Students Honored with Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards 2022

Nic Catalan ’22 from Los Angles, California has won the Gwen Livingston Pokora Award for Music Composition as part of the 2022 Academic Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards, which are awarded to students at the end of each academic year.

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow Elena Brennan ’24 is just as passionate about her major in American Studies as she is about helping other underrepresented and first-generation low-income (FGLI) students succeed.

As Chair of the Equity and Inclusion Committee (EIC) of the Wesleyan Student Assembly, she coordinated First Cardinals, a FGLI mentorship program that fosters connections between 40 freshmen with juniors and seniors. As a member of the BIPOC Mental Health Collective, she encouraged a collaboration with the EIC, Wesleyan Student Assembly and Resource Center to organize an event that addresses systemic issues on campus for marginalized students. And, in response to a post about Yik-Yak that harmed survivors of on-campus assaults, she hosted two student listening sessions in partnership with the Title IV office and SHAPE.

For her outstanding efforts, the New Haven, Connecticut resident received a Cardinal Crest Award, which is given to a student who has demonstrated a sustained commitment to leadership within WSA and for representing the interests of the student body. It is one of approximately 150 awards given to students each May through Student Affairs, the Dean’s Office and Student Engagement.

The awards program connects recipients to the legacy of alumni, trustees, faculty and friends whose lives and work are honored through endowment gifts.

“The end of an academic year provides our community with an opportunity to pause, reflect and celebrate the many accomplishments of our student body,” said Kelly Dunn, Dean of the Class of 2025. “Many awards from Wesleyan highlight the intellectual curiosity, academic excellence, creative expression, leadership, and service of our students, while honoring and thanking our alumni and friends for their generous gifts and contributions.

Winners are also recognized in the launch program.

Music major Nic Catalan ’22, recipient of the Gwen Livingston Pokora Award, has been honored for writing a series of solo pieces for electric bass alongside three compositions for electric bass, piano, drums and tenor saxophone. Created in 1993, the Pokora Prize is awarded annually to an outstanding undergraduate student in music composition.

“My solo works were inspired by cellist Abdul Wadud’s solo recording ‘By Myself’ and my quartet pieces aimed to link my unaccompanied language to new and improvised ensemble music,” said Catalan.

Established in memory of Christopher Brodigan, a Wesleyan student who died in an accident during his first year, the Christopher Brodigan Prize honors his deep interest in Africa and the public service he provided teaching in Botswana before to enter into Wesleyan. This year’s recipient is Alice Musabe ’22, who works to help women overcome prejudices and barriers related to menstruation in remote areas of Rwanda by providing sexual and reproductive health education and promoting the use of reusable menstrual cups and sanitary napkins.

“I am so excited and grateful for the mentorships and partnerships that will make this project possible,” Musabe said. “I am honored to give back to my sisters in Rwanda and dedicate my efforts to ending menstrual poverty and destigmatizing menstruation.”

Jacob Abbisso ’22 and Shayna Dollinger ’22 won the Needler Award for Excellence in Hebrew or Jewish Studies; graduate student Joshua Dudley received the Tishler Teaching Award for being “the best graduate teaching assistant in chemistry”; Jasmyn Choi ’22 won the Scott Award for Excellence in Chinese; Maya Verghese ’23 received the Wesleyan Memorial Prize for “outstanding character, leadership and scholarship”; and Nikolas Ramirez ’25 won the Sherman Award for Excellence in Freshman Mathematics.

Dustin Morris ’22 received Frank Capra Award for ‘Outstanding Senior Film’; Charissa Lee ’23 and Robyn Min Xuan Wong ’23 received the Peter Morgenstern-Clarren Social Justice Award for their social justice work; David Koestler ’25 won Ayres Award for top first semester academic grade; and Mosab Hamid ’23 received the Shu Tokita Prize, awarded to a student of color majoring in literature and area studies; and the Wesleyan Black Alumni Council Memorial Prize for “community service related to black concerns”.

See all the awards and winners online here.

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