2018 Senior Awards -- Wrap up

On Saturday, April 14 from 5:30-8 pm, 10 of this year's 12 honorees gathered with family, friends, and their Jumbo family of alumni and Tufts administration at Gifford House to pause during this busy time of year and celebrate together. For the 137 in attendance, the evening began as TUAA Executive committee director Eric Gheewalla, A87, D91, DG93, A21P introduced the first four award recipients. Next, Awards committee co-chair Maria Madison, J82, AG88, A19P, A21P, called the next four, followed by fellow co-chair Nancy Pinn, J88 who announced the final four recipients. 

The honorees shared personal remarks about their time on campus, meaningful takeaways, and plans after graduation. Kevin Galasso, A18 and Sara Willner-Giwerc, E18 had pre-recorded their acceptance speeches because they were competing in baseball and softball games, respectively, in Maine. President Monaco offered closing remarks, and the honorees gathered for a group photo. Near the very end of the event, Kevin, still dressed in his baseball uniform, and his parents walked in to share in the joyous occasion.


Each year since 1955, the Tufts University Alumni Association (TUAA) recognizes six to 12 members of the Senior Class for their academic achievement, campus and community participation, and outstanding leadership.

We're pleased to announce this year's award recipients.


Amanda Borquaye

International Relations, Sociology
Hinesville, GA

Amanda Borquaye

Amanda Borquaye is majoring in international relations and sociology. While at Tufts, she’s loved being a part of a variety of groups, including the Tisch Scholars program, FOCUS pre-orientation, Protestant Student Association, Generation Citizen,the Petey Greene Program, the Tufts Debate Society, WMFO, and a few others. She will particularly miss the easy-going and friendly student body at Tufts that has allowed her to make meaningful, lifetime friendships. She has yet to figure out postgraduate plans but is hopeful that she will be able to work on issues of migration or incarceration.


Anna Del Castillo

International Relations, minor Colonialism Studies
Vicksburg, MS

Head shot of Anna Del Castillo

Anna Del Castillo, a Mississippi native, studies international relations and colonialism studies. She is a member of the Sigma Iota Rho IR honor society and is a Bridge to Liberal Arts Success at Tufts (BLAST) scholar. She served as a class senator for four years and currently serves as the TCU vice president. She’s an organizer for the Tufts Indigenous Peoples Day movement, a Career Fellow, a Synaptic Scholar through the Institute for Global Leadership, a representative on the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee, and a member of the Interfaith Student Council. Anna is the lead ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere team and is a Boston Interfaith Leadership Initiative Fellow. Anna will attend Harvard Divinity School in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in theological studies as a Dean’s Fellow.


Kevin Galasso

Quantitative Economics, minors Computer Science, Finance
Westfield, NJ

Kevin Galasso

Kevin Galasso, originally from Westfield, New Jersey, began attending Tufts in 2013. He studied quantitative economics, finance, and computer science while representing the Jumbos on the baseball team. He quickly became involved with the Tufts Financial Group, Delta Upsilon, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay, and Relay for Life. In his sophomore year, Kevin was diagnosed with stage 4B Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After seven months of chemotherapy and the help of doctors, friends, family, teammates, and fraternity brothers, Kevin was able to return to his studies and the pitcher’s mound the following year. Kevin won the Murray J. Kenney Award in 2017 for Positive Attitude & Perseverance. Upon graduation, Kevin will join Becton-Dickinson, a global health-care company, as a financial analyst in their finance leadership development program.


Jimin Joann Kong

Quantitative Economics, minor Philosophy
Syosset, NY

Jimin Joann Kong

From Long Island, New York, Jimin Joann Kong pursued a major in quantitative economics and a minor in philosophy. Outside of classes, Joann was engaged with the economics and finance communities, serving in leadership roles within the Economics Society and the Tufts Financial Group. At Tufts, she dedicated time to the community as the president of 180 Degrees Consulting, a social-impact consultancy that helps nonprofits achieve their full potential, and as a resident assistant in three halls. After graduation, she looks forward to joining Morgan Stanley as an analyst and to continuing her work with 180 Degrees Consulting as a part of the global leadership team.


Benya Kraus

International Relations, minors Colonialism Studies, Urban Studies
Owatonna, MN

Benya Kraus

Benya Kraus, a Truman and Marshall Scholar finalist, is an international relations major double-minoring in urban studies and colonialism studies. She serves as the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate president, realizing a platform to tackle spatial inequity on campus. She spoke on these themes as a 2018 TEDx Tufts speaker, drawing parallels to her directed research on urban design as a peace-building tool in conflicted cities. As an Oslo Scholar, Benya conducted research and wrote speeches presented before the UN General Assembly and White House for UN High-Level Commissioner Dr. Alaa Murabit. She also holds numerous national roles with Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), where she’s served as the Massachusetts state legislative coordinator and is now running as the youngest candidate nominated for the AIUSA board of directors.


