-written by @erinboogie
Princeton University has named its first black valedictorian in the school’s 274-year history.
Nicholas Johnson was an operation and financial engineering concentrator, according to Princeton‘s news release. Princeton describes the ORFE program as providing “strong technical grounding in statistics, stochastics, and optimization.” As if that doesn’t sound impressive enough, in addition to his major, he also pursued certificates in statistics and machine learning, applied and computational mathematics, and applications of computing.
Johnson’s senior thesis involved a community-based preventative health intervention in reducing obesity in Canada using high-performance algorithms.
After graduation, he will spend the summer as an intern for the D.E. Shaw Group and begin his Ph.D. studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Fall. Previous internships for Johnson include developing and implementing a novel optimization technique at Oxford University.
Johnson’s favorite memories at Princeton are those “of time spent with close friends and classmates engaging in stimulating discussions — often late at night — about our beliefs, the cultures and environments in which we were raised, the state of the world, and how we plan on contributing positively to it in our own unique way.”
When he has free time, Johnson likes to play basketball, workout, and play chess. He is heavily involved with Princeton’s chapter of the Tau Beta Pi, the only engineering honor society and the second oldest honor society in the United States.
Princeton will hold a virtual commencement ceremony on May 31, 2020, and an in-person ceremony will be held sometime in May of 2021. Johnson, and salutatorian Grace Sommers, will participate in the virtual commencement ceremony.