Thank you messages from students 2018


Mya Abousy ’18


“¡Ponte el Condón!”: Sociocultural Barriers to Timely HIV Testing in the Spanish MSM Community


I hope I can describe how useful these funds were for both my personal academic growth as well as my thesis work, and how I learned to conduct academic research (or any kind of project, for that matter).


My thesis examines the principal sociocultural barriers to HIV diagnostic testing in the MSM (men who have sex with other men) community in Spain. I used the funds to travel to Spain for two reasons. The first was to conduct interviews with seropositive and seronegative homosexual, male members of the MSM community throughout different cities in Spain; the second was to visit a variety of clinics in Spain in order to conduct ethnographic work, observe how the test is administered, and understand the patient-doctor relationship in the context of HIV discussions. The interviews with homosexual men of the MSM community aimed to understand the perceptions of the virus, as well as what elements of Spanish culture complicate one's ability to request a test.


Without these funds, I never would have been able to truly understand how Spanish history and culture influence the manner in which individuals receive (or do not receive) health care. Additionally, I would never have been able to make the connections throughout my time in Spain, which led me to a variety of organizations with which I was previously unfamiliar. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the donors of this fund, as my trip has made a significant impact on me and helped make my thesis so much richer.


Sophia Alvarez ’18


When It Rains, It Floods: An Ethnography of Infrastructure and Citizenship in New Orleans


I used my senior thesis funding from the Office of the Dean of the College (supplemented by awards from Princeton Environmental Institute and the Department of Anthropology) to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana, for a month in August and early September. I conducted ethnographic research on residents’ responses to a flood event early in August 2017. My thesis is about the ways in which people relate to infrastructure. Here is an abstract for my thesis:


Over the last twenty years, anthropologists have increasingly turned their attention to infrastructure, a topic often seen as outside the realm of social science and the humanities. Their work has revealed that infrastructures are more than technical systems; they are complex networks with human, material, and environmental components that play a fundamental role in shaping our social worlds. Based on research conducted in New Orleans, LA in August 2017, this ethnography investigates the historical roots and immediate effects of flooding on August 5th of that year. The flood was caused by both torrential rain and the failure of the city’s water drainage and pumping infrastructure. This project considers the long-term process of "infrastructural ruination" prior to August 5th and New Orleans residents’ angry responses to this event. By examining this flood and its aftermath, we can better understand the relationship between infrastructure and citizenship in 21st century America.

Melanie Berman ’18


The Voice of a Courtesan: From Dumas’s Novel and Play to Verdi's Opera


I am so thankful to the Class of 1955 for its support of my senior thesis research project in the summer of 2017. Thanks to the Class, I was able to study operatic literature with some of the most famous classical singers, maestros, teachers, and coaches of our time—people such as Joan Dornemann, Paul Nadler, and Diana Soviero. They provided unparalleled insight into the media of opera, and the characters and musical structures within the literature. I was also able to embody the characters myself as I learned to sing arias from different operas. I used what I learned to create my thesis, which compares the possibilities and limitations of the operatic media to those of the dramatic media of a play and the descriptive media of a novella. I compared these media through a study of “La Traviata” by Verdi and Piave, and the novella and play on which it was based.


It is such a wonderful feeling to get support from alumni. It makes me love and appreciate Princeton that much more, and makes the community seem like a family.


Samone Blair ’18


“By Nobility of Heart, Probity, and Wisdom, We Will Save Algeria:” Music as a Site of Contestation between the French Civilizing Mission and Algerian Nationalism


In my thesis, I wrote about French patronization and censorship of Algerian nationalist music and poetry from 1937 to 1955. I specifically researched Mahieddine Bachtarzi and Moufdi Zakaria, and their relationship with Radio-Algiers and the French colonial administration. While Princeton has a great collection of books for students, there were only four books available to me that referenced the two men. I quickly realized it would be necessary for me to visit the French archives in Aix-En-Provence (Archives Nationales d'Outre Mer) in order to collect all the information that I needed.


Using the funding I received from the Fifty-Five Fund for Senior Thesis Research, the Near Eastern Studies Department, and the Program in African Studies, I was able to spend a week and a half at the archives. I found relevant pictures, police surveillance reports, scripts, speeches, musical scores, and policy recommendations within the French government that I enjoyed incorporating into my thesis. My thesis definitely was the most important academic experience of my time at Princeton and I know that without visiting the archives, I would not have been able to study my true passions and make my own mark on the topic.


Courtney Buoncore ’18


Consuming Landscape: Tongariro National Park


I used the funds from the Fifty-Five Fund for Senior Thesis Research to analyze the relationship between tourism, landscape, and conservation in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand. The project focused on understanding what is valued in a landscape, and media, post-colonial sentiment, and the western canon inform what complications occur as those valu es. This is particularly important given the growing necessity of conservation, and in order to conserve we must understand what we value and why.

Alejandro De La Garza ’18


The English Teachers: Sketches of a New Generation in Hunan, China


My English senior thesis is a long-form journalism project focusing on a group of recent college graduates in Hunan, China. My goal was to tell their stories and describe the places they live in a way such that an American reader might gain some new understanding of China today. The funds I received from the Class of ’55 allowed me to return to China over this winter break to conduct follow-up interviews with my subjects and see the ways their lives had changed since the last time I spoke to them at the end of the previous summer. (I actually do not speak any Chinese, but a friend came with me on the trip to help with translation. However, most of my subjects spoke fluent English.) The details, anecdotes, and insights I gathered on this trip were invaluable in shaping my thesis. Thank you so much, members of the Class of 1955, for your incredible generosity that made my research possible.


James Haynes ’18


The Eagle, the Dragon, and the Cross: Christianity in the Ancient Roman Empire and Christianity in Contemporary China


I greatly appreciated receiving my grant funding because it enabled me to do crucial thesis research at libraries in Hong Kong and in Kunming, China for my senior thesis topic on Christianity in China and Christianity in the Roman Empire!


My research question centered on Christianity in the ancient Roman Empire and Christianity in modern-day China. I planned to analyze possible similarities between the movements in both the Empire and China, and I would look at outsiders’ receptions of Christianity both in classical literature and in interviews with figures familiar with Chinese Christianity. Other specific questions I have included are these: How similar were/are Christians’ socioeconomic backgrounds? How did persecution affect the Church in both cases?


Research methods that I had pursued up to that point were interviews with academic figures knowledgeable of the Church in China. I also examined primary and secondary literature on Christianity in the Roman Empire (which I have looked for at the University and at the Princeton Theological Seminary). I established a list of contacts who are knowledgeable about China, and used this list for further leads.


