Annual Awards & Prizes

Prizes are awarded to Sarah Lawrence’s outstanding students and faculty each year to recognize and reward them for their artistic and academic achievements in the following areas: fiction writing, human genetics, humanities, mathematics and science, music, playwriting, poetry, stage management, and teaching.  We are grateful to the donors who have created and continue to support these meaningful prizes.  Below is a description of each prize, along with information about the 2021 recipients.​ 

The Spencer Barnett Memorial Prize for Excellence in Latin American and Latinx Studies

The Spencer Barnett Memorial Prize for Excellence in Latin American and Latinx Studies is awarded annually to students producing outstanding conference papers or projects dealing with Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies.  Across a range of disciplines and in both English and Spanish, the students’ works are a demonstration of the diversity and caliber of and vital interest in Latin American Studies at Sarah Lawrence College. Since 2011, the family of Spencer Barnett has supported and sponsored this prize and ceremony in memory of their son.

Sofia Aguilar ’21 and Henry Bethell ’22, 2021 Recipients

For their essay: The LGBTQIA+ Movement in Latin America
Faculty Sponsor: Margarita Fajardo-Hernandez

Gabrielle Gonzalez ’21

For their essay: The Two Fridas: Cinematic Representations of the Life of Frida Kahlo
Faculty Sponsor: Sally Shafto

Breanna Steggell ’20

For their essay: #CLOSETHECAMPS: Agency and Protest of United States Detention Centers
Faculty Sponsor: Deanna Barenboim

The Geraldine Putman Clark Prize for Visual Arts

An endowed enrichment fund established in memory of Geraldine Putman Clark ’45 by her husband, Henry B. Clark, to recognize outstanding talent in a studio arts student.

Olaf Saaf ’21, 2021 Recipient

Olaf is an extremely focused and original artists. His paintings, drawings, and sculptures straddle the line between form, function, and narrative. His work is inventively strange and funny with a formal rigor that is rare for someone with such diverse interests. –John O’Connor, Faculty in Visual and Studio Arts 


Lily Massee ’22, Honorable Mention

The Edward Cogan Prize for Mathematics and Science

An endowed prize established in memory of Edward Cogan, teacher of mathematics from 1957-1996, to recognize a graduating senior exhibiting excellence in mathematics and science and contributing significantly to the mathematics and science community.

Nicholle Chew ’21, 2021 Recipient

A resident of Chesapeake, VA, Nicholle Chew came to Sarah Lawrence with interests in Environmental Studies and Dance.  During her first year, she discovered a passion for Organic Chemistry and changed the focus of her studies accordingly.  Since that time, Nicholle has taken a great variety of Physical Science and Environmental Studies courses.  She has also pursued many leadership initiatives within the science community at Sarah Lawrence, including acting as the president of the SLC Chapter of the American Chemical Society and co-chair of the STEMming Women student group. Since her sophomore year, Nicholle has also been one of the organizers of the SciMath Poster Symposium, and has tutored for several chemistry classes. She also served on search committees for faculty hires in Biology, Environmental Science, and Physics.  Since last summer, Nicholle has undertaken chemistry research under the supervision of Professor Patrick Holland at Yale University as part of her Senior Thesis work.  Nicholle has been accepted into the chemistry graduate program of Indiana University, Bloomington where she will be conducting research in the field of catalysis towards her PhD.  –Colin Abernethy, Faculty in Chemistry 

View Nicholle's Work

The Lucy Grealy Prize for Poetry

This endowed fund, was established by an anonymous donor to honor the memory of noted poet, essayist, and Sarah Lawrence alumna Lucy Grealy. To be awarded to outstanding undergraduate students in poetry.

Elena Millwood ’21, 2021 Recipient

Anna Schechter ’21, 2021 Recipient

The Lori Hertzberg Prize for Creativity

An endowed enrichment prize established in memory of Lori Hertzberg ’93 by her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Henry Hertzberg, to recognize exceptional creativity in writing or the visual arts.

