Giumette awards granted to 11 students

Seven students standing, smiling, in front of the remainder of the Castle

From left to right: Isabella Doulas, Ashna Kelkar, Jolie Black, Roshni Ray, Tanner Eustace, Sahil Muthuswami, Norah Khadraoui, all members of the class of 2024 and recipients of the Giumette Academic Achievement Award.

Late last month, 11 students celebrated receiving the the Giumette Academic Achievement Award (GAAA), which will provide them with $5,000 each semester for their remaining two years at Brandeis.

The GAAA recognizes currently enrolled sophomores who have distinguished themselves and made a significant contribution to the community during their first two years at Brandeis. The award, which began in 2004 as the Brandeis Academic Achievement Award, was renamed in 2015 in honor of Peter Giumette P '03, who served as the Dean of Student Financial Services for over 20 years and who had a deep commitment to increasing access to educational opportunities for first-generation and low-income students. The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding scholarship and academic achievement as evidenced by grades, faculty recommendations, and personal accomplishment. 

Floriesha Bastien is a first-generation college student, double majoring in sociology and Critical Media and Cultural Studies (IIM). Floriesha is passionate about learning about why society functions the way it does and wishes to apply sociological theories to her IIM studies. Her IIM in Critical Media and Cultural Studies represents Floriesha’s interest in digital media and mass communication. She also felt it was important to capture the ways in which race and racism impact the media world. In addition to her majors, Floriesha also plans to minor in Psychology. She is currently on BASO’s (Brandeis African Student Organization) e-board as their communication coordinator. In BASO, Floriesha is able to find and cultivate community. Most importantly, she is passionate about youth empowerment. For that reason, she decided to become an SSSP peer mentor and has stayed engaged with her high school by serving as a resource for high school students in her community.

Jolie Black is double majoring in Health: Science, Society, and Policy and psychology, a combination that allows her to pursue her interest in social and behavioral health sciences, health psychology, and public health policy. She is from New Jersey and was raised in a Russian-speaking family. Jolie works on-campus as a research assistant at the CasaLab for the Heller School, a health policy lab, and at the Memory and Cognition lab in the psychology department. Off-campus, she is the senior intern at Stop TB USA, a domestic tuberculosis advocacy group, and is a figure skating coach. Her love for learning applied quantitative methods and data analysis leads her to take different types of statistics courses. As Jolie was homeschooled in high school, she considers her hands-on experiences outside of the classroom an integral part of her academic education and experience and consistently seeks opportunities for work that complement the material taught in the classroom. Jolie is also the treasurer and rising president of the Brandeis Skating Club and is working directly with Ukrainian refugees globally to provide support for emigration, job applications, finding housing, obtaining medical insurance and care, enrolling in schools, learning English, and any other support families might need.

Isabella Doulas intends to double major in Health Science, Society, and Policy and biology with a business minor. She is a Bridge to Wellness Peer Health Educator and established Brandeis University’s Dental Brigades chapter that serves in partnership with the nonprofit organization Global Brigades, where she is currently organizing an upcoming dental service trip to Panama scheduled for January 2023. Last February, Bella and her team partnered with Waltham Partnership for Youth to design a specialized media platform, Circles, to connect local youth to resources and educational opportunities, which won the Non-Technical Game Changer Award as part of DeisHacks 2022. At Brandeis, she is a Brandeis Beacon and likes to spend her spare time in the MakerLab where she prints and assembles 3-D printed prosthetic hands for children as a member of the Prosthesis Club.

Tanner Eustace is pursuing a double major in biology and Health: Science, Society, and Policy, as well as a minor in psychology. He enjoys working as a Supplemental Instruction Leader for General Chemistry, where he creates activities for the students to engage in a collaborative learning environment, including Jeopardy-style review games. He also works as a Pride Rep at the Gender and Sexuality Center, advocating for equity in STEM, and he absolutely loves playing percussion in three musical ensembles on campus: Wind Ensemble, which plays a variety of genres; MAD Band, a student-run pep band that plays at various Brandeis events; and Top Score, a student-run group that specializes in movie and musical soundtracks, in which Tanner recently became a conductor. When he can, Tanner also enjoys going to Quiz Bowl practice, putting his trivia skills to the test.

Ashna Kelkar is double-majoring in Health: Science, Society, and Policy and business. At Brandeis, she serves on the EBoard of the Student Union as the Executive Senator and the Interim Vice President. In this role, she aims to connect students to administration and be an advocate for her peers, in hopes of making a real and meaningful change on campus. She is also a coordinator for the Waltham Group "Advocates for Community Transformation" where she works in partnership with a local Waltham organization called Watch CDC to advocate for various issues on and off campus. Finally, Ashna currently serves as a Community Engagement Ambassador for the Department of Community Service, where she works on campus outreach and marketing opportunities offered by the department. Ashna’s overarching goal within all her positions is to serve as a liaison and voice students' concerns to continue making our school an even better place to be!

