Each year during Class Day, it is customary for the Dean of Undergraduate Students to acknowledge the winners of various Prizes relating to achievement and service through student life. This years prize winners included:
Mayowa Oke | Allen Macy Dulles Class of '51 Service Award
An alumnus of the Class of 1951 generously endowed this award to honor his classmate Allen Macy Dulles, who, seriously injured in the Korean War, set an example of selflessness and courage that are the spirit of this prize. The official description of the award is as follows: Presented each year to the senior, whose activities while a Princeton student, best represent or exemplify Princeton in the nation’s service and in the service of humanity.
The Allen Macy Dulles ’51 Award is presented this year to Mayowa Oke. Mayowa, a Neuroscience concentrator from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, who will also be receiving certificates in Global Health & Health Policy, has an extraordinary profile of service in addition to being an outstanding student. Service to others is, for Mayowa, a deeply held value. Her involvement in a variety of service activities on and off campus exemplifies her commitment. Last summer, she volunteered in New York City at the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, assisting people struggling with drug use. As Donor Recruitment Chair, and then as President of the American Red Cross Student Volunteer Council, Mayowa organized donor recruitment initiatives, recruiting over 270 participants to support the 2021 Sickle Cell Initiative to increase the diversity of blood supply. She tutored incarcerated individuals studying for their GED as part of the Petey Greene Program, and was co-founder and co-president of “Princeton Students vs. Pandemics,” an organization providing educational information on campus as well as outreach to the homeless. On campus, she served as a Davis International Center leader and a Residential College Advisor in First College. In all of her service activities she exhibits integrity, fairness and respect – qualities that will serve her well as she goes on to make a difference in her community beyond Princeton.
Gabriella Carter | Frederick Douglass Service Award
The Frederick Douglass Service Award, established in 1969 by the Association of Black Collegians, is awarded annually to a senior who has exhibited courage, leadership, intellectual achievement, and a willingness to contribute unselfishly towards a deeper understanding of the experiences of racial minorities, and who, in so doing, reflects the tradition of service embodied in a Princeton education.
This year’s winner of the Frederick Douglass Award is Gabriella Carter. Gabby is an Anthropology Concentrator from Miramar, Florida earning a certificate in African American Studies. She has left her mark as a founder, mentor, and active participant across a range of activities in support of Black women, both at Princeton and in communities beyond our gates. Gabby has served as a Peer Career Advisor, as Vice President of the Black Student Union, and has been a performer and choreographer with the African dance group, Dorobucci. Perhaps her most impressive contributions, however, spring from her passionate and innovative entrepreneurial spirit. Gabby is a co-founder of “Our Health Matters,” a support program focused on promoting the personal, professional, and mental well-being of Black Women through weekly team-building events and learning opportunities. To support this work, Gabby authored a guidebook offering work-out plans, mental health tips and financial advice. Gabby created the “Black Talent Initiative,” a mentoring network between Princeton students and alumni and founded “Growing with Gabby” a social entrepreneurship venture helping high school and college students identify scholarships to finance their educations. In all this work, Gabby has leveraged social media and the reach afforded by online tools to share information with her 300,000 followers online, and particularly with students of color and women.
Ashwin Mahadevan | Harold Willis Dodds Award
The Harold Willis Dodds Award is an annual award, established in 1957, to be given to the senior who best embodies the high example set by Harold Willis Dodds during his tenure as fifteenth President of Princeton University; particularly in the qualities of clear thinking, moral courage, a patient and judicious regard for the opinion of others, and a thoroughgoing devotion to the welfare of the University and to the life of the mind.
This year the winner of the Harold Willis Dodds Award is Ashwin Mahadevan. Hailing from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Ashwin is a concentrator in the School of Public and International Affairs, and earned certificates in the History & Practice of Diplomacy, Music Performance, and South Asian Studies. An outstanding student, he has been awarded several academic prizes including the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence. In addition to his academic achievements, Ashwin has made countless contributions to the university community, serving as a residential college advisor in Rockefeller College, a member of the Rocky College Council, and as a two-term Vice President of the Undergraduate Student Government. Among his other activities, Ashwin has represented the University as an Orange Key Tour Guide, volunteered with the Trenton Youth Singers and participated as a member of the Glee Club and the Chamber Choir. A thoughtful and principled campus leader and citizen, Ashwin has exercised sound judgement, displayed a talent for listening to all viewpoints, and demonstrated a generosity of spirit toward his peers. Throughout the pandemic, especially in his role as an RCA, Ashwin exhibited extraordinary care and concern for the well-being of others, and, as a modest, hard-working student government leader worked with his peers and University administrators to mitigate the isolating impact of the pandemic.
Mansi Totwani | W. Sanderson Detwiler 1903 Prize (voted by the senior class)
The W. Sanderson Detwiler 1903 Prize is a silver bowl, awarded annually to the senior who, in the judgment of the student’s classmates, has done the most for the class. The prize was founded in 1949 in memory of W. Sanderson Detwiler, Class of 1903, by his sister, Mrs. William Jennings Price.
This year’s winner is Mansi Totwani. Mansi is a Molecular Biology concentrator, earning a certificate in Global Health and Health Policy. Hailing from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, she has served your class for four years as Class Treasurer, playing an integral role in the planning of events, distribution of gear, and crucially, providing study breaks for the class. Most notably, Mansi co-chaired the popular “Last Lecture Series” for your class, hosting conversations with CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Harvard Professor, Robert Rizzi and members of the Class of 1972, your grandparent class, who shared investment advice. In addition to her role as a member of the Class Officers’ leadership team, Mansi has had a deep impact across campus, serving first-year students in First College as a Peer Academic Advisor, helping mentor fellow pre-med students in their first and second year as a Health Professions Advisor, and mentoring FLI students as a SIFP head fellow. Mansi’s service has also included volunteering as an EMT for the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, serving as one of our nation’s healthcare heroes during the pandemic. Whether building unity among the members of the Class of 2022, advising underclassmen, supporting cohorts of FLI students, or serving the greater Princeton community, Mansi has left an indelible mark.
Naomi Hess | Class of 1901 Medal (voted by the senior class)
The Class of 1901 Medal is awarded to the senior who, in the judgment of the student’s classmates, has done most for Princeton. Founded in 1920 by the Class of 1901, which in 1952 endowed it in perpetuity and stipulated that thereafter the medal be awarded in memory of its classmate, Walter E. Hope, who originated the prize.
This year, the winner is Naomi Hess. Naomi, a concentrator in the School of Public and International Affairs, is also earning certificates in Journalism and Gender and Sexuality Studies. A Clarksville, Maryland native, Naomi has been deeply involved in extracurricular life on campus, including as Associate News Editor for the Daily Princetonian, co-chair of the Disability Task Force, as an AccessAbility Center Fellow, as a Peer Academic Advisor in Butler College, and with the Center for Jewish Life as a founder of Jewish Disability Awareness and an Inclusion Month Shabbat. The common thread across these roles has been Naomi’s talent for communication and teamwork, skills she leveraged in her disability advocacy work across campus. Naomi has shared that a high point in her advocacy to make Princeton’s campus more accessible came when she became the first wheelchair user to visit Nassau Hall without assistance, using the newly installed elevator in the 265-year-old building behind us. She has also shared that in that visit, her thoughts were of the generations of disabled students before her who could not enter, and the generations to come, that will now share in this freedom and access. It is fitting that she has been elected to serve as Young Alumni Trustee. For all that she has done to advocate and expand access across campus, promote awareness, and actively build community, you have voted to recognize her with the Class of 1901 Medal.