Yuan Oliver Jin ’22, 2021 Recipient

A silver 2009 Ford passenger van outfitted to be a home and an artists’ studio has been Oliver’s Sarah Lawrence this covid year. Sleeping in truck stops and parking lots, he has diligently pursued his course work while simultaneously photographing and eloquently writing about “the much-erased history of Chinese migrant laborers in the 19th and early 20th centuries, from the gold miners of the Sierras, to the railroad workers of the Rocky Mountains, to the plantation workers along the Mississippi River.”  His photographs are quiet, thoughtful, and ultimately brilliant. In our sad epoch of prejudice and violence towards persons of perceived Asian origins, the book that Oliver is humbly and bravely creating will surely be a work of art, writing, and understanding. – Joel Sternfeld, Faculty in Photography

Adrienne (Adj) Samuels ’21, Honorable Mention

The Ian Lipkin ’74 Science Prize

A prize endowed in 2017 by Laurel Appell Lipkin ’79 as a tribute to her brother, Dr. Ian Lipkin ’74. Each year, the recipient of the prize will be selected on merit by the science and mathematics faculty, based on the quality of his or her proposed science research project.

Aaron Conover ’21, 2021 Recipient

Aaron has had an exemplary record of academic achievement at Sarah Lawrence as he has pursued his twin passions for physics and theatre. He spent the summers after his first and second years at Sarah Lawrence participating in the SLC Summer Science program, working with Professor Merideth Frey on developing new nuclear magnetic resonance technologies. Additionally, Aaron has worked to support his classmates as a physics tutor for the past two years. After just three years, Aaron will be graduating from Sarah Lawrence in May 2021 and plans to use the Lipkin Science Prize award to conduct research in the area of high-energy particle physics during the summer of 2021. Through this experience, Aaron hopes to acquire new research skills—especially concerning processing data from particle accelerators or neutrino detectors—that will support his applications to physics graduate programs next year. –The Ian Lipkin ’74 Science Prize Committee: Colin Abernethy, Faculty in Chemistry, Merideth Frey, Faculty in Physics, Bernice Rosenzweig, Faculty in Environmental Science, Cecilia Toro, Faculty in Biology

The Lipkin Family Fund of Prizes for Innovation and Creativity in the Arts and Science

Endowed funds established by Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin, parents of Ian Lipkin ’74 and Laurel Lipkin ’79. The following prizes are awarded annually to recognize student excellence: 

  • The Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for the Humanities
  • The Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for Playwriting
  • The Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for Poetry
  • The Lipkin Family Prize for Human Genetics (graduate studies)

Additionally, The Lipkin Family Prize for Inspirational Teaching annually recognizes a teacher, selected by the president and the Advisory Committee on Faculty Appointments, whose generosity of time and talent draws from students both high performance and a lifelong love of learning.​

Cassandra Pisieczko MS '21 (The Lipkin Prize for Human Genetics), 2021 Recipient

Sandie Pisieczko has shown unparalleled dedication to growing as a person and professional during her time as a graduate student in the Joan H. Marks Graduate Program in Human Genetics.  Her commitment to genetic counseling is revealed through principled, collaborative action in the classroom and the clinic, such as prompting and promoting the use of simulated patient methodology in genetic counseling education.  She bravely challenges her perspectives with new experiences to yield stronger, more nuanced, and complex insights and shares her thinking in ways that demonstrate her willingness to learn from and with others. She is equally and effusively supportive of clients and colleagues alike and she contributes to shared goals in ways that enable all involved to feel empowered and successful. Through her passion for supporting others, she truly embodies the ethos of a caring healthcare professional who brings immense empathy, connection, humility, and kindness to all interactions. Sandie will no doubt be an excellent genetic counselor and make​ lasting positive changes in the profession. – Claire Davis, Program Director and Faculty in Human Genetics

Raina Griffin ’21 (The Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for the Humanities), 2021 Recipient

The Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for the humanities is awarded this year to Raina Griffin for her outstanding paper entitled “History in Transition: A Gender-Variant Interpretation of the Galli”.

Raina Griffin’s outstanding paper focuses on the Galli, the ancient Roman priests dedicated to the cult of the Great Mother Cybele, whose service involved ritual castration. Raina Griffin’s work reviews the classic re-evaluations of ancient homosexuality produced in more recent scholarship as well as a rigorous conceptualization of gender identity based on new scholarship in this area. With her uncommonly sharp research abilities and critical skills, Raina discovered and adapted Nanda’s cutting-edge anthropological research on gender variance, and that of other scholars as well, adapting their work to her own assessment of the ancient sources on the Galli, which she studied in the original Latin and which she interpreted with enormous subtlety, nuance, insight, and objectivity.​ – Isabel de Sena, Faculty in Spanish and Modern and Classical Languages and Literature

Linwood Lewis, Psychology Faculty (The Lipkin Family Prize for Inspirational Teaching), 2021 Recipient

Amanda Card MFA’21 (The Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for Playwriting), 2021 Recipient

