Nine students receive 2013 Spirit of Princeton Award

Nine students have been named winners of the 2013 Spirit of Princeton Award, which honors undergraduates at Princeton University for their positive contributions to campus life. The award recognizes students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the undergraduate experience through dedicated efforts with student organizations, athletics, community service, religious life, residential life and the arts.

This year's winners were selected from a group of more than 100 nominees and will be honored with a book prize at a dinner on May 8. The University's Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students sponsors the award, which has been given annually since 1995.

Spirit of Princeton award

The 2013 Spirit of Princeton Award winners are (left to right): Ariceli Ariel Alfaro; Nathan Mathabane; Rafael Abrahams; Farrah Bui; Daniel Gastfriend; Catherine Ettman; Carmina Mancenon; Jiun-Ruey Hu; and Russell Dinkins. (Photo courtesy of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students)

The 2013 winners are as follows:

Rafael Abrahams, a senior from Woodmere, N.Y., is majoring in history with a certificate in theater. Throughout his time at Princeton, Abrahams has been a contributor and leader within the community of journalistic, comedic and theatrical writers. He has served as an editor-in-chief of the Nassau Weekly, a campus publication that publishes news, opinion pieces and original literature. He also has written for the Triangle Club as well as the newly launched, late-night campus show, All-Nighter with David Drew. For his senior thesis project in theater, Abrahams wrote an original play titled "Eight Feet," which was produced and performed in February. He also is an alternate residential college adviser in Butler College, a student tour guide at the Princeton University Art Museum and served as vice president of the Center for Jewish Life Student Board. Abrahams is a member of Yavneh, the Orthodox Jewish group on campus, and Terrace Club. Next year, he will join the Teach for America corps in New York.

Ariceli Ariel Alfaro is a senior psychology major from Burbank, Calif. Over her past four years she has occupied a variety of roles in service of Princeton's community. She was a co-manager at Murray-Dodge Café, providing both a friendly face and fresh cookies to her fellow students. She trained as a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) peer educator, conducting panels for incoming freshmen and providing support and information about the LGBT community and the difficulties they face. Most often, Alfaro has been involved in a backstage capacity in a number of productions on campus. She has served as a lighting designer, master builder, stage manager, technical director, business manager and other roles for theater and dance groups. She has worked to enhance technical knowledge within performing arts groups. She also served as the facilities manager of Princeton's Performing Arts Council as a way to build a more vibrant performing arts community. She also has been a stage manager at Richardson Auditorium.

Farrah Bui, a junior from Fort Mill, S.C., is a major in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and is pursuing a certificate in environmental studies, and global health and health policy. At Princeton, Bui co-founded and served as president for Princeton Quest Scholars (QSN), serves on the Community House Executive Board, served as a U-Councilor on the Undergraduate Student Government and is an intern for the Office of Religious Life. Through QSN and Community House, Bui has worked to bring to light the conversation about the achievement gap and minorities in higher education, specifically by organizing dinners with faculty and students who share their experiences. With Princeton Quest Scholars, she has conducted outreach to thousands of high school students interested in higher education. She also helped initiate the first QuestBridge College Prep conference at Princeton during the summer of 2012. A member of Cap and Gown, Bui also is on the Student Health Advisory Board, is a founding member of the Tobacco Policy Task Force, is a SHARE (Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education) peer adviser, is a member of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Projects Board, and is a member of the USG Social Committee. Last summer, Bui interned in the Office of the Vice President for Campus Life. For the upcoming summer and semester, she will be studying the effect of nutritional status on the experiences of HIV/AIDs of children in Brazil and continuing to build awareness on campus about issues related to the achievement gap.

Russell Dinkins is a senior sociology major pursuing certificates in environmental studies and urban studies. A native of Philadelphia, Dinkins is a three-time NCAA All-American in track and has won four individual Ivy League titles. He also holds two individual Princeton records in track in addition to three Ivy League relay records. In March, he was part of the distance medley relay team that won the NCAA Championship. Dinkins has been a strong supporter and catalyst for the Athlete Ally project in an attempt to create a community of support for LGBT athletes. In addition to his success on the track, he has been a leader within a number of student arts organizations. Specifically, he served as the artistic director for the Princeton Highsteppers, a co-ed step team on campus. He has also danced with the diSiac Dance Company for four years and he has sung in Umqombothi, an African a cappella group. He is a Community Action leader, a dormitory assistant, and last summer, was a residential college adviser for the Freshman Scholars Institute. This summer, Dinkins will be working on an entrepreneurial project as part of the eLab program. He is also considering post-collegiate running.

