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Rachael Perrotta, the Class of 2024 Outstanding Senior Award winner, is on a pursuit—to help foster understanding.

Left to right: Anu Pardeshi, Vanderbilt Alumni Association Board president; Emma Kate Clarke, Student Alumni Board member; Outstanding Senior winner Rachael Perrotta; Chancellor Daniel Diermeier (Sam Jordan/Vanderbilt)

Whether reporting issues as editor-in-chief of , creating avenues to help and educate the campus community about sexual assault through the Wond’ry’s Social Changemakers program, or deciphering legal issues in human rights and international law as a Global Summer Fellow, Perrotta is using her skills and drive to put a spotlight on pressing societal issues.

Perrotta and nine other finalists from the Class of 2024 were celebrated during halftime of the Vanderbilt Homecoming football game on Nov. 4.

The Outstanding Senior Award is one of the highest honors an undergraduate student can receive at Vanderbilt and recognizes a senior who exemplifies the values of the university community through leadership, service and passion.

“I was really honored even to be nominated, just because of the caliber of students here and especially hearing more about the nominees,” Perrotta, a Rhode Island native, said. “It was really special for me that other people considered me among that group of people.”

EYE ON THE LAW

Perrotta is triple majoring in cognitive studies, political science, and communication of science and technology. These majors, combined with an interest in securing Title IX and First Amendment rights, has led the self-characterized “type A” personality to apply to law school.

Perrotta credits a constitutional law class taught by , assistant dean of undergraduate education and director of pre-law advising for the College of Arts and Science, for sparking her law school plans.

“I loved reading the texts. I loved reading about the cases. I loved the type of discussion we had in class. I felt like I was really being challenged and learning to think and write differently, not just improve my current way of writing,” Perrotta said.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

The Vanderbilt Hustler’s editor-in-chief for two years, Perrotta has managed more than 250 students and written more than 100 articles.

Perrotta said she focused largely on political stories, but she is most proud of the Hustler staff’s extensive coverage of  and the issues surrounding the tragic incident.

The Vanderbilt Hustler editors attended the Fall National College Media Convention on Oct. 30, 2023. (Submitted photo)

“That reporting was very challenging for me and our staff, as you can imagine,” she said. “But I’m really proud of the way we covered that to its fullest extent and helped create context and community for Vandy students.”

Beyond writing, the legal side of her editor-in-chief role is what she enjoys most, Perrotta said.

“As an editor, I’ve really gotten to experience the technical side, like dealing with conflict of interest and anonymity in interviews, and I’ve loved it,” she said. “It’s the parts of journalism that sometimes drive people away from being editor.”

ADVOCACY AND EDUCATION

Perrotta also has dedicated her time to sexual assault awareness and prevention by researching the topic as part of the Wond’ry’s Map the System competition and the Wond’ry’s Social Changemakers program. Perrotta collaborated with the university to develop a campus-wide sexual assault safety app to help students better understand the Title IX process and more easily access safety information. The app has not yet launched.

She also works as a research assistant with the Research on Individuals, Politics and Society lab studying the effectiveness of sexual assault prevention education.

“ is amazing, and one of the projects I’m working on in her lab focuses on reactions and results of sexual assault awareness, education and prevention in workplaces,” Perrotta said.

STRONG SUPPORT

Perrotta said she’s thankful for the sense of belonging she’s felt from friends and faculty since starting at Vanderbilt.

“I’m very fortunate to have made a group of friends who really support me through my ups and
downs here at Vanderbilt,” Perrotta said. “I’d also like to thank my parents for not only listening to me outline all of my color-coordinated plans, but also for offering good advice about those plans!”

OUTSTANDING SENIOR NOMINEES

Here’s a look at the other nine Outstanding Senior nominees:

Class of 2024 Outstanding Senior nominees were, left to right: Amaris-Lynn Joubert, Angela Yan, Caroline Rutigliano, Danait Isaac, Omari Rivers, Sung Jun Jeon, Sky Hooley, Anu Pardeshi, Vanderbilt Alumni Association Board president, Emma Kate Clarke, Student Alumni Board member, Rachael Perrotta, Yunah Song and Vikki Tang. Chancellor Daniel Diermeier, third from right, attended the ceremony honoring the nominees and the winner on Nov. 4, 2023.
Danait Isaac, Class of 2024 Outstanding Senior nominee (Submitted photo)

Danait Isaac
Ѳǰ:
Medicine, Health, and Society and Gender and Sexuality Studies

Danait Isaac is double majoring in medicine, health, and society and gender and sexuality studies with a minor in environmental and sustainability studies. She is passionate about cultivating racial and health equity and creating inclusive spaces with the help of the great outdoors. She works on the diversity, equity and inclusion committee for  to address the historical and financial barriers to outdoor spaces for BIPOC students. She also created the “Blackness and the Great Outdoors” initiative for the , offering free outdoor recreational trips spanning from paddleboarding to horseback riding for Black students, faculty and staff.