For her remarkably diverse subjects, her intense sense of theatricality, and her ability to wed serious subjects to comic material, the Lipkin Prize goes to Amanda Card. –The Sarah Lawrence Theatre Faculty

Sarah Sterling MFA’21 (The Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for Playwriting), 2021 Recipient

The Lipkin Prize goes to Sarah Sterling for her words are like red liquid on a white shirt, weighted fragments of humor, deliberate movements, and unvarnished truths. She bravely grapples with the process of creation through strong imagery and free association. The Sarah Lawrence Theatre Faculty

Colette Rae Chien ’21 (The Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for Poetry), 2021 Recipient

Margaret Cole ’21 (The Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for Poetry), 2021 Recipient

Devi Sastry ’21 (The Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for Poetry), 2021 Recipient

The Greta Minsky Prize for Stage Management​​

The Greta Minsky Prize for Stage Management was created in memory of longtime faculty and staff member and stage management guru Greta Minsky. It was established by her loving wife, Barbara de Bellis, and is awarded for excellence in stage management. The recipient should be, like Greta was, someone who cares about colleagues, someone who is generous of spirit, kind, and collaborative; basically, a great stage manager and a good, stand-up human being. ​​

Sarah Brownstein ’21, 2021 Recipient

Sarah Brownstein is an excellent stage manager of musicals, plays, and devised works and has also contributed as a director and playwright for our semester projects and Downstage. She has done the job skillfully and with humility, she is reliable, smart and a pleasure to work with. Sarah produces and performs annually in the SLC Rocky Horror Show live performance. She is kind, motivated, and volunteers her extra time to give back through our Mentorship Program. We feel that Greta would have enthusiastically approved of Sarah Brownstein as this year's recipient of the award.–Caden Manson, Director, Theatre Program

The Moser-Marsh Annual Fellowship in the Visual Arts and Visual Culture

An endowed prize established in honor of Joy Moser and Ellen Marsh, roommates in the Class of 1954, both of whom became passionate and professional artists, to be presented to one student for excellence in visual arts or visual culture, with preference for a student with an interest in the practice or study of drawing.

Simone Mittelstaedt ’22, 2021 Recipient

Henry McEachern ’22, Honorable Mention

The Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award in Music

The Presser Foundation funds this award to be presented to an outstanding student concentrating in music at or near his or her junior year​.The student is to be selected by the music faculty guided solely by consideration of excellence and merit. This award is an honor award and the student is to be known as a Presser Scholar.​

Adele Benoit ’22, 2021 Recipient

Adele is truly an ideal recipient for this award.  She is highly musical, intelligent, and extremely curious about and dedicated to all kinds of music and music scholarship.  She has made great contributions to the academic classes that she has been in, and perhaps even more importantly to musical life and performance at SLC on piano, clarinet, and harpsichord.  She is very supportive and well-liked by her peers, always willing to go the extra mile, try new ideas, and is a delight to work with. –John Yannelli, Director, Program in Music and Music Technology; William Schuman Scholar in Music​

The Nancy Lynn Schwartz Prize for Fiction Writing

An endowed fund established in memory of Nancy Lynn Schwartz ’73 by her family and friends to recognize an outstanding student in fiction writing.

Kathleen Hill, Judge

Kathleen is the author of the novels Still Waters in Niger and Who Occupies This House and the memoir She Read to Us in the Late Afternoons. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Book of Short Stories

Hazel Frew ’21 (First Place), 2021 Recipient

“In the Car with Dad” is a story that proceeds across time, although it always returns to the same space, the moving space of the inside of a car. The difficulties of structuring such a narrative are beautifully resolved in a series of short sections with one word titles:  “Dream”, “Kind”, “Impact”, “Lucky”. The child is listening to the father’s voice as they drive over a river on a bridge, empty bottles are rattling in the back of the car, memory is imperfect, the truth just out of reach. “The rhythm of his words sticks in my mind. It is just the beginning of his sentence, I think. It is a breath, a wind-up into speech, . .  . I wish I could say exactly what it sounds like, but I can’t quite grasp it anymore. Even if I could, I wouldn’t know how to write it down.” At night, the city is reflected in the water of the river beneath the bridge. “One solid city stood in front of us and then a million more wavered beneath the surface of the river.” Reflections of things stored beneath the actual, the echo of lingering voices. “In the Car with Dad” turns and turns but what this reader is left with is the noble struggle to tell an unfolding story that is always just beyond memory’s reach.