Devyn Holliday ’18


Mythicizing the Nation: Rugby and Indigenous Pasifika Identity in Post-Colonial Oceania


Thanks to the funds from the Class of 1955, I was able to return to New Zealand, where I also had spent my junior year doing research. I was able to interview both semi- and professional rugby players as well as coaches. Here is a description of my thesis:


Rugby in the South Pacific is, on its face, a very diverse and somehow deeply ethnic game, which is strikingly different from its place of origin in Great Britain. There it remains one of the last holdovers from that gentlemanly era of white Muscular Christianity, as it is still, at its root, a game for the sons of the upper class. Countries like Australia and New Zealand, arguably the world’s top two Rugby houses, have in a sense

indigenized the game. Their teams are full of Pacific Islanders and Indigenous faces, while the iconography and visuals for their teams are equally representative of this. New Zealand starts each international match


with a haka, a type of waiata or song, accompanied by poetic movement, while their jerseys and paraphernalia harken the image of traditional Maaori carvings and Polynesian motifs. Australia likewise will have aboriginal wari paintings on their jerseys, as well as players doing traditional dances after the scoring of a try. In nations where rugby is likened as the religion and common unifier among their multicultural citizens, the use of indigenous Oceanic imagery, is intentional.


The incorporation of brown faces and indigenous images and history into rugby, the lifeblood of South Pacific, white-settler nations forge a postcolonial myth of a unified nation. It not only erases the past transgressions the European settlers committed in the region, but also mythologizes the indigeneity of the white-settlers themselves. In aligning themselves with the indigenous they not only are eliding the reality of systematic and enduring oppression and dispossession of Oceanic peoples, they are claiming indigenous Pacific culture as the identity of the nation, thus claiming themselves, the descendants of white-settlers, as indigenous. Ultimately, the incorporation of Oceanic identity into rugby creates a postcolonial myth of unity, but also one that rewrites the past and present, presenting a view in which Pasifika and Indigenous peoples are on equal footing as whites.


In my thesis, I sought to investigate and establish why this myth-making is necessary and whom and what end it serves. I established the methods by which this incorporation and appropriation takes place, as well as who is accepted into the national identity, who is left out, and at what cost does this incorporation come. I examined what aspects of Pasifika identity are left behind or emphasized; I was interested to know what the creation of this postcolonial myth does for society at large, and whether or not this perceived inclusion affected other arenas of social and cultural interactions.


Grant Keating ’18


An Empirical Analysis of the Effect of Sub-Divisions of American Viticultural Areas on Wine Prices: A Hedonic Study of Napa Valley


American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) are descriptors of where wine grapes are grown that are designed to capture qualities unique to a wine and to influence its price. Sub-AVAs are sub-divisions of well-known AVAs designed to accomplish the same thing. In my thesis, I studied the impact of the Napa Valley Sub-AVA system on the pricing and rating of Napa Valley wines.


I added to the literature on this topic by using a unique data source, the Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine, from which I hand collected 5,000 entries from 2004-2013. Through the research grant from the Class of 1955, I took a thesis trip to Napa Valley over winter break. I was able to meet with wine experts, growers and producers in the area, and obtained permission to use my data source from the University of California at Davis Library. The research trip was invaluable, and provided me with first-hand insights into the industry and trends, as well as a hypothesis for my thesis supported by multiple interviews. The CGCW Data Source made my project feasible, as I was able only to collect Napa Valley wine listings and their Sub-AVA designations, allowing me to isolate the effect of Sub-AVAs from the AVA effect as every wine in my data set has the Napa Valley price effect.

Noah Mayerson ’18


Between Metropole and Colony: Missionary Ideologies and Education Programs in South Africa, India and China


For my thesis, I examined missionary work in the British Empire. Because the missionaries have not yet captured the interest of many historians, digitized records are still quite hard to come by. The generous grant I received from the Class of ’55 Fund enabled me to travel (twice!) to London to look at one-of-a-kind records at SOAS University of London. These documents included handwritten letters and reports from British missionaries in places like South Africa and India, many of which have simply gone unseen over the years. I hope that these important and controversial figures in the British Empire take on a new role in our historical understanding of colonialism, and I believe this thesis funding has helped bring us one-step closer.


Lizzy McGee ’18


“The Day on Which the Axis Powers Were Defeated:" Politics and Policy of Lend-Lease in America and Britain, 1940-1941


I want to begin by thanking the History Department and the Class of ’55 Fund for the opportunity to conduct research overseas in the United Kingdom. Not only did I find excellent primary sources related to Lend- Lease’s effect on wartime food consumption in Britain, but I also discovered key documents related to British opinion on Lend-Lease as a whole.


After I submitted my initial proposal for research, my thesis changed, and I was no longer writing specifically about food. While arguments concerning food would appear in my thesis, they no longer were my main focus. However, the sources I found in the archives thoroughly convinced me that this was the right direction to take for my project. I wrote my thesis on the development of Lend-Lease from both a “top-down” and “bottom-up” perspective. The first chapter covered Churchill’s and Roosevelt’s roles in the conception of the bill. The second covered the American debate over the legislation as it was discussed in Congress. The third chapter explored both British and American response to the law in its first year of implementation, and my research in the UK was invaluable in writing this chapter.


I visited two different archives while in the UK: the Imperial War Museum archives in London and the Mass Observation archives in Brighton. At the Imperial War Museum, I was able to gain insight into British response to the legislation from a “top-down” perspective. I looked at documents sent to and from British wartime officials regarding Lend-Lease. Of particular interest was the history of the British Admiralty Delegation in Washington, D.C. Sometime in early 1943, one of the members of the British Admiralty Delegation, or B.A.D., decided to write an unofficial history of the various groups within the British navy that had been stationed in D.C. since the establishment of the Lend-Lease program. This account provided strong evidence for my larger argument regarding the dual nature of Lend-Lease: it simultaneously strengthened Anglo-American relations even as it uncovered Americans’ inherent distrust in their future allies. Another primary source I found particularly helpful was Anthony Eden’s memo to the US Ambassador to Britain, John Winant, written in September 1941. The memo outlines the British Foreign Office’s response to American allegations against improper British use of Lend-Lease materials and His Majesty’s official policy regarding exports and distribution of goods under the program.


In the Mass Observation archives, I found some very informative reactions to Lend-Lease in their collection of wartime diaries. These comments lent insight into British response from a “bottom-up” perspective. For

example, one observer wrote that Lend-Lease was a hot topic of conversation for the people of Britain as it was debated in Congress of February 1941, and that the prospect of the bill’s success continued to act as a source of optimism. “Many people seem to place more confidence in this help than is perhaps warranted,” the diarist wrote, “that is to say they seem to consider that once materials start coming over, the end of the war will be in sight.” This optimism regarding Lend-Lease continued to reappear throughout the diaries and suggests that, in general, the British were satisfied with the policy and its implementation in their country.


These are just a few of the many primary sources I was able to look at thanks to the funding I received from the History Department and the Class of ’55 Fund.


