2024 Young Alumni Trustee Candidates

Below are the candidates for the 2024 Young Alumni Trustee election, in alphabetical order, and the information they submitted to accompany their candidacy: Shrey Addagatla, Kaleb Areda, Persis Akua Baah, Francis Barth, Kalena Blake, Ben Cai, Marlene Cardoza, Luke Chan, Aisha Chebbi, Stephen Daniels, Xander de los Reyes, Henry Erdman, Max Diallo Jakobsen, Jordan W. Johnson, Sydney S. Johnson, Vivek Kolli, Mariam Umar Latif, Alison Lee, Julie Levey, Noah Luch, Danielle (Dani) Samake, JJ Scott, Chioma Ugwonali, Chiara von Gerlach, Torre Wilks, Matthew Wilson, and Sajan Young.

Candidates have agreed that they will not engage in any organized solicitation of votes during this primary election, nor will they ask any other student or organization to do so. Please respect this commitment.

The role of a Young Alumni Trustee is to serve the long-term interests of the University as a member of the board, bringing to the role an important perspective informed by their recent experience as an undergraduate student. It is not to represent or advocate for a particular constituency or point of view. The views, information and opinions expressed by the candidates in their statements are solely their own and do not reflect those of the University.  Further, the University does not undertake to verify or ensure the accuracy of the candidates’ statements.

Shrey Addagatla
Frisco, TX, USA
Major(s): Operations Research and Financial Engineering; Certificate(s): Sustainable Energy, History and the Practice of Diplomacy, Finance 


From sharing laughs at Charter to the competitive spirit of Mock Trial, I’m grateful for the diverse communities I’ve found at Princeton. Moving from my Texan public school to the nation’s top undergraduate program made me feel incredibly lucky, and while the student experience is exceptional, it's still far from perfect.

Whether it's giving Orange Key tours, advising first-years as a BSE Interactor, or serving on the Annual Giving Committee, I’ve been able to give back to the community that has given me so much, but that commitment may be misleading. The Trustee role is not about school spirit but a dedication to bettering the University; it requires dropping the orange-tinted glasses, having an open mind, and bringing a critical perspective to the table. The University has good intentions and truly seeks to support its students, but I, alongside many of you, have witnessed instances where it appears unaware or unresponsive.

Princeton University is a global leader. With its overwhelming endowment, prestige, and influence, the Trustees can adopt policies that resonate far beyond campus. As a current member of the CPUC Governance Committee, I've engaged with the Trustees in our board meetings and found them surprisingly interested in unconventional ideas—it just requires someone to introduce them. Although I was initially wary, the positive reception of my proposals and observing Mutemwa Masheke (YAT ’23) in action confirmed my interest in serving as a Young Alumni Trustee. It’s one of many ways I hope to remain dedicated to the service of humanity.

Kaleb Areda
Addis Ababa, ET
Major(s): Chemical and Biological Engineering; Certificate(s): Applications of Computing, Materials Science and Engineering, Optimization and Quantitative Decision Science 


“If you will be sticking around for break, you can enroll in the CampusRec meal plan when the dining halls close,” Jess said, jokingly. The “CampusRec meal plan” consisted of staff members bringing in homemade dishes for student employees staying on campus over break to counter the barrenness with a sense of warmth. My CampusRec experience was emblematic of the kind of close-knit, nurturing communities that have characterized my time at Princeton. So, throughout my undergraduate career, I worked to provide the same for others. As an intramurals supervisor and treasurer of Wawa United FC, I organized spirited games between students and locals to build team spirit and camaraderie through sports. In my role as an RCA in Yeh College, I created a supportive and encouraging environment for my Zees to help them navigate the beginning of their Princeton journey. During my term as co-president of Princeton’s Ethiopian and Eritrean Students Association (PEESA), I helped cultivate a home away from home for fellow international, and domestic students alike, by hosting national holiday celebrations and cultural events. Through these same experiences, though, I have become aware of a wide range of communal issues that require attention. As a YAT, I will provide much-needed context, shaped by my knowledge of these concerns and interests of students, to decisions that shape our community. I will bring the same empathy I have had over my undergraduate career to understand the unspoken needs of diverse groups across campus, and do so with the utmost integrity.

