Dartmouth Honors Four Valedictorians and Eight Salutatorians

Dartmouth will recognize 12 top honor students this year—four valedictorians and eight salutatorians—at Commencement 2015.

Named valedictorians for the 2015 graduating class are Catherine M. Baker ’15, David Bessel ’15, Abhishek R. Parajuli ’15, and Talia N. Shoshany ’15. The faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences selected Baker to deliver the valedictory to the College at the Commencement ceremony (see paragraph at the end of this story).

Dartmouth’s valedictorians—and salutatorians William H. Athol ’15, Hayley L. Bacon ’15, Meili Vera Eubank ’15, Sarah K. Hammer ’15, Julia Salinaro ’15, Marina Shkuratov ’15, Danielle E. Smith ’15, and Frank Zhang ’15—have all been named Rufus Choate Scholars, a Dartmouth honor for students in the top 5 percent of their class.

Baker, Bessel, Eubank, Hammer, Salinaro, Smith, and Zhang each conducted research alongside Dartmouth faculty members as James O. Freedman Presidential Scholars.

Four Valedictorians in Class of 2015

Catherine Baker

The Class of 2015 valedictory Commencement speaker, Catherine Baker is a neuroscience major whose academic interests include visual attention research and classical studies. She took part in Dartmouth’s classical studies foreign studies program (FSP) in London, Greece, and Istanbul, and has worked in neuroscience and oncology research labs at Dartmouth, the Hartford Hospital, and the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She also worked as an assistant science teacher for at-risk boys in a Hartford, Conn., middle school.

“Thanks to the first-rate faculty and impressive student body at Dartmouth, I’ve received a great liberal arts education in an atmosphere that reminds me daily of the importance of mixing fun and work,” Baker says.

A Dickey Center for International Understanding intern, and a Sophomore Science Scholar, Baker was a Phi Beta Kappa early inductee and received the Phi Beta Kappa Sophomore Prize. She was co-captain of Dartmouth women’s club hockey, a peer tutor and study group leader, and a volunteer with the William Jewett Tucker Foundation’s Aspire program and at Pathways, an assisted-living center in Orford, NH.

Baker, who is from Farmington, Conn., will attend Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine in the fall.

David Bessel

David Bessel graduates from Dartmouth with a major in economics and a minor in pure mathematics. A participant in Dartmouth’s exchange program with Keble College, Bessel studied economics at the University of Oxford. His academic interests include behavioral and post-Keynesian economics, number theory and algebraic systems, and political philosophy and structures of governmental bodies.

“I am most grateful for and humbled by the moral education Dartmouth has provided me over the course of these very formative past four years,” says Bessel. “With the guidance of wonderful instructors and the routinely inspiring members of my graduating class, I have grown immeasurably as a person and am excited to carry on the legacy of the College on the Hill into adulthood.”

Bessel was a Rockefeller Center First-Year Fellow and Great Issues scholar, and took part in the Dartmouth Parliamentary Debate group. As co-president of the Dartmouth Investment and Philanthropy Program, he co-managed the group’s six-figure portfolio and presided over the group’s philanthropic distributions to local nonprofits. His internship experience included time at the nonpartisan think-tank The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and at Morgan Stanley.

Bessel is from Staten Island, N.Y. He will be joining TPG Capital as a Private Equity Analyst in San Francisco in July 2015.

Abhishek Parajuli

Abhishek Parajuli is a government major from Kathmandu, Nepal. While at Dartmouth, he served as a voting member of the college’s Advisory Committee on Investor Relations and was a regular columnist for The Dartmouth, the student newspaper. Parajuli has served as Nepal’s Youth Ambassador to the United Nations, and as a research associate at the Constituent Assembly of Nepal.

“Dartmouth has incredible resources for undergraduate research,” says Parajuli. “I am deeply grateful for mentors like Professors Amy Semet, Dean Lacy, and Jeremy Horowitz for their help and guidance during my time here.”

The recipient of an Oxford-Weidenfeld Hoffman Scholarship, Parajuli will begin study for a master’s of philosophy at Oxford University after working for a year. He envisions returning to the United States for a doctorate, with the goal of joining the teaching faculty of a research university. His research interests include comparative politics and terrorism.

