Since 1955, the Tufts University Alumni Association has presented Senior Awards to graduating members of the senior class from the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering and School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts for academic achievement, participation in campus and community activities, and leadership.
This year, 12 graduating seniors will be honored on April 10. Join us for the ceremony at 12 pm ET.
Mateo Gomez, E21
Major: Environmental Engineering
Minor: Engineering Management
Hometown: Mountain View, CA
Mateo is a student in the School of Engineering, majoring in Environmental Engineering with a minor in Engineering Management. He is originally from Mountain View, California. Mateo began his Tufts journey as a fellow with the 1+4 Bridge Year program, working as a tutor at an after-school program in Nicaragua. He is passionate about economic development in Latin America and has led youth development and leadership initiatives in Ecuador and Costa Rica.
On campus, Mateo was involved in the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Indigenous Peoples’ Day Planning Committee. He also peer-led the Leadership for Social Change Pre-College and 1+4 Bridge Year programs and co-taught a Civic Pathways first-year course through Tisch College. Mateo has researched extensively throughout his time at Tufts, ranging from studying arsenic removal from drinking water, to developing models that map the economic impact of water scarcity over time, to exploring the intersection between environmental health and COVID. He has been commended for his research expertise and passion through the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Program (2019-21) and the Cataldo Research Scholarship (2020-21).
Subin Jeong, A21
Majors: Community Health, Spanish Culture
Hometown: Shrewsbury, MA
Subin is a Community Health and Spanish Culture double major from Shrewsbury, MA. She enjoys enriching her understanding of health access and social influencers of health by taking a wide array of humanity, science, and engineering courses. Outside of academics, Subin conducted biomedical engineering research in the Kaplan Lab developing silk fibroin-hydroxyapatite scaffolds for osteo-regeneration, volunteered weekly at Y2Y Youth Homeless Shelter in Harvard Square, served as the head captain of the Women’s Varsity Fencing team, and worked with Newton Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NNHN) to support families and businesses negatively affected by COVID-19.
Additionally, she worked with ACTION Dental Clinic, which aims to fill the gap in access to affordable care for children and adolescents. After graduation, Subin will be pursuing a DMD at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, where she will address the disparate oral health care inequities in Massachusetts as an oral healthcare provider.
Isabella Kiser, A21
Majors (Tufts+SMFA): Environmental Studies, Studio Art
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Bella (she/her) is graduating from the BS+BFA Combined Degree Program majoring in Environmental Studies and Studio Art. Throughout her time at Tufts, Bella has worked to promote youth arts both in her hometown of Chicago and nationally as the Founder of Teen Artists’ Creative Oasis, by participating in a Think Tank for the National Youth Art Movement Against Gun Violence and with working for the Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Bella’s passion for the arts has led her to cultivate a community within the Combined Degree Program by creating exhibition spaces for students and helping start a mentoring program.
Bella has channeled her passion for sustainability by working for the Office of Sustainability and taking classes within the Urban Environmental Planning and Policy Department. She is currently the teaching assistant for Urban Design and the Changing Suburbs. Bella hopes to one day use these experiences to help her design sustainable cities. Additionally, urban studies permeates her artistic practice. She is finishing up her fine arts thesis on Soft Architecture through the creation of her fourth iteration of wearable architecture—a soft floor.
Alex Lein, A21
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies
Hometown: Cresskill, NJ
Alex is originally from Cresskill, New Jersey (but depending on who asks he may claim to be from New York City – just don’t believe him). At Tufts, he created his own interdisciplinary major that focuses on cross sections among education, sociology, and psychology. Throughout his first and sophomore years, Alex volunteered with Let’s Get Ready at Somerville High School to provide students from historically under-served communities and first-generation-to-college students with free SAT preparation, admissions counseling, and other support. During the summer after his sophomore year, he worked for Breakthrough, where Alex helped high school students directly, as a role model and mentor, through their college processes.
On campus, Alex has worked to build more accessible, inclusive, and equitable conditions at Tufts. Alex has served in various roles on TCU Senate, from Chair of the Outreach Committee to student representative on the Undergraduate Education & Financial Aid and Education Policy faculty committees – and currently is a Trustee Representative. As a way to offer more personalized guidance to Tufts’ underclassmen and prospective students, Alex has also volunteered as a Tisch Civic Semester Mentor and Tufts Tour Guide.
In his capacity as President of the Leonard Carmichael Society (LCS), Alex helped expand the group’s scope and reach, and along with the rest of the team, overhauled LCS’ organizational structure and created new events and fundraising efforts to reach a broader swath of the campus community. As a Student Coordinator of the Tufts University Prison Initiative of Tisch College (TUPIT) and the Tufts Educational Re-Entry Network (myTERN), Alex has continued his work in educational equity and access by advocating for currently and formerly incarcerated populations and enhancing programs to respond directly to their needs. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Alex worked closely with administrators at Tisch College to create The Tisch Student COVID Response (TSCR) Summer Fellowship, a new grant program for students who wanted to create projects that directly address the impacts of the pandemic, funding over $130,000 to students from every Tufts school. Alex plans to continue advocating for the importance of equity and inclusion in education, but in the meantime, he hopes to lean into the unknowns of the future as a graduating senior – who knows where next year may lead!
