Celebrating the Class of 2021: SPO awards undergraduate prizes via virtual Class Day

Monday, May 24, 2021

On Monday, May 24, 2021, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese hosted a virtual Class Day event in celebration of the Class of 2021.

View the full list of graduates and thesis titles.

Friends, family, faculty, and staff were welcomed with opening remarks by Javier Guerrero, director of undergraduate studies, followed by introductions by the graduating senior concentrators.

Class Day 2021 Senior collage

During the event, the department also announced the following prizes:

Premio Ángel Rama for excellence by a first-year or sophomore in advanced Spanish courses:
Jackson Lehner ‘24

Prêmio Machado de Assis for excellence in advanced undergraduate Portuguese courses:
Daniel Benítez ’21 and Clariza Macaspac ‘23

Premio María Zambrano for an outstanding Junior Paper in the department:
Noel Peng ’22 and Lily Zhang ‘22

Premio Angel G. Loureiro for significant international research and experience for a junior or senior concentrator:
Daniela Álvarez ‘21

Vicente Llorens Castillo Senior Prize in Spanish for overall academic excellence by a graduating senior:
Ashley Roundtree ’21, Jimin Kang ’21, and Hannah Smalley ‘21

Ricardo Piglia Best Senior Thesis Prize:
Brandon Dunlevy ’21 and Lydia Spencer ‘21

The department also awarded the 2021 Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones Prize for excellence in teaching by a graduate student in the department. This year's prize went to Yangyou Fang who was recognized for her contributions to undergraduate Spanish language instruction.

In the weeks leading up to Class Day, SPO graduates were invited to share messages for their peers and professors:

From Brandon Dunlevy:

"I am so incredibly proud of my fellow graduates for how much we have grown together during the past two years in this department. Without all of us to inspire each other to contribute our individual efforts to make the world a better place, Princeton would be a lonely place. We have managed to stay together both virtually and in-person, and I am so glad to have you as friends for life. Congratulations to us!"

"Querida Christina, I am so eternally thankful to have met you during my freshman spring when you convinced me to consider SPO. I had never imagined leaving science for the humanities, but taking your courses and learning how to be a scholar from a mentor like you changed my life forever. You are the reason for my success in this field, and I carry pieces of your critical lens each time I type or write. Also, a shout out to my fellow Guatemala volunteering graduates (Hannah Smalley, Jimin Kang, & Jared Holeman)-- experiencing the cultural traditions of Dia de los Muertos with you all for that week gave me a new look on life, and I am so proud of you all."

"I am so incredibly proud to have taken courses with the Portuguese program, especially with Luis, Daiane, Andrea, and Nicola. All of you introduced me to a culture where we can feel loved and accepted, and we as students now have the tools to apply our scholarship to Brazil, Portugal, and anywhere in the Lusophone world. Your dedication to educating and immersing us during this pandemic has made us a family, and we love you all for your perseverance during these conditions."

Jimin Kang

Photo courtesy of Jimin Kang

From Jimin Kang:

"I am so blessed to have joined this department my sophomore year and leave it feeling like part of a family. From explorations of sociolinguistics and migration to literature and the Amazon rainforest, SPO has opened up my world in ways that will remain with me for the rest of my life! I’m so grateful to all the wonderful professors I’ve had the privilege of studying with — Mariana, Nicola, Alberto, Miqueias, Christina, Pedro, Marília, entre mais — and for all the wonderful friends I’ve been able to travel, study, learn and grow with. Here’s to many more adventures, both literal and intellectual, in the future!"

