Seniors Honored for Service

Wednesday, Jun 1, 2016
by Gwen McNamara, Communications Coordinator

Azza Cohen '16 Receives Priscilla Glickman '92 Memorial Prize

Azza Cohen of Highland Park, Illinois, received the Priscilla Glickman '92 Memorial Prize. The prize is awarded to a Princeton senior who has demonstrated independence and imagination in the area of community service, seeks knowledge and purposeful adventure in unfamiliar cultures, and maintains strong academic work. The monetary prize commends the qualities of curiosity in the world and commitment to the betterment of the world by recognizing outstanding past contributions to community service. Administered by the Pace Center, the prize is awarded to encourage the student recipient to explore new challenges in the future.   

Azza is a history major earning certificates in urban studies and South Asian studies. Before freshman year, she spent nine months engaged in community service work in India through Princeton's Bridge Year Program. While living in India, Azza volunteered at Guria, an organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking through legal and educational intervention. She returned to India to co-produce and direct the documentary "Specks of Dust" about Guria. Her work on the film was supported by a Dalai Lama Fellowship and a grant from the Projects for Peace, administered by the Pace Center.

"Azza is a storyteller for social justice," said Kimberly de los Santos, the John C. Bogle '51 and Burton G. Malkiel *64 Executive Director of the Pace Center. "Azza has sought knowledge and purposeful adventure in her efforts to discover and explore stories. Before her freshman year, she did Bridge Year in India. As a freshman, as a part of Breakout, she co-led a group of students to Washington DC to explore issues of hunger and homelessness. As a senior, she was the coordinator for a group of students who went to St Louis to learn about community organizing and racial injustices. Whether through film or travel, and Azza's experiences often encompass both, the stories she explores and shares with us tell us about the needs of the world. And she compels us to address those needs in some way."

Azza also is a co-founder of the Career Services Student Advisory Board, a member of the Commencement Committee for the Class of 2016, an opinion columnist for The Daily Princetonian and a member of the Princeton Bhangra dance team. She received the Spirit of Princeton Award in 2015. After graduation, Azza plans to study culture and colonialism at the National University of Ireland as a George J. Mitchell Scholar where she will pursue interests in history and documentary filmmaking. 

"I look forward to the stories you will share with us in the future," added de los Santos. "While at Princeton, you have engaged with the world and on campus, enthusiastically and with gratitude. You have learned more about the world, yourself, and others through service - an experience that very much honors the memory of Priscilla Glickman." 

Frances Lu '16 Receives A. James Fisher Jr. '36 Prize

Frances Lu '16, of Wilmington, NC, received the A. James Fisher Jr. '36 Prize. Given in honor of A. James Fisher Jr. '36, the monetary prize is awarded to a Princeton senior who best exemplifies the qualities for which Mr. Fisher is remembered: entrepreneurial spirit, zest for life, love of people, and loyalty to Princeton through their work in the realm of civic engagement. 

Frances is an Operations Research and Financial Engineering major. She served as one of the first co-chairs of the Pace Center's Student Volunteers Council (SVC) and exercised her entrepreneurial spirit via internships with Teach for America and the International Internship Program, where she worked with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) on a project focused on evaluating the effect of improving communal toilet facilities in Orissa, India. She also served as co-president of the student organization on campus for EWB. Frances' incredible leaderships skills, collaborative spirit, and mission-driven thinking made her an ideal candidate for this award. 

"There are countless examples of her steady and focused leadership bringing the SVC – and so the Pace Center – together in ways they haven’t been before," said David Brown, Pace Center Assistant Director. "All with a mindset of collaboration and being an active part of the Pace Center and Princeton University."

With the SVC, Frances served as one of its first co-chairs and helped bring the SVC together with other Pace Center programs. With her ability to focus on the big picture, and bring others together around the same ideas, she was able help SVC and other Pace Center student boards join together in adopting new practices, processes and tools, which not only bolstered the success of the SVC and its many regular service projects, but enhanced how all Pace Center programs could think about areas like budgeting and training. 

"This award seeks to honor a dynamic trailblazer and I believe there are two directions trails can be blazed," said Brown. "Sometimes the internal ones are the hardest; certainly they are the least recognized. Frances' work with the SVC has left an indelible mark on how students will engage in service and civic engagement for years to come."   

In addition, two other members of the Pace Center student family received honors at the University's Class Day ceremony on May 30:

Justin Ziegler '16 of Leonia, New Jersey, received the W. Sanderson Detwiler 1903 Prize. The prize is given to the senior who, in the judgment of the student's classmates, has done the most for the class. He is a Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs major earning a certificate in African studies. Ziegler has been president of the Class of 2016 since his sophomore year and was a member of the Class Council his freshman year. Ziegler is a co-founder of the club Speak With Style, which aims to improve students' communication and public speaking skills. He also has been involved in the Pace Council for Civic Values and Princeton Business Volunteers. He spent the summer after his freshman year studying in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The Class of 1901 Medal was given to Ella Cheng '16 of New York City. The medal recognizes the senior, who in the judgment of the student's classmates, has done the most for Princeton. Cheng is a Woodrow Wilson School major earning a certificate in values and public life. Cheng was the first woman president of the Undergraduate Student Government in more than 10 years. She was vice president of the International Relations Council and served as chair of the Undergraduate Life Committee. Her other activities include tutoring with the Petey Greene Program, a Pace Center service project with the Student Volunteers Council, and the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. Cheng served on the 2016 Commencement Committee Last Lectures Team, Undergraduate Law Review and Princeton Business Volunteers, and also was a writer for The Daily Princetonian student newspaper and member of the Asian American Students Association.

University Campus Life Writer Emily Aronson contributed to this story.