Paige Allen ’21, Amy Jeon ’21, and James Packman ’21 have won the 2021 Moses Taylor Pyne Honor Prize, the highest general distinction an undergraduate can receive.
This honor was established in 1921 in remembrance of Moses Taylor Pyne, Class of 1877, who was a University trustee for 36 years after graduating, and consists of income “up to the prevailing comprehensive fee for one academic year.” Previous honorees include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’76 and former Sen. Paul Sarbanes ’54 (D-Md.). Pyne is also the namesake of Pyne Hall and the M. Taylor Pyne Professorship.
Allen is concentrating in English and pursuing certificates in creative writing, humanistic studies, music theater, and theater. She has received several accolades at the University, including the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence in 2018 and 2019 and the Outstanding Work Award from the Programs in Theater and Music Theater in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
Allen has been deeply involved in the humanities, theater, and literature at the University, including completing the Humanities Sequence in her first year, serving as the former president of the Princeton University Players, and running her own theater review blog, The College Critic.
“Receiving this honor leads me to reflect on all the communities that shaped me and served as my homes at Princeton, including student-led groups such as Princeton University Players and The Daily Princetonian, where I found support and mentorship from my peers,” Allen wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’ “I view the Pyne Prize as representative of the relationships I've made with my friends, professors, and mentors while at Princeton and of all that I hope to give back in some way.”
Allen also serves as a Lewis Center for the Arts peer arts adviser, a head Writing Center fellow, and a former head editor of The Prospect section of the ‘Prince.’
“By studying and telling stories in numerous forms, I have gained a better understanding of the power of narrative, the responsibility of storytellers, and the practice of empathy,” Allen said.
After graduating, Allen intends to pursue a master’s degree in gender and sexuality studies in the United Kingdom.
Jeon is a Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) concentrator pursuing a certificate in statistics and machine learning. She has previously earned the 2019 Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence and the SPIA R.W. van de Velde Award for her junior independent work.
“I feel deeply honored and blessed to receive this prize, which I credit not to myself alone but to the many professors, administrators, and preceptors who encouraged and mentored me over the years,” Jeon said. “To me, Princeton represents the people who have enriched my life and studies, from the friends who laughed and worked alongside me to the campus communities that welcomed me. Most of all, I give thanks to my family, who guided and supported me every step of the way.”
Her leadership positions include serving as a peer academic adviser for Butler College, former director of program and Whig Party Chair of the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, and a violinist in the University’s Sinfonia Orchestra.
Jeon has also been involved in various service projects, including interning at the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service advocacy office in Washington, D.C. through the Office of Religious Life and volunteering as a tutor-mentor and project leader for Community House.
“[Interning] was a richly meaningful and rewarding experience. I spent my weekends interviewing refugees and asylees to document their oft-overlooked roles in America’s development,” Jeon said.
Jeon plans to attend law school and pursue a career in nonprofit advocacy and policy work after graduation.
Packman is a psychology concentrator pursuing a certificate in East Asian studies. He also received the 2019 Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence and the Howard Crosby Warren Junior Prize in Psychology and was named a Scholar in the Nation’s Service Initiative (SINSI)’s Frank C. Carlucci ’52 Scholar in 2019.
“I was totally floored when I was told about [the prize] on Monday. I'm still trying to wrap my head around. It is an incredibly humbling honor,” Packman wrote in email to the ‘Prince.’
“[T]his prize serves as a reminder that I have a responsibility to acknowledge the privilege I enjoy and to use that privilege to give back to the world as much as I possibly can. Of course, I have to keep in mind that I am absolutely not a ‘white savior,’ nor do I want to see myself that way,” he noted. “So I would say that my reaction is one of mixed responsibility and humility (or at least, that's the ideal to which I aspire). This definitely wouldn't have happened without the bonds I've forged with all the friends I've made along the way.”
Packman has also served as president and foil fencer with the Princeton Fencing Club, president and a drummer for the Princeton University Rock Ensemble (PURE), a CONTACT volunteer, and student member of and consultant to Center for Jewish Life’s board of directors. He was also an inaugural member of the Center’s Jewish Leaders Advisory Board.
Packman intends to pursue a career as a clinical psychologist.
Pyne Prize winners are usually honored at the yearly Alumni Day in February, but the University is still looking into how to celebrate the three seniors as a community.