for the four-mile Julia’s Run in memory of a JE student who died some years ago; and coaches Amistad High School Girls Soccer team, mentoring the girls far beyond the soccer field. But mostly she is the spirit of our own community, listening to others in need, pitching in without being asked, and always alert to ways we all need picking up and cheering on. For her kind heart, her galvanizing spirit, and her capacity to reach out and make a difference, we are pleased to honor her with the Schroeder Award.