Campus & Community

Radcliffe recognizes top theses

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Fay Prize awarded for outstanding work in medical anthropology, original poetry

The Captain Jonathan Fay Prize is awarded annually to the graduating Harvard College senior who has produced the most imaginative work or original research in any field. The Fay Prize selection committee is convened by the dean of the Radcliffe Institute, Lizabeth Cohen, who is also the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies in the History Department.

This year, two Fay Prize recipients were chosen from 81 Thomas T. Hoopes Prize winners for outstanding scholarly work or research.

“The work of Victoria Koski-Karell and Justin Wymer was so distinguished and distinctive that we felt compelled to honor both students and both theses,” said Cohen when she presented the awards. “Their fields of study, anthropology and poetry, are very different, but we found that both students shared an exemplary commitment to original, inquisitive, and rigorous work.”

Koski-Karell’s thesis, “Coping with Kolera: Encountering the Unknown in North Haiti,” incorporates anthropology, biology, and history to explore the recent cholera outbreak in Haiti. Her insights and analysis shed new light on the difficulties of containing the epidemic and treating those afflicted. Her suggestions for new approaches, in the words of a committee member, “will save lives.”

Wymer’s thesis of original poetry, “Genius Loci,” (The spirit of place) consists of 51 poems that describe places where Wymer has lived or visited. It was selected by the committee for both “pushing poetry in a strange and shocking direction” and its “fresh, original voice.”

View the full list of Fay Prize nominees and more information about the winning theses.