Congratulations Prize and Award Recipients!

2014 Celebration of Service

The Pace Center for Civic Engagement honored the recipients of the A. James Fisher, Jr. Memorial Prize, Graduate Student Service Recognition Award, and Pace Center Student Awards at Celebration of Service on May 8 at the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding.

Featuring remarks on meaningful service by Treby Williams, Princeton University Executive Vice President, the event celebrated and recognized achievements in community service and civic engagement by Princeton undergraduate and graduate students. 

 “I continue to be inspired by your stories and the impact you have on other’s lives,” said Williams, as she shared how her own career path from trial lawyer and criminal prosecutor to higher education was shaped by service.

“When I got involved in my children’s school I discovered aspects of myself, of my personality, I didn’t know I had," she said. "Day to day my work environment was very adversarial – there were always winners and losers. But through service I learned the excitement of collaboration.

“Through service we all can discover different talents, different resources in ourselves,” she continued. “Discovering what your passion is can connect you to meaningful work … and I hope it leads to a lifelong dedication to service.”

Prize and Award Winners:

Ari Satok ’14 is the winner of the A. James Fisher, Jr. Memorial Prize. Given in honor of A. James Fisher, Jr. '36, the A. James Fisher, Jr. Memorial Prize is awarded to a Princeton senior who best exemplifies the qualities for which Mr. Fisher is remembered. The 2014 Fisher Prize awardee should clearly demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit, zest for life, love of people, and loyalty to Princeton through his or her work in the realm of civic engagement.

Satok was selected as the winner of the A. James Fisher, Jr. Memorial Prize because of his establishment of Voices of Change - a social action organization committed to bettering the world by finding people that can inspire, empower, and educate, and then sharing their stories and the messages they represent through the medium of journalism; his work on the Religious Life Council; and his efforts through the Davis Projects for Peace to help grant rural Nepalese children access to computer education.

In his acceptance remarks, Ari shared an inspirational quote from philanthropist Shelby Davis: "The world needs dreamers. The world needs doers. But most of all, the world needs dreamers who do."

“In looking back at my Princeton experiences with service, the University and the Pace Center have given me wonderful opportunities to dream, in exposing me to social worlds and social issues I previously knew nothing about, in supporting project ideas that I had, and in putting me into conversations with some of the most remarkable fellow dreamers, from inspiring alums to classmates pursuing the most incredible service related dreams,” he said.

“It’s given me the chance to do, providing me with internship opportunities, chances to volunteer, and the capacity to be inspired by others doing amazing things. And my hope is that as we all move forward from Princeton, whether this year or in the years to come, our experiences with service at Princeton will merely be the catalysts for a lifetime commitment to becoming 'dreamers who do' that strive to serve others and make the world a better place.”

Kelly LaRue is the winner of the inaugural Graduate Student Service Recognition Award, which is given to a graduate student who exemplifies the University’s informal motto of “in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations,” promotes public service, and is focused on community engagement and development. 

LaRue was selected for her volunteer work with Community House After School Academy (CHASA) including her involvement with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) summer camp program, as well as for her commitment to her field in helping undergraduates learn outside the classroom with the Graduate Molecular Biology Outreach Program (GMOP). She also proposed and led a Breakout Princeton trip to Maine exploring science education outreach and mobilized others to act in response to Hurricane Sandy.

"I never did volunteer work in high school or in college," she said. "When I started in the research lab I realized I was getting bored and needed something else to do. A few friends were going to Washington D.C. for a science outreach trip and said 'you should come.' After that weekend I realized the value of working with communities and decided to find new ways to get involved.

"As a graduate student working with undergraduates can be a pain, dealing with grades, etc.," she said. " But (Breakout) enabled me to experience undergraduate culture at a different level. They impressed me totally and that experience truly changed my life and the direction of what I want to do. All of my research can't compare to this one single week in my graduate career. Volunteer work has cultivated me as a person and shaped my career."

Brett Diehl ’15 and Ryan Elliot ’14 both received the Pace Center Student Award. The Pace Center developed this award to recognize undergraduate students who have made outstanding or exceptional contributions to a program this year, have demonstrated leadership qualities in the form of empowering and encouraging other students to take action, and shown a dedication to meaningful service.

The committee selected Brett because of his leadership and development with Students for Prison Education and Reform (SPEAR), specifically in bringing more structure to meetings, overseeing the 7x9 advocacy project which illuminated issues associated with solitary confinement, and helping to create the first annual SPEAR conference. He was nominated for this award by the student leadership of the Pace Council for Civic Values.

The committee selected Ryan for his inexhaustible contributions to Community House, specifically his work with Community House After School Academy (CHASA), his overarching work as a CH co-chair, and his leadership in the absence of a CH Director to help the board develop into a “streamlined, effective and student-driven structure that will serve the program for years to come.” Ryan was nominated by the student leadership of Community House.

The Pace Center convened a diverse Award Selection Committee with members from across the greater campus community to help shape the criteria for the awards and prizes and select recipients. The Pace Center solicited prize and award nominations from the entire campus community, including the Graduate School and individual Pace Center programs. 

The committee met twice and brought a wide view to the review process, ensuring we examined service across the University spectrum. Members included: Evan Schneider, Program Coordinator with the Pace Center; Keira Wilson, Program Coordinator with the Pace Center; Olivia Martel, Community Programs Coordinator with the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School; Bryant Blount, Program Coordinator with the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students; and Alexis Andres, Director of Student Life for the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.

More photos from Celebrations of Service on Flickr and Facebook. A video on the afternoon's festivities is coming soon.