Five students win 2024 General Education Prize

Spring view of campus at Harvard University. Trees flower outside Widener Library.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

3 min read

Five Harvard College students have been awarded this year’s General Education Prize, an award for undergraduates who went above and beyond in their learning.

Seniors Ashton Body and Justin Hu, juniors Shira Hoffer and Shane Rice and sophomore Manar Abrre were all chosen as 2024 winners.

The General Education Prize was established by the Program in General Education to honor students who completed a Gen Ed course. Gen Ed courses, which focus on urgent problems and enduring questions, often explicitly connect the subjects students study to the world beyond the classroom. 

Portrait of Ashton BOdy
Ashton Body ’24

To be considered for the $500 prize, students submit reflections how their Gen Ed courses transformed and inspired them. The reflections can take a variety of forms — essays, videos and visual art are all accepted. 

Body, who took “World Health: Challenges and Opportunities,” with Sue Goldie, Roger Irving Lee Professor of Public Health, was inspired to create “Bluey’s Big Worries,” an illustrated book to help children understand and express their emotions and amid a growing mental health epidemic.

Headshot of Justin Hu.
Justin Hu ’24

Hu, who took “The Caribbean Crucible: Colonialism, Capitalism and Post-Colonial Misdevelopment in the Region” with Orlando Patterson, John Cowles Professor of Sociology, was inspired to get involved in equitable education initiatives to empower Barbadian youth. Hu’s senior thesis explores how a Martinique high school produced several generations of anticolonial leaders.

Portrait of Shira Hoffer.
Shira Hoffer ’25

Hoffer took “Pluralism: Case Studies in American Diversity” with Diana Eck, Frederic Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society, and Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies. Hoffer was inspired to create an independent study titled “Exemptions and Accommodations for Religion in America, and to establish “The Hotline for Israel/Palestine,” an educational texting hotline promoting a dialogue for peace. Hoffer plans to write a thesis on the intersection of religious liberty and anti-discrimination efforts in the U.S. 

Shane Rice ’25

Rice took “Can We Know Our Past?” with Rowan Flad, John E. Hudson Professor of Archaeology, and Jason Ur, Stephen Phillips Professor of Archaeology and Ethnology. Rice said the course helped him find a niche interest area at Harvard while struggling with the transition from U.S. Marine Corporal to College student. The course inspired Rice to concentrate in anthropology, and has conducted archaeological surveys in Khövsgöl, Mongolia and Erbil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. 

Manar Abrre ’26

Abrre took “The Ancient Greek Hero” with Gregory Nagy, Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature. It inspired Abrre, a neuroscience concentrator who plans to declare a minor in Art, Film and Visual Studies, to go on the Spring Break in Greece Trip for Students and Alumni, hosted by the Harvard Alumni Association Travels and the Center for Hellenic Studies and to sign up for another Gen Ed course: “Happiness,” with Professor of Philosophy Susanna Rinard.