Students earn top Yale College prizes for their accomplishments
Ten members of the Class of 2021 who distinguished themselves in the classroom, on the field of play, and in their communities were honored with top Yale College prizes on June 5 in an online ceremony.
The prizes, typically given on Class Day, were presented by Yale College Dean Marvin and other university representatives to honor the new graduates’ academic and athletic excellence, leadership, and service to the Yale and the wider community. The awards were given later this year due to changes in the academic calendar necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The names of the prizewinners, and their citations, follow.
Nellie Pratt Elliot Award
Awarded to a senior woman who, on the field of play and in her life at Yale, best represents the highest ideals of American sportsmanship and Yale tradition
Camille Pham, Pierson College
“This year’s Nellie Elliott award goes to a standout fencer who earned first-team All-Ivy League honors in the foil as a sophomore and was a top-15 national finisher at the Northeast Regionals in all three years of fencing at Yale — Camille Pham.
“Camille is a double major in anthropology and political science graduating with Distinction in political science. She interned with the USAID-funded Kawolor Project in Dakar, Senegal, and was a research fellow at the Tsai Center For Innovative Thinking at Yale. Additionally, she served as the head of financial administration for Havenly, a non-profit providing low-income assistance to refugee women. She was active in the Yale community, serving on the Student-Athletic Advisory, volunteering with the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Drive and tutoring in the New Haven Elementary School program. She also was a recipient of the Innovate Health Social Entrepreneurship Academic Award.
“In recognition of her exemplary achievements, Yale Athletics is proud to award the Nellie Pratt Elliot Award this year to Camille Pham.”
William Neely Mallory Award
Awarded to a senior man who, on the field of play and in his life at Yale, best represents the highest ideals of American sportsmanship and Yale tradition
Mark Winhoffer, Jonathan Edwards College
“Yale Athletics presents the 2021 William Neely Mallory award to an athlete who has many accomplishments. First team All Ivy and All-ECAC, he was selected as the 2019 Ivy League Men’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Year and was a United Soccer Coaches All-Northeast Region first team selection. He helped the Bulldogs win their first outright Ivy League championship since 1991 and earn a berth to the NCAA Tournament. Even though his senior season was cut short due to COVID-19 he nevertheless earned Preseason All-America honors from College Soccer News and was selected as one of 30 candidates for the national Senior Class Award. The 2019 Mallory Award goes to Mark Winhoffer.
“Mark, the Senior Soccer Captain and an Economics major, is a two-time Academic All-Ivy selection. He was a member of Yale’s Leadership Council for three years and served as a spokesperson for College Admissions Mentors for Peers (CAMP) in the Philippines.
“In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Yale Athletics is proud to award the William Neely Mallory Award this year to Mark Winhoffer.”
Awarded to two graduating seniors who, while maintaining high academic achievement, have provided exemplary leadership in enhancing race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College
Kenia Hale, Silliman College
“Kenia Hale graduates with Distinction in her major, Computing and the Arts. She embodies the spirit of an activist who uses her skills to help marginalized communities. She spent this year serving as a Peer Liaison in the LGBTQ+ Office and was also President of the Yale Undergraduate LGBTQ+ Cooperative.
“Kenia’s senior thesis developed computational algorithms to help better understand Black Lives Matter protests. Kenia also put her data analytical skills to use in combatting environmental injustice while working as a fellow for the University Network for Human Rights.
“In addition, Kenia was Racial Equity and Culinary Events Manager for the Yale Sustainable Food Project, where she coordinated collaborative events between the Project and the Afro-American Cultural Center. And as the 2020 Head Counselor of Cultural Connections, Kenia took the program virtual, building a digital platform, creating a memorable, genuine experience for first year students of color during the pandemic.
“To recognize her many accomplishments and contributions, Yale College is honored to bestow the Nakanishi Prize upon Kenia Hale.”
Gabriella Blatt, Ezra Stiles College
“Gabriella Blatt, of Ezra Stiles College, graduates with Distinction in her major, Ethnicity, Race, and Migration. Her senior thesis, on humor, dealt with Indigenous meme culture on Instagram.
“She was one of the key organizers of the ER&M protests of 2019, and highlighted the importance of supporting native and first nation communities globally at the Asian American Cultural Center’s 50th Anniversary panel.
“She further participated in the coalition for Ethnic Studies in Spring 2019, where she organized to help ensure that BIPOC students and scholarship were welcomed within Yale. Gabriella has also served as President of the Association of Native Americans at Yale, notably helping to secure permanent funding for their annual Powwow.
“At Yale and beyond, Gabriella has sought to increase awareness of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) movement, and has recently worked with the Charlotte Martin Foundation, which provides grants to nonprofits in the Western US/Pacific Northwest.
“For these contributions, and for her sterling commitment to this community, Yale College is honored to bestow the Nakanishi Prize upon Gabriella Blatt.”
James Andrew Haas Prize
Awarded to that senior whose breadth of intellectual achievement, strength of character, and fundamental humanity shall be adjudged by the faculty to have provided leadership for his or her fellow students, inspiring in them a love of learning and concern for others
Mia Nkechi Jackson, Jonathan Edwards College
“Mia graduates cum laude with Distinction in her major, Applied Mathematics. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her academics and public service, and she has used her academic talents to promote social justice and minority advancement, opening those fields to traditionally underrepresented groups.
“She is also applying her mathematical and programming skills to rethink the medical field. In the past year, she has developed an app called Zoula, which seeks to correct inequalities in maternal care in minority communities by connecting women of color with support and educational resources. The application won funding from the Yale Healthcare Hackathon and was selected as a semifinalist in the Startup Yale competition. Her senior thesis, which focuses on developing software that analyzes parameters of skin and esophageal cancer, will potentially identify the first manifestation of cancer in the body and lead to better early detection, treatment, and prognosis.
