Council of Heads of Colleges honors 20 juniors for contributions, character

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

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

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.

DIETER EISELEN, Benjamin Franklin College

A star offensive linesman for the Yale Football team, Dieter grew up in South Africa playing only rugby. He came late to the game and poured himself into the endeavor with his characteristic blend of grit, steadiness, and service. It’s the same qualities that earned him presidency of the Yale Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and appointment as a FroCo in Benjamin Franklin for his upcoming senior year. Coach [Tony] Reno says of Dieter: “There’s no quit in him,” and expects he will be an NFL prospect. A double major in economics and political science, Dieter is thoughtful about the challenges facing student-athletes at Yale, and has been helpful to the administration in devising strategies to improve the experience for his cohort. A dedicated mentor, Dieter conducts himself in Franklin and at Yale with affability, devotion to others, and a sense of commitment to something larger than himself (and that’s pretty large).

KENNETH ADUSEI, Pierson College

Kenneth epitomizes the values honored by the F. Wilder Bellamy Jr. Memorial Prize due to his ebullient personality as an inspirational leader within the college. He is universally well liked and respected in Pierson on account of his endless reservoir of positivity and the warm personal support he extends to others. His impact on the community has been tangibly felt in a variety of areas. As a rising sophomore, he served on a Dean’s Search Committee that had to convene over the summer months; in the context of an accelerated process, he demonstrated wisdom, good judgment, and leadership. A biomedical engineering major (GPA 3.85), he has worked in Professor Jesse Rinehart’s Cellular and Molecular Physiology Lab and served as a fellow of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute for Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences. Finally, Kenneth is involved in the Afro-American Cultural Center and has been a musical director for the Yale Gospel Choir. In all these endeavors, Kenneth fulfills the qualities honored by the Bellamy Prize, which highlights persons with “attractive personality and high spirits” who have had an impact on “the whole range of college life.”

VICTOR PADILLA, Silliman College

Victor has consistently shown his dedication to the Silliman college community. From serving as one of our co-IM coordinators to his ideas for college-wide social events like Halloween Pong, Victor’s charismatic love for all things Silliman is contagious. Victor perfectly embodies the fun, athletic spirit for which F. Wilder Bellamy was known. 

JOSEPH KAMM, Saybrook College

The Yale Daily News and Yale Athletics would not be the same without Joey Kamm. Joey hails from Nebraska and his love of Cornhusker athletics is only matched by his passion for Saybrook College IMs and Yale Athletics. Joey is a dedicated member of our community as illustrated by his service as a broadcaster for WYBC’s coverage of women’s and men’s basketball, and as an IM secretary and the dining hall representative on the Saybrook College Council. A loyal friend and an affable and well-respected Saybrugian, it goes without saying that Saybrook is all for better because of Joey Kamm’s presence.

ALEXYSS LANGE, Trumbull College

Alexyss is a junior psychology major who is excels not just in her class work but also in the laboratory, running research projects in an efficient and meticulous manner. Aleyxss truly exemplifies engagement in and enjoyment of the full range of college life. She plays on Yale’s club volleyball team and participates in community service work in New Haven. She is active in her church and has been activities chair for Yale’s Mormon students’ group. She was director of internal affairs for her sorority in her sophomore year and its activities chair in her junior year. Aleyxss has been a Trumbull Office aide and has volunteered to work buttery shifts. She participates in Danceworks. Aleyxss is a mainstay for Trumbull’s College Council as well. In the latter regard she has helped to run the college’s fall and spring festivals and dances, working from well before the start of the events to well after the end, going well beyond the call of duty to make sure the events are successful. It’s hard to imagine a student more engaged in Yale College than Aleyxss Lange.

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.

HENRY SHAPARD, Berkeley College

Henry is principal cellist and one of two assistant conductors of the Yale Symphony Orchestra. Prior to coming to Yale, he was principal cellist for the 2016 National Youth Orchestra; his recent summers have been spent among various seasonal orchestras in places such as Tanglewood and Schleswig-Holstein (Germany). Back on campus, Henry is music director for “Low Strung,” an ensemble of about a dozen Yale student cellists who cover both classical repertoire and pop tunes in novel arrangements. As the past director of Saybrook College Orchestra and current director of the Berkeley College Orchestra, he brings insightful commentary to the groups and gains respect from players with his admirable combination of authority and good nature. Leading those groups in educational concerts for public school students, Henry introduces the music to the children in readily understandable terms and directs the players to take their instruments out to the students for closer inspection — providing what might be their first close contact with classical music or defining perhaps a decisive moment for aspiring young musicians.

