The Allwin Award was established in memory of James Allwin T’76 and honors recent graduates who use their knowledge, skills, time, and resources to make a difference in the lives of those in need.
Recognized for their community engagement, service, and commitment to living out Tuck’s mission to better the world through business, four alumni were recently named recipients of the Tuck Class of 1976 Allwin Community Service Award.
Selected by the Tuck Center for Business, Government & Society (CBGS), the cohort of awardees includes Silas Wong T’19 MD’19, Prakriti Rajan Babu T’18, Tom Allin T’17, and Nell Achtmeyer T’16. The award was established in memory of James Allwin T’76 and honors recent graduates who use their knowledge, skills, time, and resources to make a difference in the lives of those in need.
Through this award as well as center-led programs and initiatives like Tuck Gives—which provides funding for MBA students to intern with nonprofit or public sector organizations—CBGS strives to empower Tuck students and alumni to leverage their business education as a force for good.
Recipients of the Allwin Award from the two most recent Tuck classes, the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021, will be named at a later date.
A second generation American whose parents immigrated from China, Silas Wong T’19 MED’19 says his family worked hard during his childhood and also received strong support from their community.
“We benefitted from programs that addressed food insecurity and affordable housing which gave us a lot of opportunity,” shares Wong. “For myself and my two brothers, that support provided a launching point for us to do whatever we wanted to do in life.”
The experience motivated Wong’s desire to give back and his interest in the sciences steered him in the direction of health care. After enrolling in the MD program at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, he learned a lot from mentors about the complex problems that surround the health care system.
“I was learning about a whole spectrum of issues impacting the access and quality of care that I knew could be better,” he says. “It encouraged me to broaden my scope beyond direct patient care to address some of these challenges.”
As a dual MD/MBA graduate of Geisel and the Tuck School, Wong says his business education helps him navigate the challenges he sees every day as a resident physician in the Yale Emergency Medicine program.
“Overcrowding is a major problem for emergency room care,” says Wong. “It delays diagnosis and treatment, stretches resources, and is really detrimental to both patient care and provider wellness.”
In this environment which Wong describes as “controlled chaos,” he frequently reflects on key lessons learned at Tuck.
“I think about Professor Joe Hall’s queueing theory and how to apply those strategies to reduce wait times,” says Wong, who also cites the influence of Professor Joe Gerakos’ lessons in Managerial Economics.
“Health care is a team sport with a lot of stakeholders and very intricately co-dependent pieces that mesh together to make sure that the right care is delivered to the right person at the right time.”
After beginning her career as an engineer, Prakriti Rajan Babu T’18 felt compelled to pursue opportunities that aligned more closely with her interests in civic engagement and social impact.
A friend introduced her to Teach for India and strongly encouraged her to apply for a teaching fellowship that would take her to Mumbai, teaching second and third grade in one of the nation’s largest low-income communities.
“I still consider the two years of fellowship to be the single most life-changing experience I’ve had,” says Rajan Babu. “It really shaped my perspective, my worldview, my values, and how I want to contribute to the world.”
She says her time at Tuck instilled a strong business foundation and provided access to experiential learning opportunities that enriched her understanding of the unique challenges communities face in different geographic and cultural contexts. This included working with a nonprofit in Cuba for her First-Year-Project (FYP) and participating in an OnSite global consulting project with the Ministry of Education in Peru.
After Tuck, Rajan Babu joined Bridgewater Associates before landing her current role as COO at Teach For Vietnam, where she is responsible for organizational development, strategy and planning, and fundraising. She is grateful to continue working for an organization that gives young leaders grassroots-level experience addressing some of the key challenges within the education ecosystem.
“In Vietnam, we see a lot of issues regarding access to quality education where there are stark differences in outcomes in urban versus rural schools,” says Rajan Babu, adding that the global COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified these problems of inequity. “Seventy percent of our students don’t have the resources to access online education.”
“It makes me think of Tuck’s mission of developing wise, decisive leaders who better the world through business. There are so many complex challenges with no silver bullet answers,” she says. “Knowing there is always hope for evolution and progress is what keeps me going.”
As a real estate project manager at Self-Help Ventures Fund, Tom Allin T’17 is working to make home ownership and commercial development easier for communities in need.
Allin says his career path was influenced in part by his brother and grandfather, who are both architects.
“I have not received or cultivated the talent that goes into designing buildings,” jokes Allin. “But I’ve always had a strong interest in the built environment as a really powerful tool for impacting the health and vibrancy of communities.”
Finding opportunities to support rural development, particularly in his native Mississippi, has always been important to Allin. He chose Tuck for its strong foundation in general management principles and the many opportunities it offered to specialize both within and beyond the curriculum.
As a CBGS Fellow, Allin completed an independent study with a real estate development firm that was using innovative tax credit financing to renovate an old “Ice House” building and breathe new life into downtown Roanoke, Virginia.
“Learning all that I did about the tax credit financing space was critical for me,” says Allin. “It’s a huge part of the work I’m doing now at Self Help and it made me a much more competitive candidate for my position.”
For someone who spends a lot of time thinking about how to build, sustain, and grow thriving communities, Allin says his success is a credit to the tight-knit community he experienced at Tuck.
“Tuck is a place where I had the opportunity to not only hone and build my business skills, but do it in a small, intimate atmosphere that enhanced learning and encouraged the development of lifelong friendships,” shares Allin. “There are a lot of special intangibles you get from those relationships that have manifested and will continue to manifest over the course of my career.”
Nell Achtmeyer’s interest in addressing climate and sustainability issues grew during her time as an environmental educator in Oregon where she led the West Linn Wilsonville School District’s sustainability initiatives and green building efforts for its Capital Bond program.
The experience prompted Achtmeyer to think about ways she could make an impact outside of K-12 education, in the private sector. Enrolling at Tuck was an opportunity to complement her background in education with a business management and strategy toolkit.
“I took advantage of a lot of programs connected to climate change, the environment, and society,” says Achtmeyer, a former CBGS Fellow and managing director of the Tuck Social Venture Fund. “The Center did such a great job bringing in alumni who were advancing and operationalizing environmental and social impact strategies.”
One of those visiting alumni was Neil “Dutch” Kuyper T’92, president and CEO of Parker Ranch, a 130,000-acre cattle operation on Hawaii’s Big Island. The introduction to Kuyper led to a summer internship at Parker Ranch where Achtmeyer helped develop a case study that explores the dynamics of Hawaii’s electric utility and the ranch’s opportunities given its vast renewable energy resources.
She joined Parker Ranch’s corporate development team after graduation where she managed projects focused on agriculture, community development, and large-scale alternative land use. After nearly three years in Hawaii, Achtmeyer felt the pull back to New England where she discovered Native, a public benefit corporation that partners with businesses like Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar & Company, and Everlane to implement strategies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve climate action goals.
As Tuck students continue pursuing their interest in topics like renewable energy and climate change, Achtmeyer sees a growing number of corporate brands prioritizing solutions to these challenges.
“At Native, we see the demand for high-quality carbon offset because of ambitious corporate climate goals,” says Achtmeyer. “It is encouraging to see how many companies and brands are showing up to invest in these types of interventions through projects we are bringing to the market.”