71 Students Awarded Hoopes Prizes

UPDATED: May 10, 2014, at 12:05 p.m.

Seventy-one Harvard undergraduates were awarded the Hoopes Prize for outstanding scholarly work or research, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences announced Thursday.

The prize, which is funded by the estate of Thomas T. Hoopes ’19, is typically awarded to seniors for excellent theses. The award includes $4000 for the student and $1000 for the faculty member who nominated them. Faculty committees select the winners from the pool of nominees every spring.

Georgia H. A. Shelton ’14, who won a Hoopes prize for her thesis entitled “The Biodiversity of the Bees at the Arnold Arboretum," said the prize was the culmination of several years she spent researching and working at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum.

“It was really amazing to know that I could spend three years working on a project like this and have a product I could be proud of,” Shelton said. “I certainly never expected to get it.”

Many other seniors echoed that sentiment.

“Academically [writing a thesis] is like you’re taking a whole extra course load...at the end of the day it’s totally worth it,” said Krishnan S. Ramanujan ’14, who was honored for his work on his thesis, which was entitled “A MyoD-Regulated Long Non-Coding RNA Regulates Skeletal Muscle Differentiation.”

Beatrice A. Walton ’14 won a Hoopes for her thesis entitled "Strategizing Justice: NGOs in Russia and the Cases Against Russia Before the European Court of Human Rights, 1998 - 2010.” She said the project was also the result of years of preparation—from taking Russian during freshman year to spending the past summer doing research in Russia and France.

However, Walton said she sees her Hoopes prize as a beginning rather than an end to her research.

“It’s sort of a relief. It makes you proud to know other people found your work interesting and important in some way,” Walton said. “It’s nice to have accomplished a first project but hopefully there’ll be more projects in the future.”

Walton hopes to continue her studies in the United Kingdom this summer and plans on using her prize money to travel throughout Europe and Morocco.

Rachel A. Gladstone ’14 was in the immigration office of Logan Airport when a friend called to tell her she had a won a prize for her thesis on cardiac regeneration.

After spending 20 to 30 hours per week researching in the lab, Gladstone said she appreciated being recognized, but credited her advisors’ support as well.

“[I] had phenomenal advisors,” Gladstone said. “More than half of the award is because of their help and contributions.”

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