Alex Coggin ’16, Contributing Writer
Thirty-one seniors, nominated by their departments and programs, were named President’s Fellows for the 2013-2014 academic year. Founded in 1974, the Society of President’s Fellows recognizes students for academic excellence within their respective majors. The Fellows meet four times a year with President James F. Jones and various Faculty to discuss topics of interest–the concluding meeting is a dinner in April.
In many ways, these fellows are representatives of Trinity’s best. Being selected as a Fellow is a reflection of not only current achievement, but of three whole years of consistent outstanding performance.
The President’s Fellows are credited with starting the Trinity Papers in 1981-82. The Trinity Papers is an annual journal, comprised of about 6-10 papers selected for their showcase of outstanding liberal arts scholarship. The papers are chosen by an editorial board comprised of President’s Fellows of the current academic year. The Fellows on the editorial board anonymously judge each submission to the Trinity Papers, and choose the strongest submissions to feature. The Trinity Papers are an important way of presenting the work of Trinity students to the outside world.
For the seniors selected, being named a President’s Fellow is an extreme honor. There is no application process for the Fellows. They are chosen by their professors and department faculty without their knowledge. For Biology Major Catherine Guariglia, this is what makes its honor so poignant. “It feels as though all my hard work in my major has been noticed and is paying off.”
The distinction of being chosen to represent a department and major to the President of the College is another aspect of what makes the honor so significant. Senior Public Policy and Law Major, Sam Livingston notes, “receiving this honor from the Public Policy & Law faculty and from President Jones is by far and away the highlight of my entire academic career. Being placed in the company of all the other Fellows and asked to advise President Jones on pressing issues at Trinity is a humbling experience.” Like many other recipients of the honor, Sam notes, “It has opened my eyes to a greater responsibility I have to represent Trinity and to inspire students in the Public Policy & Law major.” Danee Conley (Theater and Dance) struck on a similar idea. “[this honor] means that I can play not only an integral role in my department, but also within the college.”
Many of these Seniors are in the process of working on senior projects and writing theses. These students are conducting research on some of the most engaging and pressing topics of today. Psychology Major Rachel Reingold is researching the increases in Ecstasy use in college students–exploring the various beliefs and expectancies associated with drug, and comparing these perceptions to those of other illicit drugs. Julia Rivera is writing her Sociology thesis on what is currently happening to the favelas in Brazil in light of the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, specifically through analyzing the discourse surrounding the urban changes taking place in preparation for the games and how they highlight existing inequalities in Brazil. Computer Science major Vlad Burca is doing a senior research project on Expander Graphs. “To give you an intuitive sense of what these graphs are, think of the subway system in Manhattan – a graph where the train stations are the nodes and the train rails are the edges. So what is special about this graph is the fact that there are not many “train rails” going out of the stations, but there is still a high connectivity between the stations – you can get from one station to another one in within a reasonably small number of stops. For Computer Science, I am working on algorithms to generate this kind of graphs,” Burca explained. “I am trying to prove, theoretically, why these constructions work and to find other interesting applications.” The students that have been named President’s Fellows are conducting some of the most interesting research within their department, and Trinity as a whole.
The students named as Fellows continuously push their respective departments forward, and are being recognized for it. Because of their consistent dedication to their field, the Fellows will now get the chance to apply their interdisciplinary knowledge towards advising President James F. Jones on Trinity’s most important and pressing issues. It is because of students like these that Trinity maintains its status as a distinguished Liberal Arts Institution.
Congratulations to all the Seniors named as this years President’s Fellows.
American Studies – Madeleine V. Dickinson
Anthropology — Anne L. Arnzen
Biochemistry – Taylor S. Murtaugh
Biology — Catherine M. Guariglia
Chemistry – Alexandre X. Zhang
Classics — Zach M. Haines
Computer Science – Vlad S. Burca
Economics – Daniel C. Mullan, Jr.
Educational Studies — Pornpat Pootinath
Engineering — Hokchhay Tann
English — Lenny A. Rutigliano, III
Environmental Science — Linnea K. Gotberg
Art History – Emily M. Misencik
Studio Arts – Victoria C. Trentecoste
History — Michael R. McLean
International Studies – Tram N. Luong
Language & Culture Studies – Justin S. Pizzo
Mathematics — Gokuleshwor Pokharel
Music – Christina M. Lipson
Neuroscience – Lisa Saa
Philosophy – Whitney D. Ronshagen
Physics – Erik Quinonez
Political Science – Gaurav Inder S. Toor
Psychology – Rachel E. Reingold
Public Policy and Law – Samuel D. Livingston
Religion – Emily A. Kleidon
Sociology – Co-Fellows: Jacob H. Pullis and Julia A. Rivera
Theater and Dance – Danee J. Conley
Urban Studies – Shaun J. McGann
Women, Gender and Sexuality – Mia Schulman