Undergraduate prizes awarded to seven students for academic achievement

Princeton University celebrated the academic accomplishments of its students with the awarding of four undergraduate prizes to seven students at Opening Exercises on Sunday, Sept. 4.

“We are especially proud of these exemplary student scholars and pleased to celebrate their academic success,” Dean of the College Jill Dolan said. “They’ve worked diligently at their studies, while demonstrating how to best take advantage of the many opportunities Princeton offers its undergraduate students. They boast diverse, rich programs of study and illustrate how you can be a successful student and a productive, well-rounded citizen of the University. My colleagues and I are pleased with their accomplishments and proud of their commitments.”

President Eisgruber, Jill Dolan and students

Princeton undergraduates honored for their academic achievements at Opening Exercises gather with President Christopher L. Eisgruber (back row, center) and Dean of the College Jill Dolan (far right). The students are (front row, from left) Lucy Ann Sirrs, Arya Maheshwari, Yuri Yu and Aleksa Milojević, and (back row, from left) Beatrix Bondor, Casey Beidel and Brendan Kehoe.

Freshman First Honor Prize

This year’s Freshman First Honor Prize is shared by Arya Maheshwari and Zhihan (Yuri) Yu. The prize is awarded to members of the sophomore class in recognition of exceptional achievement during the first year.

Maheshwari, of Los Altos, California, attended the Harker school in San Jose, California. He is considering majoring in mathematics and pursuing certificates in applications of computing and in applied and computational mathematics. He is a member of Whitman College.

This summer, he was a software engineering intern at Two Sigma, a financial sciences company in Houston, with nine other rising sophomores from across the country. 

Yu, of Guangzhou, China, attended the Affiliated High School of South China Normal University in Guangzhou. She is considering majoring in comparative literature and pursuing certificates in gender and sexuality studies, East Asian studies and German. She is a member of Rockefeller College.

This summer, Yu stayed on campus and conducted an independent research project on early-20th-century Chinese poetry and the Chinese feminine third-person pronoun, with funding by the Office of Undergraduate Research. She was mentored by Alexis Ferguson, a Princeton graduate student in the Department of English and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. Yu also studied German language and culture with Adam Oberlin, a senior lecturer in German, through the virtual Princeton-in-Munich Program.

The George B. Wood Legacy Sophomore Prize

This year’s George B. Wood Legacy Sophomore Prize is shared by Casey Beidel and Brendan Kehoe. The prize is awarded each year to members of the junior class in recognition of exceptional academic achievement during sophomore year.

Beidel, of Rutherford, New Jersey, attended Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, New Jersey. He is a sociology major and is also pursuing certificates in American studies, gender and sexuality studies, and music theater.

This summer, he completed a PICS internship in fundraising and development at New Door Ventures, a non-profit organization in San Francisco that works to provide youth currently disconnected from education and employment with paid internships, jobs, workshops and classes. He is a member of Mathey College.

Kehoe is from South Glastonbury, Connecticut, where he attended Glastonbury High School. He is a major in electrical and computer engineering and is considering pursuing certificates in linguistics, and robotics and intelligent systems.

He was an Outdoor Action leader during first-year orientation in 2021 and 2022 and has helped run Princeton Model Congress since his first year at the University and will serve as director of the program this year. A member of the Princeton Racing Electric team, he is also involved in Princeton University Players and will serve as stage manager for some of the student-led ensemble’s shows this year. He is a member of Forbes College.

This summer, Kehoe completed a High Meadows Environmental Institute internship with the Sustainable Cements Group, led by Claire White, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.

The George B. Wood Legacy Junior Prize

This year’s George B. Wood Legacy Junior Prize is shared by Beatrix Bondor and Lucy Sirrs. The prize is awarded to members of the senior class in recognition of exceptional academic achievement during junior year.

Bondor, of New York City, attended the Horace Mann School there. A member of New College West, she is an English major and is pursuing certificates in French language and culture, creative writing (poetry) and European cultural studies.

For her senior thesis, she is writing a collection of poems, advised by Michael Dickman, lecturer in creative writing and the Lewis Center for the Arts. The collection will tell the story of Virginia’s founding period and cultural collisions.

Outside of the classroom, Bondor is co-chair of Orange Key student tour guides, a campus visit ambassador with the Office of Admission, managing editor of the Nassau Literary Review, a member the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows and a member of the Pre-Law Society.

This summer, she studied at Lincoln College at the University of Oxford as a Bread Loaf Fellow through Princeton’s Department of English, including taking a thesis research proseminar led by Autumn Womack, assistant professor of African American studies and English.

Sirrs, of Missoula, Montana, attended Hellgate High School in Missoula. A member of Mathey College, she is a neuroscience major and is pursuing certificates in gender and sexuality studies and dance.

She spent her summer on campus, working on her senior thesis, which examines how hormones, specifically testosterone, affect social and asocial behavior in mice across a variety of different contexts. Sirrs is conducting her research in the lab of Annegret Falkner, assistant professor of neuroscience, under the mentorship of Eartha Mae Guthman, postdoctoral research associate.

Outside the classroom, she previously served as president of the student-led Princeton University Ballet, and she is a member of the student-led eXpressions Dance Company. She is a mentor with the Princeton chapter of Ballet and Books, a non-profit that teaches young children to read through the combination of dance and storytelling.

Class of 1939 Scholar Prize

Aleksa Milojević received the Class of 1939 Princeton Scholar Award, which is awarded each year to the undergraduate who, at the end of junior year, has achieved the highest academic standing for all preceding college work at the University.

Milojević, of Belgrade, Serbia, attended Mathematical Grammar School there. A co-winner of the Freshman First Honor Prize in 2020 and a recipient of the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence for the 2019-20 academic year, he is a mathematics major.

His senior thesis focuses on number theory. His adviser is Peter Sarnak, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics.

Outside the classroom, Milojević is involved in directing and organizing the Princeton University Math Competition, a math contest written by Princeton undergraduates and taken by high school students across the U.S. and internationally. He is a member of Mathey College.