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46 Undergraduates Graduate with Environmental Studies Certificates

Guyot Hall, Room 10 became a sea of orange and black on June 4th as nearly 200 guests -- undergraduates and their families -- arrived for the welcome and presentation of prizes at the Princeton Environmental Institute’s Class Day celebration for the Program in Environmental Studies.

Stephen Pacala, director of PEI and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, greeted the packed lecture hall by offering an insight about what it feels like to be an environmental scientist in 2012. Pacala said, “It’s easy for environmental scientists to be bummed out given current political impasses and environmental crises that are being ignored.  But, the flip side of this issue is that some of the brightest people in the world are now devoting themselves to these environmental problems.  For this reason, I am optimistic about the future."


Reception in Guyot Atrium following ENV Class Day ceremony.

Noting that many of Princeton's brightest minds were in the room, about to receive certificates in environmental studies, Pacala awarded this year's PEI prize winners.  Henry Horn, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, recognized each individual certificate recipient.  

This year, 46 seniors were awarded environmental studies certificates. Four ENV prizes were awarded to five seniors and two juniors. Two seniors were also awarded the University’s Gregory T. Pope Prize for Science Writing. Reflecting the breadth of the Program in Environmental Studies, certificate recipients represented 17 different majors, including engineering, the sciences, and the humanities.

Also in attendance were Mr. Michael Pope and Ms. Lucy Pope, the father and sister of Gregory Pope ‘80, in whose memory the Pope Prize was established, and Professors Greenhouse and Sagan, who advised two of the prize winners, and spoke about the talent and dedication of the students they mentored and the outstanding environmental theses they wrote.


Pictured left to right: Alexandra Deprez (Environmental Thesis Prize winner), Karen Krieb (Gregory T. Pope Prize winner), David Perel (Peter W. Stroh Prize winner), Pete Florence (Honorable mention Environmental Thesis Prize), Maddy Case (Gregory T Pope and T.A. Barron Environmental Leadership Prize winner), Rebecca Scharfstein (Honorable mention Environmental Thesis Prize).

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.

David M. Perel, politics
Thesis Title: The Transatlantic Environmental Conflict Explained: How Disparities in Power Distribution have Precluded Environmental Policy Cooperation
Thesis Adviser: Rahul Sagar, assistant professor of politics, Department of Politics

Environmental Studies Senior 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.

Alexandra Deprez, anthropology
Thesis title: Nature Re-Visioned: An Ethnographic Diary from the Peruvian Amazon
Thesis Adviser: Carol Greenhouse, professor and chair, Department of Anthropology

Becky Colvin '95 Memorial Award

The Colvin Prize, awarded only to juniors in the ENV Program or EEB majors, 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.

Abigail A. Hewitt ’13, ecology and evolutionary biology/ENV Program
Tara M. Thean '13, ecology and evolutionary biology/ENV Program

T.A. Barron Environmental Leadership Prize

The Thomas 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.

Madelon F. Case, ecology and evolutionary biology

Thesis title: Gopher Disturbance and Plant Community Dynamics in Montane Meadows
Thesis adviser: Simon Levin, Moffett Professor of Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Princeton University Prize

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.

Madelon F. Case, ecology and evolutionary biology
Thesis Title: Gopher Disturbance and Plant Community Dynamics in Montane Meadows
Thesis Adviser: Simon Levin, Moffett Professor of Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Karen B. Kreib, ecology and evolutionary biology
Thesis title: Can Reforestation Restore Soil Quality? The Effects of Pasture Abandonment on Soil Chemistry in the Azuero Peninsula, Panama
Thesis adviser: Stephen Pacala, Frederick D. Petrie Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Director, Princeton Environmental Institute