“For her remarkable academic accomplishments, and her potential as a continuing force for positive change, Yale College is proud to bestow the James Andrew Haas Memorial Prize for 2021 upon Mia Nkechi Jackson.”
Warren Memorial Prize
Awarded to the graduating senior majoring in the humanities who ranks highest in scholarship
Arthur Twining Hadley Prize
Awarded to the graduating senior majoring in the social sciences who ranks highest in scholarship
This year, both the Warren Memorial Prize and the Arthur Twining Hadley Prize are awarded to one student:
Alyssa “Alli” Yoon, Davenport College
“Elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year, Alli Yoon graduates summa cum laude, with Distinction in both of her two majors: Economics; and East Asian Studies.
“Her jointly-submitted senior essay examines the economic costs attributable to in-home care for elders with dementia in Chinese families. Using data covering 23 provinces from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey, her study examines the high prevalence of dementia in that country’s rapidly aging population as well as the family-borne costs associated with cognitive impairment. Her work offers a model for reducing precautionary household saving, boosting discretionary consumption, and removing an obstacle to China’s shift toward consumer-led economic rebalancing.
“In recognition of the significant contributions she has made in her fields of scholarship, Yale College is proud to award both the Warren Memorial High Scholarship Prize and the Arthur Twining Hadley Prize to Alli Yoon.”
Russell Henry Chittenden Prize
Awarded to the graduating senior majoring in the natural sciences who ranks highest in scholarship
Amer Al-Hiyasat, Pauli Murray College
“Amer Al-Hiyasat has distinguished himself as a double major in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry and Physics. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year, Amer graduates summa cum laude with Distinction in both of his majors.
“From Amman, Jordan, Amer has served as President of the Yale Arab Students Association. He is also an inductee into Sigma Pi Sigma, a national honor society to recognize excellence in physics. Amer has been highly active in undergraduate research, at both the Yale School of Medicine and the Department of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry. He has earned the respect of faculty and peers alike: in the words of one of his instructors, Amer is ‘superb all the way through.’
“For his exceptional scholarship and his future promise in his field, Yale College is proud to confer the Russell Henry Chittenden Prize upon Amer Al-Hiyasat.”
Louis Sudler Prize
Awarded to two graduating seniors for excellence in the performing or creative arts
Sydney Holmes, Benjamin Franklin College
“Sydney Holmes makes pictures that are mirrors and windows and keyholes and portals all at once. A student athlete who is used to hurdles and jumps, she moves in and out with her camera, near and far, obscuring her subjects with shadows, gauze, blinds, and broken reflections, forcing the viewer to crouch, twist, turn and contort, and in the process question their own gaze in their effort to view her dramatic and bold photographs. By constantly questioning standard practices and pushing against the frame, she has been able to pierce the surface of her medium and show her viewers their own beauty and power.
“Sydney graduates with Distinction in her major, Art, and will be traveling the country with a mobile portrait studio, photographing and printing images of the community that are respectful, beautiful, and validating. For her remarkable talents and her skill in using the power of images, Yale College is delighted to award the Louis Sudler Prize for Excellence in the Creative and Performing Arts to Sydney Holmes.”
Lisl Wangermann, Branford College
“Lisl Wangermann has proven herself to be a musical artist of the highest standards, a remarkable work ethic, and unfailing self-discipline. Blessed with a stunning voice overflowing with potential, she plunges herself into her texts and character. Her performances of works from seventeenth-century Venice through twenty-first-century New Haven show a total mastery of musical and linguistic styles, but it is the clarity, power, and honesty of her singing that engage our minds and thrill our hearts. And whether she is managing an opera company, stage-directing classics of the operatic repertoire, or organizing large-scale theatrical productions, Lisl undertakes everything with total commitment and passion.
“Lisl graduates with Distinction in her major, Music, and will be pursuing advanced studies in vocal performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music. For her achievement in music, Yale College is proud to award the Louis Sudler Prize for excellence in the performing arts to Lisl Wangermann.”
Alpheus Henry Snow Prize
Awarded to the senior who, through the combination of intellectual achievement, character, and personality, shall be adjudged by the faculty to have done most for Yale by inspiring in his or her classmates an admiration for the traditions of high scholarship
Henry Jacob, Saybrook College
“Henry Jacob graduates magna cum laude with Distinction in his major, History. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he is the recipient of numerous awards, for both his academic accomplishments and his service to the community, most recently as Saybrook’s Banner Bearer at Commencement.
“Henry has served the History Department by speaking at his instructor’s request on a panel for undergraduates, by representing the department at the 2019 academic fair, by sitting as a member on the department’s advisory board and, most recently, by co-founding the History Advisory Council as a way to foster connections among students and faculty within the major. He is also the editor-in-chief of The Yale Historical Review and founded The 1701 Project, which explores racism in the university’s and the nation’s history. And for his essay “The Ballad of Ambrose W. Thompson: Chiriquí, a Site of American Expansion and Reconstruction, 1850-1975,” the History Department awarded Henry the Percival W. Clement Prize.
“In response to the pandemic’s effects on K-12 education in his hometown of New Haven, Henry created Humanities Now, a program which has enabled Yale students to offer one-to-one mentoring and supplemental humanities education to New Haven Public School students whose class time was shortened because of the pandemic.
“Recognized also for his academic achievement this spring with the award of a Henry fellowship, he plans thereby to earn an M.Phil. at Cambridge in the coming academic year.
“For his singular record of scholarly and social achievement, and for his love of learning, Yale College takes great pleasure in conferring the Alpheus Henry Snow Prize upon Henry Jacob.”