Tag: Princeton

Nicholas Johnson Earns Top Academic Spot as Valedictorian of Princeton’s Class of 2020

Princeton Class of 2020 Valedictorian Nicholas Johnson (Photo by Lisa Festa, Princeton Center for Career Development)

Nicholas Johnson from Montreal, Canada, has been named valedictorian of Princeton’s Class of 2020, according to princeton.edu. becoming the first black person to earn that academic honor since Princeton was founded in 1746.

Princeton will hold a virtual commencement for the Class of 2020 on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in which Johnson will participate. An in-person ceremony will be held in May 2021.

To quote from princeton.edu:

Johnson said he appreciates the encouragement he has received at Princeton in developing his academic interests. The University’s support through opportunities including international internships and cultural immersion trips to Peru, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom were especially significant, Johnson said. But most of all, he treasures his relationships with his classmates.

“My favorite memories of my time at Princeton are memories of time spent with close friends and classmates engaging in stimulating discussions — often late at night — about our beliefs, the cultures and environments in which we were raised, the state of the world, and how we plan on contributing positively to it in our own unique way,” Johnson said.

Johnson plans to spend this summer interning as a hybrid quantitative researcher and software developer at the D. E. Shaw Group before beginning Ph.D. studies in operations research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in fall 2020.

Along with his concentration in operations research and financial engineering, he is pursuing certificates in statistics and machine learning, applied and computational mathematics, and applications of computing.

His research has focused primarily on sequential decision-making under uncertainty, optimization, and the ethical considerations that must be made given the increasing role of algorithmic decision-making systems.

His senior thesis, “Sequential Stochastic Network Structure Optimization with Applications to Addressing Canada’s Obesity Epidemic,” focuses on developing high-performance, efficient algorithms to solve a network-based optimization problem that models a community-based preventative health intervention designed to curb the prevalence of obesity in Canada.

In addition to serving as a writing fellow at Princeton’s Writing Center, Johnson is editor of Tortoise: A Journal of Writing Pedagogy. He is also a member of the Princeton chapter of Engineers Without Borders and served as its co-president in 2018.

As a rising senior, Johnson worked as a software engineer in machine learning at Google’s California headquarters.

He previously interned at Oxford University’s Integrative Computational Biology and Machine Learning Group, developing and implementing a novel optimization technique. He presented the project at Princeton’s inaugural Day of Optimization in October 2018 and at the 25th Conference of African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences in June 2019, where his project was recognized with the Angela E. Grant Poster Award for Best Modeling.

More: https://www.princeton.edu/news/2020/04/27/nicholas-johnson-named-valedictorian-grace-sommers-selected-salutatorian

Nobel Laureates Toni Morrison and Sir Arthur Lewis to Have Buildings Named for Them at Princeton University

Nobel Laureates Sir Arthur Lewis (l) and Toni Morrison (r)

article by jbhe.com

The board of trustees of Princeton University in New Jersey has announced that Toni Morrison, the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emerita at the university, will have a building on the Princeton campus named in her honor. West College, built in 1836, is now used as an administration building. It will now be known as Morrison Hall.

Toni Morrison was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for her novel Beloved. In 1993, she was the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. In 2012, Professor Morrison was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her latest novel is God Help the Child (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015).

The board of trustees also announced that the main auditorium in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs will be renamed to honor Sir Arthur Lewis, a Nobel laureate in economics who taught at Princeton from 1963 to 1983.

A native of St. Lucia, Professor Lewis was the first person of African descent to be appointed a professor in Great Britain’s university system. He was knighted in 1963 and won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1979. Professor Lewis died in 1991.

