Thank you to the 10 alumni who returned for this year's Prize Day to present College Book Awards to members of the eleventh grade who best meet the criteria established by the various colleges and universities. As Mr. Nelson introduced the alumni presenters, it was hard not to be inspired by each of their college, career, and service experiences.
Book Award presenters top row from left to right: Russell Dritz '97, Ayelén Rodriguez '10, Benjamin Selzer '95, Henry Townley '14, Katie Hunt '02, Maya Rock '98, Emily Duarte '15, Craig Daily '90, Scott Weiss '96, Michèle Lallemand Brazil '92
Book Award recipients bottom row from left to right: Abhinav Kumar '20, Valeria Morales Ciriaco '20, Aaron Serianni '20, Sabrina Reznik '20, Nicholas Califano '20, Jaume Pujadas '20, Ellen Mollerus '20, Isabel Stronski '20, Charumathi Badrinath '20, Wendy Corona '20
Brown University Book Award: The Brown University Book Award is given to the junior who combines outstanding attributes with excellence in English.
Awarded to: Wendy Corona '20
Presented by Katie Hunt '02, Brown University '06
Katie Hunt, an 11 year veteran of RCDS, is a graduate of Brown University where she majored in English Literature and Theater. She is currently the co-founder and chief revenue officer of SHOWFIELDS, The Most Interesting Store in The World. She began her career as the third employee of Warby Parker, served as the chief brand officer for Hinge, and has worked extensively with startups in branding, product development, marketing, and fundraising. Additionally, Katie is the co-founder of The Fund, which is a VC fund made up of a community of over 80 New York founders.
Columbia University Book Award: The Columbia University Book Award is given to the junior who demonstrates excellence in all disciplines of science.
Awarded to: Charumathi Badrinath '20
Presented by Ayelén Rodriguez '10, Columbia University '14
Ayelén Rodriguez entered RCDS in 7th grade. She earned her BA from Columbia University, where she double majored in Psychology and French and Francophone Studies. Ayelén is passionate about languages and fluent in English, French, and Spanish. After working at two major investment banks, Ayelén decided to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer and is entering into her final year at Fordham Law School, where she is also an editor for the Fordham International Law Journal. Ayelén will be moving to Paris in the Fall to pursue her Juris Doctor & LLM in a dual-degree program with Fordham Law and the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne. When not busy with her studies, Ayelén is a certified scuba diver.
Cornell University Book Award: The Cornell University Book Award is given to a high school junior who has achieved general academic excellence. The recipient will also have demonstrated an above-average involvement in extracurricular activities as well as a meaningful participation in community service.
Awarded to: Isabel Stronski '20
Presented by: Scott Weiss '96, Cornell University '00
Scott Weiss was a "lifer" at RCDS, having entered in kindergarten. While a student here, he played varsity football, hockey and lacrosse captaining both the football and hockey teams his junior and senior year. He earned both his BA and his MBA at Cornell University. He is an active volunteer with the Johnson School of Business at Cornell and is currently a founding partner of Melius Research and serves as the firm's Head of Sales. As president of the RCDS Alumni Executive Board, Scott serves as the chair of the Alumni Annual Fund and is a regular participant in the Thanksgiving Alumni Hockey game. He and his wife, Jill, live in Manhattan, with their three children – Nolan, Cora, and Holly.
Dartmouth College Book Award: The Dartmouth College Book Award is given to a junior who best combines academic excellence with actual participation in all facets of extra-curricular life at RCDS.
Awarded to: Abhinav Kumar '20
Presented by: Craig Daily '90, Dartmouth College '94
Craig Daily loves Dartmouth College so much that he has spent eight years of his life there (so far). After graduating from Dartmouth in 1994 as a Government major, he became an investment banking analyst for two years before deciding to return to Hanover - first as the assistant coach for the men's and women's squash teams, and then to earn an BA at the Tuck School of Business. Since 2006, he has been the Head of Equity Risk Management at Millennium Partners. Perhaps more interestingly, he has hiked the entire 2,160-mile Appalachian Trail, which just happens to go through Hanover. Craig and his wife, Happy, live in Rye and are the proud parents of Morgan (RCDS '23) and Hollis.
Harvard College Book Award: The Harvard College Book Award is given to the junior who best combines academic ability with achievements in other fields.
