2013 Student Members

The following students were inducted as new members of The College Key during Commencement Weekend 2013.


Katie Ailes, from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, is an English and Dance double major with a minor in Educational Studies. She is a tutor and volunteer coordinator for ELL youth at the Lewiston Public Library and a Peer Writing Assistant on campus. Katie is on the Residence Life staff, co-founded the Bates Authors Guild, and is President of the Bates Dance Club. Katie studied abroad in Edinburgh, last fall, competing in multiple poetry slams, and winning an Edinburgh University slam and gaining entry into the Scottish National Poetry Slam. This summer she will complete a research apprenticeship with Dr. Theri Pickens of the English Department. Katie plans to write her thesis on contemporary Scottish poets writing trilingually in English, Scots, and Scottish Gaelic with a focus on themes of identity concerning the devolution and independence movements. For her thesis in dance, she will choreograph, teach, and stage a large-cast piece in the kinetic poetry medium which will explore artificial fertility solutions and the psychological effects of creating families which are non-biologically linked. After Bates she plans to teach Creative Writing at the high school level while continuing to create and perform slam poetry and dance.

Bryan Carrillo, from Ontario, California, is a Mathematics Major with a Japanese minor. He wrote his senior thesis on the Riemann zeta function and its connection to the prime number theorem, a theorem that describes the distribution of the prime numbers. He worked in the Mathematics and Statistics Workshop as a drop-in tutor and as an attached tutor for the Calculus I and II courses. He has helped several students and has received positive reviews from the students he has tutored. In addition, he was the mathematics teaching assistant for the Bates Summer Scholars Program for 2011 and 2012, was the treasurer and secretary for Taiko club, and was secretary and president for Latinos Unidos. Bryan will be a graduate student in the fall at the University of California, Riverside; he aims to earn a PhD in Mathematics. In the future, he hopes to be able to combine his passion for learning and teaching by becoming a mathematics professor.

Anne Cravero is a Biochemistry and French double major from Hanover, New Hampshire. Annie has pursued her interest in environmental toxicology while at Bates, completing a senior thesis project regarding the effects of developmental arsenic exposure on carbohydrate homeostasis in the mouse liver. Her love of French language and culture led her to Bordeaux, France, for a semester of her junior year. Her final project for the French major was an analysis of the French translations of the poetry of W.B. Yeats. Beyond academics, Annie is an avid environmental activist and has led the Bates Energy Action Movement (BEAM) for the past two years. She has organized both on- and off-campus protests and campaigns to promote student engagement in the environmental movement. She recently received the Stanton Award for Environmental Stewardship. During her time at Bates, Annie has also worked making costumes for the theater department. She spent this past short term designing and constructing costumes for the productions of Seussical the Musical and Venus and Fur. Annie will spend next year applying to medical school. With a medical degree, she plans to pursue a career in writing and advocating for progressive environmental health policy.

Catherine “Cat” Djang, from Scarsdale, NY, is a Politics Major with Minors in Philosophy and Spanish.  Her thesis was titled “Supporting Women’s Political Presence: Beyond Substantive Claims.”  Cat served for four years on the officer board of the debate team, most recently as Vice President her senior year.  She is the recipient of the Christopher M. Laconi ‘05 Debate Award, which honors a graduating senior who, through grace, style, and skill, has demonstrated outstanding eloquence in public debate.   As an avid Bates advocate, Cat worked as a Senior Fellow in Admission recruiting future students and promoting the College.  She was elected a Class Representative in Student Government all four years, and was selected for advisory posts to the Deans and Trustees.   She also was an AESOP leader and a WRBC weekly DJ, and considered herself active participant in the many other facets of the vibrant student life at Bates.  After graduating, she will continue her studies at Columbia Law School.

