2019 Senior Award honorees

Since 1955, the Tufts University Alumni Association (TUAA) has presented Senior Awards to six to 12 graduating members of the senior class from the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, and School of the Museum of Fine Arts for academic achievement, participation in campus and community activities, and leadership. 

Nominations close in January/February of senior year.

The TUAA is pleased to honor this year's Senior Award recipients.


Marissa Birne

Marissa Birne
Peace and Justice Studies; Entrepreneurial Leadership and Music minor
Needham, MA

A Peace and Justice Studies major and Music minor, Marissa Birne believes in the power of music to inspire positive social change. During her time at Tufts, she co-founded Public Harmony, a student organization which provides free uplifting performances by student musicians at community venues, including assisted living facilities, shelters, and cancer care facilities. Marissa also works as the Volunteer Coordinator at Eureka Ensemble, which offers bi-weekly choral meet-ups for women experiencing homelessness in Boston. Previously, Marissa has volunteered  as Assistant Director of the Manawa Ora Children Community Choir in Wellington, New Zealand and as an Arts Administration Intern at the Longwood Symphony Orchestra. She is honored to be recognized as a 2019 Senior Award recipient.

Patricia Blumeris

Patricia Blumeris
Mechanical Engineering
Chelmsford, MA

Patricia, from Chelmsford MA, attended Chelmsford Public High School before coming to Tufts. She started Tufts wanting to be a biomedical engineer and changed to mechanical engineering her sophomore spring. Outside of class, Patricia is heavily involved with the Tufts community. She was captain of the Women’s Club Soccer Team her junior year, president for the Society of Women Engineers during her junior and senior years, and was captain for Women’s Varsity Track and Field her senior year. Last summer, she worked at Goldman Sachs Headquarters in their Operations Division and following graduation, she will join the Consultant Development Program at Accenture in Boston.

Parker Breza

Parker Breza
American Studies; Colonialism Studies minor
Victoria, MN

Parker came to Tufts from a small town in Western Minnesota. He is an American Studies major and Colonialism Studies minor, as well as a Tisch Scholar and Gill Fellow, writing a thesis about anti-colonial solidarity movements in U.S. universities. In his free time, Parker enjoys running, reading, and cooking in addition to being a leader on campus with the Indigenous Peoples Day movement, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Tufts Student Action, fighting for justice around the world.

Ailish Dougherty

Ailish Dougherty
Child Study & Human Development - Concentration in Child & Family Health
Bala Cynwyd, PA

Ailish, from Philadelphia, is a Child Study and Human Development major. Her eventual goal is to attend medical school to earn a combined MD/MPH degree, as her interests lie at the intersection of social justice and health. She is fascinated with education as a social determinant of health, and has experience with clinical research, early intervention, health literacy promotion, and sex education. She is the captain of the varsity swimming and diving team, and has a twin sister Aine and mother Carol. She loves reading and creative writing, and will be teaching high school English in Nashville next year.


Anne Hall

Anne Hall
Biology, Interdisciplinary Studies
Sioux Falls, SD

Anne is a Lao American pre-med student who majored in Biology and Interdisciplinary Studies (Culture, Spirituality, and Female Adolescent Health). At Tufts she was awarded the Truman scholarship for her commitment to women’s reproductive health and served as the President of the First Generation Student Council. Writing her senior honors thesis about narrative identity among female Lakota adolescents has been the most transformative experience for her, as it has challenged her to grow as an activist researcher and reclaim her Southeast Asian Indigenous roots. After Tufts, Anne will be working in DC at the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and will continue on her journey to becoming an M.D.

Anjalique Knight

Anjalique Knight
Africana Studies
Fayetteville, NC

During her time at Tufts, Anjalique has committed herself to elevating voices of marginalized communities on campus. She's accomplished this by being actively involved in different organizations on campus. She served as a Tisch Scholar and on the board of the Pan-Afrikan Alliance and Caribbean Students Organization, respectively. She is a co-founder of Tufts' only Caribbean Dance Team (Roti and Rum) and coordinated the SQUAD pre-orientation program. She found a passion for research through involvement with the African American Freedom Trail Project with the CSRD. Moving forward, Anjalique plans to impact the public education system through work as an educator.


