Follow us on Instagram
Try our daily mini crossword
Play our latest news quiz
Download our new app on iOS/Android!

Competitive YAT election looms as Kirby, Masheke, Takeuchi advance

YAT finalists 2023.png
Photos courtesy of Mayu Takeuchi, Caroline Kirby, and the Office of Communications, design by Eden Teshome

For 20 of the 23 candidates for Young Alumni Trustee (YAT), the election came to an end on Friday, when the University informed candidates that following the primary election, Caroline Kirby ’23, Mutemwa Raphael Masheke ’23, and Mayu Takeuchi ’23 would be moving on to the final round.

The final round will be open to voters from April 25 through May 17. Juniors and seniors along with alumni in the classes of 2021 and 2022 will be eligible to vote, in contrast to the first round in which only seniors voted.


Of the 1,306 eligible members of the senior class, 593 people voted in the first round, according to University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss. This puts participation at 45.41 percent of the class, roughly in line with typical participation in USG elections.

The student elected to the position will serve a four-year term on the University’s Board of Trustees. YATs are full members of the board, expected to provide perspective informed by their more recent experiences as University students. The individual selected for the position is prohibited from “advocating for a particular constituency or point of view,” as they take an oath to perform the duties of a trustee “faithfully, impartially, and justly.” Accordingly, candidates are prohibited from campaigning while the race is ongoing.

The primary election included 23 candidates from the Class of 2023. Notable candidates that did not make the final round include Inter-Club Council (ICC) President Sophie Singletary, USG Vice President Hannah Kapoor, and Claire Schmeller, who focused her short bio on her role as a Peer Representative working to reform the University’s Honor Code.


Caroline Kirby

Kirby is a politics major pursuing a certificate in entrepreneurship.

Kirby was Vice President of Charter Club during a time when the club had a major resurgence, becoming one of the most coveted clubs on campus. In 2020, Charter had only 28 total members when spring recruitment came around. Today, students have to rank Charter first and attend multiple events for the club to get in.

Kirby is a frequent presence at Princeton athletics events, handling social media for the Athletics Department. She also gave tours of campus for Orange Key and founded TigerReport, a student sports broadcasting group. Kirby also ran a highly-attended spin class at Dillon Gym, which would fill up 40 minutes prior to its start time.

Get the best of ‘the Prince’ delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe now »

Kirby drew a connection between her different roles on campus, stating how they all introduced her to new people, especially in her role as an Orange Key tour guide.

“Princeton’s most powerful and valuable commodity is our vibrant, welcoming community, and helping to bring the next generation of Tigers here is what I am most proud of,” she wrote. “I have spoken with hundreds, if not thousands, of prospective students over my four years as an Orange Key tour guide and campus visit ambassador, not only just showing off our incredible campus but also answering questions about all facets of student life.”

Speaking about her role as a potential YAT, Kirby expressed her commitment to “listening to all students and perspectives on campus, and firmly advocating for those wants, concerns, and interests on the Board.”

“I will take the responsibility of representing our class extremely seriously; I am not afraid to speak up and advocate for the current generation of Princeton students’ needs, even in a situation in which every other Trustee disagrees,” she wrote in a statement to The Daily Princetonian.

Mutemwa Masheke

Masheke is a BSE computer science concentrator, Vice President of African Internationals at Princeton, Vice President of the National Society of Black Engineers Princeton Chapter, an RCA in Butler College, and served as a Student Advisory Board Member on the Princeton University Council for Science and Technology.

In his bio, Masheke referenced his history of community activism, including in the summer of 2020 after the death of George Floyd.

Masheke noted how his work at Princeton has been influenced by his identity as an African international student. “I am not a ‘typical’ Princetonian,” he wrote.

“For the four years my family has remained 7,500 miles away from me, I have collaboratively pioneered subsidized summer housing for low-income students, career opportunities for students of color, and equitable financial aid for international students,” he continued.

Earlier this year, Masheke wrote an op-ed in the ‘Prince’ alongside Gil Joseph ’25, arguing that Princeton should address portions of international students’ financial aid that are taxed. Masheke also joined with five other student leaders to propose an alternative plan to the University’s controversial Dining Pilot, representing RCAs within the group.

Masheke commented on how the individual selected for 2023 YAT will enter into the role at a particularly important time.

“We are witnessing a pivotal time in the school’s history where it is doing away with certain barriers that made Princeton a great place to some, but difficult for others,” he wrote. “Wherever possible, I am excited to creatively reimagine the parts of the University that could better serve all facets of our community, and strengthen the parts that do.”

Mayu Takeuchi

Takeuchi is a School of Public and International Affairs major who formerly served as USG President. In 2021, Takeuchi was elected USG President after a full term as Sustainability Chair. Takeuchi’s term was marked by several major initiatives, including the launch of the 24/7 Cares Line to improve mental health on campus and the Pay with Points program which granted $150 to students on the unlimited dining plan to spend on restaurants in town. Takeuchi was another member of the group that proposed an alternative resolution to oppose the Dining Pilot.

She has also played Japanese drums with Tora Taiko, violin in the Princeton University Orchestra, and been part of Envision, a group that discusses the implications of technological development. 

Takeuchi stated that she feels she made her most meaningful contributions to Princeton in her role as USG President. 

“I’ve centered student experiences to drive action on mental health — pushing for more diverse counselors and funding for off-campus care, launching the 24/7 Cares Line and shifting reliance off PSAFE for wellness checks — but I know addressing the roots of our mental health crisis requires more work,” she wrote.

Much of Takeuchi’s work on campus has been linked to advocacy, and environmental issues have been front and center, a topic she touched on in her statement.

“I’ve dedicated my time at Princeton to empowering people underrepresented in decision-making spaces, driving student-centered action on mental health as USG President, and advocating for environmental justice across and beyond campus,” she wrote.

With the continued debate over whether Princeton should further dissociate from fossil fuels, environmental issues may be a point of key importance on the board.

​​The winner of the general election will be announced at the Alumni Council Meeting on Friday, May 26.

Isabel Yip is a head News editor for the ‘Prince.’

Please send any corrections to corrections[at]