Henry (Hank) Geng, from Oyster Bay, New York, is an Environmental Studies major with a focus in Economics and concentrations in Chinese Language and Health Studies in China. He wrote an Environmental Studies thesis titled “Willingness to Pay for Anadromous Fisheries Restoration Using Split Sample Survey Design on the Androscoggin and Kennebec Rivers.” While Hank was the Co-Chair of the Senior Gift Committee, the Senior Gift Campaign set an all-time record of 91% participation from the Class of 2013. In addition, Hank was one of the first four-year members of TakeNote, a co-ed a cappella group at Bates, and has helped it grow into one of the most respected singing groups on campus, culminating in the group’s first appearance on live television as well as the release of its first CD in early 2013. He has also worked as a research assistant for both the Environmental Studies and Economics departments. After two semesters abroad in China and Denmark studying traditional Chinese medicine and sustainability in Europe, Hank has gained an international viewpoint that he eagerly looks forward to applying to his career after graduation.

Shabrina Guerrier, from Cambridge, Massachusetts is a Psychology major and Sociology minor with a double concentration in the Human Body and Identity, Race, and Ethnicity. In the fall semester, Shabrina constructed a psychology thesis titled: Incorporation of Group Activities to Develop Positive Attitudes toward Self-Esteem where she explored and assessed how teenage girls’ self-esteem is impacted by group activities. Shabrina has spent her four years active in the Lewiston-Auburn community serving as a tutor and mentor to young students at Trinity, the Lewiston Public Library, Hillview Aspirations and Tree Street. She spent two years as the coordinator of Women of Color, helping to facilitate the first Women’s Month in March of 2012. She was also an active member of Dynasty Step team and Justified, the Bates liturgical praise group. She serves as the Campus Engagement fellow through the Office of Intercultural Education, helping to organize programs that focus on diversity for the college. In Addition, Shabrina has worked on the Residence Life Staff for three years, supporting the Deans as well as students through their transition into Bates. After graduating, Shabrina will spend two years teaching Elementary and Special Education in the South Coast region of Massachusetts while earning a Masters in Education from Boston University through Teach for America.

Jacqui Holmes, from Harvard, Mass, is a History and Women and Gender Studies Double Major with a minor in Education Studies. She wrote a History Honors Thesis titled “From Modernization and Developmentalism to Neoliberal Democracy: A History of the Ford Foundation in Latin America 1959-2000” and a Women and Gender Studies thesis on how gender and race interact with sports based youth development programs. She captained the women’s tennis team for three years, leading the team her junior year to its first national ranking in the history of the college. As a member of the Residence Life Staff, Jacqui worked as both a Junior Advisor and Residence Life Coordinator. For three years, she organized the annual Education Symposium, a chance for Education students to share their work in the Lewiston community with the broader Bates community. Jacqui represented the student body as the student representative on the Presidential Search Committee. She is the recipient of the Twentieth Anniversary Award in Women and Gender Studies and is a scholar athlete. In the short term Jacqui will spend her summer traveling and in the long term hopefully go to graduate school to study Education Policy.

Travis Jones from Ithaca, New York is a double major in Art and Visual Culture and Theater with a minor in Dance and a concentration in Math. He wrote two theses, one on the New York City High Line and the other on the American circus. On campus Travis worked as a Senior Fellow in the Office of Admissions, for three years with Residential Life, as the Head Lifeguard, as a Master Carpenter in the scenery shop of the theater, and as an Office Assistant in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Rhetoric offices. Travis competed as a Diver on the varsity team for four years, specifically as a co-captain his last two years. He is an Academic All-American, the Winter 2012 NESCAC All-Sportsmanship award winner, and a member of the Bates Scholar-Athlete Society. An active Robinson Player, he has had many responsibilities on a number of student theater productions. He is the 2013 recipient of the Senseney Memorial Award for his contribution to the dramatic arts while at Bates. Travis also contributes to the work of the Office of Intercultural Education where he was a member of MOSAIC and helped develop the Queer Peer program. He is among the founding members of Men Against Sexual Violence. Lastly, Travis is a Charles A. Dana Scholar as well as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduating, Travis will be moving to New York City to work for the Trapeze School of New York as a Flying Trapeze Instructor.

