Katherine Frances Aragon awarded Nakanishi Prize
The Nakanishi Prize is awarded to two graduating seniors who, while maintaining high academic achievement, have provided exemplary leadership in enhancing race or ethnic relations at Yale College. This year’s prize is awarded to Katherine Frances Aragon of Timothy Dwight College and Kevin Chen of Pierson College.
Katherine (Katie) Frances Aragon
Katie’s commitment to racial and social justice has been unparalleled. From serving as president of MECha to co-founding the Myanmar project she has left an indelible mark both on Yale and other Connecticut communities. While at Yale, she has organized immediate responses to several national concerns, including the murder of Trayvon Martin and Arizona’s ban on Ethnic Studies, but her commitment to racial justice does not end at the Yale gates. She has worked in refugee camps abroad, helped develop an educational curriculum for local refugees, and coordinated MEChA’s bilingual Get Out the Vote efforts in Fair Haven. She is a highly devoted public servant and an inspiration to her fellow students. With her interests dedicated to immigration and education reform, we are excited to see what the future holds for Katie.
In recognition of her many contributions to race and ethnic relations at Yale College, we are honored to bestow the Nakanishi Prize upon Katherine Frances Aragon.
Kevin’s peers have described him as a “powerhouse” and called his love for the Asian American community “infectious.” For the past two years, he has served as a peer liaison for the Asian American Cultural Center, where he has mentored, advised, and assisted many freshmen. Collaborating with over twenty-five student groups to promote multiculturalism, he was the key organizer of the first ever Asian Night Market, which has been adopted as an annual and highly anticipated tradition on campus. He took the initiative to secure a bid to host the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association East Coast Conference at Yale, a bid that Yale has not won in ten years. After winning the bid, he dedicated fourteen months of his time to plan and to raise funds to make the event an amazing success. In the meantime, he also founded Queer and Asian, an organization that serves as a safe space for dialogue on the intersection of sexuality and racial identity. Outside of Yale, he has organized health fairs with the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, reaching over 4,000 Chinatown residents. His efforts never cease, and his unmatched energy and contagious zeal shine through in all the selfless work that he does.
In recognition of his many contributions to race and ethnic relations at Yale College, we are honored to bestow the Nakanishi Prize upon Kevin Chen.