This prize was created by family and friends in memory of Catherine Medalia Johannet, a Medicine, Literature and Society major, CC’15. Consistent with Catherine’s interest in literature and its use in effecting change in society, this prize will be awarded annually to a Comparative Literature & Society or Medicine, Literature & Society major who has written a distinguished senior thesis that demonstrates the highest academic rigor, creativity and engagement with ethical questions. The winner will be chosen by a faculty committee consisting of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the Director of the Medicine, Literature and Society major and two other faculty members associated with ICLS.

The Catherine Medalia Johannet Senior Thesis Prize Winners:


Emma Kenny-Pessia

“Not a Genetic Panopticon, but a Genetic Highway: Using a Deleuzian Framework to Illuminate the Paradox of Freedom and Control in the Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing Sector”

The 2018 prize is awarded to 2 students:

Grace Alford-Hamburg

“#Criminal: Trump, Macron, and the Discourse of Deportability”

Josue Chavez

“Translation Aesthetics: Making Legible the Home-yet-to-come as

an Instance of the Event Before the Multiplication of Labor”


Alexandra White

“Crisis, Place, Health, and Narrative in Oral Histories of Hurricane Katrina and the Chernobyl Disaster.”


Catherine Medalia Johannet Summer Intern Fellowship

The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society awards the Catherine Medalia Johannet Summer Fellowship annually to a CPLS or MLS major to support internships or volunteer work relevant to the field of literature and/or medical humanities.


Alondra Aguilar (CC’21) will be working with GlobeMed’s GROW internship in partnership with Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization (GWED-G). GlobeMed is a national organization that aims to find grass root health organizations throughout the world to partner with and support through fundraising, education, and awareness. The Columbia University chapter of GlobeMed is partnered with GWED-G in Gulu, Uganda, which was founded by women in the community to combat the immense cultural, economic, social and health effects of the war in Northern Uganda.


Daniella Apodaca will intern at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center as a legal assistant and translator from Spanish and French.

How to Apply

For a detailed criteria of the Catherine Medalia Johannet Summer Intern Fellowship, click here.

Application forms can be found here when they open in Spring 2020. The 2020 application deadline is April 30.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to this prize and to help with the creation of the Catherine Medalia Johannet Summer Internship to enable a Columbia undergraduate to work on a mentored project that uses literature to effect change in society, please follow this Donate link