Juniors honored for leadership, scholarship, and campus contributions

Thirty-eight Yale College juniors were recognized by the Council of the Heads of Colleges for their scholarship, character, and contributions to college life.
Morse College Courtyard

Morse College (Photo by Michael Marsland)

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

The winning students, their prizes, and the award citations written by their heads of college 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 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.

Mui Aghedo, Benjamin Franklin College

Mui Aghedo embodies the characteristics associated with the F. Wilder Bellamy Jr. Memorial Prize through his upbeat personality, his ability to facilitate engagement, and his overall contributions to the Benjamin Franklin community. In addition to being devoted to his Computer Science major, his dedication as a Franklinite and his palpable enthusiasm for intramurals makes him a pillar of our community. Mui is fueled by a greater purpose beyond winning as he encourages the involvement of his fellow Franklinites for the benefit of camaraderie. In following this greater purpose, he contributes to the life of the college by fostering a sense of fellowship and solidarity, which makes him an ideal recipient of this prize for juniors.”

Anika Seth, Branford College

Anika, a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Biomedical Engineering double major, has been a campus leader on health equity, community-building, and lowering barriers to access. As the first South Asian woman to be elected as editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News, she has sought to diversify voices in the newsroom, enhance professional development for journalists of all backgrounds, and to participate in and lead conversations about the future of college journalism in uncertain times. Her contributions to the Branford community have been plentiful and her energy has helped to shape our campus; we are certain that her future career in journalism will be equally impactful and wide-ranging.”

Jesus Ramos, Davenport College

Few student leaders have given more to Davenport College and to Yale more generally than Jesus Ramos. Jesus is a fixture within the college, where he has served as Head Office Aide since January 2023. He has also served as Head Peer Liaison for La Casa, an Academic Strategies Peer Mentor with the Office of Educational Opportunity, a Residential Counselor with First-year Scholars at Yale, and the list goes on. Jesus is someone who dived into Yale and Davenport headfirst, demonstrating the integrity and spiritedness that distinguishes a Bellamy Prize winner.”

Lee Muita, Ezra Stiles College

Hailing from Kenya, Lee Muita quickly established himself as a radiant figure within the Ezra Stiles Class of 2025 — he is a source of constant joy, with an infectious sense of humor, wry wit, and deep care for his friends and his community. A Computer Science major, Lee uses his technical know-how to help others on campus, including as a member of the Stiles Housing Committee. In his first year on the Committee, Lee took the initiative to develop code to automatically update databases that students consult when creating housing groups, thereby streamlining the housing process and reducing stress for his classmates. Outside Stiles, Lee serves as director of YHack, a momentous undertaking that brings together hundreds of students annually for an innovation-based hackathon for social good. He also supports Stiles as our Peer Liaison for the Office of LGBTQ Resources. Lee’s leadership style is not flashy, yet it embodies the spirit of teamwork: he is a relentlessly hard worker who pours hours into difficult behind-the-scenes tasks. In all Lee does, he uplifts his communities, supports others, and brings people together.”

James Licato, Grace Hopper College

A Chemical Engineering major, who is also earning a Certificate in Energy Studies, James radiates a positively infectious cheerful ebullience, reflecting the ‘high spirits’ and ‘attractive personality’ that have always contributed to the distinctiveness of this award. In the college, in addition to his contributions to intramurals (first string cornhole, football, and dodgeball!), James characterizes himself as ‘a proud Hopper College buttery worker’ at The Trolley Stop, where he has served up munchies and good vibes since 2022. He is currently hosting Mory’s Thursday night trivia games. And since 2021 James has been rhythm guitarist in the Yale student-run indie/alternative rock band Strictly Platonic, which besides having made an album and an EP, has inspired and energized Yalies and other fans in dozens of shows, off- and on-campus, including in the Hopper courtyard itself. James has found time to accumulate substantial professional experience, whether as a research assistant in the Yale School of Public Health; Yale School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, and the Potomac Science Center at George Mason, as well as elsewhere, or as co-founder and CEO of Catala (with Professor Jaehong Kim and Claire Chouinard), which aims to commercialize catalyst-based water treatment technologies in industry. As such, he was a key member of the first team in Yale’s history to be awarded an NSF National I-Corps Grant.”