Persis Akua Baah
Scotch Plains, NJ, USA
Major(s): Psychology; Certificate(s): African-American Studies 


During her four-year term, Princeton’s Young Alumni Trustee will tackle pressing issues. Questions like: How do we attract unique students and faculty, foster community, and center their well-being? How can we navigate hostile political terrain to maintain diversity and inclusivity? How can we maintain our position as the world’s #1 educational institution, and balance esteemed traditions with forward-thinking innovation? And how can we creatively address our expansion needs? As YAT, I’d be uniquely positioned to provide solutions. My deliberate interaction with people from diverse religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, has equipped me for this role. At Princeton, I’ve taken interdisciplinary courses, went on a gap year traveling and living in five countries across the world, and was heavily involved in organizing student galas, alumni-student dinners, and professional conferences. Furthermore, my former role as a board member of the Overlook Medical Center Junior Foundation provided me with practical experience in prioritizing constituent needs, leading working groups, and executing board projects. Having received University distinctions for my role as Princeton Peer Nightline’s crisis responder, I have been attuned to the heartbeat of the student population. Princeton students are more than just awards and accolades. I have been driven by my genuine desire to support individual student needs. Over the years, I’ve honed skills in strategic implementation and Socratic leadership. As YAT, I am prepared to leverage my diverse experiences and leadership skills. By advocating for Princetonians, both present and future, I aim to ensure that we continue to venture forward.

Francis Barth
New York, NY, USA
Major(s): Spanish and Portuguese; Certificate(s): Applied and Computational Mathematics 


Princeton can produce leaders who make the world a better place. I want to be part of conversations that make sure it does so.

I’ve spent the last couple of years scaling El Centro, a student organization that provides English instruction to adults in Trenton—it’s now the Pace center’s largest student volunteer program. I’m a Spanish and Portuguese major and an applied math minor, and both of my theses propose machine learning applications to remedy deficiencies in English teaching pedagogy. I’m employing these findings to start Heu Learning, an organization that works with community centers to teach English better. Along the way, I’ve found myself in every corner of the university: I’ve researched with professors, joined every flavor of student organization, and spent two years in the darkest clutches of the Forbes Annex.

Princeton’s offered me massive opportunities to serve others, and has made me a better leader in the process. As Young Alumni Trustee, I want to grow these kinds of opportunities for the next generation of Princeton students.


Kalena Blake
Bethesda, MD, USA
Major(s): School of Public and International Affairs 


I am deeply honored to be considered for the position of Young Alumni Trustee at Princeton University. Being a member of the Class of 2024 has afforded me the privilege of witnessing a pivotal moment in Princeton's rich history. My Princeton journey began, much like that of my peers, virtually during a period of profound uncertainty.

As a former Managing Editor of the Daily Princetonian, I seized the opportunity to share compelling stories of resilience and adaptation, highlighting the remarkable recovery of student groups and institutions in the aftermath of the pandemic. In my roles as captain of the Lightweight Rowing team and as a Student-Athlete Wellness Leader, I have personally observed the unwavering strength of Princeton students confronting adversity. I have experience offering support to students facing the challenges that the future may present.

My motivation stems from a profound love for the University and a strong desire to champion policies that enable students to embody the principles of "in the nation's service and the service of humanity." My diverse experiences, including involvement in SPIA, serving as a Matriculate advising fellow, and participating in the Petey Greene program as a tutor for incarcerated individuals, have instilled in me a profound respect for Princeton's informal motto.

In the role of Young Alumni Trustee, I am committed to providing a perspective that fosters the continued thriving of the University for years to come.

Ben Cai
Cumberland, RI, USA
Major(s): Economics; Certificate(s): Finance 


What does Princeton mean to you?

Does it mean making lifelong friends? Or does it mean trying new things like research or your first drink? Is it meeting your spouse? Perhaps it’s the endless construction. Maybe it’s becoming a fuller person.

As I finish senior year, it’s hard for me to put into words how I feel about this place that we call home. When I talk to my zees (Go Moose!), it feels like just yesterday I was on a MAT201 Zoom with new freshman friends. And yet I’ve grown; we all have.