17 Year-Old Ifeoma White-Thorpe Accepted to All 8 Ivy League Colleges

Ifeoma White-Thorpe from Morris Hills High School in Rockaway, New Jersey, was accepted into all eight Ivy League colleges, plus Stanford. (CBS PHILLY)

article by Jennifer Earl via cbsnews.com

Many college-bound high school seniors will have difficult decisions to make as summer approaches, but few can compare to the choice facing New Jersey teen Ifeoma White-Thorpe – she was accepted to all eight Ivy League colleges.  White-Thorpe, 17, from Morris Hills High School in Rockaway, New Jersey, was accepted into Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, and the University of Pennsylvania. And that’s not all. White-Thorpe was accepted into Stanford University, too.

At first, she was solely focused on Harvard — the first school to officially give her the green light. But acceptance letters from other prestigious schools across the country soon flooded her mailbox, and now she’s back to square one. “I got into Harvard Early Action, so I was like I’ll just go there. And then I got into all the others and now I don’t know where I want to go,” White-Thorpe told CBS Philly on Tuesday.

The teenager already has quite an impressive list of accomplishments. She’s student government president, ranks high in her advanced placement courses and is a talented poet and writer. She recently won first place in the National Liberty Museum’s Selma Speech & Essay Contest.“Education is essential for change, and I aspire to be that change,” White-Thorpe said after winning a $5,000 prize in the national essay contest.

White-Thorpe says she wants to major in global healthy policy, and plans to look into what programs each school offers in her field. But that’s not the only factor that will help make her decision. It will likely come down to whichever university provides the best financial aid package, she said.

Source: 17-year-old New Jersey teen accepted into all 8 Ivy League schools – CBS News

New York High School Senior Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna Accepted to All Eight Ivy League Colleges

Image: Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna
Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna. Elmont Memorial High School (photo via nbcnews.com)

article by Sarah Donaldson James via nbcnews.com

All eight Ivy League schools — Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, University of Pennsylvania — have offered Long Island, New York high school senior Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna  places in their freshman class.

In addition to the Ivies, she was accepted by Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Augusta is valedictorian at Elmont Memorial High School, where she has a 101.64 weighted grade point average. The school is no stranger to academic superstars: Last year, senior Harold Ekeh scored the same number of Ivy acceptances.

“I am elated, but most importantly, I am thankful,” Augusta, 17, told school officials at Sewanhaka Central High School District.

Augusta’s older brother Johnson told NBC News that Augusta’s “initiative and perseverance,” as well as the family’s emphasis on learning, were responsible for his sister’s success. And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as both their Nigerian-born parents are college-educated, and her father has a master’s and doctorate from the University of Indianapolis.

“Education is very paramount in our family,” said her brother, who also made his way to the Ivies. He is a freshman at Cornell University, studying biological engineering.

Tobias and Basillia Nna immigrated to the United States in 1994 and settled first in Indiana then New York City. They moved to Elmont in 2000. Their father has worked for various companies as a physical therapist. All four of their children were born in this country.  “Augusta’s school days start from 7 in the morning until around 8 at night,” said Uwamanzu-Nna. “Not to mention all of the homework assignments, scholarship and other miscellaneous things she gets done.”

He said that while his sister was co-founder of her own tutoring service, she also works at another tutoring center on Saturdays.

“I am humbled by all of the college acceptance letters that I recently received,” Augusta says on her high school website. “I am reminded that I have a responsibility to be a role model for others and use my experiences to encourage and inspire others, especially young women.”

To read more, go to: http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/college-game-plan/long-island-high-school-student-accepted-all-eight-ivies-n551901?cid=sm_tw&hootPostID=9c3ca1968651804b658563b28ec6dd2c

Daria Rose, 18, Who Lost Home in Hurricane Sandy, Accepted to 7 Ivy League Schools

PHOTO: New York high schooler Daria Rose was accepted to every Ivy League school where she she applied.
New York high schooler Daria Rose was accepted to every Ivy League school where she applied. (Photo Courtesy Daria Rose)

Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012, forcing her family to evacuate their beloved home in Baldwin. The house was then completely destroyed by fire.