Kamalu Ogata, Jonathan Edwards College

Kamalu has brought the warmth and sunshine of his native state of Hawaii to the JE community. Greatly involved in our college events, Kamalu has graced us with his kind and empathetic nature. As a College Council representative, then two years as JE’s Class of 2025 Secretary and then President, Kamalu has had a hand in every major event we’ve held during in the past three years. As JECC President, Kamalu is known for his collaborative and encouraging leadership. Kamalu has been particularly enthusiastic about bringing the resources of YC3, Yale College Community Care, into the physical space of the college, and spearheaded a recent ‘Meet and Greet’ with our YC3 representatives. With a great love for the outdoors, Kamalu has served as a FOOT trip leader since 2022. An Environmental Studies major with an Energy Studies concentration, Kamalu has taken courses in renewable energy, climate change, and bioethics and the law. Kamalu is a skilled outrigger canoeist and completed one of the Hawaii’s biggest traditional challenges, the Molokai Hoe, a seven-hour open-water paddling race between islands. It is typical of him that he took this love of water and brought it his new home at Yale. Kamalu was one of the main reasons JE was able to get an IM water polo team together just because his passion to get into the pool was so infectious. Kamalu’s passion for everything is infectious — his studies, his culture, his college, and the environment.”

Julian Tweneboa Kodua, Morse College

Serving on the Morse College Council since his first-year, Julian’s ‘infectious enthusiasm’ has spread to others in student leadership positions at the college. It is truly a great time for the Morse College Council, in part, because of Julian’s personality and leadership. He has been active in intramurals and his dance moves at the Morse Prom have become legendary. Outside of Morse, Julian is active with computer science opportunities as well as African student organizations. Julian is on the leadership council for the Yale African Student Association. In this role, he organizes outreach opportunities for African students to serves the greater New Haven area, particularly New Haven public schools. In the summers, Julian serves as a counselor for the Orientation for International Students, where he is always excited to connected potential computer science first-years to the Yale Computer Society. Next year, Julian will be a FroCo for Morse, and we are sure the Morse Class of 2028 will benefit from his overall Morse spirit. Julian’s enthusiasm and leadership can also be seen in his wider computer science roles. In the summers, he also teaches basic computer science skills virtually through a tech startup in his home country called TechElevate Ghana. This past summer, he also had an internship at Google, collaborating with software engineers from around the world to improve the Gmail iOS app. He also worked on the Interference Project with the Yale School of Management, a project which analyzed millions of income datasets to identify economic interference to explain relationships between incomes. Whether it’s computer science initiatives or Morse soccer IMs, Julian’s personality and leadership always makes a difference and leaves everyone smiling.”

Paola Flores Sanchez, Morse College

Paola is a joyful, wonderful presence on campus. She is one of the elected student leaders for Dwight Hall, where she serves on the board of directors as a student advisor. She also serves as the institutional service coordinator, managing the day-day operations, shaping, and enacting policy, and supporting student-led service and advocacy on behalf of the entire institution. Paola lights up when she talks about Dwight Hall and the many student initiatives in greater New Haven, and several students have commented about her leadership and enthusiasm for social justice opportunities in the area. Beyond Dwight Hall, Paola is incredibly active with the New Haven Legal Assistant Association (LAA). Her diligence for justice for immigration rights is truly inspiring, as she helped lead the Immigration Unit of LAA last summer where she met with families to support people through situations ranging from trial preparation to working as a Spanish interpreter for families and their lawyers. She also works with the Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven where she researches home ownership in the greater New Haven area by creating a software to identify specific homes that are eligible for low-income household for underprivileged families. For her enthusiasm for Morse, social justice, and immigration rights, as demonstrated by her hard work with Dwight Hall, LAA, and the Neighborhood Housing Services, she embodies the characteristics of the legacy of f. Wilder Bellamy Jr.”

Tyler Schroder, Pauli Murray College

Tyler Schroder epitomizes the qualities honored by the F. Wilder Bellamy Jr. Memorial Prize. Dressed in a neon safety vest, armed with a walkie-talkie, Tyler is often the first student our incoming first years meet: he’s taken charge of and improved our move-in process. As college council president, he’s served the community in all sorts of ways: some structural (the sign-out process for keys) and many social (organizing dances and study breaks). One of our favorite memories of Tyler is watching him in a tricycle race at halftime at a recent men’s basketball game; Tyler’s joy in winning that race conveys so much of his presence in the college. He’s the one who gathered so many students together to enjoy the game and also someone who just enjoys the event itself.”

