Among the top student prizes, Joel Adade ’22 received the Milton F. Fillius Jr./Joseph Drown Prize Scholarship, and Jiin Jeong ’21 was named recipient of the James Soper-Merrill Prize. A total of 172 awards went to 158 students.
Joel Adade, a biochemistry/molecular biology major, was called “a skilled scientist and a natural leader” by a group of nine faculty and administrator nominators. “He is brilliant, brave, joyous, energetic, powerful, prescient — something of a superhero, a rare type of person, a game changer. He leads by asking bold, prescient questions of the institutions that surround him; through the same inclination to ask questions, he is drawn to science and excels at it,” they wrote.
“We feel he has already made Hamilton a better place and that he will undoubtedly contribute to society in the future; the world will be a better place because of his future leadership,” said the nominators.
Adade, a Posse Scholar from Worcester, Mass., and Dean’s List student, is a residential advisor and a co-founder of ROOTS, Hamilton’s society for students of color in STEM. He has served in the Black and Latinx Student Union, as a student ambassador for the Days-Massolo Center, as co-captain of the HEAT dance team, and was selected for the Was Los honor society. Adade also has been awarded the Charles A. Dana, Ned Doyle, Donald A. Hamilton, and William John Schickler III prize scholarships.
Joel connects with his peers and lifts their spirits in ways that strengthen their resolve to press on and succeed in the sciences, and without him, I doubt that our hopes to progress would be as great and as bright.
Adade participated in medical research as a summer research fellow where he worked under Dr. Jean-Mark Gauget at the University of Massachusetts Hospital in Worcester to perform retroactive analysis of potential incidents of child abuse.
Another faculty nominator, speaking of Adade’s connection with underrepresented students in STEM, said, “Joel excels at the sciences, but to my mind, no one is a more beloved advocate for those who find themselves on the margins of these disciplines. Every student I speak with highlights the fact that were it not for Joel, they don’t know how they would make it. … Joel connects with his peers and lifts their spirits in ways that strengthen their resolve to press on and succeed in the sciences, and without him, I doubt that our hopes to progress would be as great and as bright.”
A faculty member speaking of Adade in his class said, “His questions were persistent and always profound, cutting to the core of the material. … Likewise, his energy was infectious and positively transformative for the classroom dynamic. He was a tremendous asset to the course, and you got the impression with Joel, that he was on top of everything you threw at him.”
The Milton F. Fillius, Jr./Joseph Drown Prize Scholarship, established by the Joseph Drown Foundation, is awarded to a junior who has been very successful academically, has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities at Hamilton, and who is likely to make a significant contribution to society in the future.
Jiin Jeong, a computer science and economics major, was called “a leader in and fierce advocate for inclusion in CS education” by a nominator. “Jiin’s a renaissance woman — a theme central to everyone who knows her. She approaches opportunities to create, lead, teach, and collaborate with uncommon zeal.
“Jiin is a leader in her generation, and her engagement/involvement at Hamilton is felt all over campus and combines her commitment to cultural awareness and diversity and inclusion, fascination with the CS education boom and inequities … and love of music with her heart and soul. Jiin beautifully typifies the ideals of the College.”
One nominator called her “a model of the liberal arts spirit at its best, and our campus community is greatly enriched by all her many contributions these last four years.”
Jiin’s a renaissance woman — a theme central to everyone who knows her. She approaches opportunities to create, lead, teach, and collaborate with uncommon zeal.
In March, Jeong received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for her project Recoding Literacy: Exploring the Computer Science Education Boom, and will travel to Kenya, Singapore, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates.
She served as Coding Club president and last year created Summer of Code, a virtual 12-week project for first- and second-year students with limited computer science experience from Hamilton, Skidmore, and Williams that focused on game development, web development, and start-up pitch. Jeong has interned at General Electric, Goldman Sachs, and Triangle Privacy Research Hub (N.C.), and did computer science research at Harvey Mudd College. Last year she received the Fillius Drown Scholarship.
The James Soper Merrill Prize is awarded to the member of the graduating class “who, in character and influence, has typified the highest ideals of the College.” The winner is selected by the faculty and speaks at Commencement.
Hamilton’s highest awards for teaching are based on student nominations. Dean Keen announced the winners.
Chair and Associate Professor of Theatre Mark Cryer was awarded the Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Assistant Professor of History Mackenzie Cooley was honored with the John R. Hatch Excellence in Teaching Award. Assistant Professor of Computer Science Tom Helmuth ’09 received the Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award.
Keen also recognized 10 faculty members with Dean’s Scholarly Achievement Awards.
Award descriptions and a list of previous recipients can be found on the Dean of Faculty website.
In his remarks, Dave Bailey, the Winslow Chair of Modern Science and professor of geosciences, said that, as a geologist, he is interested in the big picture — the broad perspective of how things change over long periods of time.
“While it is easy to feel that we must have just lived through the most difficult year in Hamilton’s history, I think a little historical perspective is helpful,” he said, offering examples of how things have changed at Hamilton over time, and how Hamilton has responded to previous challenges.
Bailey detailed some of the requirements for admission to Hamilton in 1824, citing “Candidates for the Freshman Class must be able to construe and parse any portion of Virgil, Cicero’s Select Orations, and the Greek Testament.”
Dining options in 1815 included “hashed meat or boiled meat,” and he described living conditions on campus in the 1840s: “They had no running water, and they were heated by firewood, which students had to pay for and haul up to their rooms from large woodsheds located behind each of the dorms.”
And, by 1918, “most college campuses in the U.S. were transformed with the formation of the Student Army Training Corps. Nearly 70% of Hamilton students joined the SATC and lived in Carnegie and South dorms which were converted into barracks.”
Bailey said the purpose of his walk through Hamilton history was “to point out that for over 200 years Hamilton College and its students have endured many changes and faced many challenges; some gradual, others very abrupt. Through all of these changes, the College has managed to not only survive, but to grow… primarily due to the strength and resilience of its faculty, staff, and students,” he said.
“I hope you will see that you are, in fact, just one more link in a long chain of amazing young adults who found a way to excel under difficult conditions.
“Learning how to adapt to sudden changes and to cope with difficult challenges is perhaps the best preparation for life after Hamilton because, as the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said: ‘The only constant in life is change,’” Bailey said.