Members of the SPO faculty and staff were also invited to contribute messages in celebration of the Class of 2021: 

"Una heroicidad. Es lo que supone haber llegado a graduarse durante el curso 2020-21. Sois todas y todos un ejemplo. Lamento sinceramente que hayáis pasado por este momento tan bonito e importante de vuestras vidas en unas condiciones tan hostiles, pero a la vez esto hace patente vuestra extraordinaria fortaleza. Espero que os llevéis también muchas cosas buenas: recuerdos, aprendizajes y, sobre todo, una conciencia clara de que hay que atesorar cada minuto en compañía de quienes nos hacen crecer y sentir. Que hay que construirse una vida y sembrar un mundo que merezca la pena habitar y cuidar con mimo. ¡¡Os felicito y os deseo el mejor de los futuros!" -Natalia Castro Picón

"¡Felicidades! Graduarse siempre es un gran logro pero haberlo hecho en estas circunstancias merece un mayor reconocimiento. Gracias a todos por su esfuerzo y dedicación. Rita y Brandon, los recuerdo con mucho cariño y les deseo un futuro lleno de éxito y felicidad. Que siempre hagan todo con la integridad y la bondad que los caracterizan.¡Los vamos a extrañar!"-Nadia Cervantes Pérez

"La épica clase de 2021 de SPO incluye tantos nombres familiares. Los veo como a uno de esos grupos de superhéroes formados por individuos singulares, cada persona con un talento único. En un tiempo de múltiples crisis, ustedes son mi esperanza para el futuro." -Alberto Bruzos Moro

"Qué logro impresionante haber llegado al final de este año imposible. Pueden estar orgullosas de todo lo conseguido, del buen trabajo realizado, y de la huella que dejan en el departamento. Muy queridas Daniela, Jimin, Trinidad, Hannah y Lydia: recordaré siempre con cariño y admiración su paso por mis clases, las conversaciones dentro y fuera del aula, todo lo que aprendí de cada una de ustedes. Felicidades, parabéns, enjoy the moment." -Mariana Bono

Alvin and Nasir_Class Day 2021

Photo courtesy of Andréa de Castro Melloni

"Parabéns a todos os alunos de SPO que estão se graduando este ano! Alguns de vocês eu já tive a honra e o prazer de ter como estudantes em minha sala de aula e, por isso, fico extremamente orgulhosa de tudo o que conquistaram ao longo desses quatro anos. Outros não foram meus alunos, mas nos encontramos em diversas oportunidades e fico igualmente feliz com as suas conquistas. Recebam o meu forte abraço (virtual) com muito carinho! Muitas felicidades e sucesso nessa nova jornada!" -Daiane Tamanaha

"Many congratulations to the Class of 2021! We look forward to keeping in touch and we wish you all the best for your next adventure!" -Michelle Tong

"¡Felicitaciones a todos y todas por este gran logro! Espero que hayan disfrutado de estos años universitarios, a pesar de que el último fuera tan anómalo. Un saludo especial a Daniela Álvarez, Brandon Dunlevy, Nasir Ismael, Rita Keazer, Cierra Moore, Ashley Roundtree, Hannah Smalley, Lydia Spencer y Alvin Sinarong. Voy a extrañar verlos en mis clases o por los pasillos de East Pyne. Muchos abrazos y les deseo un futuro lleno de éxitos y alegría." -Catalina Méndez Vallejo

"¡Muchas Felicidades, Daniel! Con admiración por tus múlitples talentos y por tu compromiso, te deseo lo mejor en esta nueva etapa de tu vida. Ha sido un honor trabajar contigo y aprender juntos en nuestro seminario sobre Puerto Rico. Quedo también muy agradecido por tu valiosa ayuda en la organización de mis archivos. A tus órdenes siempre," Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones 

"Best of luck to all of our amazing graduating seniors!" -Justin Kazlauskas

Felicidades para todas, todos e todes! Não foram anos fáceis, mas é muito bom ver vocês chegando aqui com tanta energia e com teses tão bonitas. Parabéns, felicitaciones, congratulations!!! And last, but not least: keep in touch!" -Pedro Meira Monteiro

"What an extraordinary class this is! Every single one of you-- Alejandro, Alvin, Ashley, Brandon, Cierra, Daniel, Daniela, Hannah, Jesús, Jimin, Lydia, Nasir, Rae, Rodrigo, and Trinidad--leaves a special and unique footprint in SPO for your successors to follow and be inspired by. You know we will always be here for you. YOU are the reason why we’re here. Parabens! ¡Felicitaciones! Congratulations!!!!" -Christina Lee

Congratulations to all our graduates! ¡Felicitaciones! Parabéns!