Oren Aviad, Pierson College

Oren Aviad is a junior scholar athlete in Pierson College on the varsity gymnastics team. In 2023 she was a Gymnastics East Conference (GEC) Scholar Athlete competing in every team event. Again in 2022, Oren was a GEC Scholar Athlete, competing in 10 team events. She was also a WCGA Scholastic All-American. Academically, she is currently undeclared but interested in potentially majoring in Neuroscience on a pre-med path. Even though Oren spends many hours in the gym, on the uneven parallel bars, or vaulting she makes time to be outside, enjoying hikes, the beach or watching any sunset she can. In addition, Oren serves as the Bulldog Sustainability Project Coordinator and is very excited to promote lasting change on campus in the hopes of making Yale a greener community. Oren is active also in community service. One of Oren’s most lasting contributions to the Yale College community at large is her participation in Camp Kesem. Camp Kesem is a national non-profit organization that gives kids a space to deal with their parent's cancer and provides them with a network of people who understand their unique struggles.”

Chris De Santis, Saybrook College

Saybrook College would not be the same without Chris de Santis. He has a passion for Saybrook College IMs and Yale Athletics. For three years Chris has served as an IMs Secretary and has always been among the most active participants. His spirit is contagious, and he has played a big role in bringing the newest members of our community out for Saybrook IMs. This passion is matched with a similar one for interests outside of the classroom. He has cultivated an interest in graphic design as Creative Director of the award-winning New Journal and formerly as production and design editor of the YDN [Yale Daily News].. An interest in law and public policy led him to work with State Senator James Maroney to pass and enact Connecticut law Public Act 22-15, comprehensive consumer data privacy legislation. He has also helped to design experiments with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia that have led to published neuroscience research, worked with other students to organize a groundbreaking and expansive exhibition of student artwork at Tsai CITY, and, having been qualified to offer legal information, will be volunteering with the Yale Student Association for Small Claims Assistance to provide advice to and work with people in New Haven. All of this he has done while maintaining a distinguished record of academic performance. Chris is a loyal friend, and he is a well-liked and respected member of the Saybrook College community.”

Lynn Lee, Saybrook College

Lynn is a beloved member of the Class of 2025, and she is defined by her shining spirit and friendly, caring personality. From her first year, Lynn’s enthusiasm to engage with her  Hong Kong roots — and with New Haven — led her to teach weekly at John C. Daniels, a New Haven public school, as a Chinese Cultural Fellow through the auspices of Dwight Hall. With little guidance, she was the primary instructor for over one hundred third- and fourth-grade children, and worked to help them understand that there is plenty of essential similarity between their families and Chinese ones. At the same time, she deepened her familiarity with the city and its non-Yale residents. She has continued to follow this enthusiasm into prominent, active positions in the Yale International Relations Association and Yale Model United Nations in Taiwan. Lynn’s certificates in Chinese and Education Studies, her work comparing Korean, U.S., and British legal practices as a law clerk at a South Korean firm, and her research at the Asia Society Policy Institute all bespeak her promise of maintaining a bridge of mutual understanding and goodwill across the Pacific Ocean. Lynn has been a fixture at Saybrook College Council meetings and in one of our affinity groups, Saysians, where she encourages similar ends of cross-cultural contact for Saybrugians. She is also no stranger to the IM fields. She is a leader in her co-educational social club and in her role as a Communication and Consent Educator, both roles in which she works to ensure that fun and good times at parties or on campus remain fun and good for everyone.”

Alex Williams, Silliman College

From his leadership on the men’s crew team and in the athletics department more generally, to his central role in the Silliman community, to his eagerness to take on two challenging majors (Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and History), Alex Williams perfectly represents the qualities of ‘infectious enthusiasm’ and ‘capacity for hard work in some one field.’ Alex serves as a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and an athlete representative in the Communication and Consent Educators program. He has shown a great commitment to guiding fellow students through various experiences in the Yale community. He has navigated these relationships with professionalism and grace. Alex also shows great spirit as a ‘social leader’ in Silliman. He has been the president of our student activities committee for the past two years. And, he has developed some of the most popular activities (e.g., line dancing), inviting not only Sillimanders but also students from other colleges. His loyal and charismatic love for all things Silliman is contagious, his leadership and empathy for others is beloved not only by Sillimanders but also by his athletic teammates, and his excitement about all aspects of campus life is notable.”

Honor Callanan, Timothy Dwight College

A history major and education studies scholar, Honor Callanan, has played an integral part of nearly all aspects of our college community. An enthusiastic intramurals participant in her first year, she became an Intramural Secretary in her second year as well as took on the responsibilities of a college aide. In her role as intramural secretary, she brought her glowing energy and good cheer to rally our college. Working with Kennedy Wolf, Head Intramural Secretary, she has been the perfect partner in their ‘tiny mic’ segments. As a college aide, Honor has supported many of our college’s teas and special events. An avid knitter, she helped lead the college’s knitting club last year and taught several TDers to knit for the first time. Outside of the college, she has also been active in the Yale Politic as a staff writer, editor, and online managing editor.”