Bri Pastro

Bri Pastro
Berkeley Heights, NJ

Bri is graduating with a degree in psychology. Throughout her time on campus, she has worked in psychology labs at Tufts, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard University. She is currently finishing her thesis on the topic of disclosure of non-suicidal self-injury. Through her role as co-president of Tufts Active Minds, she has worked to fight against the stigma surrounding mental health and illness. She has spearheaded several projects to improve the mental health leave policy and training for faculty surrounding mental health. In her spare time, Bri likes to spend time with her golden retriever, Stella.

Melanie Ramirez

Melanie Ramirez
Community Health
Pacheco, CA

Melanie is a Community Health major on the pre-med track. Once at Tufts she pursued endeavors that increased access to and representation in healthcare and higher education. She’s been the community partner and program operations manager for STEM Ambassadors, president of the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students, and a clinic coordinator for the Sharewood Project. She’s conducted public health research on Hepatitis C for three years and currently works at a health center in Jamaica Plain researching ways to improve healthcare delivery and navigation for a low-income, immigrant population. She wants to pursue an MD/MPH and provide care and devise interventions for under-served communities to address health inequities.

Will Shackelford

Will Shackelford
Applied Mathematics; Finance minor
Orleans, MA

Born and raised on Cape Cod, Will attended public high school before taking a post-graduate year at Suffield Academy. While at Tufts, he majored in Applied Mathematics and minored in Finance, while earning Dean’s List every semester. From the time Will was five years old playing Little League through taking the field at Huskins, baseball has been an integral part of his life. Playing this game has shaped his college experience, providing him countless opportunities, including being an active member of Team Impact, being elected Chair of Policy and Representation for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and being named a captain his senior year. 

Emily Ki Wan Sim

Emily Ki Wan Sim
Computer Science; sociology minor
Buena Park, CA

Emily studies Computer Science and Sociology at Tufts. She is passionate about using technology and data for social justice and uplifting marginalized communities. On campus, she is a STEM Ambassador, teaching science in local high schools. She served on TCU Senate for 3 years, and as Treasurer, she expanded the stipend system for student leaders. Professionally, she was a Tisch Summer Fellow, working as a Civic Technology Fellow at Microsoft and a Summer Scholar at the Human-Robot Interaction Lab researching artificial intelligence. Emily’s latest project is her social venture FIRE, a multilingual Know-Your-Rights mobile app that equips immigrant communities against unlawful enforcement tactics. 


Hiroto Watanabe

Hiroto Watanabe
Yarmouth, MA

Hiroto is a graduating senior majoring in biology. From Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, he has one older brother and two dogs. While at home, you’ll likely catch him running or working at the sushi bar of his parents’ restaurant, Inaho. On campus, he's involved in the Japanese Culture Club, captain of the track team, and is an intern in the Tesco neuroscience lab where he’ll be working next year. HIroto is interested in medicine with a dream of becoming an emergency physician. He's also a big Boston sports fan who loves traveling and the culinary arts.  

Chris Wingard

Chris Wingard
Economics and Environmental Studies
Brewster, MA

Chris is a senior from Brewster, Massachusetts, double majoring in Economics and Environmental Studies. Prior to coming to Tufts, Chris took a gap year with Global Citizen Year in Ecuador where he taught English and worked on an organic farm. At Tufts, Chris is a member of the marathon team, the T86 Culinary Collective, and the Tisch Scholars Program. Additionally, he has competed in the National Ethics Bowl debate tournament and is currently completing an independent REU with Professor Sanayei of the Civil Engineering Department. Chris can ride a unicycle, but he can’t juggle. Next year, Chris will be attending BU Law as a Distinguished Scholar.