Talia Shoshany

Talia Shoshany graduates from Dartmouth with a major in biology. Her academic interests include medicine and human biology. Her work, internship, and research experiences include time at the Dartmouth Sleep Disorders Center, the Columbia Center for Eating Disorders, Informulary, and as a volunteer as on a MEDLIFE trip to Ecuador.

A Phi Beta Kappa early inductee and recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Sophomore Prize, Shoshany studied in Barcelona on Dartmouth’s Spanish Language Study Abroad program (LSA). She was a Dartmouth Outing Club first-year trips leader, and volunteered at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt., and as a member of TALES, The Alzheimer’s Learning Experience for Students. She served as president and board member of Chabad at Dartmouth, and served as a Hebrew teacher for the Upper Valley Jewish Community. She was also social chair for Alpha Xi Delta sorority.

“I am deeply thankful for my professors, mentors, and friends who have inspired me to challenge myself academically and socially and to always seek out new experiences,” says Shoshany. “Dartmouth is an incredibly welcoming community, and I have been privileged to be able to spend the last four years on such a beautiful campus.”

Shoshany, who is from New York, N.Y., will be working as a clinical research assistant in the otolaryngology department at Boston Children’s Hospital after graduation. She hopes to attend medical school the following year.

College Names Eight Salutatorians

The eight students named co-salutatorian for 2015 are William H. Athol ’15, Hayley L. Bacon ’15, Meili Vera Eubank ’15, Sarah K. Hammer ’15, Julia Salinaro ’15, Marina Shkuratov ’15, Danielle E. Smith ’15, and Frank Zhang ’15.

William Athol

A physics major, William Athol’s academic interests extend to earth sciences and economics. He studied economics at the University of Oxford as a participant in Dartmouth’s exchange program with Keble College, and completed internships in investment with Bridgewater Associates, LP, and in marketing strategy with Forever.com. An early inductee to Phi Beta Kappa, Athol wrote a senior physics thesis on “Zero-Field Electrically Detected Magnetic Resonance.” He served as vice president and treasurer of the Dartmouth Physics Society and as house manager for Zeta Psi fraternity.

Following graduation, Athol, who is from Edgeworth, Pa., will be an investment associate at Bridgewater Associates, LP, in Westport, Conn.

Hayley Bacon

Hayley Bacon graduates with a major in economics and a minor in psychology. Her academic interests include behavioral economics, public economics, social psychology, and business strategy. While at Dartmouth, Bacon tutored in economics, co-directed Dartmouth on Purpose, a group that works for holistic health for the Dartmouth student population, and co-chaired the William Jewett Tucker Foundation’s farm-to-school program, Growing Change.

A Phi Beta Kappa early inductee, Bacon has conducted research in economics, psychology, and marketing, and completed internships at Technology Business Research and Altman Vilandrie & Company. She is currently a research assistant at the Tuck School of Business.

Bacon is from Greenland, N.H. After graduation, she will work as an analyst at Altman Vilandrie & Company in Boston.

Meili Eubank

Meili Eubank is graduating with an economics and cognitive science double major and a minor in Chinese. She studied at Beijing Normal University through Dartmouth’s China FSP. Her academic interests include behavioral economics, neuroeconomics, financial markets, private equity, and cognition.

Eubank served as project leader and co-founder, as well as vice president of finance, for the SafaPani Project, a Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering project directed at designing a  filter to remove arsenic from water. That project took her to Nepal for field work;  SafaPani also won The Pitch, an entrepreneurial competition sponsored by the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN) and the DALI Lab. She was involved with Delta Delta Delta sorority and the Model United Nations. Her work and internship experience included time with Goldman Sachs and with the Guangzhou office of a Chinese-Australian law firm.

Eubank is from San Diego, Calif. After Dartmouth, she will work as an analyst at Goldman Sachs’ Private Equity Group in New York.

Sarah Hammer

Sarah Hammer is graduating with an AB in engineering modified with chemistry and a minor in environmental studies and a BE in chemical engineering from Thayer School of Engineering. Her academic interests include chemical and biological approaches to sustainable energy and alternative fuels, engineering for sustainability, and Spanish.