Kennedy Wolf, Timothy Dwight College

Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, Kennedy Wolf is a cognitive psychology major and avid sports enthusiast. She has served as the president of the club volleyball team and led our college’s intramurals program this academic year. As Head Intramurals Secretary, Kennedy continued to prioritize camaraderie, generosity, and community-building over victories — no matter how much we would love Tyng Cup #15. Kennedy along with another TD Intramural Secretary, Honor Callanan, have also brought creativity and innovation to keep intramurals fun and exciting for our community. They introduced the ‘tiny mic’ where they do pre-game and post-game interviews to feature our wonderful TD players. These light-hearted interviews have been viewed numerous times on our TD IMs Instagram page and amassed a following with our current students as well as our alumni. As a college aide and the co-president of our college’s Social Activities Committee (SAC), Kennedy has also played a role in our college-wide events such as the college formal and study breaks.”

Victoria DeMersseman, Trumbull College

An Air Force ROTC student and Biomedical Engineering student, Victoria DeMersseman is a wonderful and active member of our Trumbull community. Her academic performance has been consistent and challenging and she has pursued research opportunities at the Yale PET Center and the Space Policy Research Collaborative. What makes Victoria an ideal Bellamy prize recipient is her ability to balance these commitments with ROTC and her active involvement with Yale Women’s Rugby and Trumbull IMs. She has been involved with Rugby since early in her Yale career and this year is serving as their Tour Manager. When it comes to Trumbull IMs, Victoria’s enthusiasm is contagious — she is always trying to recruit students and encourage them to participate, emphasizing the welcoming environment she and her fellow IMs secretaries have built. Victoria will add to that next year when she serves as a FroCo and we have no doubt that she will be an incredible role model for our frosh.”

Mason Shipp, Trumbull College

A wide receiver on our Yale varsity football team, majoring in Political Science, Mason Shipp has excelled in both athletics and academics during his time at Yale thus far. He has pursued a steady and balanced course-load since his first term at Yale, and Mason’s contributions on the football field have been remarkable. He played every game during his sophomore and junior fall seasons. This past fall, he was fourth on the team in receptions and received one touchdown pass. Two years in a row, he has been named to the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District team. Mason is active in multiple aspects of our athletics community and Yale community, and is a leader — it is hard to go to Payne Whitney Gymnasium or out to the various fields and facilities and not run into Mason, or see him from a distance, helping at other varsity team athletic events as part of an on-campus job and/or cheering on his fellow varsity athletes. He serves on the Yale Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, this year serving as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chair for the group. Mason is also a critical participant in Trumbull Intramurals! Most recently, he helped Trumbull clinch the Men’s Hoop championship across the colleges. It is for these combined reasons that the Bellamy prize is particularly fitting for Mason Shipp.”

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.”

Charmaine Bayalan, Berkeley College

Charmaine is a junior from Anchorage, Alaska, who has found her academic home in the History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health (HSHM) Program. She has blended interdisciplinary interests with a clear focus on breaking down barriers that prevent underserved populations from accessing healthcare. Much of Charmaine’s service work at Yale has focused on assisting students from underserved populations. Through the Undergraduate Admissions Office, Charmaine connects with newly admitted FGLI students as an ambassador for the Yale & You program. She also was a co-founder of the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA) Chapter at Yale. Charmaine has contributed to the betterment of Berkeley College in a variety of ways to include working as a student aide in the Berkeley College Office since the second term of her first year. Her empathy, humility, and contributions to social service made Charmaine a natural choice to be a FroCo, and next year’s BK first-years are fortunate to be able to work with and learn from someone who embodies the spirit of the John C. Schroeder Award.”

Amanda Buster, Davenport College

Amanda Buster's contributions to the life of Davenport College and to the wider Yale community. Amanda has served as both a Yale College Council Senator and as Co-President for the Davenport College Council as well as the Student Chair of the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing, the Vice President of Yale Undergraduate Moot Court, and a drummer for several Yale organizations. But these activities alone are not what make Amanda stand out for the Schroeder Award. Rather, it is her dogged commitment to pursuing service opportunities for Davenport College that define her promise for participating in ‘the good labor of the world.’