HERSH GUPTA, Grace Hopper College

Hersh is the president of the Yale Undergraduate Music Collective, which began in 2012 and continues to thrive, in part because of efforts like Hersh’s. He has been a force in organizing a series of important events for Yalies and members of the general public: the Underbrook Concert series and the annual spring Jazz Festival, thoughtful teas featuring incredible jazz artists and commentators, and opportunities for interested members of the Yale community to perform or just find out more about jazz. Hersh has helped the Yale Undergraduate Music Collective partner with more than one institution, including the residential colleges, to make major events happen and insure that they do so in ways that respect and reward the artists who participate. An economics major and summer research assistant, he also interned with the Scholars’ Strategy Network and the ACLU, focusing on finding progressive solutions to social problems. The Selden Memorial Award flags both “idealism” and “verve” and that combination perfectly captures Hersh.

MARY MARTIN, Jonathan Edwards College

Mary Martin, who has devoted much of her life to her love of humanities and music, embodies the spirit of the Selden Award. She is a double major in MB&B and humanities and completed the Directed Studies program her first year. She speaks French fluently and is proficient in Spanish, and her courses have covered subjects from Chinese cultural tradition to the history of the Parthenon to the art of the memoir in Africa. She is also an accomplished practitioner and educator in the field of music, the grand passion and animating force in her life. Mary has played French horn for most of her life and was a member of the prestigious Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra in high school. She joined the Yale Symphony Orchestra her first year and has been with them since. Mary has been a staunch and valued member of the YSO both as principal horn and as chair of the orchestra’s publicity team. Her involvement in the 2017 Halloween show epitomized both teamwork and tradition. She handles similar duties in her role as president of Coup de Brass. Mary never hesitates to volunteer for the mundane chores and duties that lay the groundwork for more transcendent moments of musicality at Yale.  She keeps a modest profile while quietly excelling and enriching our community with her warmth, melodiousness, and glee.

JACOB GLUCKMAN, Saybrook College

Jake’s love of music is infectious and evident throughout Saybrook’s courtyards. A gifted composer and sound designer, Jake has helped score numerous theatrical performances and interned with Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatre during his tenure at Yale. This is in addition to his role as Spizzwink’s music director where Jake has overseen some breathtaking performances on and off-campus. An emerging area of interest for Jake is disability representation in the theater — this evolving specialization is an adroit extension of Jake’s commitment to make theater as accessible as possible.

JAMES CARRABINO, Trumbull College

James is a junior global affairs and classics major who has excelled in his academic work in global affairs. To further his experience in public policy James has interned in Washington D.C. supported by a Doulas Beck Fellowship and will do so again in the coming summer in London as a U.S. State Department intern.  He has studied Arabic, French, German, Latin, and Greek. James also has excelled in music study and performance. He received Connecticut’s Evelyn Donar Storrs Piano Scholarship to study and teach solo piano and to perform at the Aspen Music Festival (July-August, 2018). In his first year at Yale in a blinded competition he won Yale’s annual William Waite Concerto Competition (a very rare feat for a first-year student). Finally, he volunteers his services to New Haven public school students helping them to learn about government and performs in two concerts a year in Guilford, CT. helping to raise funds for kidney cancer research, and is active in Trumbull College as a fellows aide.

ALEX DIMEGLIO, Timothy Dwight College

Alex is a singer, jazz pianist, and performer. He joined the Yale Dukesmen in his first year at Yale and took over the musical leadership of his group as the “pitchpipe” in his sophomore year. As testament to Alex’s widely recognized musical talents and leadership, he was selected this spring to take on the role of music director of the Whiffenpoofs. He has juggled his musical responsibilities with great “verve” performing in the college’s “Community Night” and captaining TD’s ping pong team. Alex’s “idealism” can be seen in the spring of 2018, when he helped to lead his a cappella peers to examine and rethink the composition of all-gender groups. In his thoughtful piece, “Voices from Yale” published in the Yale Daily News, he discussed the importance of gender inclusivity and diversity for an already selective and exclusive community that is Yale a cappella. In supporting his own group, now renamed the “Doox of Yale,” and the wider a cappella community to make this historic decision, Alex has left a lasting legacy on our campus.