After the storm, Rose’s family lived in several hotels as well as her grandmother’s house.  She said the moves made finishing school work extremely difficult.  “It was hard because it’s really unpredictable when you don’t have a stable place to live,” she told ABC News today. “[You] don’t know if you’re moving here next, or there.”

Rose said she lost all of her belongings in the fire, including clothes, furniture, makeup, jewelry and pictures.  “My mom and my dad and my family, they made me realize what was important,” she said. “Stuff is just stuff. What is important is your health, education, your family.”

After about a year and a half, they finally moved into a new house in Baldwin.  For a college application essay, Rose wrote about her Hurricane Sandy experience.

“It talks about the storm, but the focus is how reading helped me cope,” she said. “I was living in these small spaces but in my head I was able to escape … find myself in a literary world.”

When it came to college preferences, Rose said she had always leaned towards Yale.

“I’ve always known I wanted to go to Yale,” she said. “But junior year I started looking at all my options and I realized how many great schools there were out there.”

She decided to apply to seven of the eight Ivy League colleges, and on March 31, all the schools posted their decisions online.  “I went home and checked Harvard first, and then Princeton, and then Brown … and as they kept coming in I was just astonished. I couldn’t even breathe,” Rose said. “It was an amazing moment.”

“I couldn’t believe it,” she added. “I thought I’d get in maybe one or two.”

And now Rose has a big decision ahead of her. While she’s always loved Yale’s environment, Rose says she’s also very interested in Harvard and Princeton. This week she’ll have her last two college visits at Yale and Harvard.

“They’re all such great schools,” she said. “[I’ll] try to see where I’ll fit in the best.”

Wherever Rose ends up, she says she plans to study political science and Russian literature.

She has until May 1 to decide.

article by Emily Shapiro via abcnews.go.com

Princeton Dean and Professor Valerie Smith to become Swarthmore College’s 1st African-American President

Valerie Smith, a Princeton dean and professor of literature and African-American studies, will lead Swarthmore College when the new academic year begins.<br />
Valerie Smith, a Princeton dean and professor of literature and African-American studies, will lead Swarthmore College when the new academic year begins. (Swarthmore College)

A Princeton dean and professor of literature and African American studies will lead Swarthmore College when the new academic year begins.

The school announced Saturday that Valerie Smith, 59, would become the 15th president of the 150-year-old institution beginning July 1. She becomes Swarthmore’s first African American president.

“I was really struck by the passionate commitment faculty, staff, and students have toward Swarthmore,” Smith said, ” . . . the level of deep intellectual engagement.”

Smith expressed an interest in deepening Swarthmore’s interdisciplinary work and increasing the school’s ties with its neighbors.
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Five Ivy League Colleges Vie for DC Student Avery Coffey

Avery Coffey

WASHINGTON – This is the college acceptance season — frequently a nervous time for high school seniors. But D.C.’s Avery Coffey can relax. He applied to five Ivy League universities and all five accepted him.

Coffey attends Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, a D.C. public school with strict rules. None of the 439 students at Banneker is allowed to bring a cell phone into the building. They are also not allowed to go to their lockers during the school day. (That has spawned the peculiar tradition of piling up textbooks at the base of lockers, so kids can switch books between classes without violating the locker rule.)

The strict rules at Banneker have fostered a rather serious academic environment. Principal Anita Berger says year after year after year, 100 percent of Banneker graduates are accepted into post-secondary institutions.  Among these brainy and motivated public school students is 17-year-old Coffey who, like a lot of kids, enjoys sports. What does he play?

“Baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer,” Coffey told us.

He also enjoys academics, and he has a 4.3 high school report card average, adjusted for the demanding International Baccalaureate courses he takes. Coffey scored very high on standardized tests also. He calls himself a “determined” student.

Coffey applied to five Ivy League universities, and, amazingly, has been accepted at all of them: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Brown.  And four of the five universities have already offered very generous financial aid packages. (Harvard is still formulating its offer.)

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