Donovan Cassidy-Nolan '21
Hey guys! I’m Donovan, a Senior from Nova Scotia, Canada, and I’m a molecular biology major. As a member of the Princeton Perspective Project, I hope to use our knowledge of biology to help optimize our happiness here at Princeton, with its many ups and downs. Coming from a small town in a rural area, Princeton is very different. The high intensity atmosphere can be super overwhelming, and I often find myself losing sight of the awesomeness Princeton has to offer to me. With the PPP, I hope to help build a more thoughtful and supportive community: in sharing our struggles openly and promoting resilience, I believe we can foster more happiness in our community. Feel free email me (email@example.com) if you have any ideas, questions, or concerns – I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Lauren Huff '22
Hi everyone! My name is Lauren and I am a Sophomore from Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to PPP, I am on the cheerleading and club soccer teams and teach English as a Second Language with El Centro. I am planning on majoring in the Woodrow Wilson School with certificates in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Spanish. I'm really excited to be involved with the Princeton Perspective Project because as Princeton students, we are always under pressure and stress, yet rarely talk about it openly. I hope that in sharing stories of the struggles and setbacks experienced by all Princeton students, it will help to normalize the failures that are everyday parts of college life.
Sanjana Duggirala '21
Hey! My name is Sanjana Duggirala and I am a junior from East Windsor, New Jersey. I am a Sociology major getting a certificate in Global Health Policy. I am also involved in Hospice volunteering and Class Gov. These four years are a time when we learn so much about ourselves and the world and it can be daunting to hold it all on our own and feel alone in the process. PPP strives to generate honest and productive conversation across campus about the ups and downs, so we can all be on this journey together. Whether it’s coming to terms with confronting unrealized expectations, trying to find ourselves, or dealing with the academic and social pressures on campus, PPP aims to show people that they are not alone, and fosters a sense of family to make Princeton feel like more of a home. It promotes self-validation despite any setbacks or bumps in the road, as rough patches are valuable opportunities for growth. It has been incredible to be a part of PPP and work with people who are working to change campus culture!
Mayowa Oke '22
Hey everyone! My name is Mayowa Oke, I am a second year student at Princeton University looking to study Neuroscience. I was born in Dublin, Ireland, but I grew up in Canada before moving to the United States for college. On campus, I’m involved in a variety of organizations such as the Davis International Center as an IC leader where I help welcome the new batch of international Tigers to Princeton. I also work as a research assistant in a social psychology lab and I am a volunteer tutor for the Petey Greene Program. In my free time I enjoy baking, cycling, making memes instead of doing my homework, arguing with my friends about all things silly or serious, and attempting to finish the NYT crossword only to fail miserably. PPP's mission to create a Princeton community that embraces and even celebrates their failure is something that I resonate strongly with and I wish to actualize while on this committee. I joined the Princeton Perspective Project because I, like many Princetonians, struggled to reconcile my perfectionism with the difficulty and inevitable failures of college life. PPP has been fantastic in helping me explore ways to let go and embrace my mistakes and I’m so excited to share what I’ve learned with the greater campus community.
Mary Claire Bartlett '18
Hi Everyone! My name is Mary Claire, and I’m a senior from New York City. In addition to PPP, I am a member of the Varsity Volleyball Team, Orange Key, and the Princeton Pre-Law Society. I am a Woodrow Wilson School major with a specific interest in human rights and social justice. While my academic interests focus on ways to improve human wellbeing on a large scale, I see PPP as an effective way to accomplish this goal here in my own community. As with other members of the PPP team, my Princeton experience thus far has not always gone exactly the way I imagined it would, with each new semester bringing unexpected successes and failures. Through PPP's programming, I hope to convey to the Princeton student body that these setbacks are not only normal, but are actually a crucial element of our educational experience. By engaging in dialogue about our struggles, we can learn, grow and support each other. Therefore, I hope that you will take the opportunity that PPP provides to open up about your own story—you never know who it will inspire, or what change it will bring about!
Taylor Pearson '18
Hey everyone! My name is Taylor and I’m a senior in the Woodrow Wilson School with a focus in Race, Ethnicity, and Discrimination as well as a certificate student in the African American Studies Department. Aside from PPP, I serve on the Executive Board of the Princeton Association of Black Women and am a Global Ambassador to the Office of International Programs. I joined PPP to help promote the intersectional element of mental health and well-being on campus. Intersections of different identities impact how we experience the world and, now more than ever, I truly believe it is important to bridge gaps and have conversations that reveal the ties that bind us rather than those that divide us.
