Eight Princeton student-athletes have been named finalists for the 2022 Art Lane ’34 Award, which is presented annually to undergraduate student-athletes in recognition of selfless contribution to sport and society.
The Art Lane ’34 Award will be presented at the Gary Walters ’67 Princeton Varsity Club Awards Banquet on Thursday, May 19th starting at 5:00 p.m. ET. For more information on the 2022 banquet, click here.
Meet the 2022 finalists!
ELIJAH BARNES ’22 | MEN’S BASKETBALL
Elijah Barnes, a 2022 Ivy League champion with Princeton men’s basketball, has been an inspirational servant leader on and off-campus during his time at Princeton.
Barnes spent a summer abroad teaching and mentoring young students in Shanghai, and has supported low-income high school students through the Princeton University Preparatory Program (PUPP). He has impacted the local community throughout his career, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, teaching English to immigrants in Philadelphia, helping new citizens register to vote, and facilitating a book drive that secured nearly 5,000 books for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer and Monmouth counties.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death in summer 2020, Barnes found his voice as a leader and activist for racial justice, marching on the front lines and speaking at large public rallies and small focused discussions, alike.
Barnes, a history major from Freehold Borough, N.J., was recently recognized with the University’s Spirit of Princeton Award, which honors undergraduates for positive contributions to campus life.
ALEX CHARLES ’22 | MEN’S SOCCER
A team captain and two-time All-Ivy honoree as a defender, Alex Charles helped lead Princeton men’s soccer to two Ivy League championships in his three full seasons.
Off the pitch, Charles serves as a fellow in the Princeton Writing Center and mentor coordinator for Academic Success Today, where he tutors local students in need of academic or social guidance. Additionally, he is Co Editor-in-Chief of the Tortoise Literary Magazine and President of the Princeton Charter Club.
Charles, also a 2022 Spirit of Princeton Award recipient, has taken a leading role within the team to bring soccer to underserved communities, while also spearheading team efforts to support the homeless population in New Jersey. Departmentally, he is a founding member of the Black Student-Athlete Collective (BSAC), a student led group working to enhance the Black student-athlete experience at Princeton.
Charles, from Raleigh, N.C., is a student in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs with certificates in statistics and machine learning.
ORNELLA EBONGUE ’22 | WOMEN’S OPEN ROWING
Ornella Ebongue picked up the sport of rowing upon her arrival to Princeton, but wasted no time in making her impact felt on the water and in the community.
Ebongue has been instrumental in the implementation and success of Princeton Rowing’s STEM to Stern program, which provides local underserved middle school students access to the sport of rowing and STEM curriculum. Additionally, she has served her residential college community as a student assistant, helping to support and promote civic engagement opportunities. Ebongue participated in the PVC-sponsored Coach for College program in the summer of 2019, where she taught mathematics, life skills and sports to underprivileged youth in rural Vietnam.
After working as a lifeguard and realizing she was saving children of color at a disproportionately high rate, Ebongue took action, helping to implement swimming programs in the Greater Boston area that provides children of color ongoing access to free swimming lessons.
Ebongue is an Operations Research and Financial Engineering major from Milton, Mass.
NIKO GJAJA ’22 | MEN’S VOLLEYBALL
Niko Gjaja, a team captain and setter, helped Princeton men’s volleyball to two EIVA Conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances during his career.
As president of the Varsity Student-Athlete Advisory Council (VSAAC) this past year, Gjaja helped strengthen the partnership with Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and implement the “Tiger Talks” Lunch and Learn series, helping coaches and student-athletes share culture-building best practices. In this leadership role, he also represented Princeton at Ivy League Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) meetings.
Additionally, Gjaja served as President of Athlete Ally, helping to build the broadest coalition in the history of the Princeton Chapter. He also served on the Steering Committee for the MAVRIC Project (Men’s Allied Voices for a Respectful and Inclusive Community), and enhanced mental health programming through his role as a Student-Athlete Wellness Leader and founding member of Princeton’s Chapter of Morgan’s Message.