Norah Khadraoui is a current sophomore and MLK Fellow majoring in sociology and minoring in legal studies, Social Justice and Social Policy, and studio art. She is co-president of the Women of Color Alliance (WOCA) and is involved in The Right to Immigration Institute (TRII) which provides pro-bono legal representation to immigrants in the Waltham area. Currently, Norah is working on a mural for PARC and GSC that centers around people of color and the communities she belongs to. With this project Norah really wanted to celebrate the community she had found here at Brandeis.

Sahil Muthuswami is majoring in biology with a minor in Health: Science, Society, and Policy, which allows him to examine overlapping variables that affect health outcomes. Sahil is actively involved on the Brandeis campus as a Senator in the Brandeis Student Union and on the E-board of the South Asian Student Association. Prior to attending Brandeis, Sahil voiced youth concerns as a leader of Courageous Conversations and Students Against Destructive Decisions. Now, as a volunteer in the Waltham Group’s Kids Connection and Advocates For Health, he can connect to the greater Waltham population by providing resources to youth groups. Sahil has been inspired by the strong research culture at Brandeis and will be expanding his passion for scientific discovery over the summer as a biomedical research intern at the University of Pennsylvania. Outside of the classroom, Sahil enjoys painting, playing tennis, running, and traveling whenever the opportunity arises.

Roshni Ray is a member of the Quantitative Biology Research Community honors program studying neuroscience and computer science. At the Paradis Lab, she uses molecular biology techniques to study the mechanisms of inhibitory and excitatory synapse formation. It has been tremendously exciting to explore developmental neurobiology and conduct research with applications in neurological disorders such as epilepsy. Outside of the lab, Roshni writes for The Hoot, where she covers campus news. Having had rewarding academic experiences at Brandeis, she is motivated to support other students through mentorship as a Neuroscience Undergraduate Departmental Representative. Roshni’s future goals include conducting neurobiology research, engaging in science entrepreneurship, and developing enriching science education resources.

Scarlett (Tong) Ren is an international midyear student, majoring in the International and Global Studies Program and minoring in journalism. Born and raised in Shanghai, China, she studied abroad alone starting at the age of eleven in Seattle, WA. Her humanities and social science interests span across religious studies, anthropology, and philosophy while maintaining a competitive GPA. She is heavily involved in campus initiatives and event planning as an E-Board director of the Student Union, Brandeis Chinese Cultural Connection (BC3), and TEDXBrandeis. In addition, she serves as an admissions ambassador, alumni weekend student coordinator, and a project connect facilitator to utilize campus resources and connections to bridge and provide for domestic and international students. Scarlett writes for the campus newspaper The Hoot, plays on the club tennis team, and will be studying at the National University of Singapore next spring, further embarking on her journey as a global citizen.

Noah Risley is an International and Global Studies Program and comparative literature double major and a legal studies minor. If you could help Noah pick a second minor, they'd greatly appreciate it. They're originally from Fort Smith, Arkansas, and love to talk about the South with anyone that will listen. On campus, they've been involved with the Brandeis Democrats, the Student Union, the Brandeis Law Journal, and helped to refound Brandeis Model United Nations, where they're currently working to create a conference for high schoolers called DeisMUN. They're also a Research Assistant for Professor Kerry Chase, where they're helping him assess how the United States has "named and shamed" genocides and mass atrocities, and previously helped him find videos for his POL15A class which made international relations feel real for students. Outside of extracurriculars, Noah's favorite spot on campus is Dunkin’.

Logan Shanks is a Posse Atlanta Scholar who majors in African and African American Studies and English, with an interest in the Sexuality and Queer Studies Program. Logan’s work enhances the places where Black people spend most of their time and energy by creating authentic spaces for community members to engage with their histories, cultural nuance, and aesthetics through more intentional means. Logan has done this through her “Dismantling White Patriarchy” lecture and The Sesa Wo Suban Project, a community service project that serves Black Students in Atlanta by transforming at-risk students into agents of change who push for liberation in their communities. Currently, through her "Exploring Black Intimate Dwellings: Black Bookstore," she is exploring how Black bookstores are spaces of liberation for the Black community. Logan defines herself as a “Black feminist curator” who demystifies traditional “academic” understandings of blackness by pairing Black theoretical knowledge with everyday, familiar encounters of Black culture and art to create spaces where Black ways of knowing are validated and elevated.

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