Kevin Pendo '19
Hi everyone! My name is Kevin Pendo, and I am a junior from LA, planning to pursue a Neuroscience major and a certificate in Applications of Computing. I also hope to attend medical school after finishing my undergraduate studies. I am super excited to be part of the Princeton Perspective Project, because I believe that our mission is relevant to all Princeton students in some way or another. As Princeton students, external pressures abound, but for me, the greatest pressure I’ve felt has always come from myself. While this has driven the development of my work ethic, it has also at times led me to struggle in finding the intrinsic enjoyment in my studies—the enjoyment that, although sometimes hard to see, exists irrespective of a letter grade or exam score. As I continue to work on finding the internal fulfillment of my endeavors, I hope that I can help the Princeton Perspective Project be a force for the betterment of the experience of all Princeton students—a force that fosters a community where people find the intrinsic enjoyment in their academic, social, and extracurricular activities. I believe that a culture where students truly support each other and seek the inherent joys of challenging themselves will be a culture where we can all view struggles/setbacks not as failures, but as perhaps the most crucial opportunities for genuine growth.
Natalya Rahman '19
Hi everyone! I’m a member of the Class of 2019, and currently a prospective Politics major. I’m from Karachi, Pakistan and I went to high school in Dubai, UAE. I’m passionate about the Princeton Perspective Project (PPP) because I think the idea that struggling and setbacks are a regular part of life is relevant to everyone. Apart from being a member of PPP Student’s Advisory Board, I volunteer with CONTACT of Mercer County, an organisation that answers the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and Lifeline Crisis Chat. I am also a Peer Career Advisor and a writer at Odyssey Online. I am a part of Princeton Social Innovation as an officer of the TEDxPrincetonU team, as well as Muslim Advocates for Social Justice Individual Dignity. Please let me know if you have any feedback or questions for us, or if you just want to talk!
Nate Levit ‘20
Hello everyone! I'm Nate Levit. I'm a sophomore from Tulsa, Oklahoma in Wilson College. I plan on concentrating in History or Politics. I joined PPP because, just a few weeks into my first year of college, I already felt that there was a need for an organization that empowers students by making sure that they do not feel alone in their struggles. Princeton is difficult, but by ignoring that simple fact people around me were making it even more stressful. Everyone was in the midst of a tough adjustment period, yet no one was willing to admit it. I recognized that there was a clear need to promote conversations on the topic of failure. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me!
David Friedman ‘20
Hey everyone! My name is David and I’m a sophomore from Southern California, prospective Woodrow Wilson School major. I’m extremely passionate about global development and education equity. My transition to Princeton has been humbling—constantly being surrounded by such driven, high achieving peers has at times made me question my adequacy. I’m excited to be on the PPP team to help promote encouragement and self-acceptance and combat this harmful notion of effortless perfectionism across campus.
Sarah Deneher '20
Hi everyone! My name is Sarah Deneher, and I am a sophomore from Dublin, Ireland. I am a prospective English major, intending to get a certificate in Linguistics. On campus, in addition to being a member of the Princeton Perspective Project, I am a manager in Whitman Dining Hall, a contributor on realtalkprinceton, and the events editor for the Nassau Weekly. I am also a student leader for the Outdoor Action Orientation program. I joined PPP at the start of sophomore year, when the so-called "sophomore slump" can be quite strong. On a campus where negativity can seem all-consuming, being a part of PPP has changed my own perspective on failure, and I also feel empowered by knowing that we are helping to change the narrative surrounding the myth of effortless perfection on campus. Please reach out to talk more about what PPP does, or even just to chat!
Michelle Min '20
Hi! My name is Michelle and I’m a sophomore from Southern California planning to major in Linguistics. I first found the Princeton Perspective Project website when I was a nervous pre-frosh, wondering if I deserved to be at school with such incredible students, professors, and staff. In my time here, I've watched my friends and peers (seem to) thrive in their personal, academic, and social lives. I know how easy it is to feel alone in your struggles. I joined PPP because I think it's important to listen to—and ask for—each other’s stories, especially about challenges that all of us face as students and as people. If you have any questions or just want someone to talk with, feel free to contact me!