Salvador Gomez Colon, Ezra Stiles College

Salvador Gómez Colón is an exceptional scholar and humanitarian, whose advocacy for communities affected by climate disaster made him a vital actor in global efforts to arrest environmental degradation. A native of Puerto Rico, Salvador became an activist when Hurricane María devastated the island in 2017. At fifteen, he launched the ‘Light and Hope for Puerto Rico’ campaign, which raised funds and distributed emergency gear for thousands of displaced people in the most affected municipalities. This experience placed him on a global stage as a youthful voice for action on climate change: he has spoken at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, and in the legislatures of the U.S. and Puerto Rico. At Yale, Salvador has combined excellence in the History major with continued leadership of relief efforts for the Caribbean and public education about sustainability and climate resilience. He is also a prolific writer, whose opinion pieces have appeared in dozens of print and digital media outlets. Bright, engaging, and exceptionally thoughtful, Salvador has dedicated his considerable energies and talents to playing ‘a part in the good labor of the world.””

Maheen Iqbal, Grace Hopper College

Fluent in French, Hindu, Urdu, and Punjabi, Maheen has become a natural leader on campus, uniting multiple service-oriented groups while also fulfilling the requirements of both the Political Science and Comparative Literature majors. She serves as President of the Migration Alliance at Yale, leading the largest on-campus organization supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Greater New Haven. Under her leadership, the organization provided legal aid and academic mentorship programs to Afghani and Sudanese migrants through Havenly and The Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services of Connecticut and has helped to raise significant funds in support of resettlement efforts within Connecticut. Maheen has also served as President’s Fellow for Yale’s Office of the President and Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services in Connecticut, but her work and research interests have also reached the international level and reveal the intersection of global and local concerns that drive her thinking and service for others. Among the accolades Maheen has received for her work are Yale’s Georg Walter Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy Award (2023), Yale’s Shana Alexander Grant in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (2023), and the Richter Grant.”

Wendy Zhang, Jonathan Edwards College

There have been two influences that have guided Wendy for most of her life — her passion for STEM fields and her devotion to public service. With a strong belief that positive action is the basis of all moral behavior, Wendy has given an enormous amount of her time to public health issues that disproportionately affect poor and traditionally underrepresented people. While maintaining excellent grades in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, earning a Certificate in Chinese, and becoming a certified Emergency Medical Technician, Wendy has also invested countless extracurricular hours in assisting others. She has been involved for three years with VITA, the Volunteer Tax Assistance Program, where she helps New Haven citizens prepare and understand their tax obligations. Wendy is now Co-President of VITA and has built the local chapter into one of the largest and most successful in the state. She coordinated volunteer training for the program as well as conducting outreach in targeted neighborhoods. Wendy performs a similar function in her work with the Haven Free Clinic, where she serves a Social Services Director. In this position, Wendy helps provide uninsured and undocumented patients with health care, food, and housing assistance. Wendy is a Harvest Orientation Leader, a member of Danceworks, the recipient of a CPA Award that helped her run a calligraphy workshop, and the winner of the Beinecke’s Van Sinderen poster design competition. She is multi-talented as well as community-minded to a fault and we have great faith she will continue her record of good deeds in her future.”

Madeline Gupta, Morse College

Maddie is one of the leaders of the Native American Cultural Center at Yale. She is a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and in 2019, she gave a Tedtalk about her experiences in STEM fields as Chippewa. As a sophomore, she organized the first college tea at Morse to host a Native professor, Dr. Larry Bradley. She is the co-founder and president of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and under her leadership, this chapter won a national award for societies in STEM. She is also the founder of a youth non-profit, ByKids4Kids, which is a community action volunteer group which won an award from the United Nations. The last three summers, she has taught coding to young women of color, providing comprehensive instruction in Swift programming, UI/UX design principles, and the application of anti-racist and accessibility related technologies. At Morse, she is kind and thoughtful, always going out of her way to welcome first-years, particularly Native students. Next year, she will be the Morse Head FroCo. For her leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and passion for social justice, she is a clear stand-out for the John C. Schroeder Award.”

Zawadi Kigamwa, Pauli Murray College

Zawadi Kigamwa’s attention to others’ wellbeing — academic, social, spiritual — has been remarkable and wide-reaching. Other students might focus on a single activity, but Zawadi’s profile has been striking in her care and attention to so many dimensions of community need. We’ve relied on her work as an outstanding aide, but she has also served on the college housing committee since her first year. In the broader Yale College context, Zawadi has also worked as a pedagogical partner in the Poorvu Center and served as one of the most effective Peer Communication and Consent Educators (CCE). She’s also worked as counselor for Cultural Connections, acclimatizing and introducing first years to Yale. For the community that reaches beyond Yale, she has consistently volunteered with the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project. She is also an active participant in the Chi Alpha Christian ministry services, where she also volunteers as a Bible study leader. In all of these efforts, Zawadi’s basic character — sincere, thoughtful, profoundly empathetic — always shines through.”