John C. Schroeder Award

This award, which honors former Calhoun College head 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.

HUNG HO, Benjamin Franklin College

Since his early days at Yale as a member of First-Year Scholars at Yale, Hung has been a “go to” for his steady, upbeat presence and orientation around community. A child of Vietnamese refugees, Hung takes seriously the sacrifice his family made for him, and he is intent on doing good in the world. He is one of the strongest contributors to Benjamin Franklin, a new community which he serves as college aide, student council treasurer, IM enthusiast, and all-around fixer. He’s the one who knows how to merge idealism and practicality, without putting a damper on the big ideas. But he is not only a social stalwart of the college — he is an intellectual presence, seeking out distinguished visitors with thoughtful questions, volunteering for panels and welcoming magnates, economists, and poets, who comment to the college leadership about this fine young man. Hung epitomizes the spirit of John Schroder whether building homes for Habitat for Humanity or building community in Yale’s newest home.

JACKSON WILLIS, Berkeley College

Jackson’s service has focused primarily on Yale’s Hunger and Homelessness Action Project, for which he was executive director and chair of the board. YHHAP is one of Yale’s largest community outreach programs, and it thrived under Jackson’s leadership. He has also served as a tour guide at the Yale Center for British Art, and a speech and public speaking tutor at the Center for Teaching and Learning. He was chosen by his peers to be on the Yale College Council, and he has been a member of Yale’s Committee on Honors and Academic Standing. Outside of New Haven, Jackson has contributed to his home community of St. Petersburg, Florida, by painting several murals across the city and assisting with various programs at the Salvador Dali Museum. He is currently serving a one-year term as Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea, western Africa. Last but certainly not least, as much as Jackson loves to share his deep knowledge and give to others, it is equally in his nature to express sincere gratitude to those around him.

CHRISTINA PAO, Branford College

Christina is a ubiquitous presence both in Branford and more widely on campus, serving in a variety of mentorship roles, and she truly embodies the spirit of the John C. Schroeder award, in particular as regards the traits of altruism and social service. For the last two years, she has served as a community and consent educator, working most closely with the Asian American Cultural Center in that capacity. During the same time, she has also been serving as a co-coordinator of the Dwight Hall Urban Fellows program, and as a member of the Title IX Undergraduate Advisory Committee. Her passion for mentorship is also in evident in her participation in the REACH program as a mentor and tutor for under-resourced students in New Haven, and as a first-year liaison for the Women’s Center and the Asian American Student Alliance. For her broad experience in mentorship and service, we selected Christina as a member of the 2019-2020 FroCo team, and were impressed by her thoughtfulness, professionalism, and compassion.

Brennan Carman, Grace Hopper College

Brennan’s ethic of service through open dialogue — in consultations, memos, or disability rights organizations — finds its seed in his belief in education. In this realm, he has brought to Yale important changes for accessibility resources. It is perhaps his spirit of generous hospitality to fellow students that lead Brennan to become a co-founder and president of Disability Empowerment for Yale (DEFY). As its leader, Brennan successfully campaigned for the creation of an American Sign Language program (now in its second term) and the adoption of online accessibility standards. His detailed investigatory work about accessibility at Yale culminated in a co-authored report on the status of Yale’s disability resources, resulting in three accepted recommendations. In addition to his work with DEFY, Brennan provides consultation on accessibility through the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale. Brennan’s service to the college reflects the purpose of the John C. Schroeder Award, to “play a part in the good labor of the world.”