Camden Olson ’19


(Thesis title to come)


I want to take the time to thank the Class of 1955 for contributing to and supporting my senior thesis research, and to give the Class an update about how my thesis work is progressing. My thesis consists of two related parts: training a diabetic alert dog named Koa and conducting an after-school program I designed that teaches middle school students how to train service dogs.


My thesis research is a long-term, time-intensive project. Training Koa will take about 20 months in its entirety, and I wanted to collect at least two semesters’ worth of data with the potential for a third for my after-school program. All of the training during the school year takes place on campus. Koa lives with me in my dorm and accompanies me everywhere throughout the day, including classes and dining halls.


My thesis work has been progressing very well. As a diabetic alert dog, Koa is trained to alert to low and high blood sugar levels. I have been very impressed with Koa’s progress. He is 18 months old now, and he is clearly maturing. His heeling (walking nicely next to me) has improved greatly and he is doing really well with his public access training. Over winter break, he travelled home to Chicago with me on the plane and did a fantastic job, even when he had to walk through security without a leash or collar. His alerting has been wonderful, even in high distraction environments! The other day he dropped a toy mid-tug to alert me that I had low blood sugar. Another night he had his first night alert, which is especially difficult since he had to wake up to tell me! Not all dogs night alert regardless of the amount of training you put in, but this is a

great sign that he will be night alerting regularly in the future. All of these alerts I record for statistical analysis later.


I have begun the initial process of placing Koa with a Type 1 Diabetic. I have found a home for Koa and am in the process of finalizing the details. I have already begun a transition training process with the family that will continue until Koa and his new handler are ready to be officially placed as a service dog team. Transition training entails meeting regularly so that Koa gets to know the family and to ensure that his new partner knows how to handle him.


Koa is becoming a wonderful diabetic alert dog! Soon, I will begin analyzing the data I have been collecting on his alerts.


In addition, I have successfully completed two sessions of my after-school program teaching middle school students how to train service dogs and am currently running two more sessions this semester. The students love the program. One student said it was “the best part of middle school.” This 9-week program teaches 6th

graders about interacting with and training dogs, educates students about service dogs, and works on improving executive functioning and socio-emotional skills such as emotional regulation and problem solving. I look forward to analyzing the results.


The funds I have received have been beneficial in ensuring I have all the supplies I need to properly train Koa to be a great diabetic alert dog. I was able to attend a Diabetic Alert Dog Training Workshop that further improved my education about diabetic alert dogs. I also have used some of the funds to purchase the executive functioning tool that measures changes in executive functioning skills in the students in my after- school program. Once again, I would like to say thank you so much for your generous contribution to my thesis work. I am so thankful to be able to pursue my life-long passions of training service dogs and observing how dogs can affect children.


(A 2017 article and video excerpt about Koa’s training can be found at change-lives-0 )


Carolina Salazar ’18


Estar Con La Planta | Being With Plants: Ecologies of Knowledge and Ritual Healing in the Peruvian Amazon


The award from the Class of ’55 was instrumental in helping me complete my fieldwork-based thesis research for Anthropology and Environmental Studies, allowing me to travel to Pucallpa in Ucayali, Peru, and then to travel to and live in the Shipibo native community of Nueva Betania at Rao Shobo, their “Medicine House.”


The Shipibo are traditional healers renowned for their techniques of plant healing, a fascinating medical system of itself, for which both locals and foreigners will often seek them out often when Western medicine fails. I worked with an old family of traditional healers, very well known for their healing prowess, learning about how they carry out their traditional medicine techniques, how they conceive of and relate to the natural world around Nueva Betania, and how they work to continue to enact their cultural legacy at the same time that they adapt to the demands of a globalizing world. The Shipibo are an incredibly knowledgeable yet vulnerable group, having little political representation and often being victims of illegal logging, illegal mining, and drug trafficking in the area, all activities that, coupled with the emphasis on an official versus Shipibo education, threatens to make their cultural knowledge disappear.


The Class of ’55 award was used to cover travel expenses as well as food and lodging expenses, allowing me to fruitfully live with the Shipibos of Nueva Betania and engage in their daily life, getting to know their story to position it within an academic context in my Senior Thesis.


Hopefully through this ethnography their voices will shine through, not only advocating for what they see as a way to achieve a brighter future for themselves, and, in addition, serving as a model to re-think a purely extractive relationship with the jungle and instead establish a sustainable yet productive model for use of the jungle. This in turn will help work towards the wellbeing of the Amazon, the continuation of its ecological functions important on a global level, and the prosperity of a plethora of native communities that depend on the flora, fauna, and geography of the Peruvian Amazon for their livelihood. Thank you.

Magdalena Stankowska ’18


Home Is Where the Heart Is: A Comparative Cultural Study of Poland’s Residents and Polish Immigrants Living in the United States


I am delighted to have an opportunity to connect with those who made our research possible. Here is a brief paragraph about how I used the funding from the Class of 1955 to collect data for my senior thesis.


My senior thesis focused on the notions of culture, patriotism and nationalism and how they are influenced by immigration. I examined these themes among a Polish population, comparing how they are perceived by those living in Poland and those who have migrated and currently reside in the United States. As a sociology major, I decided to write my thesis in the form of an ethnography, which required conducting interviews and collecting field observations.


Thanks to the generous funding from the “Fifty Five Fund for Senior Thesis Research,” I have been able to travel to Poland where I spent a week in various cities collecting date in the form of interviews and observations. Upon my return to the United States, I continued to travel within the tri-state area to conduct interviews with Polish-Americans and collect observations in cultural centers. It was crucial for me to be there in person when visiting these locations and when interviewing all my subjects and it would not have been possible without this funding. I cannot thank you enough for supporting my research and for making it possible. Thank you!


Kaamya Varagur ’18


Affective Responses in Marmosets Elicited by Music and Musical Tempo Changes (contributor: Asif Ghazanfar)


As a student of both neuroscience and music, my thesis research found a home at the juncture of these two disciplines: an area of study conveniently labeled the “neuroscience of music.” My original project proposal sought to explore parent-infant vocal interactions in marmoset monkeys. However, due to the absence of infant marmosets in the lab at that time, I was forced to steer my project in a different direction, one that aligns more clearly with my interest in the neuroscience of music. My thesis research explored the physiological response of marmoset monkeys to tempo changes in musical stimuli (the Pachelbel Canon).


Tempo and rhythm are two elements of music that have been shown to elicit strong emotional, neural, and physiological responses in humans. From an evolutionary angle, it is very interesting to study what aspects of music elicit similar responses from non-human primate species. If aspects of tempo manipulation do modulate heart rate measures in marmosets as well, there is reason to believe the rhythmic or temporal structure of music may have evolved from the rhythmic structure of some form of communication common to all primates, like rhythms in conspecific calls/communication. At the heart of this and similar studies lies a desire to understand what aspects of music have been derived from other communicative forms, and how much of music's effects are actually unique to humans. Music may be a more universal language than we ever imagined.