Victor Guan '21
Hey everyone! My name is Victor Guan, and I’m a freshman from Long Island, New York. I plan to major in Sociology with a certificate in visual arts and pursue some sort of career in design or concept art. Other activities I do on campus are Sympoh(breakdancing group), Tiger Trends(fashion (lookbook), and other minor design projects on campus. Being from a traditional Asian family and one of maybe like 20 other Princeton students actually pursuing a career in art, it is difficult to experience Princeton without facing unwanted judgment and stereotyping. And although not everyone is in the same situation as me, there are definitely times in which everyone faces the feelings of either not being good enough, not fitting in, or not finding yourself. By joining PPP, I’m excited to help deal with these issues to promote the safe and healthy learning environment that Princeton should be.
Christian Maines '21
Hi everyone! My name is Christian, and I am a freshman from Houston, TX interested in studying History or Politics with an emphasis on international relations. I hope to attend law or business school after graduation. I’ve found Princeton to be an amazing place, in no small part due to the people that I have met here, and it struck me when I first got onto campus that so many people were experiencing similar challenges in acclimating to college life, especially the stress of academics and competition. I think that working to change the way that people look at failure, stress, and mental health is one of the best ways we can make Princeton an easier transition as well as a more open community. Outside the classroom, I am involved in PPP as well as undergraduate research, including the Peer Review Board of the Princeton Undergraduate Research Journal. If you have any questions or concerns about adjusting to Princeton, or any of the topics under the scope of the Project, feel free to reach out to me and let’s talk!
Grace Lee '21
Hi everyone! My name is Grace Lee, and I’m a junior from Seoul, South Korea. In addition serving on the PPP, I am on the board of Pace Council of Civil Values, design for the Nassau Weekly, and serve as a Davis IC leader. I am in the Sociology department with acute interest in how humans interact with each other and form communities. As a member of PPP, I hope to contribute in creating a community that supports, inspires, and most importantly celebrates one another regardless of the end outcome. I am excited to generate positive, active dialogue about students’ experiences and discover common threads that bring us together as one community. My experience studying and living alone in the US, more than 6,000 miles away from home, has been wildly exciting, yet daunting. However, I usually don’t share the unglamorous, “weak" moments of unexpected setbacks. Through PPP, I hope to amplify narratives that reveal more diverse definitions of success on campus and in life. Please feel free reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
Founding Committee 2014-15
Billy Arendt '16
Hi everyone! I’m Billy Arendt from Houston, Texas. I’m a junior majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering and playing on Princeton’s varsity baseball group leader working with Habitat for Humanity for the past two years. Other than my passion for service, I have a deep love for connecting with people. Since my first day on campus, I felt overwhelming anxiety about my adequacy as a Princeton student coupled with my performance as a student athlete. As I slowly developed friendships in college, I found that my feelings were mutual among my peers. Once I realized this, things didn’t get easier, but I understood that in our difficult struggles we learn things that the classroom could never teach us. My perspective has changed! I’m excited to be part of the Princeton Perspective Project, and I hope that we embrace this opportunity. As we get to know more about the experiences of others, we will deepen our sense of community. This project serves as a safe space for expression, please help make Princeton a more understanding and open place.
Deana Hamlin '17
Hey! I'm Deana from Virginia and a sophomore in Rocky College. I'm a prospective Woodrow Wilson School major and plan to attend law school after my undergraduate education. I’m a big proponent of service-learning and passionate about projects that enhance a community by inspiring a change in its members. That’s exactly what PPP does; it sets a precedent for more realistic expectations and encourages us to place value in our failures to propel us to success. And most importantly, it builds a community that inspires this change, so “effortless perfection” is no longer an individual battle. On campus, I'm involved with organizations that have service and community enrichment at their core-- I am co-president of the Pace Council for Civic Values (PCCV), a Community Action leader, and a volunteer for GetSET. Also, I'm president of the a cappella group Off the Record and a member of Princeton Faith and Action (PFA). I’m proud to work with the PPP team because I believe its purpose is essential to Princeton’s campus, especially to enrich our community of students, faculty and administration.
Isabella Lloyd-Damnjanovic '17
Hello everyone! I'm Isabella, and I'm a sophomore from Los Angeles planning to declare the Woodrow Wilson School as my major. My dream is to work in social justice, particularly on issues of gender and income equality and homelessness. I'm also interested in philosophy and learning languages. On campus I am a member of Forbes College, a SHARE associate peer, a Writing Center fellow, and a member of the Princeton Women's Mentorship Program. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to help combat the destructive culture of 'effortless perfection' here at Princeton that teaches us to constantly measure ourselves against our peers, devalue our own successes, and hide our feelings of inadequacy, our struggles and our failures. Join us in being part of the change!
