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2022 YSPH Student Awards

Dean’s Prize for Outstanding MPH Thesis: Nandini Deo

Thesis “She trusts us to love her, you know? Using a Love Ethic framework to explore faith navigation and acceptance processes among Mormon mothers of LGBTQ+ individuals.

In her MPH thesis, Deo explores how the religious faith of Mormon mothers with LGBTQ+-identifying children influenced their journeys towards accepting their children’s identity. Her research will serve to reform how public health officials engage with highly religious parents of the LGBTQ+ community. In her time at Yale, Deo worked with the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) Border Identity Stress team to narrate the experiences of individuals identifying outside of traditional binary categories and with the Elevate Policy Lab in an effort to increase the standard of life for low-income mothers. She additionally served on the board of Yale’s Emerging Majority Students Association and as a teaching fellow for Health Equity & Social Justice and LGBTQ population health.

In addition to receiving the Dean’s Prize, Deo was also nominated by her peers to speak at the 2022 YSPH Commencement.

Deo plans to rejoin the public health workforce before ultimately pursuing a doctorate in clinical or counseling psychology.

Lowell Levin Award for Excellence in Global Health: Georgiana Esteves

The Lowell Levin Award, in honor of YSPH alumnus Professor Levin, celebrates a graduating student for exemplary work in health promotion and global health. Georgiana Esteves was the 2022 recipient of this award for her academic leadership and community engagement. Prior to her time at the YSPH, Esteves worked with the Dara Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which implements an integrated approach to promote general welfare. At the YSPH, Esteves studied Social and Behavioral Sciences on the Maternal and Child Health Promotion track, with a concentration in Global Health. She was integral in creating a Global Health signature internship with the Dara Institute.

In addition to the Lowell Levin Award for Excellence in Global Health, Esteves also received the Wilbur G. Downs Outstanding Thesis Prize in International Health). Her thesis project utilized highly innovative qualitative analysis to understand the influence of fathers on infant feeding practices in Ghana, West Africa. Her work is now reshaping how UNICEF and other health organizations develop programs for better infant feeding and maternal-child health programs.

Henry J. (Sam) Chauncey Jr. Inspiration Award (Health Management Program): Victoria Clarke

The Henry J. Chauncey Jr. Inspiration Award honors the legacy of Mr. Sam Chauncey, who was instrumental to the development of the Health Management program at the YSPH. Victoria Clarke received this award for her excellence in innovation, integrity, leadership, and community service. Academically, Clarke has served as a Student Fellow in the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy in the Yale Law School and a Research Assistant in the Connecticut Emerging Infections Program for COVID-19 related research but her impact extends far beyond this. Clarke constantly inspires those around her with her compassion, kindness, and strength in leadership, previously serving as Vice President of the Student Association of YSPH board as well as a Healthcare Management student leader and peer mentor.

Wilbur G. Downs Outstanding Thesis Prize in International Health: Georgiana Esteves

Thesis: “Support or Interference: Relational Influences on Mothers’ Exclusive Breastfeeding Practices in Ghana.

Georgiana Esteves received this award for her research identifying how community norms and relations shape exclusive breastfeeding practices in Ghana. Exclusive breastfeeding, when infants receive a breast milk-only diet, is considered to be the most nutritious diet for a child’s growth and cognitive development in their first few months. The World Health Organization currently recommends exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months, but this is only possible for mothers with sufficient familial support. Esteves’ thesis further develops our understanding of how familial relations within a community change breastfeeding practices. Esteves was additionally awarded the Lowell Levin Award for Excellence in Global health.

Student Award for Outstanding Contributions to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Lauren Nicole Cueto, Aivy Duong and Simileoluwa Elizabeth Falako

Lauren Cueto (left), Aivy Duong (center), Simileoluwa Falako (right)
Lauren Nicole Cueto, Aivy Duong, and Simileoluwa Elizabeth Falako co-jointly received this award for their efforts to build a more inclusive community for students by organizing social events, supporting recruitment efforts, and more. Peers praised them for “[creating] such a welcoming and inclusive environment by producing group events that spoke to various groups of students and being valuable resources on campus for all students.”

Teaching Fellow Award: Thomas Shao

Thomas Shao received this honor for his outstanding performance as a teaching fellow. Shao is a second year student in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. He was nominated by Mike Winniger, who says, “Tom is a relentless bridge-builder. From ‘study parties,’ to friends meet-ups, to mentorship match-ups, Tom organized countless opportunities for friends to be made, and partnerships to be created. And when Tom's semester-end student reviews were analyzed through a Sentiment Analysis algorithm, Tom's score was the highest score ever achieved by a Biostats Teaching Team member, and nearly double that of the course instructor!!!” Shao’s students further emphasized his commitment to them: “He is patient, understanding, and determined to ensure that students leave his section feeling confident about what they have just learned in EPH 505.”