Linda Kugblenu from Accra, Ghana is a Politics and Rhetoric major. As a freshman interested in exploring cultures of the African Diaspora through performance (music, poetry and prose), she started the first ever Sankofa production at Bates. She was awarded the Phillips Fellowship to research Arab Muslim identity in Morocco and empower women by teaching English education courses to prepare them for jobs and education.  From Morocco, she investigated the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst Black women by exploring sex and sexuality in Durban, South Africa. She spent her junior year studying at the School of Oriental and African Studies to further her knowledge on development issues on the African continent. Linda worked in London with the Migrant and Refugees Communities Forum, ensuring financial assistance for Asylum seekers while offering them emotional support through counseling and mentoring. She served as a Student Academic mentor at the Office of Intercultural Education, planned weekly programs, identified speakers and publicized events for multicultural groups on campus. She also worked with the Admission Office to assist with the smooth transition of international students into the Bates community. This year, she was selected as a Watson Finalist and for the Princeton in Africa Fellowship. She will pursue her IDEX Fellowship in India, empowering women to own small business by equipping them with entrepreneurial skills.

Maddy Levitt is a Psychology and French Double Major with a concentration in public health. Her psychology senior thesis examined the mechanisms behind children’s resource allocation decisions with a peer, using children from two Lewiston elementary schools as the subjects. Her French senior thesis surveyed the representation of the French educational system in a series of 20th century French films. Throughout her Bates career she has worked with children at the Girls Aspirations and Homework Help Program at Hillview housing complex, and in her senior year, served as the Student Volunteer Fellow coordinating the homework help program for students, mainly Somali immigrants. She was also a teaching assistant for the Maine French Heritage Language Program, helping teach French to beginner third through sixth graders, and read with elementary school children who struggled with reading through Project Storyboost. After graduating, she will be working as a research coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital in a program that assesses learning and emotional problems in children.  She plans to attend graduate school in clinical psychology.

Reese Mohrer, from Guilford, Connecticut, is a Psychology major and German minor.  Reese spent a year studying abroad in Munich, Germany where she served as a U.S. Consulate intern and worked as a translator at an events agency.  Upon returning to Bates, Reese completed a community-based Psychology thesis in which she observed six different educational programs for middle school and high school students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Reese spent time tutoring Somali students at Lewiston High School and worked as a Short Term Action and Research Team Fellow to conduct research on human trafficking awareness among first responders of Lewiston-Auburn.  Reese was accepted to Phi Beta Kappa and will teach English in Salzburg, Austria next year as a Fulbright U.S. teaching assistant.

Meg Murphy of Suffield, CT is a Sociology Major and has a concentration in Chinese language and culture, and an interest in visual art.  She wrote a Sociology thesis in conjunction with her internship at the Lewiston District Court exploring state policies and practices surrounding infants prenatally exposed to drugs and alcohol. She presented her preliminary research on the issue on a panel at Mount David junior year, and her thesis will be presented to the Maine Alliance for the protection of drug affected babies in the fall.  Meg is a Senior Class Co-President, a third year member of the residence life staff, and a co founder and organizer for Bates Night in Town, a bi-annual event offering restaurant discounts, free musical performances and art displays in order to promote positive economic and social interactions between Lewiston Auburn and the College. After graduation, she will pursue a career in Public Relations, Event Coordination, and Marketing.

Desmond Mushi, from Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, is a Interdisciplinary Studies and Economics Double Major. He is interested in policies related to Economic Development of Low Income Countries. In addition to writing an Economics Thesis on “Impact Assessment of Microfinance on Poverty Reduction,” Desmond presented his honors thesis in Interdisciplinary Studies that was titled “Microfinance as ambivalence: Kilimanjaro Women Experiences with Capitalist Development” in a panel at the Mount David Summit. An Admission Senior Fellow, in his senior year, Desmond has worked as a leader for the Bates Christian Fellowship as well as Africana Club. He has also volunteered off-campus where he led membership drives and outreach efforts to recruit mentors for youth from underprivileged backgrounds and provided guidance and support in college preparation to high school juniors from low-income families. Desmond was named a Dana Scholar at the end of his first year, received the Phillips Fellowship to carry out an independent research as well a volunteer in Ghana at the end of his sophomore year. He was nominated an Arata Scholar in his junior year and awarded the Hoffman Fellowship to pursue his thesis research in Tanzania. He is also a recipient of the Princeton Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship. After graduating, he will join the Faculty of Economics at the African Leadership Academy at Johannesburg in South Africa.