This initial foray into neuroscience of music research also led me to a whole body of literature at the juncture of music and developmental neuroscience, which I used to craft my proposal and application to study at the Cambridge Centre for Music and Science in the UK. I was awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to continue to pursue research in this area next year.

Madelyn Veith ’18


Exploring the Mediating Effect of Gender Role Bias on Leadership Style


My thesis explores the relationships between gender, bias and leadership, particularly how a bias towards women in leadership positions might affect how people choose to represent themselves as leaders. The Social Role Theory posits that for a long time in our society, men have been stereotyped as competitive, competent “breadwinners,” while women have been stereotyped as nurturing, compassionate caregivers. Men’s social role naturally fits how people stereotype a leader (i.e., assertive, directive, competent) whereas women's social role is quite the opposite. Social psychologists have posited that this fit, or lack of fit, has contributed to the gendered trend that researchers find in leadership styles: men tend to lead with a style called Transactional and women tend to lead with a style called Transformational. Transactional leadership is based on exchange relationships with subordinates, where leaders reward their workers based on the level of work they do, while Transformational leaders establish mentorship relationships with their subordinates and try to inspire work above and beyond what is simply required. Psychologists believe that the lack of fit between women's social role and the leadership role causes women to lead in a way such that they do not violate their social norms (so as not to invoke backlash) but still are viewed as effective leaders. However, there has not yet been research on this topic that would empirically link gender bias to leadership behavior.


To do this in my study, I first assessed people's leadership styles through a standardized evaluation called the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ). Then, I measured their degrees of bias towards female leaders in a test called the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and ran regressions between their final scores to see if gender or bias could be used to predict a person's leadership style. The results were mixed, but some of the main findings were that men are significantly more biased than women about female leaders. In addition, women have a tendency to demonstrate one type of behavior that is characteristic of Transformational leadership while men demonstrate one type of behavior that is characteristic of Transactional.


Funds for this project were imperative for several reasons: I had to pay the 500 participants who took the study, and to purchase not only the license to use the MLQ but also the rights to use the test 500 times. Without this funding, I would not have been able to even get the materials I needed for the study in the first place, or pay people to get the data I needed, so I am very grateful to the Fifty Five Fund for Thesis Research for making my research possible.


Lindy Zeng ’18


Impact of Remote Sensing Domain Knowledge on Satellite Imagery Classification of the Amazon Rainforest


As a project for both the Computer Science (A.B.) Department and the Environmental Studies certificate, my thesis examined the impact of remote sensing domain knowledge on satellite imagery classification of the Amazon rainforest. Much of my thesis involved training machine learning models by using large satellite imagery data sets. Once trained, these models will be able to identify land use, land cover, and atmosphere features within a satellite image, such as clouds, haze, mining, logging, agriculture, roads, and rivers. The final part of my thesis applied these models to studying deforestation in parts of the state of Pará, Brazil through satellite imagery from the last ten years. The generous funding provided by the Class of ’55 allowed me to develop, test, and run code remotely on Amazon Web Services machines, which have the computational power and resources to handle the large amount of data my project uses. (One note: I analyzed the Amazon

rainforest [the place] but used computer resources from Amazon Web Services [from Amazon, the company]). The funding paid for computer resource time, which is calculated in terms of memory storage used and number of hours the computer is running. Thanks to Class of ’55 for the research award!



Grant Recipients 2018

Including concentration and certificate program (if applicable)

Ms. Mya Abousy ’18

Department: Spanish and Portuguese

Certificate Program: Global Health and Health Policy Program

“¡Ponte el Condón!”: Sociocultural Barriers to Timely HIV Testing in the Spanish MSM Community


Ms. Sophia Alvarez ’18

Department: Anthropology

When It Rains, It Floods: An Ethnography of Infrastructure and Citizenship in New Orleans


Ms. Robia Amjad ’18

Department: Near Eastern Studies

Certificate Program: European Cultural Studies

Black Intellectuals Abroad: How Claude McKay & James Baldwin Found Refuge in the Middle East and North Africa


Ms. Melanie Berman ’18

Department: Comparative Literature

Certificate Program: Program in Musical Theater

The Voice of a Courtesan: From Dumas's Novel and Play to Verdi's Opera


Ms. Samone Blair ’18

Department: Near Eastern Studies Certificate Program: African Studies

“By Nobility Of Heart, Probity, and Wisdom, We Will Save Algeria:” Music As A Site Of Contestation Between The French Civilizing Mission and Algerian Nationalism


Mr. Sam Bonafede ’18

Department: French and Italian

Alternative French, Middle Ground Identities: Situating Language in La Banlieue

Mr. Marley Brackett ’18

Department: History

Determining Codetermination: A Study of the Codification of the 1951 Coal and Steel Codetermination Law in Gutehoffnungshütte GmbH


Ms. Courtney Buoncore ’18

Department: Anthropology

Certificate Program: Environmental Studies

Consuming Landscape: Tongariro National Park


Ms. Lila Currie ’18

Department: History

"Sport and Citizenship:" Futbol Club Barcelona, Catalanism, and the Politicization of Soccer in Francoist Spain


Ms. Debora Darabi ’18

Department: Comparative Literature

Toward Justice: The Historical Memory of Race, Self-Emancipation, and Labor Solidarity


Ms. Joy Dartey ’18

Department: Sociology

Fidie Hwan a N’akyi a na Eko”: A Case Study of Ghanaian Migrants and the Diaspora as Agents of Development


Mr. Samuel Davies ’18

Department: Politics

Dissecting Dominicanidad: An Analysis of the Dominican Diaspora and its Effect on Northeastern, Tri-State Politics


Mr. Alejandro De La Garza ’18

Department: English

The English Teachers: Sketches of a New Generation in Hunan, China

Ms. Fiora Elbers-Tibbitts ’18

Department: Spanish and Portuguese

Certificate Program: Translation and Intercultural Communication

Femininity and Power in Depictions of Juana la Loca


Ms. Gabrielle Escalante ’18

Department: Psychology

The Effects of Conceptualization of Diversity in College Mission Statements


Ms. Kate Frorer ’18

Department: Neuroscience

A Scarlet Letter: Color Perception in Synesthesia (contributor: Sabine Kastner)


Mr. Evan Gedrich ’18

Department: Neuroscience

Cognition Across Sensory Domains: Biasing Predictive Classification of Morphed Multimodal Stimuli through Sequence Learning (contributor: Timothy J. Buschman)


Ms. Sara Goodwin ’18

Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Diet and Obesity: An Experimental Study of the Contribution of Antibiotics & High Sugar Diet to Triglyceride Accumulation in Drosophila melanogaster


Ms. Taylor Griffith ’18

Department: Sociology

"Gladiators in Suits:" An Analysis of Strong, Black Women in Television


Mr. Mitchell Hamburger ’18

Department: Computer Science

Automatic Cinematography using Pans and Cuts in 360-Degree Video

Mr. Kevin Hayne ’18

Department: Spanish and Portuguese Certificate Program: Finance

The Catalonian Independence Movement: An Economic and Legal Analysis of the Feasibility of Secession