Nabihah Ahsan, Pierson College

Nabihah Ahsan’s remarkable dedication to service, both within the Pierson residential college community and beyond, exemplifies the qualities of altruism, social service, and commitment to the greater good that this award seeks to recognize. As a junior majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Nabihah has already made significant contributions to various organizations and initiatives aimed at improving public health and advancing social justice. Her leadership roles within the Public Health Coalition and the American Medical Women's Association at Yale underscore her commitment to addressing the social determinants of health and advocating for necessary public health interventions. Moreover, Nabihah's passion for studying neurological development, particularly among youth, minority, and refugee populations in war-torn countries, reflects her deep-seated desire to address pressing global mental health challenges. Her involvement in research at the Yale Child Study Center, where she assesses the effects of trauma on child cognitive and psychological development, highlights her dedication to advancing scientific knowledge while making a meaningful impact on the lives of vulnerable populations. Outside of her academic and research pursuits, Nabihah remains deeply engaged in volunteer work and community service. Her genuine compassion for others and her willingness to go above and beyond to serve her community embody the spirit of John C. Schroeder's legacy as a clergyman dedicated to altruism and social service.”

Anya Bibbs, Saybrook College

Since her first year at Yale, Anya has been a key member of Saybrook’s Black student affinity group BlackBrook. Saybrook was the first college to have several affinity groups that are recognized by the Saybrook College Council. BlackBrook was the first and has been going strong for eight years! The pandemic was tough student groups in the college. Anya’s class was the toe dip to normal life on campus after the pandemic. Starting in her first year, she worked very hard to keep BlackBrook going, providing a space for black students in the college. Anya worked proactively with other affinity groups to have joint events and programing. Students and staff attend every new album listening party held jointly with groups that have included Saysians, SayTinas, Slaydies, and GayBrook. Through these actions, the affinity groups in Saybrook are working together to ensure everyone is welcomed in the college and there is a spirit of collaborative inclusion. We are in a very fortunate situation in Saybrook and we owe this in part to Anya’s work.”

Logan George, Saybrook College

Logan has been a constant and effective leader in the college since her matriculation at Yale. As a first-year student, Logan immersed herself into the life of the college and was an active member of the Saybrook College Council. As a sophomore and junior, Logan was a very effective and successful co-chair of the Saybrook Activities Committee, a tie-binding job that involved organizing several huge events and two college formals. Last semester, Logan was elected president of the Saybrook College Council, which she will serve through the fall semester of her senior year. In this role, Logan has been working closely with college leadership to help strengthen and enhance our community. In her work, Logan emphasizes the community of the college and works to ensure the Saybrook spirit remains strong in the coming years.”

Hasfa Fazel, Silliman College

Hasfa Fazel has done an enormous amount of service during her time in the college, both in her role as a member of the Muslim Student Association and as a leader in Yale Sustainability. As an active member of the Muslim Student Association, Hasfa has worked to support students in stressful times and create a welcoming community for students from all backgrounds. She has had a particular focus on providing students with memorable experiences during Ramadan. She created home cooked meals and gathering opportunities during the holy nights of Ramadan. In addition to her role in the Muslim Student Association, Hasfa has been a leader in altruistically supporting students in her role in Yale Sustainability. She has led a set of programming events for students to help them learn more about sustainability. Hasfa embodies the spirit of religious service for which John C. Schroeder was known. She has been a leader in her selflessness, altruism, and care for her fellow human.”

Trinity Lee, Timothy Dwight College

Trinity Lee is a multifaceted student doing ‘good works’ in a variety of spaces on campus and beyond. A History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health major who is also completing her premed requirements, Trinity has devoted her time to finding ways to bring together music and wellness. An accomplished violinist and composer, Trinity has been an eight-time Grand Prize Winner of the International Music Competition for Classical Piano, Voice, and Composition and has performed at Carnegie Hall multiple times. During the pandemic, she founded the Healing4Kids project that brings together music and community service to provide a healing experience and support for children with cancer. At Yale she performs with the Davenport Pops orchestra. Aside from juggling her music and academic studies, Trinity also works with the Haven Free Clinic as a Reproductive Health Care Coordinator and Yale New Haven Hospital’s pediatrics unit as a volunteer. She has also served as the co-captain of the Yale Figure Skating Team and was one of the lead coordinators of their ‘Learn-to-Skate’ program with children. Next year, Trinity Lee will become one of our college’s First-Year Counselors.”