Apart from his academic, extracurricular, and professional endeavors, Alex loves the great outdoors and enjoys taking photos, running, skiing, and travelling (and eating, of course!) with his family, two dogs, and friends – his porch is always open, so stop by anytime!
Daniel Ndirangu, A21
Majors: Economics, International Relations
Hometown: Nakuru, Kenya
Daniel is graduating with a double major in Economics and International Relations. He is passionate about economic development and its potential in providing better outcomes to people in Sub-Saharan Africa. This passion has motivated him to pursue a summer internship under Amb. Jendayi Frazer in strategy consulting, an international development consulting summer internship for an early-stage startup keen on providing basic needs in Nairobi, as well as serving as a pro-bono consultant for a collective of young Africans keen on providing support to early-stage startups in Sub-Saharan Africa.
At Tufts, Daniel was a Synaptic Scholar and served on the executive boards of the Middle East Research Group (MERG) and the African Students’ Organization. He was also a member of TAMID Group. In his scholarly endeavors at Tufts, Daniel has conducted research on Morocco’s reintegration into the African Union as well as research on the proposed East African Federation over his sophomore and junior years.
Daniel has also served as a research assistant to Professor Pearl Robinson in the Department of Political Science since freshman year. Daniel is currently writing a senior honors thesis on the permanence of the idea of integration in East Africa. After graduation, Daniel is pursuing a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) at The Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Vy Bao Ngetich, A21
Hometown: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Vy is a first-generation immigrant from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. She immigrated to Boston in 2013 with the hope of advancing her education. She is an Economics student who is passionate about improving the underrepresentation of minorities in Finance and Business. Vy is a full-aid student who receives the Neary Family Scholarship Fund for her education. Vy is also a proud member of the Bridge to Liberal Arts Success at Tufts (BLAST) program which is designed to provide support to students who have disadvantaged backgrounds.
During her time at Tufts, Vy participated in the Tufts Cheerleading Club and the Tufts Financial Group where she discovered her interest in Finance. She enjoys mentoring underclassmen who are seeking internships in Finance and giving them advice about recruiting and interviewing. During her sophomore and junior summers, Vy interned at Wells Fargo where she had the opportunity to work on the Equities trading floor and improve her knowledge of the market.
Vy represented Tufts in the Boston Federal Reserve Challenge in 2019 and 2020 where her team delivered and defended their monetary policy recommendation. She also participated in the Leonard Carmichael Society Animal Aid group and Shelters group where she spent time walking local dogs and cooking meals for shelter residents. To Vy, giving back is important because her family has a low socioeconomic status and she understands that receiving help, no matter how small, can change a person’s life. Upon graduation, Vy will be joining Point B Management Consulting in their Seattle office.
Maame Opare-Addo, A21
Hometown: Champlin, MN
Maame is a Biopsychology major on the pre-med track from Champlin, Minnesota. In her second year, Maame co-coordinated the Students’ Quest for Unity in the African Diaspora (SQUAD), a pre-orientation program supported by the Africana Center. In her third year, she worked with the FIRST Resource Center to start virtual study groups aimed at encouraging students during the spring 2020 finals season. Maame’s passion for supporting the Tufts community also led her to become an Africana Center peer leader and a mentor for Strong Women, Strong Girls (SWSG), for which she was awarded the Rising Star Mentor Award in April 2020. She is currently engaging with and empowering her peers as a co-president for the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) and as a chemistry tutor for the Student Accessibility and Academic Resources Center (STAAR Center), a role she’s enjoyed being in for two years. Maame is also a Learning Assistant for the Physics Department and a Research Assistant for the Tufts Human Interaction Lab. Upon graduation, Maame will be working as a Clinical Research Assistant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Thomas Risoleo, E21
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Hometown: Washington, DC
Thomas is one of four children, six including his two dogs Penny and Pogo. He is from Washington, D.C. where he attended Maret School before coming to Tufts. He is currently studying Biomedical Engineering on a premed track and has been heavily involved with the Music department throughout his time at Tufts. At Tufts, Thomas has been part of a variety of different academic and extracurricular groups. He has performed research with the Black and Kaplan research groups in Biomedical Engineering, where his research focuses on diabetes and wound healing. Thomas is also a member of Tufts EMS, where he served on the executive board and continues to work as an EMT preceptor. He is also a classically trained pianist, singer, and violinist and was the winner of the 2019 Tufts Symphony Orchestra concerto competition. Additionally, he was a member of the Tufts Amalgamates a cappella group during his first two years at Tufts.
Thomas currently works at Lawrence General Hospital as an EMT. He has previously held positions at the NIH Clinical Center and Draper Laboratories and has been authored on several published manuscripts. Outside of class, Thomas likes to cook and bake, play golf, play video games, and hang out with his friends. Thomas is currently planning on pursuing his MS in Biomedical Engineering at Tufts and then attending Tufts University School of Medicine. He is excited to continue his studies for the next several years at Tufts.
