Columbia College Class Day Awards and Prizes 2010
Class Day Awards and Prizes 2010
Each year, the graduating class of Columbia College selects the recipients of the Alumni, Brainard, and Rolker prizes. Earlier in the semester, members of the graduating class were invited to nominate their peers or themselves for these awards. Each nominee was asked to submit a resume and personal statement for consideration. Applications were received from many outstanding students.
We now invite you to vote on the three finalists for each prize. The prizes will be given at the Class Day celebration on Tuesday, May 19, 2009.
In making your selection, please review the finalists' statements and select the student who you feel best exemplifies the ideals of the corresponding prize. Votes will be kept confidential.
Instructions: Indicate your choices for the recipients of the Alumni, Brainard, and Rolker prizes by clicking "nominate." You may change your vote as many times as you would like until the deadline, but only your final vote will count. The voting period will conclude on Friday, April 3 at 5:00p.m.
Thank you for taking part in this exciting process. If you have any questions, please e-mail Graduation Zone.
The Alumni Prize is a cash prize awarded annually by the Columbia College Alumni Association to the senior "judged by classmates to be the most faithful and deserving."
Allan is an Economics and Music major. He has had the great fortune of working with his classmates through his involvement with Notes and Keys A Capella, the Chinese Students Club, CC School Council, and the CC Senior Fund over the last four years. He is honored to have been recognized as a finalist for this award.
It is an honor to be considered for Columbia College's Alumni Award. Serving as Student Body President this last year and Class of 2009 President for the two prior years has allowed me to become part of a family and find my place among an embracing community. Each day I spend numerous hours meeting with students and administrators, writing emails, and interacting with the student body to advance an agenda that benefits our students. It has been my goal to be a productive member of this tight knit Columbia family and to add to this great place. To the extent that I have done that, I am immensely proud.
The sheer breadth of academic and extracurricular opportunities available at Columbia ensures that one can follow Aristotle's maxim and embrace their true passion, though sometimes the process requires a little trial and error. During my time at Columbia I have served on the Class Day Committee, as a Senior Class Representative on CCSC, and as president of the Columbia International Relations Council and Association (let's just call it Model UN). Additionally I mentored a promising high-school student through Community Impact, helped organize the Roosevelt Institute foreign policy committee, acted as Associate-Dining Editor for Inside New York 2008, submitted to the Columbia Political Review, and lead impressionable first-years into the woods each fall as a biking leader for the COOP. Over my four years at Columbia College I have had the undeniable privilege to grow on both an intellectual and personal level alongside some of the brightest minds of my generation. In stepping away from Columbia last spring to study abroad, I realized that wherever I am and whatever I do come May, a significant part of me will always think of Columbia as home. It is an honor to be nominated for the Alumni Prize, even more so because it is bestowed by my classmates who have and will continue to teach and give me so much. Thank you for your consideration.
EDWARD S. BRAINARD PRIZE
The Edward S. Brainard Prize is a cash prize awarded annually to the member of the graduating class "who is judged by classmates to be most worthy of distinction for qualities of mind and character."
Maria Abascal, a Sociology major, is writing her honors thesis on the different understandings of citizenship which emerge from ethnically-dissimilar communities. She is the President and Founder of the Columbia chapter of the Cuban-American National Foundation, an SGB-recognized group dedicated to fostering student dialog on the political issues surrounding Cuba. Maria is also involved with the Missionaries of Charity After School Tutoring Program and works at the Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library. She is a Kluge Scholar, a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and a finalist for both the Marshall and Rhodes Scholarships. Next year Maria plans to attend Princeton University to pursue a PhD in Sociology.
Over the past four years, Matt has dedicated himself to the development of the Columbia community both inside and outside of the classroom. As a student of Economics and Psychology, his research has ranged from Nigerian election fraud to environmental decision making. While serving as President of the InterFraternity Council, Matt worked with students and administrators to expand the Greek community and cultivate its connections to the wider student population. This role was particularly challenging as it came during a time of mounting pressure to crack down on many campus social activities. Nevertheless, Matt was a consistent advocate for the student body, and he ultimately established a more favorable alcohol and party policy. Matt has also done work with the Senior Fund, the New Student Orientation Program, and CU Athletics. In recognition of his leadership and campus involvement, Matt was awarded the Stanley I. Fishel Prize and the King's Crown Award in 2008.
As a Native American-Anglo, I believe the most impactful changes and intelligent contributions to society come from individuals who are able to draw from the resources of many different cultures and perspectives. Coming from a background of talking to rocks on long hikes and bathing naked in the first snowfall, I wondered what new wisdom I could learn from my peers if, in return, I could offer these idiosyncratic experiences of intimately engaging with the world around me. Through the friends I have made, my involvement with the Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program, my attempt to live in constant inquiry, and the resources presented by my Environmental Biology major and Dance concentration, I have directed my efforts toward bringing awareness to and supporting such collaborative learning and unceasing dialogue. I am grateful to have been challenged to expand my perceptions by the many experiences and mentors that Columbia has offered me, and I hope that I have inspired others to incorporate many different perspectives into their worlds as well. I recognize that graduation marks only the beginning of my commitment to effecting change through the wisdom that comes from listening to all experiences of life, and I am excited to enter this next phase supported by the adventures of these past four years.
CHARLES M. ROLKER PRIZE
The Charles M. Rolker Prize is a cash prize awarded to the member of the graduating class "who is judged by classmates to be most worthy of special distinction because of scholarship, participation in student activities, athletics, or any combination thereof."
As a volunteer then a student executive at Community Impact (CI), I've been thrilled to help develop and execute CI initiatives such as the CI Fellowship Fund and Earl Jam, to work closely with Columbia administrators and CI staff and student groups, and to constantly learn tips from my 12-year-old mentee such as not putting phones in pockets as they may fall out. My experiences at Columbia have varied as a student, researcher, Community Impact (CI) student executive and volunteer, and horrible intramural dodgeball and soccer player….but mostly, I'm grateful to have been inspired by everyone I've met through my experiences at Columbia.
As an active member of the Class of 2009, I have dedicated the large majority of my time to the Multicultural Recruitment Committee, and the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee, where I have worked hard to recruit students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. I have spent many long hours and late nights as a Resident Advisor for two years, and as a committed member of the Columbia College Student Council. In instances where I could not do the job to the best of my ability, I have given the responsibility to someone who can, as I would rather see a job done well by someone else than a mediocre job done by me. In all things, I have tried my best to focus on the significance of my deeds, not for credit or praise, and hope that I have conveyed the importance of this outlook to other Columbians. I am honored to be a finalist for the Rolker Prize and hope that the Class of 2009 chooses a candidate who is truly worthy of this special distinction.
My time at Columbia has confirmed my belief that fundamental change comes with student action. It is through collaborative efforts with my friends at Columbia that I have been able to successfully form, with the Vietnamese Students Association, the first New England Union of Vietnamese Students Associations and its founding conference focused on community involvement; program a wonderful month of insightful and exciting events with the Asian Pacific American Awareness Month planning board for three years; experience campus and community organizing with the Asian American Alliance Political Committee; direct a city-wide conference focused on empowerment for Asian American youth; and work first-hand with the low-income, homeless, and immigrant populations of Morningside Heights and Harlem through Advocacy Coalition, a Community Impact program. I am so involved because my peers are—all of them in their own way. Indeed, I am so lucky to attend a school with such a thoughtful, active, and concerned student body.