News & Awards

Two Woodrow Wilson School Seniors Awarded Fellowships

Apr 10, 2017
Office of Communications

Senior Parnagian to Focus on US Underserved Communities through Fellowship

Princeton University senior Melissa Parnagian has been awarded a Sheila C. Johnson Fellowship from Harvard Kennedy School, a full tuition scholarship for graduate students with a demonstrated interest in developing leadership skills focused on reducing disparities in underserved communities in the United States.

Parnagian, from Parlin, New Jersey, is a major in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and is pursuing a certificate in American studies. Parnagian was a member of the American Studies Advisory Council and served as chief correspondent of Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research.

She received the R.W. Van de Velde award for outstanding junior independent work from the Woodrow Wilson School in 2016 and the University's Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence in 2014. She is a member of Whitman College.

She has worked as a health policy research intern at the Center for Health Care Strategies, a correspondence and briefings intern for the Hillary for America presidential campaign, and a constituent services intern in the office of Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.

The Sheila C. Johnson Leadership Fellowship aims to address disparities in predominantly African American and other underserved communities through efforts in health care, education, public policy and other fields. The program connects fellows with national and international leaders through a yearlong co-curricular program, which includes weekly dinners, an annual retreat and field experiences. 

"I want to engage with how policy is framed, debated and built to serve the public in its most inclusive form," said Parnagian. "While others ignore public policy's blind spots, I seek out underserved constituencies and spotlight their concerns on the political stage. Through continued study, I will advance policy that addresses the disparities facing marginalized groups — and, in doing so, reduce the gap between America's reality and its ideals."

Trad Awarded ReachOut Fellowship for Public Service

Princeton University senior Nicolas Trad has been awarded a fellowship from ReachOut 56-81-06, an alumni-funded effort that supports year-long public service projects after graduation. He will receive a stipend of $30,000 to pay for living expenses during his fellowship year.

Trad will use his fellowship to implement a mobile technology platform designed to address medication shortages in 10 clinics surrounding Zithulele Hospital in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. 
ReachOut 56-81-06 is an effort by members of the Princeton Classes of 1956, 1981 and 2006 to underwrite valuable public service projects, with special weight given to those of social significance that are innovative, creative, entrepreneurial or a combination thereof. 
Each year, ReachOut awards one fellowship for a domestic project and one for an international project. The latter can be performed anywhere in the world, including the United States. The international fellowship is funded through a donation by a Class of 1956 alumnus. Two holders of ReachOut 56-81-06 grants are currently serving in New York City and Washington, D.C. 
"We are pleased once again, for the 17th consecutive year, to provide fellowships for a year to outstanding graduating Princeton students who take the less-traveled path out of the University: They design their own innovative and socially impactful year-long projects," said Jon Wonnell and Marty Johnson, co-chairs of ReachOut 56-81-06. "The 2017 recipients — two outstanding seniors with extraordinary backgrounds — have developed projects that epitomize our goals: to bring unique solutions to societal challenges, in the tradition of 'Princeton in the nation's service and the service of humanity.'"
Trad, from Bethesda, Maryland, is a major in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and is earning a certificate in global health and health policy.  
Through the ReachOut fellowship, Trad will work to ensure continuous access to essential medications in 10 clinics in South Africa. He hopes to implement a technology platform that will not only address current medication shortages, but also ensure that his intervention can remain sustainable in the long term and become a model for tackling medication distribution problems that are pervasive in the South African health care system.
At Princeton, Trad was awarded the University's Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence, received Phi Beta Kappa honors, served as the student representative to the University for the Program in Global Health and Health Policy and volunteered at a local rehabilitation center. He worked as a research intern for Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C.; as a Global Health Fellow for Unite for Sight, which brings glasses and sight-restoring surgery to rural Hondurans; and as an intern for the International Commission for Missing Persons in Sarajevo, Bosnia.  
"During my fellowship, I will work with doctors, hospital administrators and nurses in Zithulele to mitigate chronic shortages of antibiotics, antiretrovirals, basic pain relievers and other essential medications," said Trad. "By empowering nurses in remote clinics with tools to track the stock and flow of medications, this project will allow suppliers to better predict the need for new drugs in individual clinics. Through the innovative use of simple mobile technologies, I hope to tackle a preventable problem that hampers basic treatments and depletes the reservoir of trust between patients and their care providers. Zithulele Hospital, recognized in South Africa as a model of excellence in rural health, has shown that progress is achievable with practical policies, motivated leadership and inventive uses of limited resources."
After completing his fellowship, Trad plans to attend medical school.