Mr. James Haynes ’18

Department: Classics

Certificate Program: East Asian Studies

The Eagle, the Dragon, and the Cross: Christianity in the Ancient Roman Empire and Christianity in Contemporary China


Mr. Harry Heffernan ’18

Department: Computer Science

Using Machine Learning to Optimize NBA Lineups


Ms. Patricia Hernandez ’18

Department: Molecular Biology

Certificate Program: Global Health and Health Policy

Characterization of a Gene Signature Predictive of Response and Prognosis with Conventional and DNA Vaccine-Based EGFR Family Targeted Therapy in Ovarian Cancer


Ms. Devyn Holliday ’18

Department: Anthropology

Mythicizing The Nation: Rugby And Indigenous Pasifika Identity In Post-Colonial Oceania


Ms. Myesha Jemison ’18

Department: Spanish and Portuguese

Bridging Healthcare Disparities in Southern Africa


Ms. Claire Jones ’18

Department: History

Afrancesados, Jacobinos, e Partidistas: Elite Collaboration and Resistance in Napoleonic Lisbon, 1807-1817

Mr. Grant Keating ’18

Department: Economics Certificate Program: Finance

An Empirical Analysis of the Effect of Sub-Divisions of American Viticultural Areas on Wine Prices: A Hedonic Study of Napa Valley


Mr. Daniel Krane ’18

Department: Spanish and Portuguese

The Long Reach of Repression: A Reclamation of the Works of the Primeira Feira Paulista de Opinião Fifty Years after its Censorship


Mr. Nico Krell ’18

Department: Independent Concentration

Why Should I Watch This Bloody Play? The Ethical Potential of Pain in Performance, by way of Sarah Kae's “Cleansed”


Mr. Stefan Lee ’18

Department: History

Earl Warren from Internment to Integration: Events of Significance Forever Connected


Ms. Alissa Lopez Serfozo ’18

Department: Architecture Certificate Program: Urban Studies

Architecture as Building, Object, and, Curatorial Project: Retracing the History of Architecture Exhibitions at the Venice Biennale


Ms. Anna Maritz ’18


Department: Religion

The Styrofoam Cup: Spiritual Individualism in American Tibetan Buddhist Practice


Ms. Lindsay Marrone ’18

Department: History

The Rise and Fall of the Big Fellow: Understanding Al Capone's Chicago as a Semi-Autonomous Social Field

Ms. Leezet Matos ’18

Department: Neuroscience

Woke: Investigating Racial Awareness as a Moderator of Racial Microaggression Response in Minority College Students (contributor: Susan T. Fiske)


Ms. Elizabeth Maxey ’18

Department: East Asian Studies

“They are Our Fellow Countrymen:” Koryo Saram and the Korean Nation


Mr. Noah Mayerson ’18

Department: History

Between Metropole and Colony: Missionary Ideologies and Education Programs in South Africa, India and China


Ms. Lizzy McGee ’18

Department: History

"The Day On Which The Axis Powers Were Defeated:" Politics and Policy of Lend-Lease in America and Britain, 1940-1941


Ms. Adetobi Moses ’18

Department: English

Certificate Program: African American Studies

The Unfinished Business of Empire: Brexit and the Ghost of Enoch Powell


Ms. Aryana Navarro ’18

Department: Politics

Contemporary Far-Right Political Movements: The Case of the Former German Democratic Republic and the AFD


Ms. Talya Nevins ’18

Department: Near Eastern Studies

Interpreters and Ideals: How US Immigration Policy Failed Afghan Translators

Ms. Camden Olson ’19

Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (

Certificate Programs: Cognitive Science; Applications of Computing

Thesis title to come


Mr. Coy Ozias ’18

Department: Near Eastern Studies

Little Sparta: Emirati Foreign Policy and the Yemeni Civil War 2015-2018


Ms. Sarah Pieringer ’18

Department: History

“Welcoming Home a Distinguished Son:” Robert E. Lee Memorialization and Confederate Memory at the United States Military Academy


Ms. Ashley Reed ’18

Department: Politics

Certificate Program: African Studies

Wakanda is Real: An Analysis of the Causal Determinants of African Migration to the United States from 1950-2016


Ms. Elizabeth Reznik ’18

Department: Molecular Biology

Use of an In Vitro Reporter Assay System to Validate the Association Between Promoter Methylation and Telomere Length


Ms. Marissa Rosenberg-Carlson ’18

Department: Near Eastern Studies

Pequeños Belénes: The Making of a Palestinian Diaspora in Chile


Ms. Adriana Rubertone ’18

Department: Sociology

Identity, Connection, and Surveillance: The Use of Fitness-Tracking Wearable Devices in Collegiate Athletics

Ms. Carolina Salazar ’18

Department: Anthropology

Certificate Program: Environmental Studies

Estar Con La Planta | Being With Plants: Ecologies of Knowledge and Ritual Healing in the Peruvian Amazon


Ms. Magdalena Stankowska ’18

Department: Sociology

Certificate Program: Contemporary European Politics and Society

Home Is Where the Heart Is: A Comparative Cultural Study of Poland's Residents and Polish Immigrants Living in the United States


Ms. Kaamya Varagur ’18

Department: Neuroscience

Affective Responses in Marmosets Elicited by Music and Musical Tempo Changes (contributor: Asif Ghazanfar)


Ms. Madelyn Veith ’18

Department: Psychology

Exploring the Mediating Effect of Gender Role Bias on Leadership Style


Mr. Jonathan Yang ’18

Department: Computer Science

Kids and Online Safety: Developing an Educational Framework


Ms. Lindy Zeng ’18

Department: Computer Science

Certificate Program: Environmental Studies

Impact of Remote Sensing Domain Knowledge on Satellite Imagery Classification of the Amazon Rainforest

                         Thank You Letters from Recipients of Thesis Grants 2017





I am so thankful to the Class of ’55 for their support of my senior thesis research project this past summer. Thanks to them, I was able to study operatic literature with some of the most famous classical singers, maestros, teachers, and coaches of our time--people such as Joan Dornemann, Paul Nadler, and Diana Soviero. They provided unparalleled insight into the media of opera and the characters and musical structures within the literature. I was also able to embody the characters myself as I learned to sing arias from different operas. I used what I learned to create my thesis, which compares the possibilities and limitations of the operatic media to those of the dramatic media of a play and the descriptive media of a novella. I compare these media through a study of ‘La Traviata’ by Verdi and ‘Piave,’ and the novella and play on which it was based. It is such a wonderful feeling to get support from alumni. It makes me love and appreciate Princeton that much more, and makes the community seem like a family.



