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Features

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This article is the second installment in a series that explores one of Princeton’s most distinct academic traditions: the requirement of junior and senior independent work for nearly all undergraduate students. As thousands of students conduct and present unique research every year, these Features articles shed light on the inspiration, the outcomes, and everything in between.

This article is the second installment in a series that explores one of Princeton’s most distinct academic traditions: the requirement of junior and senior independent work for nearly all undergraduate students. As thousands of students conduct and present unique research every year, these Features articles shed light on the inspiration, the outcomes, and everything in between.


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‘Because of tradition’: Disagreements and changes within Princeton’s dance group hierarchy

Princeton’s student-led dance community boasts more than 15 ensembles, each with unique styles, traditions, and requirements. These groups are known for their professional caliber performances and near-professional time commitments. Student concerns about social hierarchy and elitism within the dance community prompted policy changes in the midst of the pandemic — specifically, the dissolution of a coalition known as G4. In the first in-person year since these changes, dance groups are still adjusting. 

Princeton’s student-led dance community boasts more than 15 ensembles, each with unique styles, traditions, and requirements. These groups are known for their professional caliber performances and near-professional time commitments. Student concerns about social hierarchy and elitism within the dance community prompted policy changes in the midst of the pandemic — specifically, the dissolution of a coalition known as G4. In the first in-person year since these changes, dance groups are still adjusting. 

FEATURES | March 15

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Princeton’s friendliest face: a Q&A with Mathey College’s ‘Ms. Heather’

For nearly two decades, Heather Parker has been greeting students and swiping their prox cards as they enter the Roma dining hall. During that time she has had a significant impact on the daily life of undergraduate students. We sat down with several students and with Parker herself for a Q&A about “Ms. Heather.”

For nearly two decades, Heather Parker has been greeting students and swiping their prox cards as they enter the Roma dining hall. During that time she has had a significant impact on the daily life of undergraduate students. We sat down with several students and with Parker herself for a Q&A about “Ms. Heather.”

FEATURES | March 1

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A room in the back of a sweater store: Making space for commemorating Einstein in town

Landau, a wool clothing business on Nassau Street, housed a single-room museum at the back of their store for Einstein from the 1990s until just two years ago. Now, more comprehensive efforts to commemorate the infamous physicist — for his work, but also his legacy as a beloved townsperson — are underway.

Landau, a wool clothing business on Nassau Street, housed a single-room museum at the back of their store for Einstein from the 1990s until just two years ago. Now, more comprehensive efforts to commemorate the infamous physicist — for his work, but also his legacy as a beloved townsperson — are underway.

FEATURES | February 24

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The truth behind Einstein ‘folklore’: Uncovering the origins of Jewish community on campus

Albert Einstein is widely believed to have played an integral role in the origins of Jewish student life at Princeton in the 1940s. However, a story of the failures of institutional knowledge — and of The Daily Princetonian itself — reveals a much older, more complex foundational history. Thanks to a Princeton senior thesis and the 107-year-old oldest living alum, the real beginnings of Jewish community on campus is coming to light and challenging the dominant narrative.

Albert Einstein is widely believed to have played an integral role in the origins of Jewish student life at Princeton in the 1940s. However, a story of the failures of institutional knowledge — and of The Daily Princetonian itself — reveals a much older, more complex foundational history. Thanks to a Princeton senior thesis and the 107-year-old oldest living alum, the real beginnings of Jewish community on campus is coming to light and challenging the dominant narrative.

FEATURES | February 23

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‘Worthy of taking up space’: Jennifer Lee ’23 founds nonprofit to support Asian Americans with disabilities

After Jennifer Lee ’23 was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, she found that her Asian American identity often wasn’t addressed or represented within peer support communities. In July 2021, along with a coalition of disabled Asian Americans and nondisabled allies from around the country, Lee founded the Asian Americans with Disabilities Initiative (AADI), a nonprofit run by and for people like her who identify as both Asian American and disabled.

After Jennifer Lee ’23 was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, she found that her Asian American identity often wasn’t addressed or represented within peer support communities. In July 2021, along with a coalition of disabled Asian Americans and nondisabled allies from around the country, Lee founded the Asian Americans with Disabilities Initiative (AADI), a nonprofit run by and for people like her who identify as both Asian American and disabled.

FEATURES | February 15

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Bridging the gap: Graduate student life in the Orange Bubble

With limited and often arbitrarily assigned residential spaces, meager options for socializing, and a narrow dating pool, some graduate students feel alienated from University life, while others have found pockets of community and exciting ways to engage.

With limited and often arbitrarily assigned residential spaces, meager options for socializing, and a narrow dating pool, some graduate students feel alienated from University life, while others have found pockets of community and exciting ways to engage.

FEATURES | February 8

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Princeton student musicians find opportunity and relief through original music

Princeton student musicians write and record their own songs in communal studios or even dorm rooms, often debuting these songs on streaming platforms and at live venues on campus. Even among the challenges of Princeton, these students have made original music an integral part of their college experience. 

Princeton student musicians write and record their own songs in communal studios or even dorm rooms, often debuting these songs on streaming platforms and at live venues on campus. Even among the challenges of Princeton, these students have made original music an integral part of their college experience. 