Taryn O’Connell is an Environmental Studies major and a History minor from Georgetown, Massachusetts.  As a Community-Engaged Research Fellow, she completed her senior thesis, titled “Place, Class and Culture: A Case Study of Pollution Debates in Lewiston, Maine, 1953-1955,” in partnership with a local museum in the Lewiston-Auburn area. She presented her research at the Mount David Summit.  Taryn was a four-year varsity member of the women’s basketball team, serving as a tri-captain her senior year and receiving both NESCAC All-Academic and All-Sportsmanship honors. On campus, she has acted on her interest in the environment by working for the Office of Sustainability as an EcoRep, participating in leadership forums, and serving as a teaching assistant for the environmental leadership course.  Taryn is also a Dana Scholar and member of the Bates Scholar-Athlete Society.  Next year, Taryn will teach English in Malaysia as a recipient of the Fulbright U.S. Student Grant.

Tara Prasad, from Lincoln, Rhode Island, is a Biological Chemistry Major and Educational Studies minor. As a Harward Center Community-Engaged Research Fellow, she conducted a yearlong senior thesis on early childhood caries in collaboration with B Street Dental Center in Lewiston. Tara also developed a sustainable oral health education program for B Street as part of her Education minor. She presented her thesis and education research at the Mount David Summit and the Education Symposium, and presented on educational inequalities in Maine at the Martin Luther King Jr. Observance this past year. During her time at Bates, Tara has served as a Teach For America Campus Campaign Coordinator, Junior Advisor, and teaching assistant for introductory chemistry courses. Tara is graduating Sigma Xi and received a Fulbright grant to teach English in South Korea next year. While abroad on the Fulbright, Tara hopes to study the educational focus on rote memorization while employing culturally modified Western methods to teach her students. After returning to the United States, Tara plans to attend dental school to pursue a career in public health dentistry.

Junior Ramírez was born in Honduras but currently resides in Los Angeles California. He is graduating from Bates with an English major, Spanish minor, and a concentration in Modern Europe. He is an avid advocate for children’s rights and education and for his thesis, he wrote about juvenile delinquency in the Victorian era titled “Ainsworth, Dickens, and Reynolds: Depicting and Reforming the Victorian “Juvenile Delinquent” Through Literature.” At Bates, he was part of the Ballroom society, Bates Inmigrant Refugee Advocates (BIRA), and Latinos Unidos. As a dancer, he participated in many dance performances at Bates especially to create a consciousness about the Latin American culture. He also created a link between the Latinos living in the Androscoggin county and Bates. Lastly, Junior created the showcase “Enlaces” as way for Latino students at Bates to come together and share their experiences, talents, and culture to the whole community. Since Junior is interested in equality in education, after graduation, he will be joining Teach For American in Chicago where he hopes to make an impact in inner-city youth.

Benjamin Smith, from Melrose, MA, is a Politics Major with a Minor in Philosophy.  Interested in institutional power structures and relationships, he wrote his year-long thesis on the power of the executive branch to make legal exceptions to the law.  Ben studied abroad in the winter semester of his junior year at Oxford University and spent several months traveling across Europe.  Ben was part of the first Bates debate tea since 1999 to make it to the elimination rounds of the World University Debating Championship in Berlin and was elected to be president of the Brooks Quimby Debate Council.  On campus, Ben has worked as a Philosophy and English research assistant and most recently as a student caller for the Advancement Office.  Outside of Bates, Ben has interned at an education consulting firm doing research on middle school cognitive behavior and at the Massachusetts State House for State Senator Katherine Clark.  After Bates, Ben plans on working at Eze Software Group in Boston and continuing his involvement in Massachusetts politics.

Ryan Sonberg, from Windsor, Connecticut is a Mathematics and Biological Chemistry Double Major and Music Minor.  His biochemistry thesis examined the radical scavenging behavior of several synthetically made antioxidants in vitro.  Ryan also spent a semester in a senior math seminar course titled, “Chaotic Dynamical Systems”, where he gave a talk on the properties of Julia Sets and the Mandlebrot Set (Pronounced: Man-del-bro).  Throughout his four years, Ryan spent numerous hours planning events for the student body as President of the Chase Hall Committee, helping to bring concerts, dances and variety of other activities to the weekend nightlife at Bates.  He has also been a member of the Resident Life Staff for the last two years as a Resident Coordinator in John Bertram Hall and Rzasa House.  Ryan was a four year member and captain on the Varsity Baseball Team at Bates, helping the program to its winningest seasons in Bates history.  After graduating, Ryan will begin working at Eze Castle Software in Boston, MA as a QA Analyst this September.