I would like to extend a hearty "thank you!" to the Class of '55. The funding you extended last summer enabled me to  travel  to China,   where   I   kicked    off    my    thesis    research in   Shanghai,   Hangzhou,   and    Ningbo,    meeting with local experts and consulting historical materials. My project investigates Chinese policy reactions to imperialism in the 19th century.  I   am   interested   in   how   governments have    wrestled    with    cultural    differences    in the past;  perhaps  they  can  offer  us  some guidance.  This  fall   (next   week,   actually)   I will continue this project on a Fulbright Scholarship    in    China.    Thanks   again.



Thank you so much for your support  in  my  senior thesis    work.    I    just    graduated    with    a    degree in   psychology,   and   submitted    a    thesis    titled From  Feature  to  Dimension:  Generalization  of  Value-Driven  Attentional  Capture  into  a  Multidimensional  World. With your funds, I was able to work as an independent researcher on  campus  at  the Princeton     Neuroscience     Institute     and     ran over  30  human  participants  on  a  paid computerized task investigating  the relationship between selective attention and reinforcement     learning.     I     was     able     to present   my   findings   from   this    research    not only    in    my    thesis    but    also    at    an international  conference  in  Florida   in   May! This    would    not    have    been    possible    without your    generous   donation.




Thank   you   so   much    for    supporting    my   research! I wrote a thesis in the Near Eastern Studies Department that studied the effects of fatwa (non-binding    Islamic    legal    ruling)    websites on traditional notions of Islamic scholarly authority   in   Morocco.   With   your    help    I    was able    to    go    to    Rabat,    Morocco    for    two    weeks and  interview  scholars   and   jurists   from   a number    of    different    institutions.    Morocco    is a   really   significant   case   that    contradicts much  of  the  current  literature  on  fatwa websites, and I would not have been able to discover  what   I   did   about   this   new   and important topic if I did not conduct those interviews.        I’m    in    Casablanca,    Morocco, right    now    preparing    to    start    a    Fulbright grant  studying  sites  of   higher   Islamic education   in   Morocco.   The   topic    was    inspired by    my    senior    thesis   research!




Thank     you     so     much     for     supporting     my thesis      research!     For     my     thesis,     I     worked     on a  mobile  app  that  uses  social   media   as   a platform     for     preserving     endangered languages. Because of the thesis funding I received,     I     was     able     to     visit     an organization called the Endangered Language Alliance  in  New  York   City   and   interview speakers   of    these    languages.    Not    only    was this   invaluable    for    informing    the    direction of my thesis work,  but  this  experience  also shaped     my     passion     for     language     technology and   what    I    hope    to    accomplish    in    the    future as   a    computer    science    major.    Thank    you    so much   for   your   contribution.   I   genuinely    feel my thesis experience was the highlight of my academic   experience!



Thank you very much for supporting my senior thesis   research.   My   thesis,   for   the Comparative   Literature    department,    studied the interaction of poetry and vocal music in Renaissance  France,   looking   specifically   at the   incredibly    bizarre    and    striking collection of Calvinist songs entitled "The Octonaires   on   the   Vanity   and   Inconstancy    of the     World."     In     this     paradoxical     set     of songs,  I  tried  to  understand  how  a   composer might   possibly    write    music—    beautiful, sensual     music—when     the     acidic,     dark     lyrics he     sets     do     nothing     but     criticize     fleeting and untrustworthy worldly beauty.  As  an important   part   of   this   thesis,   I    also organized   a   performance   of   many   exemplary works from  this  collection,  as  music  should never    be    studied    in   silence.

Your fund allowed me to travel to France last summer   to    conduct    crucial    preliminary research for this project. At the  National Library     of     France     in     Paris,     I     obtained copies  of  the  original  16th-century   musical parts  for   the   Octonaires.   I   then   spent   two weeks     in     a     small     town     in     the     south     of France, studying and singing with a retired professional    singer.    As    a    former    member    of the   Tallis   Scholars,   probably   the   most renowned and decorated Renaissance choral ensemble  in  the  world,  this   man   was   able   to offer unique insight into my thesis subject, bridging     the     divide     between     academic research and live performance. I could  not imagine   my    thesis    without    these    weeks    of study  in  France,  and  I   am   very   grateful   that your  generous  support  contributed   to   making this   possible.




Thank you for your generous support, without which     my     thesis     would     not     have     been possible.    The    funding    that    I    received    from the Class of '55 Research Fund enabled me to complete    fieldwork    for    my    senior    thesis    in Rio   de   Janeiro,   Brazil.   My    thesis,    entitled Everyday Violence: Representation and Resistance in Complexo do Alemão, Rio de Janeiro, examined the confluence    of    urban    violence    and    the violation of environmental rights in a neighborhood in the city's North Zone. My investigation    into    these    issues    was especially   timely   in   light   of    rights violations     committed     in     advance     of     the recent  mega  sporting  events  (2016  Olympics  / 2014 World Cup) hosted by the City of Rio de Janeiro. Since graduation, I've returned to Brazil   for   a   fellowship   year,    during    which I'll continue to pursue research into urban development    issues    and    environmental conflicts    in    Rio    de    Janeiro    and    in    the Amazon.




Thank  you  so  much  for  your   generous   donation and the support it provided to my geosciences thesis  research.  I  began  working  on   this research    the    spring    of    my    junior    year, looking   into   evidence   and    causes    of    a potential    mass    arsenic    poisoning    at    the    end of   the   Maya   civilization.    I    was    able    to    use the   funding   I   received   in   order   to   travel    to the    Advanced    Photon    Source    at    Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, IL and investigate   the   species   of   arsenic    present   in  a    set    of    pottery    shards,    human    remains, animal    remains,    and    lab    generated    bone apatite    using    the    very    unique    and    finely tuned  resources   available   at   the   campus.   We were    able    to    estimate    high    levels    of potential  arsenic  consumption   at   our   sample site    of    Tikal,    Guatemala    during    the    end    of the Maya  Classic  Period,  something  that  would  not have been possible without the financial support  of   the   Fifty-Five   Fund   for   Senior Thesis Research. Thank you so much for your contribution    to    a    learning    experience    that has  impacted  me  greatly  as   a   scientist   and global   citizen!



Thank you so much for supporting me in my seniorthesis research—I have just graduated with a degree     in     Comparative     Literature     with     a focus on French literature. For my thesis, entitled French Femininity Through Food: A Literary Study of 19th-Century French Women in Dining Scenes in Emile Zola’s La Curée, Pot-Bouille, and Le Ventre de Paris,"   I   studied    the depiction  of  women  and  their  relationship   to food  and   eating   in   selected   works   of   Emile Zola. I traveled to Paris to discuss with Jean-Claude    Ribaut,    a    long-time    food    critic of Le Monde and an expert on the history of French gastronomy, on how eating creates a power dynamic—both empowering as well as submissive—for women across various social strata in 19th-century France. I was able to accompany him to his meetings  with  various experts of the French gastronomy as well as sociologists     during     my     stay     in     Paris,     as well as visit  the  National  Library  of  France (BnF) to conduct further primary- and secondary-source      research      from      the      time. All  of   this   research   deepened   my   project   and was integral to its completion. Thank you for making    it   possible!