From rebuilding The Daily Princetonian to its best financial performance in nearly 2 decades as the 146th Business Manager to co-launching Princeton pins like the campus fox and late meal through TigerTale and the Office of Campus Engagement, I’ve learned to be a committed leader. But more importantly, I’ve realized my passion for connecting with and helping people grow. Seeing your zee at their first arch sing, cheering a classmate as they sink the game-winning shot, or hearing that “ah-ha” when your friend finally understands the microeconomics p-set – that’s what Princeton is about.

While I may not know you, I hope what I said resonates. Princeton isn’t just a learning experience; it’s a community built on the commitment and care we have for each other. As someone who wants to see all Princetonians grow, I seek to serve as a Young Alumni Trustee with the same commitment you all have shown me.

Marlene Cardoza
Bronx, NY, USA
Major(s): Psychology; Certificate(s): Latino Studies, Latin American Studies, Portuguese 


During my time at Princeton, I have witnessed an increase in conversation and student involvement in mental health. In particular, COVID-19 brought to the attention of students, the shortage of Princeton’s mental health resources. Increasing awareness of mental health issues has helped us to recognize that we are all, in some way, affected by it. Whether we ourselves are experiencing mental illness, or we are offering love and support to someone who experiences it, our personal and academic lives are all impacted by this crisis and the policies designed to address it. Recognizing this as a space for important advocacy work, I sought out opportunities to personally connect with students and their lived experience with mental health in various roles, including through my work as an RCA, Head Fellow for SIFP, member of the Student Health Advisory Board, CONTACT, the Mental Health Initiative through USG, Letters to Strangers, the Peer Princeton Nightline, my work at the Adversity and Relationships in Context Lab and in my own research.

With greater knowledge of these student experiences, I was able to more effectively collaborate with various administrators on how to address this issue, but this work doesn’t end once we graduate. Through the YAT position, I hope to bring my knowledge of the lived and diverse experiences of students to the forefront of discussions that aim to represent Princeton’s long-term vision.

Luke Chan
Manhasset, NY, USA
Major(s): Politics; Certificate(s): Latin American Studies 


I nervously walked on-stage of Richardson Auditorium as hundreds of students with face-masks looked in my direction. As I prepared to perform with Old NasSoul for the first time, I realized that behind all the masks was a community that came out to support each other. Since that night, my attachment to the communities at Princeton has only grown stronger. From a cappella to pouring beers with the 60th Reunions team, Service Focus to the Global Ambassadors Program, and spending countless hours working at the LCA help desk and the Cap & Gown Club, I am constantly reminded of how Princeton is unique because of the passion and excitement that its students, faculty and staff bring every day. It has been remarkable to grow, learn, persevere, and celebrate together as a community, and I hope to continue contributing to that experience for years to come.

As the senior class and I prepare to step through FitzRandolph Gate for the second time, our days as Princeton students begin to wind down. But if I’ve learned anything during my 4 years, it is that we will always share these memories, place, and time of our lives. My experience serving students from all corners of campus and discovering how we each make Princeton special has prepared me well to continue serving our university. I am excited to be a part of this journey with all Princetonians, past, present, and future, and I would be honored to serve as Young Alumni Trustee.

Aisha Chebbi
Miami, FL, USA
Major(s): Anthropology; Certificate(s): Global Health and Health Policy 


Fostering dialogue across difference has been at the crux of my commitment to service while at Princeton, and it is the experience and knowledge gained from this work that informs my motivation and competence to serve as a Young Alumni Trustee. Princeton’s ongoing evolution – academically, socially, and culturally – is reflected both in the hybridization of its education and the increasing diversity of its student body. My dedication to the possibilities of radiative change within our evolving institution have manifested in more expansive dining options, increased visibility of diversity in first-year advising, and the crucial establishment of physical places for cultural and religious practice. Positioning myself at various levels to be in trusted conversations with University administration, I have spearheaded and actualized the needs of our student body across lines of marginalization.

Navigating disparate ethnicities of Latinidad and Arab-American identity while a Princeton student, I have come to reconcile difference as a way to understand not only others, but also myself. Building spaces and conversations previously unimagined, I have translated my aptitude for connecting with others to transcend beyond mere conversation and instead into tangible action. The intersection of my voice in both of these spaces have sought to dignify our collective existence and make the Class of 2024’s presence on campus both a visible and vibrant one. Continuing to weave this fabric of intersectional community while actively centering diverse perspectives in unfolding conversations of equity and access, is a responsibility I would uphold and honor as a Young Alumni Trustee.