Kate Kenworthy ’23 (Second Place), 2021 Recipient

“The Good Armchair” covers a short span of time – an evening in the life of the surviving family members of a deceased father – but in a few short pages a canny narrator is able to render their grief and desire and sense of missed opportunities. Time is marked by short descriptions of the setting sun, beautiful metaphors that carry their own meanings. “The sun hangs shadows off the house, half covering the square web of the clothes line. All of it’s dry, so I don’t need the sun anymore.” It is this painstaking attempt to catch the way things look and others like them that set the story apart. “Swarms of gnats catch the sun in bundles of pale light. They tumble around each other in the air like up isn’t up. In a few more moments they’ll be plunged into shadow, invisible to us again.” Everything in this story is spare, down to the bone. But what is there leaves the reader with a full sense of the family’s aching sense of loss and disappointment and barely sustained hope for what the next day will bring. 

Sofia Aguilar ’21 (Third Place), 2021 Recipient

“La Pequeña,” a complex, resonant story told by a narrator, a granddaughter, whose beloved Abuelita, on the point of death, begins to see a small child, la pequeña of the title. La pequeña pursues both the narrator and her mother in the home where they all live, “tiny body sprinting past us and whipping our clothes as though by a strong wind. She pursued us as though sewn to our shadows.”  Only very gradually does the narrator recognize la pequeña as herself. She is the tiny child who crossing into the province of a foreign language that separated her from Abuelita has become separated from herself.  “Up until then, I’d walked through the world as though a ghost, only understanding half of myself, my body ungrounded in the earth, lost in two cultures where I wasn’t wanted in either, ashamed despite gaining fluency every time my accent made itself known even to the least experienced ear.” The story is told with rich and loving attention to detail, with an unsparing resolve to address the costs of broken ties. And to acknowledge too the strength of those ties that in the face of death search out the loved one and release her. Beautifully rendered.  

Anna Schechter ’21 (Honorable Mention), 2021 Recipient

This story, “Not an Idiom,” achieves its effects by a complex use of point of view. It is told in the voice of a child trying to understand the drastic change in the life of her parents following the sounds of a quarrel that she interprets as play-pretend. “It’s so hot that Dad decides to sleep out in the doghouse, which is really more of a converted shed.” This conceit is pursued as the year turns, as one holiday follows another, and still he remains at the edge of the family. Meanwhile “at school we learn about these expressions that mean something different than what it sounds like it should. Quit pulling my leg, all eyes on me, up in the air, cat’s out of the bag, in the doghouse, joined at the hip, a bull in a china shop, skeletons in your closet, it’s raining cats and dogs, and spill the beans are some examples. We’ve all agreed to understand the secret meanings.” On her father’s birthday at the end of May, he says “that he sure hopes he doesn’t kick the bucket anytime soon because he’s never been happier.” Could it be, after all, that both her parents are happier with this arrangement? For this reader the child-narrator’s determined optimism in the face of a situation necessarily opaque to her understanding dramatizes the vulnerability and courage of children. 

The Raymond Seidelman Award for Political Advocacy

An endowed fund established by former students, colleagues, and friends of Raymond Seidelman, a member of the Sarah Lawrence faculty from 1982 until 2007. The award will be given annually to a student who has done the most to further the broad aims of economic and social justice and equality through action in social movements or in mainstream politics.

Calvin Mumm ’24, 2021 Recipient

For their documentary film project, Old King Coal  

Mai Tran MFA ’24, 2021 Recipient

For their work organizing recruitment efforts for more diversity in MFA programs through the MFA App Review program.

The Andrea K. Willison Poetry Prize

A prize established by Malcolm Willison, Martha Huggins, and friends in memory of Andrea Klein Willison ’81 to recognize that undergraduate student or staff member, other than faculty, who submits the best poem on relationships among women, especially in the context of justice for everyone.

Sofia Aguilar ’21, 2021 Recipient

Rebecca Frankel ’21, 2021 Recipient

Prizes Not Awarded This Year

Chamber Music Certificate of Excellence

Faculty emeritus Sungrai Sohn MFA ’78 has been renowned in the Sarah Lawrence community as a premier violin teacher and director of chamber music for over four decades. He has generously created a prize for achievement in chamber music—The Chamber Music Certificate of Excellence. It will be awarded annually to a student actively involved in the program, showing commitment and dedication to chamber music, while supporting peers. This gift will continue Sungrai’s influence on our students long after his retirement.