Jamie Neikrie

Political Science, minor Economics
Glastonbury, CT

Jamie Neikrie 3

Jamie Neikrie is a political science major from Hartford, Connecticut. During his four years at Tufts, he has worked to increase the community discourse around politics and civic issues. These efforts have come through his leadership with the Andrew Goodman Foundation, where he helped create a dialogue series that has covered issues from college affordability to criminal justice reform. He is also the chair of the Administration and Policy Committee of TCU Senate, where he has guided projects to make Tufts’ budget process more transparent and promote better use of physical spaces. After graduation, he hopes to work on governmental policy, helping to make institutions of government more accessible to those who need them most. 


Sara Pizarro Jaramillo

Bachelor of Fine Arts
Whitman, MA

Sara Pizarro Jaramillo

Sara Pizarro is an artist from Medellín, Colombia, where she studied graphic design and photography. In 2015, Sara arrived in the United States as an au pair. During this period, she discovered a passion for muralism. She applied to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts and was granted the Presidential Scholarship for merit. She was later selected to auction her art at the Museum of Fine Arts as well as the legendary Lenox Hotel. Sara has been commissioned to paint murals around Tufts University and has painted live in major venues such as the House of Blues. She moves between multiple two-dimensional mediums—from illustration to painting—focusing on a deep exploration of her own personal thoughts and experiences, including her perception of self. Sara is graduating from the B.F.A. program at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts.


Rati Srinivasan

Biochemistry, minor Cognitive Brain Science
Glastonbury, CT

Rati Srinivasan

Rati Srinivasan is a premedical student who’s spent two years researching in the Thomas Organic Chemistry Lab and one in the Goldberg Psycholinguistics Lab. She has also served on the TCU Senate for three years, including serving as the TCU Education Committee chair and the TCU historian. Additionally, she serves on the executive board for STOMP, a program that teaches engineering in local elementary schools, and works in the Division of Genetics and Genomics at Boston Children’s Hospital. She has walked many dogs for Leonard Carmichael Society (LCS) Animal Aid and spends most of her free time with animals.


Selena Steinberg

Mathematics, Child Study and Human Development, minors Drama, Dance
Wyckoff, NJ

Selena Steinberg

Selena Steinberg is a mathematics and child study and human development double major and a drama and dance double minor from New Jersey. In the past four years, Selena has enjoyed participating in the Tufts theater community; she is currently stage managing a senior acting capstone, Lungs. Selena also volunteers with several Leonard Carmichael Society organizations. She leads the Tufts fifth-grade troop as the coordinator for Girl Scouts. She also visits Medford/Somerville schools to help children develop social-emotional skills with Peace Games and spends time fostering learning for a preschool child with Special Friends. She is grateful for the incredible opportunities that Tufts has given her.


Sebastian Torrente

Architecture, Civil Engineering, minor French
Fort Pierce, FL

Sebastian Torrente

Sebastian Torrente was born in Miami, Florida. At an early age, Sebastian knew he wanted to become an architect and engineer, spending his free time assembling model buildings and cities. When he was 11, he moved to the small town of Fort Pierce, where he further developed his interests in engineering, starting in middle school. After graduating high school, Sebastian enrolled at the University of Miami School of Architecture, where he honed his drawing skills. Yearning for a unique balance in both technical and artistic training, he later transferred to Tufts, where he majored in both civil engineering and architectural studies. At Tufts, Sebastian managed the newspaper the Tufts Daily and the Urban Planning, Policy, and Prosperity group(UP3) and also found his passion in foreign languages.


Sara Willner-Giwerc

Mechanical Engineering, minors Engineering Management, Engineering Education
Saratoga Springs, NY

Sara Willner-Giwerc

From Saratoga Springs, New York, Sara Willner-Giwerc is a mechanical engineering major with a double minor in engineering education and engineering management. She is an infielder for the Tufts softball team, which won a historic undefeated national championship in 2015. She is also a research assistant at Tufts’ Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, where her work has been focused on developing learning experiences and technologies to bring engineering into K–12 classrooms. Next year, Sara will continue her career as a Jumbo by pursuing her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering.


Lucy Zwigard

Biology, French
New York, NY

Lucy Zwigard

Lucy Zwigard strives to live by the phrase “think globally, act locally.” She grew up in both New York City and the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, a life path that leaves her deeply interested in the rural-urban divide. A double major in biology and French, she is passionate about the intersections of science and culture, particularly around food, nutrition, climate, and health. During her sophomore year, Lucy co-founded the Tufts Food Rescue Collaborative, a thriving community coalition that fights food waste and hunger by creating healthy meals out of surplus food. She is passionate about change in the food system, supporting smallholder farmers and cooking delicious meals with family and friends!