Thank you to the Class of '55  for  making  my senior   thesis,    and    my    senior    year, successful. With your support I was able to develop and test an iPhone app called "BodyMonitor"     that     captures     data     from runners     during     a     normal     training     run. Runners   on   the   varsity   track   team    tested    my app   and    used    it    to    monitor    their    training load     and     modify     training     to     prevent injuries.     This     research     experience     allowed me  to  explore  the   intersection   of   technology and  sports  medicine   and   also   helped   me   to better   understand    scientific    research methods.     My     senior     thesis     would     not     have been possible without your support, and I am grateful to have such a profound research experience.




I wrote my thesis in the Department of Comparative Literature    on    detective    fiction    written during    the    post-    dictatorship    period    in Brazil and  Argentina.  I  analyzed  four novels—Caio Fernando Abreu’s Onde andará Dulce Veiga?, Bernardo Carvalho’s   Os bêbados e os sonâmbulos,   Ricardo   Piglia’s    La ciudad ausente, and  Luisa  Valenzuela’s  Novela negra con argentines—whose urban settings serve as crime scenes of dictatorial violence. The project reassessed contemporary detective  fiction  as  the  terrain for  alternative  memory  in  the  face   of nonexistent    or    incomplete    official   histories.

Your generous support made possible a very central aspect of the thesis. I sought to understand social memory as intersecting narratives: state narratives, semi-official sites   of    memory,    and    unofficial    histories told through literature. I accessed state narratives through historical texts and unofficial histories through the detective novels   listed    above.    My    senior    thesis research   abroad,    consisting    of    visits    to sites  of  memory  in   Brazil   and   Argentina, allowed me to discuss the semi-official narratives in both countries, typically constructed by civil society and nonprofit groups.     These  site     visits     were     absolutely key   to    the    success    of    my    thesis,    as    I    was able   to    do    in-depth,    in-person    analyses    of the   spaces.    The    Fifty-Five    Fund    made    this work possible. Thank you  so  much  for  your support!



My thesis research award led to some incredibly rewarding experiences. With my award, I  was  able  to  travel  to   London,   England   and visit     the     British     National     Archives     to access necessary documents, including the original letters from the  1500s  exchanged between   Queen   Elizabeth   I   of   England    and Sultan   Murad    III    of    the    Ottoman    Empire.    It was   incredible   to   be   able   to    hold    this    piece of history in my hand. Visiting London also enriched   my    experience,    as    I    found inspiration     for     my     thesis     in     the     many museums    and    libraries    England    has    to   offer.




“Hvala puno  za  vašu  donaciju!”  Or,  in  English, thank you so much for your donation! Your generosity    took    me    to    my    second    favorite place    in    the    world—Zagreb    (the    first    being the Orange Bubble, of course). For my History thesis, I spent a week in Croatia's capital studying    twentieth-century    folk    songs    and oral   literature   in   the    National    Library    and the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore. The product   was   a   comparison    of    the effects    of folk  and   oral   literature   on   Serbian   and Croatian   nationalism   in   the    nineteenth century,    the    socialist    Yugoslavian    period, and  the  Yugoslav  Wars  of  the  1990s.  I   am eternally  grateful  for   the   opportunity   to travel and study such a  wonderful  part  of  the world    and    hope    to    return    in    the   future.




I want to take the time to thank you for the generous donation that allowed me to conduct senior thesis research. My name is Jeffrey Williamson    and    I    am    a    recent    graduate    from the class of 2017. At Princeton I majored in History    and    completed    a    certificate    in African Studies. The title of my thesis was, "Diagnosing     the     'Mau     Mau':     Deconstructing the British Rehabilitation Model in Colonial Kenya," which sought to explore systems of imperial   exchange   between   the   Malayan Emergency  and  the  Kenyan   Emergency.   By analyzing the “Mau Mau” Rebellion within its global, imperial context, I argued that particular interpretations of the local population    altered    how    the    British implemented    counter-insurgency    theories during  each  Emergency.   The   majority   of   my thesis     was     devoted     to     analyzing     what produced these interpretations amongst the administrative class in  colonial  Kenya.  With your   generous   donation,   I   was    able    to    travel to  London  and  Oxford  to  procure  archival evidence  for  my  thesis.  It  was   during   my archival research, however, that I found the connection  to  the  Malayan   Emergency   which helped    me    formulate    an    original    thesis amongst  the  deep   historiography   of   the   “Mau Mau”  period.   I   must   say   that   this   experience was     one     of     the     most     rewarding     of     my     life thus far and  confirmed  my  desire  to  pursue history     as     a     profession;     for     this,     thank you!



I   used   my   senior   thesis   award   to   carry   out an   ethnographic    study    of    the    Senegalese street   vendors    working    in    the    informal economy   of   Granada,   Spain.   The   funds    covered my     travel     and     living     expenses     so     that     I could     spend     5     weeks     conducting     interviews and   carrying   out   participant   observation   in the main plaza where vendors would  assemble. These   mostly   younger,   male   street   vendors would  illegally  sell  counterfeit  goods   and basic  souvenirs/tourist  items  on   the   side   of the  road.  Because   it   is   illegal   the   police would often drive by  to  disrupt  the  vendors' work, but they rarely actually chased  and arrested the vendors. My research built upon anthropological theories of migration and cosmopolitanism, as well as examining the politics of policing and urban planning. The stories  that  I   gathered   from   the   vendors   as well   as   my   own   observations   made    up    the    bulk of my thesis. There is very little academic literature on the Spanish informal economy—particularly that which gathers the perspective     of     West     African     street vendors—so it  would  have  been  impossible  to write    this    thesis    without    my    thesis   funding.




I  would  like  to  take   this   opportunity   to   thank you  for  your  generous  support  of   my   senior thesis    research,    which    allowed    me    to    travel to    Dublin,    Belfast,    and    Wolverhampton    to study the art of the Troubles. In 2012, I encountered    Northern    Irish    photographer Willie Doherty’s large-scale black and white photographs  documenting  sites  of   trauma   from the period of the Troubles, the thirty-year ethno-nationalist  conflict   in   Northern Ireland.     I     was     captivated     by     these     images and    had    been    eager    to    study    artistic responses  to  the  Troubles  ever  since.  My research grant allowed me to investigate the archives, collections, and libraries of two institutions with the largest holdings of artistic    responses    to    the    Troubles:    the Ulster  Museum  and  the   Wolverhampton   Art Gallery.

