Princeton junior Mirabella Smith has been awarded a Beinecke Scholarship, which supports highly motivated students with exceptional promise to pursue Ph.D.s or other postgraduate degrees in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
Smith, of Lake Elsinore, California, is a politics concentrator who is also pursuing certificates in gender and sexuality studies, and values and public life. They plan to pursue a Ph.D. in politics and a career in academia with a goal of making their own and others’ research findings accessible amongst their peers as well as non-academics.
Smith is one of 20 students from around the country to be awarded 2023 Beinecke Scholarships, which provide each winner with $5,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending. The awards were established in 1971 and are administered by the Sperry Fund.
Taking courses in queer theory and political theory at Princeton sparked Smith’s independent work, which focuses on the intersection of these two fields. “Mirabella Smith combines preternatural theoretical sophistication with an enthusiasm for building inclusive learning communities, making them the prototype of the kind of scholar and teacher whom the future academy will most need,” said Melissa Lane, the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics and director of the University Center for Human Values. “They are that rare undergraduate student who have already developed a signature intellectual style.”
At Princeton, Smith is an intern with the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, including coordinating the peer mentorship program “Q’nections” and serving as a peer education leader providing training to students on LGBTQIA+ issues. In summer 2022, they served as an intern for the Youth Well-being Team at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in Washington, D.C.
A member of New College West, Smith is literary director of the student-led Arch and Arrow Literary Collective, and is a former features writer for the Daily Princetonian.