2017 Aloian Memorial Scholarship winners announced

Hannah Smati ’18 of Houston and Aldís Elfarsdóttir ’18 of Belmont, Mass., were named 2017 Aloian Memorial Scholarship recipients for the leadership and commitment to House life at Harvard College.

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The Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) has named Aldís Elfarsdóttir ’18 of Eliot House and Hannah Smati ’18 of Adams House this year’s David and Mimi Aloian Memorial Scholars.

Each year, the Aloian Memorial Scholarship is given to two juniors who demonstrate thoughtful leadership and who improve the quality of life in Harvard Houses. The award is given by the HAA in honor of David and Mary (Mimi) Aloian, faculty deans of Quincy House from 1981 to 1986. During their time at Harvard, the Aloians helped the Houses create a stronger community by incorporating an environment for social and intellectual growth. David also served as executive director of the HAA from 1978 to 1986. During his time, he transformed the HAA to be a more inclusive place. The Aloian Scholarship is given to commemorate the life and achievements of David and Mimi and to highlight the important community House life creates.

This year’s scholarship recipients will be honored on Thursday, Oct. 26, during the fall meeting of the HAA Board of Directors.

Aldís Elfarsdóttir ’18 of Belmont, Mass., works to create a more sustainable environment in Eliot House and on Harvard’s campus. As the Resource Efficiency Program (REP) representative and captain on the Eliot House Committee and a member of the University’s Climate Change Task Force from 2016 to 2017, she has raised awareness of waste reduction by creating programming for compostables and zero waste at House events. In her project titled “Networked Energy-saving Temperature Sensors (NETS),” she investigated the winter heating of Eliot House, creating a data-driven model to improve residential thermal comfort and building energy maintenance. Her House deans note that Elfarsdóttir “has woven her intellectual interests into community building efforts, at once creating environmental awareness, social inroads, and a shared sense of a greater goal for the students to rally around.”

Hannah Smati ’18 of Houston seeks to model inclusiveness by seeking alternatives and creating new initiatives for all students in Adams House to thrive. As co-chair and former outings chair, she has reframed the House Committee as a default support system for the House’s residential community. Creating programs like the Student Photography Initiative to allow artistically inclined residents to participate in House life by utilizing their talents and working with the House administrator and arts tutors. In addition, she also formed a system of liaisons with the various tutors for each team (Race Relations, LGBTQ, CARE, Music, Wellness, etc.) as a way to discuss and encourage inclusivity. Outside the Adams House walls, Smati is co-president of the Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum, a peer counselor for Room 13, and served as the director of operations for the fall 2016 Harvard Arab Weekend.

Nominations for the 2018 Aloian Memorial Scholarship will be available in March 2018. Any member of the House community — student, faculty, or staff — may submit nominations.