Four graduate students were named as the recipients of 2016 Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship on Wednesday.
Joshua Bennett GS, Kellen Funk GS, Carlee Joe-Wong GS and Rajesh Ranganath GS are the winners of this year's fellowship, the University's top honor for graduate students. The award will support students’ final year of study at Princeton and is awarded to students whose work has exhibited "the highest scholarly excellence," according to the University.
The fellows, all of whom came to pursue a doctoral degree at Princeton in 2011, will receive their awards at the Alumni Day ceremonies on Saturday, Feb. 20.
Bennett earned an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a master of arts in theater and performance studies from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. He is currently a doctoral candidate in English.
Bennett’s dissertation centers on the affective economies, as well as the literary imagination, that have emerged from African American experiences of being treated as the socio-legal equivalents of nonhuman animals.
"In addition to my desire to eventually become a university professor, I also hope to continue my career as a poet, performance artist and arts educator after graduation," Bennett said in a press release.
Beyond the classroom, Bennett aspires to substantially contribute to the field of African American letters and hopes to be both a scholar of the black literary tradition and a practicing poet.
Funk, who earned his undergraduate degree in history from Bob Jones University and a juris doctorate from Yale, is a doctoral candidate in history.
Funk’s dissertation explores the origins of legal trends, which largely began in 1850 when a commission of New York trial lawyers drafted a code that reoriented legal practice toward their interests. He will continue pursuing law as a career.
"Upon completing my dissertation studies in the summer of 2016, I will begin a series of clerkships in the federal courts," he said in the press release.
Joe-Wong, who earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in applied and computational mathematics from Princeton, is a doctoral student in the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics. Her research focuses on smart data pricing, which aims to better manage traffic on wireless networks by incentivizing users to change their data usage behavior to reduce network congestion.
"My experience in co-founding a startup, conducting user pricing trials with industry partners, and submitting proposals to funding agencies have provided further inspiration for solving problems that have practical impact," she said in the press release.
She is a co-founder of mobile data company Datami, and hopes to pursue a career in academia as a professor.
Rajesh Ranganath earned his bachelor's and master's degree from Stanford University in computer science. As a PhD candidate in the University’s Computer Science Department, he works on developing new statistical methodologies to make them more accessible to non-statisticians and addresses problems in clinical medicine.
He hopes to secure a position as a professor so he can develop new statistical methods and advance clinical medicine using statistics on large datasets, Ranganath said in the press release, adding that he wants to “nurture the growth of new statisticians and data scientists as a professor at a research university.”
Sanjeev R. Kulkarni, Dean of the Graduate School, noted that the Jacobus Fellowship winners are all outstanding students and scholars.
"We're proud to have them as Princeton graduate students and honorific award recipients," he wrote in a statement.