Janet Adelola '17
Hey! I'm Janet and a sophomore in Mathey College. I'm involved in many community service projects on campus as well as Princeton Faith and Action. I am interested in biomedical engineering, particularly prostethics. I would love to be able to find a great intersection between my interest in biomedical engineering and global health. I'm so excited to be apart of this project because I think it will succeed in changing the destructive aspects of our culture at Princeton. It will help make our environment a safer and more encouraging space where students won't feel pressured to be perfect and will be more open to share about their struggles and downfalls.
Katie Breen '15
Thanks so much for visiting the website! I'm Katie, and I am a senior in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. I am grateful to a variety of mentors who have helped me through the tough times at school. By broadcasting the pitfalls of "effortless perfection" and sharing stories, I can't wait to see how PPP provides a collective mentoring body, with Princeton students learning from one another. I am an Orange Key Tour Guide, and I studied abroad in Kenya last semester and spent the summer doing senior thesis research in the National Forests of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.
Marie Brooks '15
Hi! I'm a senior studying mechanical engineering, dreaming of designing cars (the faster the better, obviously). I'm on the Princeton Racing Electric team, and I'm an executive officer for Princeton Faith and Action. I'm so grateful to get to work on this project - I have personally experienced both the pain of feeling isolated by failure, and the incredible strength that came from opening up about my struggles and realizing that every single person on this campus had a similar story. I hope that together we can transform Princeton to create a culture of openness and honesty and a community that seeks to truly take care of each other.
Mary Heath Manning '17
Hey everyone! I'm Mary Heath. I am a prospective Italian major, and I have dedicated much of my education to the study of languages. I hope to study law after finishing my undergraduate degree. Because of my passion for justice, equality, and language, I am extraordinarily excited about the PPP. Justice and equality are key to this project because there are often misperceptions of confidence, intelligence, etc. at Princeton. Language is equally as important to this initiative because the ways in which students discuss these issues will play a huge role in the impact this project will have. No one on this campus is perfect; each student has failed to succeed in some area, felt down about social standing, and seen himself as inadequate in comparison to his peers. We hope to create something that will allow Princetonians to embrace their imperfections. With your help, I foresee great change coming from this project!
Max Rogers '16
My name is Max Rogers and I’m a junior majoring in Economics. I’m on the varsity wrestling team and a leader for Princeton Faith and Action. I joined this project because I was challenged in balancing academics and athletics in my first year at Princeton, and I want all Princeton students to feel that they have a group of people to reach out to for any challenges they are facing. Every student at Princeton has a unique set of gifts and talents, and I believe this project can help all on campus feel more confident in their own abilities.
Nusrat Ahmed '17
Hey everyone! I'm Nusrat, and I'm a sophomore in Mathey College. I am very passionate about working with street children on providing them a platform for self-expression. On campus I'm secretary of the 2017 Class Council, member of the cappella groups Umqombothi and Off the Record, and a vounteer with LEAP. I am so excited to be a part of the PPP team as I think its intended goal to break down the concept of 'effortless perfection' and paint failure to be something that's a part of life is incredibly important on a campus such as ours. I hope PPP can help us understand that it's okay to ask for help, to fail, to not be the best, and to not measure our success and use of time by the validation of others.
Shawon Jackson '15
Hi everyone! I'm Shawon, and I'm a senior in the Woodrow Wilson School. I'm passionate about educational equity and social justice, and I'm thrilled to be part of the PPP team. I've had too many conversations with friends about how they seem to be the only one who doesn't have it "together". That simply isn't true. All of us - no matter how we appear on the surface - deal with struggles. With this project, I hope to help Princetonians realize that it's OK, and actually useful, to fail; you can't have success without it. In addition to this project, I'm president of USG, an RCA in Forbes, and a dancer with diSiac. Please reach out if you have any questions or feedback!
Sophie Wang '16
Hello! My name is Sophie and I am a junior from the Bay Area studying Molecular Biology. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this project, and I owe a large part of my involvement here to the Women's Mentorship Program.
I joined the project because I find "perspective" to be one of the most captivating and meaningful words in the English language. It represents the need to re-examine the way we perceive success and failure both in ourselves and in others--to realize that neither tells the complete story.
I think the key to gaining perspective is something so magically simple yet sometimes difficult to do: opening up. It really is a domino effect. If you open up to even one person, perhaps they might realize that they are not struggling alone and do the same. I truly believe that together we can create a campus that embraces our setbacks, and values our success. Together we can make Princeton an even more open and honest community to be a part of!