Stephen Daniels
Wrightstown, PA, USA
Major(s): Economics, Political Economy Program 


The next few years have the potential to be among the most consequential in Princeton’s history. Factors such as the increased diversity and size of the student body have made clear just how much Princeton still has to improve, and I want to continue my work as USG President holding Princeton to a higher standard. To help build community, I worked to create Pay with Points, to originate Community Care Day, and to coordinate student tailgates at athletic events. I successfully advocated for Lyft vouchers for transportation to local medical appointments and 24/7 telehealth options, improving access to mental health resources for students from all financial backgrounds. Alongside student leaders from cultural groups, I helped navigate Princeton administration to improve meal offerings during Ramadan and ensure sparklers could be used to celebrate Diwali without disruption. Responding to concerns about expansion, my USG administration doubled funding available for student groups through Projects Board and offered funding for off-campus trips and Sports Clubs. While I have primarily worked to represent the interests of students, I also have experience working to ensure Princeton treats staff fairly and transparently. For example, I worked with other USG representatives to help facilities workers successfully put additional pressure on Princeton to finally institute a previously promised pay raise. Princeton, and therefore the Board of Trustees, has to live up to its obligations to the immediate community and beyond.

Xander de los Reyes
Orange County, CA, USA
Major(s): Politics; Certificate(s): Values and Public Life 


I was never supposed to be at Princeton, which is exactly why I hope to serve as a Young Alumni Trustee.

What I mean is that Princeton has been an unexpected second chance at life for me. I had an onerous childhood, later evident in countless suspensions and a 2.5 high school GPA. After serving five years as an infantry Marine, I worked full-time as a bartender. I later quit to start community college with no real plan in mind. I just knew I wanted to try education again—or, truthfully, I wanted to try for the first time. In 2018, when I started that first three-course semester, I never expected I would end up here with brilliant professors and high school valedictorians.

Since transferring in 2020, I’ve tried to pay my good fortune forward. I’ve advocated for transfer students as one of the leaders of the Princeton Transfer Association. As a Course Fellow with the Freshman Scholars Institute, I aided transitioning first-generation and low-income students. I’ve represented Politics students as an elected member of the departmental committee. And in the Writing Center, I’ve advised a myriad of students. My fondness for service even aided my selection as a SINSI Scholar, facilitating my work with the Department of Justice.

Taken together, I hope to continue serving Princetonians as a Young Alumni Trustee. I revere Princeton for the positive change it can bring to people’s lives, and I want to help make a great institution even better—for everyone.

Henry Erdman
Towson, MD, USA
Major(s): Physics; Certificate(s): Materials Science, Engineering Physics 


Nine weeks into the spring semester of my junior year, I made the scary decision to take a leave of absence due to mental health issues. The number one question I was asked on my year off after describing my experience here was, “So which school are you transferring to?” Much to everyone’s surprise, I came back. Whether it was playing with the Band at football games, meeting so many new faces as a peer tutor at McGraw, or traditions like the Holder Howl, I have felt the Princeton spirit and the potential that this institution has. Taking time away allowed me to gain valuable perspectives on the University, from having to navigate conflicting and often inadequate mental health resources on campus to spending time working on construction sites back home and hearing what people outside the orange bubble have to say about our school. I also spent several months in intensive treatment programs, where I learned not only how to keep myself on track and stable, but also a broader overview of what is helpful and unhelpful in general for mental health. One of the key takeaways from everything is that I am now a firm believer in putting people over process. Mental health, and leadership more generally, benefits from sincerely valuing individuals, their traits, and their talents, over strict adherence to policies and practices for the sake of rigidity. I look forward to the opportunity to apply everything I have learned to help make Princeton a better place.

