Princeton seniors Treves, Tung awarded ReachOut fellowships for public service
Princeton University seniors Isaac Treves and Natalie Tung have been awarded fellowships from ReachOut 56-81-06, an alumni-funded effort that supports year-long public service projects after graduation. Each student will receive a stipend of $30,000 to pay for living expenses during their fellowship year.
Treves will use his fellowship to develop and assess mindfulness-based health curricula for public high schools in Mexico through AtentaMente, a Mexico City-based nonprofit.
Tung will use her fellowship to develop and expand HomeWorks Trenton, an afterschool boarding program she created that provides underserved middle school and high school girls in Trenton, New Jersey, with the socio-emotional and academic enrichment opportunities of a traditional boarding school.
“We are pleased once again, for the 18th consecutive year, to provide fellowships for a year to outstanding graduating Princeton students who take the less-traveled path out of the University: They design their own innovative and socially impactful year-long projects,” said Jon Wonnell and Marty Johnson of the Class of 1981, who are co-chairs of ReachOut 56-81-06. “The 2018 recipients — two outstanding seniors with extraordinary backgrounds — have developed projects that epitomize our goals: to bring unique solutions to societal challenges, in the tradition of Princeton in the nation’s service and the service of humanity.”
ReachOut 56-81-06 is an effort by members of the Princeton classes of 1956, 1981 and 2006 to underwrite valuable public service projects, with special weight given to those of social significance that are innovative, creative, entrepreneurial or a combination thereof.
Each year, ReachOut awards one fellowship for a domestic project and one for an international project. The latter can be performed anywhere in the world, including the United States. The international fellowship is funded through a donation by a Class of 1956 alumnus. Two ReachOut fellows are currently in the field, working in New York City and South Africa.
“Each fellow completes a project that the sponsoring organization could not afford to do otherwise,” said Jim Freund of the Class of 1956, co-chair of ReachOut’s Fellowship Committee. “We consider this an excellent means by which our financial contribution serves a real purpose, through the energetic efforts of a talented, public-spirited graduate.”
Isaac Treves, from Madison, Wisconsin, is a neuroscience major.
He will spend his fellowship year working with AtentaMente, an educational and professional development organization that promotes mental health among the general Mexican population and combats social stigmas surrounding mental illness. With funding from Mexico’s Ministry of Public Education, the organization is launching an initiative that will bring neuroscience research and meditative practices to Mexican public secondary schools.
In addition to developing curricula for high school students, Treves will help educate AtentaMente staff about the science behind mindfulness, and he will use scientific methods to evaluate the success of the organization’s interventions.
Treves already has spent years studying the brain and conducting research. He helped develop the Healthy Minds App, a platform that provides mindfulness training and evaluates outcomes. He has co-authored a psychology publication currently under review; conducted optogenetics studies with mice; and worked in a biomedical engineering lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison investigating prognosis methods for circulating tumor cells of renal carcinoma.
Treves is a member of the Princeton University Orchestra, playing violin, and co-president of Princeton Club Tennis. He is a member of Forbes College.
“I envision a future where we have a variety of effective treatments for those suffering from illnesses like depression and anxiety — where mental illness is treated like other illness, where from a young age, we are taught about our minds and how to keep them in good health,” Treves said. “I am deeply honored that ReachOut has allowed me a chance to make my vision a reality, working with AtentaMente in Mexico.”
He plans to pursue a career in medicine.
HomeWorks Trenton, a nonprofit that she co-founded, offers after-school mentorship, academic support, community-oriented activities and a stable home environment to middle school and high school girls in a district where 41 percent of girls drop out of high school.
Tung conceived the idea in Marty Johnson’s “Rethinking Social Profit Organizations” class and developed it with a small group of students through the eLab program at the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education's Entrepreneurial Hub at Princeton.
Tung, who serves as executive director of HomeWorks Trenton, successfully launched a four-week, residential pilot program for five women last summer and plans to launch a year-round program. HomeWorks Trenton would allow students to board from Sunday night through Friday morning, providing a stable and positive peer environment for residents that eliminates some causes of chronic absenteeism and low academic performance.
At Princeton, Tung is a member of Wilson College. She has received the A. James Fisher Jr. Memorial Award and the McKinsey Undergraduate Women’s Impact Award. She is a member of the University’s varsity women's squash team.
“Attending Princeton University is a huge privilege, and I believe it is my duty to use this education to try to make a change in this world,” she said. “I am excited that ReachOut has given me the opportunity to learn more from the Trenton community, build the first chapter in Trenton, and hopefully spread this model across the country and the world.”
In addition to underwriting two fellowships annually, ReachOut 56-81-06 offers college awareness and literacy programs at underserved high schools and has supported social entrepreneurship for over a decade at Princeton, where teams of students tackle social and environmental challenges through novel companies and organizations.