On Feb. 16, Solveig Gold ’17 and Marisa Salazar ’17 were named co-winners of the 2017 Moses Tyler Pyne Honor Prize, the highest general honor awarded to undergraduates by the University.
Established in 1921 by Mrs. May Taylor Moulton Hanrahan in honor of her cousin, Moses Taylor Pyne, a member of the Class of 1877 and a University Trustee from 1885 to 1921, the Pyne Honor Prize is awarded annually by the president of the University to the senior who has most clearly manifested excellent scholarship, strength of character, and effective leadership. Past recipients of the award include the late University President Emeritus Robert F. Goheen ’40 *48, United States Senator Paul Sarbanes ’54, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’76 *01.
Salazar is a chemistry major from Las Cruces, N.M. In her senior thesis, Salazar explores how to convert racemic mixtures of chiral molecules to single enantiomers using visible light, as well as how these new methods would apply to the synthesis of new medicines and agrochemicals.
Winning the Pyne Honor Prize “is really a reflection of the amazing community that I’ve had around me, both of my family and the community here at Princeton,” said Salazar. “It makes me really grateful that they’ve invested so much into my life to make this possible.”
“It’s still kind of surreal that I won this award because I know so many talented people, so many people that have given back to the community,” she said. “So this award is a huge honor for me.”
After graduation, Salazar plans to attend medical school, though she isn’t sure which one. While she doesn’t know what her specialty will be, she knows that she wants “work in global health to reduce global health care disparities.” During the portion of her career that she will spend in the United States, Salazar hopes to “work with underserved populations, including Spanish-speaking communities.”
In addition to the Pyne Honor Prize, Salazar has been awarded the Department of Chemistry's William Foster Memorial Prize, given to the junior in the department with the highest departmental academic record, and the George B. Wood Legacy Prize, awarded in recognition of exceptional academic achievement during junior year.
Outside of her academic achievements, Salazar is an undergraduate assistant and peer academic adviser at Whitman College, a pre-health peer adviser, the head tutor for organic chemistry with the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, a member of the Princeton Evangelical Fellowship, an undergraduate conversation partner in the English Conversation Partner Program, and an officer with the Princeton University American Sign Language Club, according to a University press release.
Gold is a classics major from New York City; her senior thesis examines theatrical language and imagery in the works of St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, and his Neoplatonic predecessor, Plotinus. Her other academic honors include the classics department’s Charles A. Steele Prize and Harland Prize and a 2015 Stanley J. Seeger Summer Fellowship for study in Greece. In summer 2016, she studied abroad in Rome through the Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study.
Gold is also extensively involved in University life. She is a member of the Edwards Collective, a group of students that live together in a residential community in Mathey College and are passionate about creative art and the humanities. She’s also a guide with Orange Key Tours, a staff writer for the Princeton Tory, and co-founder of the Princeton Open Campus Coalition.
Many of her extracurricular activities reflect her academic interest in performance. Gold is a member of the Princeton Tigerlilies, the Princeton Triangle Club, the Princeton University Glee Club, and the Princeton University Chamber Choir. In spring 2016, she directed and played the title role in a production of Euripides’ “Medea,” which was performed in Greek in Princeton's Chancellor Green Rotunda.
After graduation, Gold plans to continue to study classics and ancient philosophy. She hopes to become a classics professor and a public intellectual.
Gold was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
Gold and Salazar will be recognized at an Alumni Day luncheon on campus on Feb. 26.