Ivette Rodriguez Borja, A21
Major: Community Health
Hometown: Santa Ana, CA
Ivette Rodriguez Borja is a Mexican American from Santa Ana, California. She is graduating with a BA in Community Health and an English minor. At Tufts, Ivette has been involved with the First-Generation Collective, Tufts United for Immigrant Justice, and has been a peer leader for the FIRST Resource Center. She is passionate about uplifting members of her community to strive for success and to recognize their own potential. Since her Sophomore year, Ivette has been a research assistant for Dr. Acevedo in the Community Health Department, and this past year Ivette began her own research project through Summer Scholars. She is interested in treatment completion for substance use disorders among older adults, specifically examining differences by race/ethnicity and gender. As a Community Health major, Ivette hopes to do work that will help learn more about underrepresented groups in the research field in order to more equitably address health issues.
Saherish Surani, A21
Minor: Political Science
Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX
Saherish is a senior from Corpus Christi, Texas, studying the intersections of social psychology and political science. She is a Co-Founder of Project iConquer, a non-profit project geared toward raising awareness about diabetes and childhood obesity in 3- to 7-year-olds, which has raised over $250,000 and reached over 25,000 students. In December 2019, Saherish published The Stories of U.S., an Amazon #1 Best-Seller and #1 New Release, to share the stories and the journeys of undocumented and first-generation immigrants living in the United States, with all proceeds benefiting charitable immigration efforts on the Southern Border. Saherish has performed classical piano in Carnegie Hall, spent time in Muizenberg, South Africa, working on the Day Zero water crisis, and has formulated policy for several progressive campaigns, at the federal, state and local level.
At Tufts, Saherish has led the Tufts University Social Collective (TUSC) as an Executive Coordinator and TEDxTufts as an Executive Organizer. She has also served as a Board Member for the ExCollege and co-taught an Explorations course to first-year students on The Handmaid’s Tale in context. As a research assistant in the Tufts Racial Equity & Diversity Lab, Saherish pursued an honors thesis in psychology, in which she explored the association between political affiliation and exposure to multiple claims of discrimination on perceptions of racism in society. Saherish studied abroad through Semester at Sea, where she was recognized as an Impact Scholar. Saherish has also been recognized as a Coca-Cola Scholar and is a recipient of the Anne E. Borghesani Memorial and Marshall Hochhauser Prizes.
Emily Taketa, A21
Majors: Biology, Child Studies and Human Development
Hometown: Newbury Park, CA
Emily is a Biology and Child Study & Human Development double major from Newbury Park, California. She has supported first- and second-year students as a Resident Assistant for three years and as a Lead RA, she established the Tufts chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary to empower student leaders. Throughout her time at Tufts, she served as a StAAR Center tutor for ASL and Biology, a Physics Department grader, and a peer mentor for the Korean Students Association and Japanese Culture Club. Off campus, she works as a Patient Care Associate at Mount Auburn Hospital. Emily is also a student coordinator and volunteer with Kids Kicking Cancer, teaching martial arts as a form of pain management therapy for children with chronic illnesses.
Emily has followed her curiosity by engaging in both laboratory and clinical research. During her first two years, she studied tissue regeneration in planarian worms with Dr. Fuchs in the Biology Department. In her second year, as a Laidlaw Research Scholar, Emily investigated the genetic effects of aging on chimpanzees, in collaboration with the Kibale Chimpanzee Project and Dr. Machanda. In addition, she assisted the Kasiisi schools in rural Uganda by creating online resources on conservation leadership and public health.
Emily is currently interning at Boston Children’s Hospital to research pediatric hearing loss and create a neurodiverse and racially diverse library for therapeutic use. She is also researching the racial health disparities in genetic testing and hearing health outcomes as an intern at the University of California, San Francisco’s Children’s Communication Center. Emily plans to become a physician serving Deaf and hard of hearing children and the neurodiverse community.
Sarah Wiener, A21
Majors: Philosophy, Political Science
Minor: Colonialism Studies
Hometown: Denver, CO
Sarah is a senior from Denver, Colorado, graduating with degrees in Philosophy and Political Science, and a minor in Colonialism Studies. In her sophomore year, Sarah served as the Administration and Policy Committee Chair on TCU Senate where she worked with administrators and students to create community dialogue on priorities in university budgets. She co-taught a course on responsible community membership to first-year students. In “The Elephant in the Room: Situating Ourselves at Tufts and in Higher Education,” the class discussed the different interests of business, pedagogy, racism, and student activism in higher education. In partnership with other students, Sarah has helped to begin conversations around racially inclusive curricula in the Political Science and Philosophy departments. As the current TCU President, Sarah has represented the students' voice to administrators, faculty, and multiple committees as Tufts responds to the COVID-19 pandemic and works to uplift historically marginalized voices during a societal awakening to global white supremacy. After graduation, Sarah hopes to begin working in public policy.