A Barry M. Goldwater Scholar and a Phi Beta Kappa early inductee, Hammer has served as president of the Dartmouth chapter of the Society of Women Engineers since 2013. She is a peer mentor for the Women in Science Project (WISP), and a volunteer at the Dartmouth Organic Farm. She has conducted research in chemical and biomolecular engineering in labs at the Universities of Michigan and Pennsylvania, as well as at Thayer School, with support from a Kaminsky Family Fund research award. Hammer is from Villanova, Penn.

Beginning in September, Hammer will be pursuing a PhD in chemical and biological engineering at Princeton University as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.

Julia Salinaro

Julia Salinaro, whose academic interests include human biology, medicine, and heath policy, is graduating with a biology major. She has conducted research at labs associated with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) and Columbia University Medical Center.

The captain of Dartmouth’s women’s club soccer team and a youth soccer coach, she has volunteered at David’s House, a residence for families whose children are being treated at DHMC; as a health worker for Mayan Medical Aid in Guatemala; and at a Muscular Dystrophy Association summer camp. She has been involved with Delta Delta Delta sorority, GlobeMed, and as a tutor and group study leader for the Academic Skills Center at Dartmouth. She was a Phi Beta Kappa early inductee.

Salinaro is from Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. She begins study at Duke University School of Medicine in August, and will be pursuing a dual MD/MPH degree.

Marina Shkuratov

Marina Shkuratov graduates with a double major in government and psychology. She was a participant in the government FSP at the London School of Economics, and her academic interests include political theory, constitutional law, and international relations. She was a Phi Beta Kappa early inductee.

Shkuratov is from Westwood, Mass. A member of the Mock Trial Society and Alpha Xi Delta sorority, she has been a reporter and editor at The Dartmouth, as well as the editor of The Mirror, a weekly supplement to the student newspaper. She completed legal internships with the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston, the legal department of Time Warner Cable, and a Boston law firm.

A recipient of Dartmouth’s Charles H. Woodbury Memorial Law Prize, Shkuratov will be a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 2018.

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith graduates with a double major in German and Russian. Her academic interests include languages and linguistics (particularly Germanic and Slavic languages), translation and interpreting, comparative literature, and international relations. Smith’s senior honors thesis is “The Song of the Nightingale: Autobiographical Honesty in Erwin Strittmatter’s Grüner Juni.” She participated in the Russian LSA in St. Petersburg.

Smith was president of the Dartmouth Cycling Club, and was active in the Upper Valley Women’s Cycling Initiative. She completed an internship at Alpha Translation Service in Cottbus, Germany, and worked as a research assistant and drill instructor in Dartmouth’s German department. She a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a recipient of Phi Beta Kappa’s Sophomore Prize.

Following graduation, Smith, who is from Bowdoin, Maine, will attend the Davis School of Russian at Middlebury College’s Summer Language Schools. She will begin a one-year master’s program in comparative literature at Dartmouth in the fall.

Frank Zhang

Frank Zhang graduates with a double major in chemistry and economics, and a minor in biology. A member of the bioenergy division of Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering, he traveled to Tanzania with the group to assess the impact of its charcoal-briquetting projects in Arusha.

Zhang has conducted research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and at Drexel University’s Bio-Nano-Micro Design and Manufacturing lab. A Phi Beta Kappa early inductee and a recipient of Phi Beta Kappa’s Sophomore Prize, Zhang was recognized as a Sophomore Science Scholar and was awarded the Phillip R. Jackson Engineering Sciences Prize.

Zhang is from Cherry Hill, N.J. Following graduation, he will be interning at FreshAir Sensor Corp., a technology firm co-founded by Dartmouth chemist Joseph BelBruno, and also applying to medical school.

Commencement 2015 Features One Valedictory Speaker

All four valedictorians will march at the head of the Class of 2015, will be recognized from the podium, and will be afforded all the honors and privileges of their achievement. A selection committee representing the dean of the faculty and the dean of the college selected Catherine Baker as the 2015 Valedictory speaker from among the names submitted by the registrar, with the choice of speaker confirmed by President Phil Hanlon ’77. 

(Photos by Rob Strong 04)