Three recent graduates awarded Taliesin Prize

Cherry tree blossoms.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard file photo

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Recent graduates of the Class of 2020 Catherine Kerner, Cecil Williams II, and Adele Woodmansee received the Taliesin Prize for Distinction in the Art of Learning this week.

Kerner concentrated in computer science and philosophy, Williams in folklore & mythology, and Woodmansee had a joint concentration in integrative biology and anthropology. They were recognized by a four-member faculty committee for making insightful choices in their coursework, overcoming challenges, and exploring new fields of study.

The prize, announced by the Division of Arts & Humanities, was created this year to honor graduating seniors who exhibit curiosity and an intellectually adventurous spirit throughout their time as Harvard undergraduates. The Taliesin Prize is named for the sixth-century poet noted for enlightenment and inspiration and was conceived as a way to honor scholarly inquiry outside of the conventional benchmarks of a GPA or thesis.

The recipients were nominated by faculty members in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Some student nominees also submitted statements explaining their curricular journeys. This year’s Prize Committee included: Melissa Franklin, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics; Rebecca Lemon, professor of the history of science; Melissa McCormick, professor of Japanese art and culture and Harvard College professor of East Asian languages & civilizations; and Gu-Yeon Wei, Robert and Suzanne Case Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.