PEI Awards Five Prizes on Class Day

Carol Peters ・ Princeton Environmental Institute

Class Day 2011

PEI’s 2011 Class Day Ceremony

A record number of seniors graduating with Environmental Studies (ENV) certificates and nearly 200 of their guests attended PEI’s Class Day celebration on Monday, May 30.

This year, 57 seniors were awarded ENV certificates, the largest group in PEI’s history. 7 seniors were awarded 5 prizes, including the University’s Gregory T. Pope Prize for Science Writing, the first time an ENV student received this prize. Reflecting the breadth of the ENV Program, certificate recipients represented 16 different majors, including engineering, the sciences, and the humanities.

Members of the Class of 2011 and their families gather for a reception in Guyot Hall following the Class Day ceremony. (Photos: Frank Wojciechowski)

Lars Hedin, Director of the Environmental Studies (ENV program), addressed the crowded lecture hall, assuring students that their knowledge of environmental issues will be applicable in any career they choose, whether they pursue jobs on Wall Street or Main Street. Hedin, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology said, “Environmental Studies used to be a narrower field with fewer applications, but today many traditional disciplines intersect to study environmental problems. At Princeton, there is a growing interdependence among researchers in this field, more faculty are engaging in interdisciplinary work, and many more faculty are thinking across disciplinary perspectives.

“It is my hypothesis that the depth versus breadth argument is false, that true leadership in the environmental field comes from having cutting-edge knowledge in a field that is understood not in isolation but in the broader context of interdisciplinary connections”

Hedin emphasized that the nature of PEI’s interdisciplinary environmental studies program sets it apart from environmental studies programs in other colleges and universities. “The ENV Program leverages Princeton’s strengths, and the student’s theses, projects and awards demonstrate in a phenomenal way the success of our Program. The quality of work these students have completed is astounding.”

PEI Awards and Prizes

Peter W. Stroh ’51 Environmental Thesis Prize

The Peter W. Stroh ’51 Environmental Senior Thesis Prize was established in 2003 as a memorial to Peter W. Stroh ’51, an active member of PEI’s Advisory Council and an enthusiastic supporter of the Environmental Studies Program. The prize is awarded annually to the student who is determined to have written the best thesis on an environmental topic. Academic departments are solicited for nominations in the spring with a limit of one student per academic discipline eligible for consideration. All members of the senior class are eligible to be nominated including students participating in the ENV Certificate Program.

Brooks Cabot Barron ’11, Woodrow Wilson School
Thesis title: American Public Perception of Climate Change

Environmental Studies Thesis Prize

The Environmental Studies Senior Thesis Prize is awarded annually to one or two seniors in the Environmental Studies Certificate Program who wrote an outstanding thesis in the broad area of environmental studies. Student nominations are made by departmental thesis advisers.

Hannah Barkley ’11, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Thesis title: The Effect of Increased Ocean Temperature, Ocean Acidification, and Nutrient Enhancement on the Reproduction and Recruitment of the Atlantic Coral Favia fragum

Samuel Talcott Borchard, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Thesis title: Leave No Trace: Designing a Zero Waste Bridge on the Appalachian Trail

Gregory T. Pope ’80 Prize for Science Writing

Established in 1998 by the Class of 1980 in memory of their classmate Gregory Pope, the prize is awarded annually by the University to graduating seniors who have shown a keen interest in science and demonstrated an outstanding ability to communicate that enthusiasm to a wide audience through journalism or other writings.

Danny S. Growald ‘11, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Thesis Title: Red Soil, Black Charcoal, Green Grass: A Recipe for Productivity, Carbon Sequestration, and Soil Improvement on Degraded Lands?

Becky Colvin ’95 Memorial Award

The Colvin Prize was established in memory of Becky Colvin ’95, an ecology and evolutionary biology (EEB) major who was strongly committed to field ecology and environmental studies. The award provides an annual grant to support undergraduate environmental field research projects for the senior thesis. Juniors in the ENV Program or EEB major are eligible for nomination.

Madelon Case ’12, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Sara L. Nason ’12, Geosciences

T.A. Barron Environmental Leadership Prize

The T. A. Barron Environmental Leadership Prize recognizes a member of the graduating class who has distinguished himself or herself by showing exceptional dedication to environmental concerns, not only in formal classes and independent academic work, but also by leading and encouraging activities among fellow students and in the community at large. Nominations are limited to one student per academic department. A seconding letter that addresses the student’s contributions to environmental leadership is also required.

Danny S. Growald ‘11, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Thesis Title: Red Soil, Black Charcoal, Green Grass: A Recipe for Productivity, Carbon Sequestration, and Soil Improvement on Degraded Lands?