Gjaja, Wilmette, Ill., is a student in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.
MADDIE HAMILTON ’22 | SOFTBALL
Maddie Hamilton, a 2022 Ivy champion and two-time captain and outfielder for Princeton softball, exemplified service and leadership during her time at Princeton. Hamilton is a multi-time recipient of the softball program’s Kathy Kobler Garrett ’91 Memorial Award, which recognizes that member whose generosity, positive attitude and energy make her essential to the success of the team.
Off the field, Hamilton has been a three-year member of the Varsity Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (VSAAC) and a Student-Athlete Wellness Leader, serving as a strong advocate for student-athlete mental health. She has also been an active member of Athlete Ally.
Hamilton has volunteered as a counselor with Camp Kesem, a free weeklong camp supporting children whose parents or caretakers are affected by cancer, with a focus on personal wellbeing, empowerment, and team building. She also spent a summer abroad working for the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children in Costa Rica.
Hamilton is an ecology and evolutionary biology major from Corona, Calif.
GRACE LANOUETTE ’22 | WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD
Grace Lanouette is an All-Ivy sprinter for Princeton women’s track and field. She ranks top ten all-time for Princeton in three outdoor and two indoor sprint events.
Lanouette has been a leader within SPEAR – Students for Prison Education, Activism & Reform – a student organization committed to centering and uplifting the voices of those directly impacted by the carceral state. Additionally, she has helped facilitate peer tutoring for the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, and worked as a research assistant for several campus groups including the European Roma Rights Center, Office of Religious Life and the Center for Science and Technology.
Within her team, Lanouette served as a Student-Athlete Wellness Leader and as a Team Activity Coordinator, helping to facilitate team bonding and growth opportunities and promote a culture of collaboration and inclusivity. She also assumed a leading role in the program’s ongoing partnership with the Smith Family Foundation in Trenton.
From Devon, Pa., Lanouette is majoring in History with a certificate in African-American Studies.
MARY MURPHY ’22 | WOMEN’S LACROSSE
Mary Murphy is a career starter and four-time Ivy League champion for Princeton women’s lacrosse. She is an Academic All-Ivy honoree and was twice named to the Ivy League Tournament All-Tournament Team.
Murphy’s commitment to service was on full display during her two years as Co-President of the Student-Athlete Service Council (SASC), helping lead various initiatives including Reading with the Tigers, Bridges sandwich drive and “D-Hall Hands of Deck,” a weekly volunteer effort assisting the Princeton dining halls. She also spearheaded two Valentine’s Day outreach efforts in support of a low-income housing center in Trenton, N.J.
Murphy has been an active volunteer with Best Buddies, Harlem Lacrosse and the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. Additionally, she was the lead student organizer for Athletes in Actions’ “Teams & Toys” event, which saw 200 student-athletes band together to deliver nearly 300 gifts across several community organizations.
Murphy, from Amawalk, N.Y., is a student in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs with a certificate in Latin American Studies.
ELLE RUGGIERO ’22 | WOMEN’S SQUASH
Elle Ruggiero, a captain and two-time All-American for Princeton women’s squash, helped lead the Tigers to a top-five national ranking in each of her three full seasons.
A two-time College Squash Association Scholar-Athlete, Ruggiero has dedicated herself to service both on campus and abroad. She was a member of the First College Council, Athlete Ally and Student-Athlete Wellness Leaders. She has also volunteered as a tutor with the FUTURO Program, providing academic support and mentorship to first and second-generation high school students.
Ruggiero has interned with Child Family Health International, the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the United States Agency for International Development. For her impactful work across these organizations, Ruggiero was awarded the Henry Richardson Labouisse ’26 Prize, which funds international civic service projects. She will spend the next year in Brazil studying maternal mortality during the Zika epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic.
Ruggiero, from Malvern, Pa., is studying in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs with certificates in Spanish and Latin American Studies.