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Yur Jellus, a sophomore from Lawrenceville, N.J., broke the record for the greatest amount of travel funding for a single independent research project at the University. This summer, the Wilson School concentrator will travel to the dark side of the moon, the bottom of the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, and the geographic center of Antarctica as part of his academic exploration of “diplomacy through solitude.”
Jellus successfully secured funding from his academic department, the Office of International Programs, the Office of Religious Life, the Dean’s Fund, the Dale Award, and the Keller Center. The previous record-holder for the greatest amount of funding is senior Trie Harrd, from Palo Alto, Calif. She only secured funding from five-and-a-half sources.
Jellus said he crafted research proposals after calculating which travel destinations would generate the maximum amount of funding.
“I was inspired to take on such an ambitious project only after I saw how many financial resources Princeton has to offer,” Jellus told The Daily Princetonian.
“Clicking around on SAFE is just such a great form of procrastination,” he said. “I can avoid engaging with challenging academic ideas, while finding easy ways to make me feel better about myself compared to my peers.”
Jellus spent first-year breaks conducting field research in Greenland. He said his passions there included environmental whispering and meditation.
Jellus’ academic adviser, Wilson School professor Washid Up said Jellus is one of the best students she has ever encountered at the University.
“He’s truly remarkable,” Up said. “I’ve never seen a student accomplish so much by doing so little.”
“I hope to one day make an impact in the world of diplomacy by staying quiet on a number of important issues,” Jellus said. “Human contact is so 19th century.”
When asked if he ever gets lonely while traveling, Jellus said no.
“Princeton taught me how to survive without human warmth,” he said.
Students reported experiencing drops in self-esteem when they encountered Jellus’ posts on Instagram.
“I mean, I like his posts because he likes mine,” fellow sophomore Worldi Gurl said. “But I die a little inside after double-tapping and seeing the heart briefly flash on-screen.”
Gurl said she plans to fill the void inside of her by studying abroad in Paris with the University’s anthropology department her junior spring.
Other students said they didn’t know how to react to Jellus’ long email updates.
“I don’t really want to read the whole thing and I definitely don’t want to respond,” Jellus’ friend Endiffer Int Engenerre said. “I just look at the photos.”
On campus, Jellus can often be found studying in the tree house of Lewis Library. He’s receiving certificates in Values and Public Life, Environmental Studies, and harp performance.
Jellus is a member of Cap and Gown Club, volunteers with the PACE Center’s Big Sibs program, and works as a SHARE peer.