Max Diallo Jakobsen
Stockholm, SE & Conakry, GN
Major(s): History; Certificate(s): African Studies, Visual Arts 


Resilient in the face of crisis, our classes have refused to be silenced while holding Princeton accountable to its students and the broader community. We have rebuilt organizations, reignited movements, and reframed Princeton’s role both locally and globally. Our classes have been both disruptive and constructive, and I am committed to serving as a steady force that carries forward the momentum we have generated. Over the last four years, I have centered people and places systematically excluded from crucial conversations. Guided by principles of intersectionality and radical justice, my advocacy has focused on grassroots organizing and coalition building across a diverse range of communities on campus and beyond. The teach-ins, working groups, and events I co-organized resulted in noise that the University could no longer ignore. This consistency and commitment led to the expansion of gender-inclusive facilities and housing accommodations, increased resources for vital spaces such as the Gender + Sexuality Resource Center and the Carl A. Fields Center, and a comprehensive reevaluation of the University's international opportunities and operations. Princeton can and should serve as a hub where people from all walks of life and corners of the globe can meet and build imaginative futures together. To realize this vision, the University must embrace bold changes instead of relying on stall tactics and committees that disregard the voices of its students. As a Young Alumni Trustee, I am determined to ensure that Princeton rises to meet the challenges and opportunities of an ever-changing world, rather than merely reacting to them.

Jordan W. Johnson
Lawrenceville, NJ, USA
Major(s): Sociology; Certificate(s): Statistics, Machine Learning, African American Studies, Cognitive Science 


As a (near) native Princetonian and the president of a cultural affinity organization, I believe that my experience leading, collaborating, and innovating makes me a strong candidate for Young Alumni Trustee. Over the past four years, I have spent numerous hours doing work as a member of the Black Student Union. This opportunity has not only allowed me to understand many of the nuances of the school’s infrastructure, but it has also afforded me the ability to be an active leader in improving the school’s efforts to support its students. My experiences addressing the needs of Black Princeton has equipped me with the knowledge of a multifaceted approach that can both create innovative institutional solutions and empower students, faculty, staff, and administration to uplift the campus community by and for themselves. As president of the BSU, I have spearheaded this approach within my own organization, creating a forum called Real Talk which facilitates consistent dialogue between Black students and administrators, developing a yearly survey detailing information on the Black experience at Princeton, establishing financial literacy and career advancement programs specifically for Black students, expanding our two most prolific events, and helping secure our own endowment, which will be used to provide more adequate and attentive programming in the future. As president, I have found that the school can best position itself for sustained future success in part by learning how to best support its marginalized students, a process which, while long, promises to be rewarding for the school’s future.

Sydney S. Johnson
Piscataway, NJ, USA
Major(s): Spanish - Creative Arts; Certificate(s): Urban and Latin American Studies 


It’s been a pleasure to serve various subsets of Princeton and the general community over the past four years. Through mentoring first-year students of color, assisting with Orientation, and working as a Residential College Advisor, I have helped incoming Tigers get acclimated to our campus. Working with Student Government has also allowed me to recognize the varying needs of a class over a 4-year period. In my roles as the 2024 Class Councilor and Treasurer, and Class President for the past three years, I have cultivated the skills necessary to understand and represent the needs of various demographics within larger groups; as well as the ability to directly communicate with University administration and alumni. Founding the student organization Princeton in Hollywood this past year has demonstrated my capacity to identify key points for growth and petition existing structures to support new initiatives. Furthermore, positions on the Priorities, University Accreditation, and Sport Club Executive Committees have helped me understand Princeton’s working structure; present student concerns to staff and faculty; and balance the conflicting needs to maintain and effectively spend money. I am running for Young Alumni Trustee to continue learning from and supporting others, while bringing a diverse perspective to all conversations and aiming to better the University for future generations.

Vivek Kolli
Mays Landing, NJ, USA
Major(s): Operations Research and Financial Engineering; Certificate(s): Applications of Computing 


It's been a long 4 years for all of us. At times, Princeton has felt impossible, but in two short months, we will have completed the journey we set out on in 2020. This school has given me so much more than I could have imagined, and I am confident I can serve the University community well as a Young Alumni Trustee.

I am qualified for this role given the time I have spent in leadership positions for various finance clubs on campus, focusing my attention on helping underclassmen adjust to life at Princeton. However, I've spent most of my time at Princeton meeting as many people as possible and understanding our community. Throughout my 4 years here, I've talked to many of you and reflected on how this University can improve to be better for us. My greatest strength lies in thinking objectively about an issue and keeping a range of perspectives in mind.

When we look back at Princeton 20 years from now, I want us to be proud of where we went to school. I want to serve in a way that cultivates a university community that is unified and supportive. I believe I truly understand what is meaningful to students and will serve as a dedicated and trustworthy member of the Board of Trustees.