Meridian Monthy, Trumbull College

An exceptional Global Affairs major, Meridian Monthy has already dedicated her life to public service — this will continue to grow while she is at Yale and beyond. She served as a legislative intern during the summer after her first year and spent time in Mexico last summer researching migratory detention while serving as a policy/advocacy intern for the organization Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración. This summer, she plans to intern at the State Department — Meridian’s passion for action when it comes to public service is only growing with time. We admire Meridian’s ability to simultaneously immerse herself in the theater and music communities. She has been a performer in eleven shows during her Yale career, most recently working on a production of West Side Story. She serves as vice president of the Dramat and was recently tapped for Whim ’n Rhythm, one of two senior acapella groups. Singing and acting isn’t all she does — Meridian is also the business manager for Red Hot Poker, one of our student sketch comedy groups! She is currently the Head Aide in our HoC office and was recently selected to be our Head FroCo next year. Meridian brings warmth to all that she does in our community, making her a particularly worthy recipient of the John C. Schroeder Award.”

Joseph Lentilhon Selden Memorial Award

The Joseph Lentilhon Selden Memorial Junior Award is 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 students especially notable for their contribution in the field of music.

Victoria Pekel, Benjamin Franklin College

Victoria Pekel is both an accomplished scholar, double majoring in Political Science and Theater, as well as a profound musician with vast contributions to the Yale community. Most notable to the Benjamin Franklin community, she is a member of Shades of Yale, performs at almost every Franklin celebratory event, and is the lead vocalist on the Benjamin Franklin Holiday Album. Equally impressive as her captivating voice, is the manner in which she is committed to both perfecting her craft and sharing her talents with others given her participation in 28 productions, 20 of which were performance roles, during her time at Yale thus far.”

Nicole Lam, Ezra Stiles College

Nicole Lam, a pianist and vocalist in Ezra Stiles College, has made her mark on campus not only through her talent and artistry as a performer, but also through her leadership as a musical director. She enjoys mentoring and leading others, encouraging her peers to get involved with the arts at Yale, and inspiring her fellow musicians to do their best work. While Nicole has engaged in high-level musicianship at Yale (e.g., as Alto II in the Yale Glee Club and as Alto in Schola Cantorum), she has spent much of her time in smaller venues, often in support of other student artists. She is the music director and head conductor of the Berkeley College Orchestra, and she performs with the Yale Artists Cabaret, in peers’ senior projects, and at Stiles’s annual Classical Brunch. She has served as musical director for several campus shows, including ‘Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812’ in Fall 2023 and the Dramat’s 2022 Commencement musical, ‘A Chorus Line.’ Her goal of serving others through music is also reflected through her work as founder of Love Through Music, a student-run 501(c)3 that brings music performance and education to underserved communities domestically and internationally. In her desire to support her community, forge connections, and share music with others, Nicole’s leadership and vision have enhanced the musical life of Yale College. Nicole is double-majoring in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science and pursuing the combined BS/MS in Computer Science.”

Aaron Chizhik, Grace Hopper College

A 2023 recipient of the The R. J. R. Cohen Summer Fellowship for Musical Performance Studies, among many other music-oriented accolades, Aaron Chizhik is majoring in Physics (intensive) and Music, a combination of intellectual aspirations which has stood out to the Dean and Head since he arrived at Hopper. Aaron’s piano solo repertoire is extensive, running the gamut from Bach’s preludes to Chopin’s and Liszt’s études to Prokofiev’s sonatas. He has likewise showcased his musical prowess in music festivals in Lucca, Italy and Appleton, Wisconsin and, more locally, he has performed as harpsichordist for the Opera Theatre of Yale College and as pianist with the Yale Undergraduate Piano Collective. While his honors are extensive, Aaron has also impressed the college with his background in serving others as the Classics Alive Young Artist ambassador, organizing, and performing hour-long concerts at retirement and nursing homes, recruiting flutists and pianists, and presenting historical and stylistic explanations of each piece performed. Physicist and musician, Aaron moves forward at Yale, professing his love for both pursuits about which he is so passionate.”

Joanna Ruiz, Jonathan Edwards College

Joanna has been a positive influence in creating spaces for song in the Yale community; her engagement with music has been in the classroom, on the air, and as a musical archivist. Joanna’s other great love is a devotion to public humanities and social activism. Joanna is currently a double major in Music and American Studies. She is a risk-taker and a trendsetter, one who embraces the potential of new technologies to provide new means of self-expression. With the Yale Center for Collaborative Arts and Media, she assists with the Sound Art series exploring the intersection of art and acoustic science. Joanna has been the Manager of the Yale Broadcasting Company for the past year. In this position, she is responsible for the programming and running of WYBC and has invited live bands to play in the studio. Joanna also supports the Teen Takeover program, where New Haven high school students are given a chance to host their own hour-long broadcasts and showcase the artists they love. Joanna is an archival assistant for Yale’s Oral History of American Music project, for which she transcribes interviews of hundreds of musicians and their songs and helps with the database the project is building. With the First-Gen Low-Income Advocacy Movement, she organizes fun events to raise funds and awareness for their cause. Joanna is also a Disability Peer Mentor and the Social Chair of Contigo Peru. Joanna has been a great contributor to, and innovator for, music and social advocacy at Yale and beyond.”

