This past May, the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) selected two rising seniors to receive the David and Mimi Aloian Memorial Scholarships for their senior year (2008-09). The criteria for the awards reflect the traits valued and embodied by the late David and Mimi Aloian — thoughtful leadership that makes the College an exciting place in which to live and study, and special contributions to the quality of life in the Houses. David Aloian was the HAA’s executive director, and he and his wife Mary “Mimi” Aloian served as masters of Quincy House from 1981 to 1986.
Amanda Fields ’09 of Lowell House and John Sheffield ’09 of Pforzheimer House are this year’s David and Mimi Aloian Memorial Scholars. They are to be honored at the fall dinner of the HAA in October.
When Amanda Fields, of Vista, Calif., was elected as the sophomore representative of Lowell House, she made sure that all house residents were familiar with the resources available at the House and organized several events to help everyone become more acquainted with each other. As events co-chair for the House Committee she planned two large formals and many alcohol-alternative events. She also worked with others to ensure that Lowellians had a positive intellectual experience by scheduling panels and movie screenings, as well as cultural events. Also co-chair of the House Committee, Fields organized the first-ever off-campus retreat with other student leaders to think about an overall vision for the House. Fields also initiated a survey to elicit student feedback to make sure efforts on behalf of the House were really going to meet the needs of the House community.
John Sheffield, of Fayetteville, N.C., views House life as “a valuable reprieve from the routine and responsibility of the daily grind” and has worked hard to ensure that activities in Pforzheimer House do not have any bearing on student resumes, discourage competition, and instead build informal social ties that set House communities above other social groupings. Infusing the House with good will, collegiality, and an inclusive spirit, Sheffield has had a decisive hand in many events and initiatives benefiting the house, including organizing the massively attended House chili cook-off for the Harvard-Yale tailgate (now a House-wide event), serving as a floor prefect, attending every House Committee meeting, helping to plan the vast majority of functions, presiding as the “war minister” for the House during last spring’s inter-House Risk tournament, and volunteering for many other functions.