Mariam Umar Latif
North Brunswick, NJ, USA
Major(s): Neuroscience; Certificate(s): Cognitive Science 


For the duration of my time at Princeton I have had the pleasure of serving in the Undergraduate Student Government representing our 2024 class as Class Senator. My decision to seek reelection, serving in the same role for four years, was contingent upon the position allowing me to wear multiple hats to work on distinct aspects of student life in collaboration with various groups, departments, and administrators on campus. As the Housing Task Force Chair I was able to hear from students directly which enabled the collection and implementation of student feedback on housing conditions, leading to improvements ranging from room draw to heating and cooling measures. I also worked extensively with Campus Dining regarding student dietary restrictions and accommodations, advocating for increased equity in the student dining experience. Most recently, in leading the newly formed Athletics Working Group, which is focused on helping improve student body engagement with athletics, we were able to increase fan turnout and better the student athletic experience. Outside of the USG, I have served the student body through the Pace Center’s orientation programming. I have also explored the academic side of Princeton student-life in working with the Physics department to aid in the development of course materials. These recent experiences as an undergraduate student have played an influential role in my formation of a unique Princetonian perspective that I would bring to the Young Alumni Trustee role. Thank you for your time and consideration!

Alison Lee
Summit, NJ, USA
Major(s): Computer Science; Certificate(s): Entrepreneurship, Tech & Society 


My Princeton Pride comes from the small moments of living in this Orange Bubble. Trying tteokbokki for the very first time because my Princeton mentor invited me to dinner in her Spelman dorm. Squealing in delight at eating club semis when Marriage Pact matches came out because of all the chaos (e.g. intense Google searches) that ensues. Chattering on a dorm room carpet at 2AM with your friends, knowing that waking up tomorrow is going to be rough but well worth it. Walking all the way from Jadwin Gymnasium to Roma since it’s the only dining hall open during fall break, and chatting with teammates that are soon to become your closest friends.

I’ve had some big moments too: winning the Fencing Ivy League Championships for the third time in a row, hosting FemaleFounded (a conference for women in entrepreneurship), and leading Business Today.

The best candidate for Young Alumni Trustee should bring a comprehensive and current experience to the Board. I am able to pull from my many roles as HackPrinceton director, RCA, fencing team captain, Butler College Council chair, and friend to the countless people who have made my Princeton journey so memorable. I have adored my Princeton experience and aspire to make all generations of Princeton tigers feel the same way I do about this university. I would be honored at the opportunity to serve Princeton and bring my experience to the Young Alumni Trustee role.

Julie Levey
New York, NY, USA
Major(s): Religion; Certificate(s): American Studies, Cognitive Science, Judaic Studies


Each week, I conclude my Orange Key tours by explaining to prospective families why I chose Princeton. Princeton is a school where care–which I define as both dedication to goals inside and outside the classroom and a deep regard for community–is a core value. Further, Princeton is a place that so many call home not just for four years, but for life. Throughout my time here, I’ve most enjoyed participating in activities that have introduced me to members of the University community, fostered my love for Princeton, and reminded me why I chose to be a Tiger. I’ve loved welcoming new students as a three-time Community Action leader, as well as learning and sharing community members’ stories through writing features for the Daily Princetonian. More recently, through serving as a Class Day co-chair, I’ve reflected on the challenges, privileges, and joys of the Princeton experience in preparation for celebrating the Class of 2024. Additionally, I was the President of Princeton’s Center for Jewish Life (CJL) and I served for three years on the CJL’s Board of Directors. My experience on the CJL’s Board of Directors taught me how meaningful I find making decisions with a diverse group of alumni and other Princeton stakeholders and inspired me to run for Young Alumni Trustee. As I prepare to exit the FitzRandolph Gate for the first time, but certainly not the last, I hope to contribute to furthering a Princeton that prioritizes care and invites each of its constituents into its lifelong community.

