Graduate School

Hallsmith and Wright Recognized for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate Students

During a year when outstanding contributions were many, the Graduate Student Council selected two staff members to honor and thank for their work in support of graduate students and graduate education at Brown.

Maija HallsmithMaija Hallsmith was selected for the Wilson-DeBlois Award and Eileen Caffrey Wright for the Bates-Clapp Award.

As the Program Assistant for Diversity Initiatives at the Graduate School, Maija Hallsmith is recognized for being an outstanding mentor, advocate, and pillar of positivity and support for the graduate student community. 

She has played a pivotal role in supporting, recruiting, and retaining graduate students of color and helping graduate students broadly handle the complications of graduate student life. Additionally, Hallsmith has taken on greater responsibilities since January, while a committee works to find a replacement for the Associate Dean of Diversity Initiatives role, with whom Hallsmith will work.

Hallsmith says, “I am so grateful for all the opportunities and learning experiences I have had working in the Graduate School. I have truly grown as a professional and a person, but there is nothing more important to my job here than the relationships and friendships I have made with the graduate students. I am proud every single day of the work I do for such an intelligent, gracious, well-deserving community of students."

This award commemorates the first recipients of Doctor of Philosophy degrees at Brown in 1889, George Grafton Wilson and Austen K. DeBlois.

Eileen Caffrey WrightEileen Caffrey Wright is honored for her significant programmatic contributions to the Global Health Initiative. As Program Manager, her work provides support to the Brown community and its efforts to solve trans-national health issues. Caffrey Wright is tirelessly devoted to the students of the Global Health Initiative and has proven to be instrumental in facilitating a smooth transition for international students joining the Brown community. Her kindness and dedication have led numerous students to choose Brown and find success in the Global Health Initiative. 

Caffrey Wright shares that she feels privileged to work with a group of student scholars from Kenya and the Philippines who are dedicated to strengthening HIV research capacity in their home countries. “They are all doing such important work, and it is critical to their success that they feel part of the graduate community and connected to all the resources available at Brown,” she says. 

“Being nominated for the Bates-Clapp award this year, with all the challenges brought on by COVID-19, is especially meaningful to me because it affirms the students I work with have felt supported, despite not meeting in person and connecting in all ways we usually would,” says Caffrey Wright.

The award is named for the first women to receive master’s degrees at Brown University, Louise Prosser Bates and Lucia Maria Clapp.