Steph Sprague, from Centerville, MA, is a Psychology major with a concentration in Biology and Health.  Her senior honors thesis examined the relationship between fat talk with mothers and fathers and high school and college-aged children’s weight bias.  She has been a member of Bates Habitat for Humanity for four years, and she served as co-chair of the Student Conduct Committee for two years.  She has also enjoyed her time working within the Lewiston-Auburn community as a teacher’s aid and tutor to ELL students and as an intern at New Beginnings Emergency Youth Homeless Shelter.  After graduating, she will work for Citizen Schools in Boston, a nonprofit organization for education.

Kim Sullivan, from Brunswick, Maine, is a Psychology Major with a Minor in Educational Studies.  She wrote a Psychology Thesis in partnership with Tree Street Youth titled “Challenges to College Access for First Generation, Immigrant Graduates of Lewiston High School: A Program Evaluation of Tree Street Youth’s College Prep Program.”  She first became involved in the Lewiston-Auburn community through an education field placement after transferring to Bates.  Through this placement she began volunteering at a local after-school program.  This experience revealed to Kim her passion for working with youth, especially helping them to prepare for college and set long and short term goals.  In 2011, she co-founded Tree Street Youth with Julia Sleeper, Bates Class of 2008.  Tree Street Youth provides after school academic tutoring, safe space mentoring, and enrichment programming as well as summer programming for youth in grades K-12. Currently the center serves between 120 and 150 youth each day.  Through Tree Street, Kim established the college preparation program which includes college application and financial aid support, college visits, and guest presentations about the college process and career exploration.  After graduation Kim will continue to work with Tree Street Youth, further developing current college and career programming.

Danielle Traverse, from West Hartford, Connecticut, is a Psychology Major with a minor in Education.   Danielle has dedicated over three hundred hours to working with children in Lewiston’s public school classrooms, and recently finished her senior thesis in which she explored teaching methods that foster the positive development of upper elementary school students.  Danielle served as a Student Volunteer Fellow for the Harward Center coordinating community engagement opportunities for Bates students to work with the elderly population in Lewiston, and for the past three years, has volunteered and become a staff member at Tree Street Youth, an after school program that seeks to support and tutor students within the Lewiston public school system.  She has also had the pleasure to explore the artistic side of Bates by being elected as President of the Bates College Merimanders (the all female a capella group on campus), and participating in 5 theatre productions.  Danielle also had the pleasure of working for Bates College Office of Admissions as a Senior Admission Fellow for which she conducted interviews and held information sessions for perspective students and their families.  Danielle hopes to move to Boston next year to actively engage in education reform movements in under-served areas.

Matthew Valles, from Barrington, Rhode Island, is a Physics major with a Double Minor in Mathematics and Spanish.  He is interested in solid state physics and laser studies. He wrote a yearlong thesis titled “Synchronization of Chaotic Outputs in Multimode Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers.” He worked as a research assistant in the Physics department, and is known to be an excellent mentor for younger students in the lab.  Matthew was President of the Catholic Student Community and the Bates Builds Club, the on-campus Habitat for Humanity Chapter, leading fund raisers and building projects.  In both of these clubs, he worked to provide students with the opportunity to do community service in Lewiston-Auburn and beyond.  After graduating, Matthew will attend the University of Maine Orono to pursue a Masters degree in Engineering Physics.

Nancy Weidner, from Simsbury, CT is a Politics and Women and Gender Studies double major. She wrote her Politics thesis on public versus private power in intimate man woman relationships. She wrote her Women and Gender Studies thesis on breastfeeding promotion campaigns and their representations of good motherhood. This year, Nancy served as one of the co-Chairs of the Senior Gift Committee, helping lead the class of 2013 to 92% participation, the highest participation record in college history. Nancy also served as President of The Strange Bedfellows, Bates only improvisational comedy group. Next year, Nancy will be working for Bates College as the Special Projects and Administrative Assistant in the President’s office.