2017 Giumette Academic Achievement Award winners announced

Jennie Weaver, Mariel Guzman, Santiago Montoya, Nicole Porter, Jared Martin, Peter Giumette

Left to right: Jennie Weaver, Mariel Guzman, Santiago Montoya, Nicole Porter, Jared Martin, Peter Giumette

Sophomores Mariel Guzman ’19, Jared Martin ’19, Santiago Montoya ’19, Nicole Porter ’19 and Jennie Weaver ’19 have been awarded this year’s Giumette Academic Achievement Award.

The award provides $5,000 per semester to currently enrolled sophomores for their remaining four semesters at Brandeis and was developed by the Office of Students and Enrollment, in conjunction with the Student Union and the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences.

The award recognizes rising juniors who have distinguished themselves in their course of study, made a significant contribution to the community, have a GPA of 3.50 or higher and are not already receiving other merit awards. The award, which began in 2004 as the Brandeis Academic Achievement Award, was re-named in 2015 in honor of Peter Giumette P'03, who served as the dean of Student Financial Services for more than 20 years and is currently a senior advisor to the president.

Giumette, who is retiring after this academic year, has been dedicated to increasing access to educational opportunities for first-generation and low-income students.

Mariel Guzman is double majoring in International and Global Studies and Health: Science, Society, and Policy, a combination that allows her to examine global economic, political, cultural, environmental, and health development. She is also actively involved in community service through the Waltham Group's Kids Connection and as a volunteer and tutor at the Waltham Family School. Mariel was a mid-year student who spent the semester prior to enrolling at Brandeis engaged in coursework in Development Studies in her home country of the Philippines, and she has since become an Orientation Leader for other mid-year students. She also works as a Phonathon caller, sings with the a capella group Voices of Soul, and is a member of the Senate Sustainability Committee.

Jared Martin is a Biology major who also volunteers in the Aging, Culture, and Cognition Laboratory on campus as well as at the Newton-Wellesley Urgent Care Center. Jared is engaged in rigorous scientific coursework and his love of science is clear to anyone who meets him, but at the same time he has also excelled in Humanities classes, including his UWS course on Dystopian Presents/Dystopian Futures, where he wrote a paper that his instructor described as "by far, one of the most successful undergraduate research papers that I have read." She went on to say that what was "Even more impressive, is that, knowing that he had earned an "A" on the paper, Jared continued to revise and seek additional theory to make his argument as coherent and convincing as possible." 

Santiago Montoya is double majoring in Comparative Literature & Culture and Sociology with a minor in Social Justice and Social Policy. He is originally from Medellín, Colombia and raised in New York City. He is a columnist for The Brandeis Hoot, part of Brandeis Immigration Education Initiative (BIEI), and works for the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism as a research assistant, where he collaborates with journalist Seth Wessler conducting investigative work regarding immigration policy. In addition, he has gone on volunteer trips to Haiti and Israel, and this past summer, he had an internship in El Paso, Texas, at a publishing company called Cinco Puntos Press, which was funded through the Hiatt Career Center’s World of Work (WOW) program. Santiago is also a Brandeis Beacons Scholar and a member of the Student Support Services Program.

Nicole Porter is enrolled in the four-year BA/MA program here at Brandeis, double majoring in Neuroscience and Biology. She has also been a volunteer research assistant in Angela Gutchess' Aging, Culture, and Cognition laboratory for the last year, where she administered multiple challenging protocols before transitioning to an independent study, in which she will investigate neural responses invoked when learning about people from the same or different age groups, and how this neural response predicts memory and empathy toward others. Outside of the classroom and lab, Nicole is a member of the archery team, choreographs for the Adagio Dance Company, and has volunteered with Junior Brandeis Achievers, which provides an after-school educational science program for elementary-age children.

Jennie Weaver is majoring in Education Studies with a minor in Elementary Education. As a future teacher, she combines this deep pedagogical training with a broad range of courses in other subjects, including English, Psychology, Sociology, Religious Studies, History, Fine Arts, Spanish, and French (all in only four semesters so far!). While her 3.974 GPA is impressive, her faculty recommenders also note "her sense of purpose and her passion for learning". Outside of the classroom, Jennie volunteers with children and family organizations in Waltham and in her hometown of Bedford, MA, where she also works as a child-care provider and camp counselor.

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