My  thesis,  entitled  “Tell Them Everything:” Three Women Artists and the Northern Irish Conflict,   ultimately   focused   on   three   artists whose     work     I     encountered     on     my     research trip.   My   exploration   of   the    city    of    Belfast and   time   in   Northern   Ireland    allowed    me    to take  an   interdisciplinary   approach, considering cartography, gender studies, and political history throughout  my  thesis.  My thesis  provided  the  first  in-depth  study  of women    artists’    contributions    to    the    art    of the Troubles, which have been historically overlooked.

My thesis was awarded the Irma S. Seitz Prize in the Field of Modern Art and I attribute  this  in  large  part  to  the   close looking  at   artworks   that   I   was   able   to   do during my research trip, as well as the comprehensive knowledge of the available material     on     this     topic     that     I     obtained during    this   trip.

My    sincere    thanks    for    your   help!




Thank  you   so   much   for   your   contribution   toward my    senior    thesis    work.        I'm    a    computer science major,  and  for  my  senior  thesis,  I created   a   computer   application    that    uses motion tracking to enhance physical therapy practice.   Specifically,   I   used    Microsoft Kinect   to   track   user    movement,    which    I analyzed for accuracy in performance. The application   allows   physical   therapy    patients to   practice   their   exercises    at    home    and receive feedback on their computer screens to ensure they are performing their exercises correctly    outside    of    the   clinic.

This provides an affordable, convenient, and easy-to-useplatform for physical therapy  patients  to improve   at-home    exercise    programs.    In    order to program  this  application,  I  needed  to purchase the proper technical equipment, specifically a Windows computer that matches Microsoft  Kinect   compatibility,   and   the funding I received from this fund made that possible.        Thank    you    for    your   support!



Thank you letters from 2016


Dear Class of 1955,


I would like to thank the Class of 1955 for this generous grant that allowed me to travel to Athens, Greece, in the winter of 2015/16. Writing a thesis in the department of philosophy about the ethics of immigration, I benefitted a great deal from meeting refugees and so-called economic migrants who had arrived in Greece from Africa or the Middle East, as well as from observing challenges Greek society was facing as foreign citizens were arriving on its territory. I was able to speak with admission-seeking individuals as much as with members of the host society; with Greek, other European citizens, and migrants from foreign continents alike.

My thesis was awarded the class of 1968 Prize for the Best Thesis in Ethics (co-winner). I attribute this to a significant extent to the sense of urgency and real life experience that I got out of my time in Greece and that might have translated into my writing. I am attaching three pages from my thesis: the title page, the table of content and the acknowledgment section (which also lists the Class of 1955 fund).

Once again, thanks for your email - and many thanks for the generous support of the Class of 1955 Fund.

All the best from Germany,

 Johannes Hallermeier

 Dear Class of 1955,


During the summer of 2015 I spent most of my time conducting ethnographic research in New York's Central Park. Some days I would spend fishing with local fishermen at the Harlem Meer. On others, I would hang out with the roller disco crew that set up their sound system near the band shell. Over the course of the summer I had an amazing time, but was also challenged as a sociologist to make connections with people, develop relationships, and synthesize the social phenomena I was observing into a thesis. Ultimately, in "The Good Land: Place and Activity- Based Communities in Central Park, NYC," I tried to tell a narrative about how urban green space can be a rich site of social capital production and life-shaping relationships, and becomes more than just a zone for relaxation or recreation. I was lucky enough to receive my department's thesis prize for this work, so I hope I succeeded in at least some way.

I am extremely grateful for the funding I received for this project. Most of the funds went to covering transportation and other basic essential costs. Just as important, for a project that revolved around hanging out in a park all summer, funding gave me and my research a level of legitimacy it may not have otherwise had, or at least it seemed so to me. I was thrilled at the opportunity to conduct this research, and the grant money I received helped facilitate that process in a crucial way.


 Thank you!

 Taimur Ahmad '16

To the Class of 1955:

 The 2008 financial crisis significantly impacted Spain’s health care system and its users by causing the Spanish government to implement a rapid privatization of public hospitals, severe austerity measures, and a Royal Decree Law, which left illegal immigrants without basic care and increased copayments for senior citizens. These reforms have commercialized health care, turning it from a right into a commodity, and as a result, have endangered the well-being of Spanish citizens. In response, health workers, patients, ordinary citizens, and various non-profit and grassroots organizations came together to generate a nation-wide protest movement. The purpose of my thesis was to analyze the history behind contemporary reforms in Spain’s health care and the birth and the development of the social movement that resisted and continues to resist the changes. Aside from an extensive literature research, I conducted on-site research, which would   not have been possible without your generous funding.

Thank you so much for your support of my senior thesis research. Using the funds, over intercession, I traveled to Madrid, where I conducted interviews with representatives of some of the organizations fighting to preserve the accessibility and the affordability of universal health care in Spain. The interviews provided me with a deeper understanding of the impact of the reforms and the successes and the failures of the resistance movement. The title of my thesis:

Right to Health: An Analysis of Resistance Movements in the Context of Contemporary Health Care Reforms in Spain.

I am so grateful for your help! Best,

Dinara Gabdrakhmanova

 To the Class of ’55 Fund for Senior Thesis Research,

 I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your assistance in helping my senior thesis become a reality. I am a musician, composer, writer, and performer, and I used my senior thesis as an opportunity to incorporate all aspects of my creative identity. The majority of my research funding went toward a month of travel through rural Sweden during the summer of 2015. This included airfare to and from Stockholm, lodging and food in small towns such as Rättvik, Föllinge, and Östersund, and train travel throughout much of Central Sweden. My interest in Scandinavian music stemmed from a passion for distinctive melodies, unusual harmony, and contrapuntal voices. While in Sweden, I studied traditional dance called Polska, several forms of traditional singing, and I learned a great deal about the social contexts for dance and music making.


The final version of the thesis took two distinct yet intertwined forms. The first was a string quartet entitled Lyssna. The word lyssna means ‘listen’ in Swedish, but more broadly can refer to the way in which a pair of dancers physically listens to the movements of their partner and responds accordingly. Lyssna was performed and recorded by four undergraduate friends, and the score was accompanied by an extensive travelogue documenting my travels and the inspiration behind each movement. The final title was "Lyssna: A string quartet in five movements, with notes from a traveler.”

 The second part of my thesis was a recital, also entitled Lyssna. At my recital, the quartet was premiered. But between each movement, I projected a video montage which I recorded while traveling. The montage included footage of the countryside, songs from strangers and Swedish friends, and other contextual bits of visual and audio material. Additionally, I wrote and performed a different piece between each movement, and invited friends up on stage for the final piece, cementing the collaborative spirit of the evening.


 If any or all of the above pique anyone’s interest, my entire thesis (including the text and score, videos, photos, and additional documentation) may be found at:, or through the Department of Music at Princeton.

Producing and executing my thesis was by far the most challenging and rewarding musical and academic experience of my undergraduate career, and I certainly would not have been able to do it without the financial help of the ’55 Fund. Again, my sincere thanks.


 All my best, Noah


Noah I. Fishman Princeton Class of 2016











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