FEATURES | February 1

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Inside the Princeton University Band… and their plastic Santa

Adorned in flamboyant plaid orange and black suits, topped with their characteristic boaters, the Princeton University Band is not hard to spot on Princeton’s campus. At an Ivy League institution where student groups often have high barriers of entry and demand significant commitment from their members, the Band stands apart as an outlet for entertainment and comedic relief.

Adorned in flamboyant plaid orange and black suits, topped with their characteristic boaters, the Princeton University Band is not hard to spot on Princeton’s campus. At an Ivy League institution where student groups often have high barriers of entry and demand significant commitment from their members, the Band stands apart as an outlet for entertainment and comedic relief.

FEATURES | January 25

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Princeton lab’s research on elephant tusklessness brings public attention to human impact on evolution

More elephants in Mozambique have no tusks as a result of a painful, 15-year civil war. An ocean and thousands of miles away, assistant EEB professor Shane Campbell-Staton and his team are looking at why and how this example of remarkably fast evolution came to be. Their studies have attracted media attention from newspapers to Trevor Noah, and display how closely human activity can be tied up in the process of evolution.

More elephants in Mozambique have no tusks as a result of a painful, 15-year civil war. An ocean and thousands of miles away, assistant EEB professor Shane Campbell-Staton and his team are looking at why and how this example of remarkably fast evolution came to be. Their studies have attracted media attention from newspapers and Trevor Noah, and display how closely human activity can be tied up in the process of evolution.

FEATURES | December 23

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‘The best four hours ever’: Princeton students compete in the 2021 New York City Marathon

Ellen Su ’23, Delaney Callaghan ’23,  Ella Feiner ’22, and Sebastian Quiroga ’22 shared their experience running in the marathon with The Daily Princetonian. While the four students had very different running backgrounds, gained entry to the marathon in different ways, and dealt with different training setbacks, one thing they share are those few hours racing — and the months of training that went into them. 

Ellen Su ’23, Delaney Callaghan ’23,  Ella Feiner ’22, and Sebastian Quiroga ’22 shared their experience running in the marathon with The Daily Princetonian. While the four students had very different running backgrounds, gained entry to the marathon in different ways, and dealt with different training setbacks, one thing they share are those few hours racing — and the months of training that went into them. 

FEATURES | December 23

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Home for the holidays gone wrong: campus isolation over Thanksgiving break

Right before Thanksgiving break, the semester’s largest surge in COVID-19 cases on campus sent an unprecedented number of students into isolation for the holiday. Instead of packing up to travel home, these students — often experiencing symptoms of the virus — threw sweatpants, blankets, and medicine into bags before relocating to their University-allocated rooms in 1967 Hall.

Right before Thanksgiving break, the semester’s largest surge in COVID-19 cases on campus sent an unprecedented number of students into isolation for the holiday. Instead of packing up to travel home, these students — often experiencing symptoms of the virus — threw sweatpants, blankets, and medicine into bags before relocating to their University-allocated rooms in 1967 Hall.

FEATURES | December 23

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‘They change the way you see the world around you’: Art museum tours illuminate campus sculptures

“Sculptures build a sense of identity within a place,” Modern and Contemporary Art Curator Mitra Abbaspour said. “They interrupt your passage of space and change the way you see the world around you.”

“Sculptures build a sense of identity within a place,” Modern and Contemporary Art Curator Mitra Abbaspour said. “They interrupt your passage of space and change the way you see the world around you.”

FEATURES | December 16

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Pizza, bad movies, and Saturday Nights Sober: the Alcohol Initiative sponsors alcohol-free student-run events

A program with over 20 years of history, the Alcohol Initiative has been steadfast in its goal of offering an alternative setting to party-centric weekend nights on campus. With a budget in the tens of thousands, according to Alcohol Initiative Senior Chair Sean Horton ’22, the Initiative supports many clubs and organizations on campus, from Coffee Club and the Outdoor Action rock climbing wall to the Cheese and Bad Movies club. 

A program with over 20 years of history, the Alcohol Initiative has been steadfast in its goal of offering an alternative setting to party-centric weekend nights on campus. With a budget in the tens of thousands, according to Alcohol Initiative Senior Chair Sean Horton ’22, the Initiative supports many clubs and organizations on campus, from Coffee Club and the Outdoor Action rock climbing wall to the Cheese and Bad Movies club. 

FEATURES | December 9

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‘On everyone's mind’: Imposter syndrome at Princeton

Imposter syndrome is defined by the American Psychological Association as “the situation in which highly accomplished, successful individuals paradoxically believe they are frauds.” Financial disparities, racial differences, language barriers — all of these factors can contribute to feelings of imposter syndrome on a college campus. The Daily Princetonian sat down with students and faculty to learn more about their experiences with the syndrome and how they cope with it. 

Imposter syndrome is defined by the American Psychological Association as “the situation in which highly accomplished, successful individuals paradoxically believe they are frauds.” Financial disparities, racial differences, language barriers — all of these factors can contribute to feelings of imposter syndrome on a college campus. The Daily Princetonian sat down with students and faculty to learn more about their experiences with the syndrome and how they cope with it. 

FEATURES | December 9