As the daughter of two immigrants, Isaac said she understands the unique challenges that first-generation college students face at a rigorous university. She organizes programming to provide academic and social support for Ethiopian and Eritrean students.

Sky Hooley, Class of 2024 Outstanding Senior nominee (Submitted photo)

Sky Hooley
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Sky Hooley is majoring in sociology and triple minoring in business, data science and Spanish. Over four years at Vanderbilt, Sky has come to learn the importance of creative expression and finding their voice and is doing this as the station manager of  and host of “Sky’s the Limit.” Hooley is also a campus tour guide. Hooley said they cherish the incredible friendships they’ve created at Vanderbilt. After graduation, they plan to use the skills they’ve cultivated to work in the music industry discovering new artists, especially those of underrepresented identities.

Vikki Tang, Class of 2024 Outstanding Senior nominee (Submitted photo)

 

 

 

 

 

Vikki Tang
Ѳǰ:Mathematics & Economics

Vikki Tang is double majoring in mathematics and economics and double minoring in scientific computing and business. At Vanderbilt, she is the president of  and an editor with . She is particularly keen on fostering entrepreneurial ventures that bolster eco-friendly consumer practices. Tang is from Guangzhou, China, and this is her third year in the United States. She said she is thoroughly enjoying her time at Vanderbilt.

Amaris-Lynn Joubert, Class of 2024 Outstanding Senior nominee (Submitted photo)

 

 

Amaris-Lynn Joubert
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Amaris-Lynn Joubert is majoring in psychology and double minoring in history and African American and diaspora studies. Joubert said she is passionately devoted to her work in the . She is advocating for college-level classes and science labs in maximum-security prisons. After graduation, Joubert plans to pursue a career in higher education in the prison space.

Angela Yan, Class of 2024 Outstanding Senior nominee (Submitted photo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Yan
Majors: Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies and Public Policy Studies

Angela Yan double majors in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies and Public Policy Studies. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master of public health degree and work as a public health researcher focusing on reproductive justice in Asian American communities. She is the head resident for McGill Hall, a co-founder of The , a site leader for Alternative Spring Break and a facilitator for the K.C. Potter Center’s Queer and Asian Affinity Group. Yan said she is motivated to create spaces where students from marginalized backgrounds feel empowered to speak up and grow with their communities.

Caroline Rutigliano, Class of 2024 Outstanding Senior nominee (Submitted photo)

 

 

 

 

Caroline Rutigliano
Majors:
 neuroscience and medicine, health and society

Caroline Rutigliano is a neuroscience and medicine, health and society double major and a teaching assistant in the sociology department. She is passionate about reproductive rights and mental health and serves as co-president of  for Planned Parenthood and events chair for . Through these experiences she has deeply valued the opportunity to be an advocate and decrease stigma surrounding difficult topics on campus. She was a VUceptor her junior year and said that mentorship holds a special place in her heart. After graduation, she plans to work as a health care consultant with a long-term goal of expanding health care accessibility and equity.

Sung Jun Jeon, Class of 2024 Outstanding Senior nominee (Submitted photo)

 

 

 

Sung Jeon
Ѳǰ:
human and organizational development and medicine, health and society

Sung Jeon is majoring in human and organizational development and medicine, health and society. Jeon is actively involved in the business community on campus, serving as a recruitment committee member for  and a past executive board member of Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity and . Beyond the business community, Jeon is passionate about helping the next generation through educational-based mentorship programs like Teach for America’s  He is a financial literacy tutor in Metro Nashville Public Schools, and he is a debate coach at the University School of Nashville.

Sung will be working as a consultant after graduation. He aspires to start a nonprofit organization that focuses on addressing educational equity issues with a community-based mentoring and debate program.

Yunah Song, Class of 2024 Outstanding Senior nominee (Submitted photo)


Yunah Song
Ѳǰ:
cognitive studies and child development

Yunah Song is double majoring in cognitive studies and child development. During her time at Vanderbilt, she has served as a resident adviser for two years and is now the head resident of Crawford House. Song is a Peabody Scholar, tour guide and co-founder and co-president of the fiber arts club .

In addition to her on-campus involvements, Song is a program co-lead for the Down Syndrome achievement center, , a math tutor and a child life volunteer at TriStar Centennial Children’s Hospital. Through these organizations, she strives to foster communities within our campus and build connections between Vanderbilt and the greater Nashville area. After graduation, Song hopes to attend medical school and become a pediatric physician.

Omari Rivers, Class of 2024 Outstanding Senior nominee (Submitted photo)

 

 

Omari Rivers
Ѳǰ:human and organizational development

Omari Rivers is majoring in human and organizational development. He is president of Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity, and a tour guide. Previously, he was a member of a social impact nonprofit consulting organization called  and was a VUceptor. After graduation he will be working at a management consulting firm in Atlanta.



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