Sydney S. Gross
Director of Communications
The Columbia College Committee on Honors, Awards, and Prizes today announced the names of the Class of 2012 Valedictorian and Salutatorian. The Valedictorian is Zachary Brill, a Chemistry major from New Jersey. The Salutatorian is Zachary Levine, an Anthropology major from California.
Zachary Brill has distinguished himself across all of his studies, and members of the Chemistry faculty report that he is a “truly special individual” who has made a significant contribution to research and citizenship in the department. Having received funding from the Columbia College Class of 1939 Fellowship and the American Chemical Society, Zachary has been able to sustain his research over three years in the laboratory of Professor Scott Snyder. His work, focused on the synthesis of two complex products derived from resveratrol, was published in the peer reviewed journal Organic Letters (2011, 13, 5524) and, unusually for an undergraduate, Zachary was the sole author with Professor Snyder. in 2011 Zachary was awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and will continue his studies in organic chemistry when he starts his PhD work in the fall.
Zachary Levine is currently completing a thesis on religion, symbolic economics, politics, and social justice in Nigeria (supported by three different and highly competitive research grants), and is researching public health programs in Peru. Both an extraordinary scholar and a committed citizen, Zachary’s nomination for this honor was, according to the Anthropology faculty, supported by a “level of recognition from … a diverse field of scholars” not previously encountered by the Department. In 2010 Zachary established the undergraduate journal Extension: A Columbia Journal of Anthropology – now a vibrant opportunity for undergraduate intellectual engagement – and in 2011 he was a Rhodes finalist.