Catherine Ettman is a senior from Miami Beach, Fla. She is majoring in the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs and pursuing certificates in African American studies and gender and sexuality studies. Throughout her four years, she has worked to promote the cause of leadership development on campus, specifically advocating for greater opportunities for female student leaders. During her freshman year, she was selected to serve on the Steering Committee on Undergraduate Women's Leadership. She went on to co-found the Princeton Women's Mentorship Group, spearheading a growing movement on campus to support female students and their leadership aspirations. Within the Undergraduate Student Government, Ettman served as a senator from her class, and then as the vice president in 2011, where she participated in projects to propose academic policy changes and to create a USG website to give incoming freshmen tips about how to maximize their Princeton experience. She co-led a Breakout civic action trip to tutor underprivileged high school students in Brooklyn on the college admissions process, was a two-year member of Students for Education Reform, volunteered through Send Hunger Packing as a freshman and performed in three campus performances. She has served as a dormitory assistant for two years, and has served as the student chair for the Leadership Implementation Committee established by the vice president for campus life. She worked as a summer intern in the Office for the Vice President for Campus Life in 2011, and this past year, she was one of two students selected to serve on the University Presidential Search Committee. Next year, Ettman will serve as a Running Start Star Fellow, which will allow her to work in Washington, D.C., for a female member of Congress while also attending leadership workshops.

Daniel Gastfriend, a senior from Newton, Mass., is majoring in the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs, and pursuing a certificate in African studies. On a national level, he has been recognized with a Harry S. Truman Scholarship for leadership and public service, and at Princeton, he earned a Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence. Throughout his four years at Princeton, Gastfriend has been a participant and leader in the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, serving as co-chair of the Pace Council for Civic Values (PCCV) for two years, where he oversaw recognition of new Pace student organizations and the peer advising program. Gastfriend co-founded the Princeton chapter of the philanthropy group Giving What We Can, and he served as the vice president of the Princeton Social Entrepreneurship Initiative. He has spent summers abroad in Malawi and Kenya conducting research and implementing initiatives through the William J. Clinton Foundation, PITCH_Africa, and the Zeitz Foundation. A classical and jazz pianist, Gastfriend has contributed to the arts at Princeton through his participation in campus theater productions and as a member of the Footnotes, an all-male a cappella group.

Jiun-Ruey Hu, a senior from Toronto, is a molecular biology major pursuing certificates in neuroscience and applications of computing. He has worked to engage and support underclassmen and his peers through a range of academic, service and mentorship initiatives. Addressing student needs for improving critical communication skills, Hu co-founded Speak with Style, a pioneering initiative that trains Princeton students in public speaking skills. While revitalizing a dormant Princeton Premedical Society during his term as co-president, he founded the Freshman Premed Mentorship Program and the professor-student dinner series, in addition to helping to set up the Premeds without Borders and Women in Medicine programs. A passionate musician, he co-founded Music in Mind and organized the interdisciplinary Art of Science lecture series, now in its second year. Through collaborations with community partners, he co-led a Breakout civic action trip to Boston for Princeton student volunteers to teach music to youth in prison and to study music as a medium for healing in hospitals, special-needs schools and community centers. In Mathey College, Hu supports underclassmen as a peer academic adviser and pre-health peer adviser, and co-organizes the East Asian affairs table and the premed table. He serves on the Molecular Biology Department Undergraduate Student Committee and promotes effective leadership practices through Leadership for Change. Besides having been a staff writer for Princeton American Foreign Policy and Princeton Asia Review, he also sang with VTone, played clarinet with the Princeton University Band, and breakdanced with Sympoh. He will begin medical school this fall.

Carmina Mancenon is a junior from Tokyo and Manila. She is majoring in operations research and financial engineering, and pursuing certificates in environmental studies, information technology and society, and engineering and management systems. She serves as the vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government, where she was previously the campus and community affairs chair. She pioneered new initiatives such as Princeton University's first Restaurant Week and TigerDeals, and helped organize Communiversity — a longtime town-and-gown celebration. She is the co-founder of the Sustainable Fashion Initiative, an organization that promotes a socially and environmentally responsible understanding of fashion on campus. Mancenon also serves on the Pace Council of Civic Values, where she twice coordinated the orientation event Reflections on Service. Additionally, she is a member of the Naacho Indian dance group, a dormitory assistant, a Keller Center for Entrepreneurship fellow, a member of Cap and Gown Club, is active in the Christian community on campus and sits as a student representative on the Fair Labor Association in Washington, D.C. She has participated in two Pace Center Breakout trips and was a participant of the Entrepreneurship Club's inaugural Silicon Valley TigerTrek trip. She spent the summer of 2011 in South Africa with the Jabulani Rural Health Foundation through the Princeton Environmental Institute. Last summer, she spent three months in India at Infosys Technologies through the Keller Center and conducted research with the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in Washington, D.C. This summer, she will be the representing Japan in Russia for the G(irls)20 Summit, conducting thesis research with Endeavor Global in Turkey and Jordan, and working at Citigroup's municipal securities division in New York City.

Nathan Mathabane is a senior from Portland, Ore., majoring in geosciences and pursuing a certificate in environmental studies. He is a three-season varsity athlete in cross country and track and field who holds a Princeton record in the 4x800 meter relay. Mathabane also has contributed to recreational sports at Princeton through his work as a fitness supervisor as well as an intramural sports student supervisor. In addition to his involvement in athletics, he has worked at the Murray-Dodge Café, serving as the co-manager, and has served as a residential college adviser in Rockefeller College. He has been a member of the Alcohol Coalition Committee, specifically as a member of the Communications Work Group, which focused on branding the its mission to connect with and engage students. He also has been a regular columnist and an associate opinion editor for The Daily Princetonian student newspaper. After graduation, he will pursue an M.S. in geological sciences at the University of Oregon.