Announcing the 2023/24 Trenton Arts Fellows

Sept. 7, 2023

Trenton Arts at Princeton is excited to welcome Avaneque Pennant, Charlotte Defriez, Jenia Marquez, Sydney Hwang, and Elena Milliken as the 2023/24 Trenton Arts fellows.

Each fellow will serve as the student leader for one of the four Saturday Morning Arts groups: Trenton Youth Dancers, Orchestra, Singers, and Theater. They will also work together to design the annual Arts Switcheroo Day in the spring.

Avaneque Pennant ’24 will serve as the student leader for Trenton Youth Dancers (TYD), working alongside director Rachel Schwartz and faculty fellow Rebecca Stenn. 

Pennant is a senior from Queens, NYC concentrating in African American studies on the race and public policy track. Originally introduced to performance at a young age while living in Jamaica, Pennant has continued to explore and develop her relationship with dance over the years. She is passionate about dance’s ability to promote expression, creativity, and self-care. On campus, Pennant has served as the president of DoroBucci Dance Company, which has afforded opportunities to choreograph and perform a wide variety of styles in front of audiences both on and off Princeton’s campus. Outside of dance, she enjoys bicycling, cooking, gardening and reading. Pennant is excited to be working with TYD this year! 

Charlotte Defriez ’26 will serve as the student leader for Trenton Youth Orchestra, working alongside TYO director Lou Chen and faculty fellow Anna Lim. Her fellowship is supported by the Gustavo Dudamel Foundation. 

Defriez is a sophomore from London, England, hoping to study philosophy with a minor in the humanities. She has been playing the violin since she was four years old, and developed a love for chamber music through her involvement in quartets and orchestras over the years.  She has been teaching violin for over five years, and is excited to continue doing so in her role as the TYO student leader this year. Outside TYO, Defriez is an avid member of Princeton University Sinfonia,  and also works at Richardson Auditorium, where she has the privilege of exploring all that goes on musically around campus. She spent her most recent summer studying in Copenhagen and subsequently interning at a school in Boston, where she also worked on her personal goal of reading at least five works by her favorite author, Virginia Woolf. Beyond academics and music, Defriez loves going on walks, especially with her dogs, reading a book, and finding new places to explore! You might find her studying in East Pyne, her favourite campus building, or huddling around coffee and cookies with friends in the Murray-Dodge Cafe. She is looking forward to continuing to expand the TYO community and seeing all that can be accomplished this year!

Jenia Marquez ’25 will serve as the student leader for Trenton Youth Singers (TYS), working alongside director Solon Snider Sway and faculty fellow Rochelle Ellis.

Marquez is a junior from New York City majoring in linguistics with minors in French and music theater/choral conducting. When not singing with TYS, she serves as the manager of the Glee Club and assistant music director of the Tigerlilies, and can often be found frantically waving her hands in the pit of a Princeton University Players show. She also spends time working as a French translator for the Princeton University Language Project, and contemplates if anyone really needs a motive or thesis anyway as a Writing Center fellow. After volunteering as a coach last year, she is so excited to return to TYS as their student leader. You can usually spot her in her natural habitat: hugging a stuffed animal while listening to showtunes and string quartets and drinking too much bubble tea.

Sydney Hwang ’24 and Elena Milliken ’26 will serve as the co-student leaders for Trenton Youth Theater (TYT), working alongside director Faith Iloka and faculty fellows Jane Cox, Shariffa Ali, and Tess James.

Hwang is from Claremont, California, majoring in English and pursuing certificates in creative writing, theater, and music theater. She discovered a passion for theater at Princeton and has been in productions with the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton Triangle Club, and Princeton University Players. She sings in Princeton’s Playhouse Choir. Last semester, Hwang studied classical acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, which further cemented her love for acting. She is ecstatic to be able to share her passion for theater with TYT.

Milliken is a Philly native and prospective anthropology major with minors in theater and Spanish. After years of being involved in theater in numerous ways, she is so excited for the chance to support TYT! At Princeton, Milliken is also co-technical director of Theatre Intime, a member of Students for Prison Education, Abolition and Reform, an advising fellow for Matriculate, and a lighting designer and actor. When not doing theater things, you can find her perusing Zillow and fantasizing about all the food she will make once she has a kitchen.