Noah Luch
Hudson, OH, USA
Major(s): Physics; Certificate(s): Applied and Computational Mathematics 


Coming to Princeton, I had never thought that so many of my closest friends would struggle so much with mental health. In many ways, Princeton truly is the dream school I, like many of us, hoped it would be. And yet, I know now how much it still needs help. In coming to terms with these experiences, I became involved with mental health activism my freshman year. I became chair of Princeton’s Mental Health Initiative, permanently establishing it as the Mental Health Committee within USG. I have served on several committees to address student wellbeing, such as USG, the Student Health Advisory Committee, JED Foundation Committee, and even the Priorities Committee, where I have spoken before the president, CPUC, and board of trustees on student mental health. Within these roles, I have worked tirelessly to eliminate barriers to support, rally countless student groups and alumni together, help in hiring several Princeton administrators, and run numerous other projects to promote our community’s mental health. Having seen how devastated our community has been over the last four years, I have worked with hundreds of students, faculty, and staff to create lasting, preventative infrastructure to support student wellbeing at Princeton. I love Princeton — and I know first-hand how much it needs our help. I know that I can do so much more in raising this University to its full potential. I hope that you see this too, and allow me to become a Young Alumni Trustee.

Danielle (Dani) Samake
Maplewood, NJ, USA
Major(s): Sociology; Certificate(s): Gender and Sexuality Studies, African Studies 


Growing up in Jamaica and Mali, my parents never imagined they’d cross paths, much less that they’d both move to New Jersey, attend county college, and have a daughter who’d eventually attend Princeton and run for Young Alumni Trustee. And yet, 30 years later, here I am, doing exactly that. My name is Dani Samake. I’m a native Jersey-Girl, a second-generation American, and a Princetonian, running to be Princeton’s newest Young Alumni Trustee.

Throughout my years here, I've fallen in love with Princeton, its ethos of service, and the brilliant thinkers who call this place home. Inspired by those around me and those who’ve preceded me, my extracurricular activities have centered on serving Princeton’s current and past generations. For two years each, I've been an RCA in Yeh College and greeted hundreds of patrons at Frist. I managed the Golf Cart Crew during two Reunions and three commencements. For three and a half years, I've engaged in and facilitated tough dialogues as a member of the Office of Religious Life’s multi-faith Rose Castle Society, sang my heart out with Wildcats Acapella, and grown in my faith with Christian Union. I am a SHARE allied member and Chair of the Undergraduate Sociology Committee. I possess an earnest desire to not just be a Princeton student, but to be an active member of this vibrant and diverse community, doing my part to make Princeton the best home it can be for each and every Princetonian.

JJ Scott
Norfolk, VA, USA
Major(s): English; Certificate(s): African American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies


Like many of my classmates, I started Princeton in my childhood bedroom, using a desk I had expected to leave behind after moving away for college. I knew Princeton would be challenging, but I never imagined how difficult it would be to experience college through a 13-inch computer screen, and I struggled through my first semester. When I moved to campus in Spring 2021, I committed myself to creating for others the sense of community that I lacked throughout that Fall. I poured my time and energy into different advocacy groups on campus, like EcoReps and Girl Up, and participated in programs that allowed me to foster belonging in my residential college, affinity spaces, and beyond. As an RCA and member of the Residential College Leadership Team, I work closely with students and administrators to advocate for positive changes to mental health protocol, academic accessibility, equitable housing policy, campus renovations, and other projects that lay the groundwork for a University that prizes school/life balance, long-term community growth, and the embrace of underappreciated perspectives. Within these roles, I see the change Princeton needs from both a broad institutional stance and an individual student perspective, whether that of first-years or seniors. As Young Alumni Trustee, I will commit to helping Princeton grow toward the future made possible by the collective legacy of all those who came before me.

Chioma Ugwonali
Arlington, TX, USA
Major(s): Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Certificate(s): Environmental Studies 


When I think of Princeton, I think of home. Growing up in Texas, hospitality is everything. Anyone who came through the front door of my granny’s house was greeted with a smile and offered a fresh slice of pound cake, or at least a cool glass of water. Similarly, the Princeton I know has largely been a community of care and generosity. Waving to friends on my way to class, settling into morning yoga postures, catching up with acquaintances over watercolor painting, tasting the sweet sip of free boba, and sitting amazed after music concerts are just a few moments of my time here that have reminded me of home. In my grandparents’ spirit, I have tried to inspire kinship through leading dining staff tributes, launching the Peer Health Advisers’ Wellness Chats, and coordinating arts programs during Community Care Day. Other times, as a RCA and Wintersession Student Fellow, I have facilitated game showdowns, organized DIY terrarium sessions, and coordinated a spa trip. Despite all the programs and clubs available, it is hard to have a positive Princeton experience when you don’t feel like you belong, which has been the case for most of us, at least occasionally. I dream of more meaningful connections between our communities to make Princeton feel more like home for everyone. As a Young Alumni Trustee, I want to realize a Princeton where everyone feels seen, heard, and appreciated regardless of what they do or where they come from. I hope you’ll dream with me.

