SPO celebrates Class of 2020 and awards undergraduate prizes via virtual Class Day

Monday, Jun 1, 2020

View the full list of graduates and thesis titles

More photos can be found on the department's Facebook page

On June 1, 2020, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese hosted a virtual Class Day event in celebration of the Class of 2020.

Pedro Meira Monteiro, Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and Christina Lee, Director of Undergraduate Studies, welcomed graduating seniors, friends and family to Class Day and provided each graduate a moment to speak on their thesis work and their experience as Spanish and Portuguese concentrators. 

In the weeks leading up to Class Day, graduating seniors were given the opportunity to reflect on their time with the department and share some of their favorite memories and moments through messages to their peers, faculty members, instructors, and advisors:


Photo courtesy of Alice Wistar

"Being in SPO made me realize that the best part about Princeton are the opportunities it gives you to not be at Princeton. Those opportunities were the ones that made me learn and grow the most—both academically and personally speaking. One of my most impactful SPO-sponsored journeys was volunteering on a guinea pig farm in a town of 36 people in rural Peru. That was an experience no one could have prepared me for, but also one that I'll never forget. One of my favorite parts about SPO was the flexibility it gave me to pursue the topics that most interested me no matter what. For me, that was always something related to food. I struggled a lot at the beginning of my Princeton

Wistar's thesis defense

experience deciding what to major in because nothing quite aligned with my passions. But in SPO, I could make my passions fit within the scope of our independent and thesis research while simultaneously mastering a language I had never spoken before college. Nothing could have topped that." –Alice Wistar

"My time in SPO has been nothing short of wonderful. Small classes and enthusiastic professors led to relationships that I will cherish for years to come, and I am forever grateful for this community that welcomed me and shared in my struggles and successes. If I could go back in time, I would choose SPO again in a heartbeat." –Hadley Wilhoite


Sidamon-Eristoff's thesis defense

"To SPO: Thank you for an incredible education. I feel very fortunate to have learned from such thoughtful, kind, and brilliant professors and to have had opportunities to travel, both through Princeton in Spain and for my thesis research. Seeing important cultural sites in Spain such as the Prado and Valle de los Caídos through the eyes of Germán and Rafa gave me a much deeper understanding of and appreciation for them. My junior independent work with Rafa and Nicole challenged me to become a better writer and thinker through deep dives into texts and artwork. I am especially grateful to SPO and to my advisor, Javier, for empowering my dream of writing an interdisciplinary thesis combining cultural studies and neuroscience. Javier encouraged me to explore nuances that dramatically enriched my understanding of the context behind immigration to the United States from Central America. I will miss my time in the department very much!" 
–Anne Elizabeth Sidamon-Eristoff

Faculty members and instructors also contributed messages in celebration of the graduates:


Photo courtesy of Andréa de Castro Melloni

"Queridas Cecilia, Katie, Elizabeth, Alice, Hadley, and Nathalie, y querido Edwin, Even though I was the teacher and you were the students, I’ve learnt from each of you, in more ways than you can imagine. Estoy agradecida de haberlas conocido, y orgullosa de todo lo que han logrado hasta aquí. May the human connections and the friendships born during your Princeton years sustain you as you begin to write the next chapter. The journey starts with unexpected bumps, but the future is bright! Con cariño y admiración, Mariana Bono."

"Querida Nathalie: ¡Enhorabuena! Ya eres una Princeton Graduate. Lista para arreglar el mundo. Te deseo mucha suerte: este país necesita mujeres Latinas fuertes y buenas como tú."
–Paloma Moscardó-Vallés

"You’ll be embarking on your new lives under a tremendous pressure and a convoluted global scenario. Still, those of you with whom I’ve had the pleasure to talk in the last weeks make me confident that we’ll beat this crisis and we’ll become better. I think the world will indeed be better because of you. I wish you good luck, "boa sorte", "mucha suerte” with your future endeavors!"
–Pedro Meira Monteiro

The Department also announced the following prizes which were awarded to undergraduates:

Premio Ángel Rama for excellence by a freshman or sophomore in advanced Spanish courses:

Liam Seeley '23 and Julián Alvarez '22.

Premio María Zambrano for an outstanding Junior Paper in the Department:

Lydia Spencer '21 and Jimin Kang '21.

Prêmio Machado de Assis for excellence in advanced undergraduate Portuguese courses: 

Ashley Roundtree '21 and Jimin Kang '21.

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

June Philippe '20 and Alice Wistar '20.

Ronald Surtz Prize for best independent work on Early Modern studies by a junior or senior concentrator:

Brandon Dunlevy '21.

Vicente Llorens Castillo Senior Prize in Spanish for overall academic excellence by a graduating senior:

Peter Schmidt '20 and Hadley Wilhoite '20.

Ricardo Piglia Best Senior Thesis Prize:

Cecilia Hsu '20 and Anne Elizabeth Sidamon-Eristoff '20.

Congratulations to all our graduates! ¡Felicitaciones! Parabéns!