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Sixty-five seniors were named recipients of the Hoopes Prize, an award for outstanding senior theses and one of the College's most prestigious honors, the Harvard News Office announced yesterday.
The prize, which is sponsored by the estate of Thomas T. Hoopes '19, awards excellence in research projects--typically senior honors theses--in any subject. This year, of the 182 projects that were nominated, the selection committee named 65 Hoopes Prize winners and 3 honorable mentions.
In order to be considered for the prize, a supervising Faculty member must nominate the student's thesis on the basis of its broader significance and likely effects on future work in the field. The work is then evaluated by sub-committees of Faculty members. "I'm always surprised when something particular to a specific field will strike others outside the field as interesting," said Eric M. Nelson '99, who wrote a prize-winning thesis on political theorist Thomas Hobbes.
Nelson, a history concentrator, obtained a grant to perform field work in England last summer, where he examined original books and manuscripts from the 15th and 16th centuries.
"I really enjoyed working on it--I didn't look at it as a chore," Nelson said of the thesis writing process.
In addition to the $2,500 prize for student winners, the prize awards the nominating Faculty member with a $700 prize.
"It's an award not so much for what I've done but for what I've learned," said Stephanie A.V. Gibbs '99, a literature concentrator. "In that sense, it's an award to Faculty as well."
Gibbs's thesis on medieval French literature involved translating a 15th century manuscript for which no English translation existed.
"The first thing I'm going to do [with the prize money] is take my thesis advisor out to dinner," Gibbs said.
Although seniors usually don't start writing their theses until the fall, many emphasize the importance of getting an early start. Supinda Bunyavanich '99, an Environmental Science and Public Policy concentrator, started planning her project in the spring of her junior year.
Bunyavanich then spent three months over the summer doing fieldwork in Malaysia researching the role of science in sustainable forest management.
"Every day I spent on it, I learned more," Bunyavanich said. "It did become a central part of my life."
"It's an incredibly rewarding experience," said Miriam B. Goldstein '99, who whose thesis focused on the Arabic influence on Medieval Hebrew poetry. "It is a wonderful finish to a Harvard career."
The following students, all Class of 1999, were named prize winners: Miriam B. Goldstein, Katherine R. Ives, Catherine A. Kreindler, Eric M. Nelson and Lamelle D. Rawlins, all of Adams House; Stephanie V.A. Gibbs, David A. Lyczkowski, Margaret E. Schotte, Samuel B. Shaw, Lee Shearer, Paul D. Todgham and Katherine R. Unterman, all of Cabot House; Olivia S. Choe, David W. Lerch and Jay T. Perron, all of Currier House; Kevin R. Amer, Chaunfei Chin, Jay H. Chyung, Joshua A. Eisner, Tera Hong, Karen Kim, Joel B. Pollak and Eijean I. Wu, all of Dunster House; Adam W. Bellack, Nikki L. DeBlosi, Dara Horn, Daniel Kirschner, Huyen-Lam Q. Nguyen, Jennifer J. Stetzer and Laura M. Weinrib, all of Eliot House; Ariel S. Frey, Maxwell N. Krohn and Semra A. Mesulam, all of Kirkland House; Heather S. Craw, Rachel A. Farbiarz, Benjamin D. Florman, Scott Rothkopf and Hanna R. Shell, all of Leverett House; Elif I. Batuman, Elizabeth S. Drogin, Elizabeth W. Dunn, Eric J. Feigin, Alma Hadar, Paul N. Lekas, Anil S. Menon, Ming-e M. Ou, Gad Soffer, Emily V. Thornbury, Nikhil Wagle and Markella V. Zanni, all of Lowell House; Daniel J. Benjamin, Jennifer A. Burney, Chelsea H. Foxwell, Doreen T. Ho, Amy B. Stanley and Stephen E. Weinberg, all of Mather House; Jared H. Beck and Judson L. Jaffe of Pforzheimer House; Supinda Bunyavanich, Dunja Popovic and Yukiko Sekino, all of Quincy House; and Rachel N. Carmody, Hadi N. Deeb, Shalimar A. Fojas and Evan L.R. Osnos, all of Winthrop House.
Honorable mentions were awarded to Elizabeth A. Buzney of Adams House, Ian Dunn of Leverett House and Halton A. Peters of Lowell House.
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