Chiara von Gerlach
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Major(s): Electrical and Computer Engineering; Certificate(s): Robotics and Cyber Physical Systems 


I want to serve on the Board of Trustees because I want to be able to use my experience as an undergraduate, and those of my peers, to help continue making Princeton an amazing experience for us all. I believe this to be a great opportunity for a recent to make an impact for the benefit of students and the school and I would be extremely excited to apply my enthusiasm, passion and dedication to the collective wellbeing as a member of the Board. While I have loved my experience as an undergraduate I think it’s important to use the experience we have here to more closely align Princeton’s goals for the school and student body, with the actual systems in place. I love collaborating with people from all areas of Princeton life, and I am excited to help Princeton continue fostering a great experience for us and future generations, where academic pursuit can be fostered by encouragement and support.

Torre Wilks
Cleveland, OH, USA
Major(s): Sociology; Certificate(s): Technology and Society 


Throughout my Princeton journey I have had the pleasure of working with our community in various capacities. Mental health and well-being has been at the center of what I do on campus. I have served as the chair of the college council for New College West as well as been an RCA for the past two years. I also am the president of Our Health Matters, a black women’s wellness group which hosts our biggest event, the annual wellness retreat during wintersession in collaboration with the VP Calhoun and ODUS. I always try my best to bring the community together in any way that I can and have developed close ties with administration and students in order to achieve this goal. I believe that as a Young Alumni Trustee I will continue to put the betterment of the Princeton community first, and ensure that everyone is able to find a home within Princeton.

Matthew Wilson
Leesburg, VA, USA
Major(s): Politics; Certificate(s): Hellenic Studies, Medieval Studies


As much as we all love Princeton, the myriad problems our university faces are painfully apparent — particularly amid the deplorable surges in antisemitism that college campuses, Princeton included, have experienced in the aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel. Robust viewpoint diversity on critical issues is all-but nonexistent, toxic attitudes of ideological conformism and speech-policing fester on campus, and students of certain political and moral persuasions feel intense pressure to self-censor on account of their views. As a Young Alumni Trustee, I will bring the sober fair-mindedness needed to address substantively and thoroughly all of the important issues that come before the Board of Trustees. I would also bring an underrepresented perspective and a unique set of experiences that I think would serve the Board well. As a writer for various publications (including The Daily Princetonian), I have addressed many of the important issues I mentioned head-on. As a Peer Academic Advisor, Chair of the Honor Committee, Treasurer of Princeton’s Catholic chaplaincy, and a student member of various university committees (e.g., the Faculty Committee on the Course of Study), I have significant experience working with university leaders on a diverse range of policy matters — from curriculum changes to academic integrity issues. I am prepared for this role, and I hope to earn your support. A Young Alumni Trustee needs to be a reasonable and fair-minded truth-speaker — not a partisan ideologue or a sycophant. As a Young Alumni Trustee, I pledge to be the former.

Sajan Young
Sicklerville, NJ, USA
Major(s): School of Public and International Affairs; Certificate(s): Finance, Arabic 


There are many different candidates who would fit the Young Alumni Trustee (YAT) role fantastically but I believe that I would be the person for the job due to emotions that I feel about Princeton and our experience.

Leadership is the first quality when we think about a YAT. In this race, it would be impossible to find someone in our class who does not possess the leadership qualities necessary for this role. As for myself, I worked with different groups like GAASA, the Julis Rabinowitz Center and Business Today to showcase my leadership on campus. All of these groups are incredible to work with and shaped my pedigree as a leader. But, as a candidate in this race, I promise not only to know when to lead but to know when to follow the example of the classmates that surround me.

I think the quality that separates me as a candidate is the willingness I have towards being as open as possible to change and grow. Life changes constantly as a Princeton student and a trustee has to be able to work with that change, especially one of the last YAT who was here during COVID. As a candidate, I promise to grow and change to best fit the Princeton community that I will serve going forward, regardless of if I am elected to this role or not.