ROCKY LAM, Jonathan Edwards College

True to the ideals of the Schroeder award, Rocky is a great contributor to the intellectual communities of both Yale University and the world at large. Rocky is respected in our college and is destined to become not just a conventional success but also a personal inspiration. A sociology major with a deep interest in cultural and gender identities, he has earned praise from his teachers for both his intelligence and the spirit and good humor he brings to the classroom. Rocky’s extracurricular commitments have spread the same positive energy around campus. Locally, Rocky is JE’s housing coordinator, a position that requires him to deploy great diplomatic skills, and next year he will be our head FroCo. Outside our college walls, Rocky serves as a peer wellness champion for the Office of Student Life and has volunteered for two years as an alumni engagement coordinator at the Asian American Cultural Center. In both positions, as in his work at the Poorvu Center as an academic strategies mentor, Rocky excels at reaching out to underprivileged or first-generation students who are not accustomed to asking for and receiving help. He helps others handle their personal challenges as he has handled his own — with grace, courage, and dignity.

HELEN CAI, Pierson College

Helen is a most worthy recipient of the John C. Schroeder Award, which recognizes the member of the Junior Class who “will find his or her place and play a part in the good labor of the world.” There are many ways in which Helen exemplifies these ideals. In particular, she has been deeply committed to the Pierson College community. First, as a sophomore, she was elected by her peers as the Pierson College Council president. In that capacity she managed the student activities budget and planned a range of major events, from Inferno in the fall, to a winter ski trip, to Pierson Day in the spring (and everything in between). Her leadership was characterized by her quiet, steady presence, which garnered deep trust and respect from her peers and from the college administration. In addition to her contributions to Pierson, Helen has done significant outreach in service to the New Haven community and surrounding region. This is best exemplified by her training as an EMT and her work for the Yale Emergency Medical Services. She spends in excess of 10 hours a week engaged as an EMT volunteer, which takes her as far afield as Trumbull, CT. Helen is a premed student and this work in emergency medicine is part of her training and preparation for that career, but it also epitomizes her selfless and practical disposition and her commitment to the care of others.

KUSHAL DEV, Silliman College

Kushal is a caring student who’s broadly concerned with issues related to underserved students. As a singer in Out of the Blue, he has pushed this group and others on campus to develop a greater understanding for and accommodation of students with disabilities in a cappella setting. Kushal also founded a new resource for Yale College, the Silliman Textbook Library (SMTL). The goal of the SMTL is to give lower-income students access to expensive textbooks they might otherwise have a hard time affording. Through his successful outreach efforts, Kushal received over 600 book donations in the first few weeks and managed to raise an estimated $12,000 value in textbooks for low-income students. Kushal’s hard work gave low-income students on campus access to tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of textbook resources that they’d otherwise be unable to afford. His altruism and care for his fellow man — particularly for low-income and under-served students — is a great fit for this award.

JOSESPH DORAN, Trumbull College

Joseph has excelled both academically and in his support of Trumbull College. He has served as an aide in the college, supporting work in the main office as well as in the Trumbull House with grace and efficiency, earning the affection and respect of all who work alongside of him. He can be described as going “above and beyond” what’s called for in his work. He is an economics and global affairs major who served as an intern in the U.S. Department of State, been the Herb Scarf and James Tobin Research Fellow in the Yale Economics Department, been the recipient of the Thomas Berry Travel Fellowship to support an internship in Ukraine, received a fellowship from the State Department to study Russian in Eastern Europe, and is proficient in Russian, and Ukrainian, Java, C++, and use of R and SPSS for statistics. Joe is also a stellar swimmer and has been on Yale Men’s Water Polo Team, for which he has been elected captain. Joe also serves as the site manager and head training coordinator at the New Haven Public Library for their Income tax assistance program supporting New Haven community members.

MICHAEL NAJEM, Timothy Dwight College

Michael is deeply invested in “the good labor of the world”; he makes every place he enters clearer, calmer, brighter, kinder. He is both an excellent citizen of Timothy Dwight College, and — just as, if not more importantly — he is also one of TD’s students most connected to the world outside its gates. Michael is profoundly committed to principles of equity in healthcare delivery; he has been transformative at HAVEN, Yale’s free clinic, where he spends sometimes mind-boggling numbers of hours. Some of this work is public-facing – Michael directs HAVEN's education and community relations programming, and has been deliberate in matters of inclusivity and cultural competency on both fronts — but much is quieter, one-on-one, and distinctly unglamorous. Michael simply does what needs to be done: never for acclaim, but because it is right. But in spite of the serious work to which he is drawn, Michael carries himself in TD’s community with a sense of levity, a sense of humor, and a sense of clarity; he is never too busy to pause and take notice of the joys in daily life.

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