Awarded to: Ellen Mollerus '20
Presented by: Emily Duarte '15, Harvard University '19
Emily is a graduate of Harvard University where she earned an AB in Economics with citation in Spanish. While at Harvard, Emily volunteered at the Cambridge After-School Program tutoring low-income elementary school students and was part of the Financial Analyst Club. As a 4-year member of the Harvard field hockey team, she helped lead her team to become Ivy League Champions in 2016 and 2018 and was selected as Academic All Ivy, NFHCA Division 1 Scholar of Distinction and Division 1 National Academic Squad. She was also awarded the Harvard Field Hockey Most Outstanding Student-Athlete twice and the Harvard Field Hockey Championship Lifestyle Award in 2018. In her four years at RCDS, she was a member of six state championship teams in field hockey and lacrosse. Emily will be traveling through Greece and South America for the next 2 months before she begins her job at Oak Hill Advisors, a buy-side credit investment firm.
The Johns Hopkins Book Award: The Johns Hopkins Book Award is given to the junior whose personal character, intellectual curiosity and passion to learn, as evidenced by excellent performances in all branches of Arts and Sciences, shows promise of sustained scholarship.
Awarded to: Aaron Serianni '20
Presented by: Benjamin Selzer '95, Johns Hopkins University '99
Benjamin earned his BA in Economics at Johns Hopkins University. Following graduation, he entered Wall Street as an investment banker, first for Lehman Brothers and then for Banc of America Securities. After five years in investment banking, Benjamin decided to enter the healthcare industry, first as director of business development at Reliant Pharmaceuticals. In 2013, he joined Schweiger Dermatology Group, where he helped grow the group dermatology practice from four locations to currently 54, making it the largest in the Northeast and the fourth largest in the country. He now serves as the company's chief financial officer and chief development officer.
The Princeton University Book Award: The Princeton University Book Award is given to a junior who is at the top of his or her class academically and demonstrates both intellectual leadership and strong character. This student also best exemplifies the spirit behind Princeton's motto, 'In the Nation's Service and the Service of Humanity.'
Awarded to: Jaume Pujadas '20
Presented by: Maya Rock '98, Princeton University '02
Maya graduated from Princeton University in 2002 and has worked in book publishing ever since. She started out at Anderson Grinberg Literary Management, then moved to Writers House, where she agented for four years. In 2010, she founded Fresh Ink Book Editing to offer editorial support to agents, authors, and publishing houses. Projects she has worked on include the RITA-award winning Young Adult paranormal romance series Deception So Deadly by Clara Kensie, Young Adult literary, The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, and The Someday Jar by Alison Morgan. She is also the author of the Young Adult novel, Scripted, and is working on her second novel.
The University of Pennsylvania Book Award: The University of Pennsylvania Book Award is given to the junior of high academic achievement who exhibits outstanding character as demonstrated by important service to school or community.
Awarded to: Nicholas Califano '20
Presented by: Russell Dritz '97, University of Pennsylvania '01
Russell Dritz is a principal at Quad Partners, a private equity firm focused solely on the education sector. He has been at Quad for 16 years after starting his career at Credit Suisse in investment banking. After graduating from RCDS, Russell attended the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School where he graduated summa cum laude. While at RCDS, he founded the Intel Science Competition program, received the Science Department award and was the inaugural recipient of the Laura Van Steed Memorial Award. In his free time, Russell is an angel investor in technology and biotechnology ventures. He is also a country music songwriter and member of the Nashville Songwriters Association.
Wellesley College Book Award: The Wellesley College Book Award is given to the junior who has been outstanding in her academic performance, character, and contributions to extra-curricular and/or community life.
Awarded to: Sabrina Reznik '20
Presented by: Michèle Lallemand Brazil '92, Wellesley College '96
Michèle received a BA from Wellesley College where she double majored in French and Political Science. Upon graduating from Wellesley, Michèle worked various positions in the entertainment industry, including on an Academy Award nominated documentary, before taking time off to raise a family. Currently, Michèle sits on the Board of Directors of Fiver Children's Foundation, an organization that commits 10 years to children (from ages 8-18) in underserved communities in New York City and Central New York areas. She also serves on the Global Council at the Studio Museum in Harlem and volunteers for the Wellesley College Fund as a representative for the class of 1996. Michèle is a member of the 13 Year Club at RCDS and served on the Alumni Executive Board for six years.
Yale University Book Award: The Yale University Book Award is given to a junior who has achieved excellence in academics, displays intellectual curiosity, and has contributed to other aspects of non-academic life including contributions to our own community as well as others.
Awarded to: Valeria Morales Ciriaco '20
Presented by: Henry Townley '14, Yale University '19
Henry just recently graduated from Yale University where he earned a BS in Computer Science. Outside of classes, he acted in plays and musicals, served on the board of the Yale Dramatic Association, and sang with the Yale Glee Club. All these passions he developed at RCDS where he sang with the WildScats and in his senior year was president of both the Drama Club and Concert Choir. Henry's career interests lie at the intersection of technology, politics, policy and law. He will start work as a software engineer at Facebook this upcoming fall.