Newman Prize: Madeline Buchowski '23

Newman Prize: Madeline Buchowski '23

During assembly on Monday, March 6, Madeline Buchowski '23 described her recent visit to Washington, D.C., where she met Amanda Nguyen, a highly respected social entrepreneur, civil rights activist, and the founder and CEO of Rise, a non-governmental civil rights organization.

Madeline is the most recent recipient of the Newman Prize, established in 1992 by Mark Vittert '65. The prize, named for the late Eric Newman '28 (one of our school's very first students), gives one member of the junior class a chance to meet with a famous American of their choice. 

For Madeline, that meant Nguyen, a woman she calls one of her biggest role models and inspirations.

Nguyen is a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, recognized for her work advocating for sexual assault survivors' rights through legislative change. She played a pivotal role in drafting bills on behalf of the survivors of sexual assault at the United Nations and United States Congress. Since then, the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights passed in Congress and the Survivors’ Resolution passed through the UN General Assembly — both unanimously. More recently, Nguyen's 2021 viral video ignited a wave of collective action in the anti-Asian hate movement, and in 2022, she was named a TIME Woman of the Year.

"What I admire most about Amanda is that she is unrelentingly determined to change the systems that fail her and others," Madeline said, adding that she was inspired by her visit with Nguyen to consider majors in sociology and human rights when she gets to college next fall.

"In the end, what Amanda taught me is that the things we hold to be unchangeable, unfair, and daunting are not, in fact, untouchable," Madeline said. "Motivated by rage, Amanda made tangible changes to rules that dictate our country and our world. It all came down to caring, deeply, about what she was doing."

In addition to her activism, Nguyen, who studied astrophysics at Harvard, is currently an astronaut-scientist candidate at the Astronautical Science Institute.

Nguyen will be the keynote speaker during this year's Young Women's Leadership Conference, which will be hosted by Burroughs at 7 pm Thursday, March 30. Nguyen will also speak to students during assembly on Friday, March 31.

Applications for next year's Newman Prize, open to current juniors, will be due after spring break. To be considered, juniors must submit a brief application listing the five living Americans they'd like to meet and are then interviewed by a small panel of alums.

Watch Madeline's full remarks and view photos from her D.C. trip below.

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