Seventy-three Harvard undergraduates were awarded the Hoopes Prize, an award that recognizes outstanding scholarly work on an academic project, last Thursday.
Chosen each year from departments across the University, recipients receive $5,000 in recognition of “excellent undergraduate work” on their projects, which are typically senior theses. Faculty advisors will also be awarded $2,000 for “excellence in the art of teaching.”
The Hoopes Prize is funded by the estate of Thomas T. Hoopes, Class of 1919. Winning projects are available in Lamont Library for two years.
Susan L. Lively, secretary of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, wrote in a statement on behalf of the Prize Office that the winners’ projects were “deeply researched and insightful.”
“The range and depth of their interests and the quality of their work reflects the high caliber and academic strength of Harvard undergraduates,” Lively wrote.
Alec J. Fischthal ’22, who wrote a 145-page thesis on the politics of immigration reform from 1952 to 1965, said he was on the phone with his dad when he received an email notifying him of the award.
“My mind went totally blank and I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s crazy,’” Fischthal said. “You never know how good your work really is, but once you see that, it’s really affirming that people read your work and thought deeply of it.”
Tucker R. Boynton ’22 said he was “flattered and proud” when he learned he had received the Hoopes for his Economics senior thesis, which examined pricing inefficiencies in the National Football League labor market.
“I was pretty surprised,” Boynton said. “Frankly, I didn’t think that my project on sports labor markets was going to match up with some of the more serious topics, making real advancements in the academic fields,” Boynton said.
Not all of the winning projects were papers. Tiffany A. Rekem ’21 received a Hoopes for a film titled “Declarations of Love,” which was her senior thesis for the Art, Film, and Visual Studies Department.
Though Rekem, who worked on the film for three years, said the process of working on the thesis was at times “grueling,” she said it “meant a lot” that her work resonated with the Hoopes Prize committee.
“I see it as an affirmation of the art as a rigorous way of approaching a subject and that it can be a study, in addition to being a piece of art,” Rekem said.
Kendra I. Heredia ’22, who won the award for her project on the history of women’s health in factories in northern Mexico, said she was “grateful” that months of work on her thesis concluded with receiving the Hoopes Prize.
“This was the first time that I really sat with myself and was very proud of the work that I had done and felt like I could finally relax, knowing that that chapter is closed and that thesis process is finished, and that it ended in such a great, beautiful way,” Heredia said.
The full list of winners is below:
—Staff writer Leah J. Teichholtz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LeahTeichholtz.