Keely Brooks, Morse College

Keeley is an accomplished musician and has demonstrated a brilliant capacity for music composition. Not only does she play in the YSO, but she is also currently the Head Librarian and the co-Social chair of the YSO. She was recently elected as the YSO President for the upcoming year, which we take to be a tribute to her ‘whole family approach’ to musicianship. She also enjoys volunteering through LEAP with the orchestra — to talk about music, and to make music with, elementary school kids. She takes lessons with Wendy Sharp (award-winning violinist, recitalist, and chamber musician at the Yale School of Music and California Summer Music). She has taken classes with Resident Artist Maiani da Silva (founder of Brouhaha and lecture at Yale’s Department of Music) for contemporary chamber music class, for two semesters. Another innovative project of hers is forthcoming: this summer, she will be working for a U.S. Forest Service researcher who studies wildfire acoustics. She is interested in how sound can be used as a non-invasive tool for looking at climate change, and wants to learn about what sound waves can tell us about fire (and possibly, music). She simply loves all aspects of collaboration in music and loves the opportunity to work with composers. There are a lot of talented musicians at Yale, but it takes a very special talent to be both a musician and a community-builder, making her a well-deserving recipient of the Selden Junior Award.”

Sage Friedman, Pierson College

Sage Freidman is a member of the class of 2025 from Pierson College, Sage Freidman embodies all things musical. She studies music in various forms: opera, pop, folk, and jazz. She has served as the Pierson College music room coordinator helping to make the practice rooms viable and active spaces for musicians to hone their craft. She is the lead singer for a jazz band called Free at Five. In the college, Sage and her band have delighted us with jazz standards from the likes of Sarah Vaughn, opera classics like ‘Porgy and Bess’ from George Gershwin to contemporary neo soul classics by Amy Winehouse.”

Natalie Brown, Timothy Dwight College

Natalie Brown is a double major in African American Studies and Music with a cumulative GPA of 3.94; she positively embodies the citation’s “verve, idealism, and constructive interest in music and the humanities.” Natalie is an extraordinarily accomplished musician — she’s a composer, a lyricist, and a vocalist. She is the music director for the a cappella group ‘Out of the Blue’; she founded (and currently leads) the Yale Songwriters Collective. Last year Natalie created and directed an extraordinary opera of Ntozake Shange’s ‘for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf’ in coordination with Shange’s estate; she has since staged the production in NYC to great acclaim. Further, Carnegie Hall recently commissioned Natalie’s ‘insomni/black,’ a chamber music piece for oboe, piano, viola, and violin. We in Timothy Dwight College fully expect to see her on stage at the Tony Awards in future years.”

Maxwell Brown, Trumbull College

An incredibly talented Theater & Performance Studies major, Maxwell Brown has been active in Yale’s Arts scene since stepping on campus in his first term. During Maxwell’s first year, he started to build collaborations with fellow Trumbullians, working on small innovative projects as we transitioned out of the COVID-19 pandemic. His energy and enthusiasm was infectious and that only continued. As a sophomore, Maxwell took on an enormous project, seeking funding and ultimately directing ‘The Wiz.’ The production was a huge success, and it was remarkable that Maxwell was able to pull off such a feat as a sophomore. His theater career at Yale thus far has been amazing — he has been equally involved both on-stage and behind the scenes, having performed in eight shows thus far and having played a production role in ten shows! Maxwell currently serves as a Peer Mentor for Yale Undergraduate Production, providing guidance to students with any phase of a particular production — so he is also paying it forward while being intimately involved in various projects. When Ruby Bridges visited campus earlier this year for the MLK Day Keynote conversation, Maxwell sang (Bass) and conducted as a member of Shades at Yale. Their rendition of ‘We Shall Overcome’ was truly beautiful and echoed throughout Woolsey Hall. Maxwell is an ideal recipient of the Joseph Lentilhon Selden Memorial Award for his breadth of leadership and involvement in the theater and music communities at Yale and for the passion and warmth that he brings to his projects that benefit his peers and his audiences.”

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