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From left, Dean Shirley Collado with recipients of the Carri A. Smith '98 Award: sophomores Barbara Ofosu-Somuah and Kathryn Benson.

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College presents 26 Student Leadership Awards

June 2, 2011

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — Student Leadership Awards, Public Service Leadership Awards, Student Government Association Awards and joint Dean of the College/Student Government Association Awards – a total of 26 honors all together – were presented to Middlebury College students, advisors and organizations at a ceremony in May at Atwater Dining Hall.

President Ronald D. Liebowitz and Dean of the College Shirley Collado greeted the gathering of students, faculty, staff and community members, and gave opening remarks about the leadership and initiative demonstrated by Middlebury students.

Student Leadership Awards

The Angels Award, for a sophomore woman of color who demonstrates leadership, scholarship and activism, was presented to Barbara Ofosu-Somuah ’13, of the Bronx, N.Y., by Associate Dean of the College Karen Guttentag.

The Barbara J. Buchanan ’62 Memorial Prize for a senior woman who represents Buchanan’s academic excellence and ideal of service was presented to Shabana Basij-Rasikh ’11 of Kabul, Afghanistan, by Dean of the College Shirley Collado.

The Carri A. Smith ’98 Award for Outstanding Intercommons Council Member, which goes to a student who exemplifies the ideals of the commons system, a passion for the college and a commitment to student life, was presented by Dean Collado to Kathryn Benson ’13 of Mount Vernon, Wash., and Barbara Ofosu-Somuah ’13, of the Bronx, N.Y.

The Interfaith Cooperation Award of the Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life was presented to Anoushka Sinha ’13 of Houston, Tex., and Charles Arnowitz ’13 of Highland Park. Ill., for their joint celebration of Holi and Purim. The award, presented by Chaplain Laurel Macaulay Jordan ’79 and Associate Chaplain Ira Schiffer, goes to students who actively promote and facilitate interfaith understanding, communication or programming.

The Religious Life Innovation Award of the Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life was presented to Zachary Fenster ’12 of New York, N.Y., David Imber ’13 of Medfield, Mass., Daniel Metzger-Traber ’11 of Lexington, Mass., Moriel Rothman ’11 of Yellow Springs, Ohio, and Jacob Udell ’12 of New York, N.Y., who conducted adult bar/bat mitzvah preparation classes on campus. Presented by Chaplain Jordan and Associate Chaplain Schiffer, the award goes to students who show unusual originality in the development of religious activities on campus.

The Spiritual Life Leadership Award of the Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life was presented to Joseph Brent Allen ’11 of Moultrie, Ga., and Tiernan Meyer ’11 of Hartland, Wis. The award for advancing the spiritual lives of others on campus was presented by Chaplain Jordan and Associate Chaplain Schiffer.

The First-Year Achievement Prize for academic excellence and the ability to relate well to others was presented to Alexandria Jackman ’14 of New York, N.Y., by Dean Collado.

The Alexander Twilight 1823 Diversity and Community Leadership Award was presented to Rebecca Harper ’11 of New Haven, Conn., for exemplifying Twilight’s leadership and determination in a way that transcends boundaries of race, class and gender. It was presented by Jennifer Herrera, special assistant to Dean Collado and senior advisor for diversity.

The Franklin G. Williams 1913 and Sarah H. Williams 1912 Memorial Award was presented to Elizabeth McCarthy ’13 of Wellington, N.Z., by Dean Collado. It is awarded to a sophomore on the basis of natural kindness, perceptivity to the needs of others, and an abiding sense of personal responsibility.

Public Service Leadership Awards

The John M. McCardell Jr. Public Service Award goes to a student or students whose efforts bring the college and the town of Middlebury closer together. It was presented to Amanda Perry ’11 of Columbia, Mo., Quan Pham ’12 of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Brittany Gendron ’12 of Severna Park, Md., for their work in creating the Service Cluster Board, an umbrella organization that promotes and funds student service initiatives in response to needs of the greater Middlebury community.

 Jane Williams, Laura Williams, Melissa Hirsch, Kristin Haas, and Shree Dhond. The Bonnie McCardell Public Service Award is awarded to a student or students for excellence in outreach in literacy, youth and family services, or the special needs of at-risk youngsters. It was presented to five members of the Class of 2011 – (pictured l. to r.) Jane Williams of Bethesda, Md., Laura Williams of Severna Park, Md., Melissa Hirsch of Katonah, N.Y ., Kristin Haas of Hingham, Mass., and Shree Dhond of Easton, Conn., – as representatives of DREAM, a student organization that spends Friday afternoons mentoring children and adolescents living in a local affordable housing community, in addition to planning special events and writing grants for the youngsters.

The Dana Morosini Reeve ’84 Memorial Public Service Award is bestowed on a student with spirit and determination from the heart that has far-reaching and effective public service. It was presented to Shabana Basij-Rasikh ’11 of Kabul, Afghanistan, for her tireless work for women’s rights in her homeland, in Vermont, and elsewhere in the world, and for promoting cross-cultural dialogue and understanding. Shabana founded HELA, a nonprofit educational organization in Afghanistan, and serves as executive director of the Afghan Youth Initiative.

(clockwise from left in photo) Kevin Glatt ’11 of Knoxville, Tenn., Zachary Fenster ’12 of New York, N.Y., Dylan Fitzpatrick ’11 of Ithaca, N.Y., and Benjamin Silton ’11 of Sudbury, Mass., with Richard “Butch” Varno (center)For exemplary service to the community, six additional Public Service Leadership Awards were extended to students. The recipients were: Hillary Chutter-Ames ’13 of South Hero, Vt., for her involvement with ESL tutoring of adult Somali Bantu refugees in Burlington, Vt.; Elizabeth Foster ’11 of West Hempstead, N.Y., for her work with the Charter House emergency housing facility in Middlebury, including her student-prepared supper program for residents; and (clockwise from left in photo) Kevin Glatt ’11 of Knoxville, Tenn., Zachary Fenster ’12 of New York, N.Y., Dylan Fitzpatrick ’11 of Ithaca, N.Y., and Benjamin Silton ’11 of Sudbury, Mass., for their friendship with Richard “Butch” Varno (center), a Middlebury resident with cerebral palsy, and for their dedication to other residents at Helen Porter Nursing Home.

Also receiving Public Service Leadership Awards were: Taryn Tilton ’11 of Sycamore, Ill., for her leadership in the Middlebury Alternative Spring Break (“Malt”) program to Ecuador and for helping to create a mentoring program for adopted Chinese children in the Middlebury area; Kathryn Ruymann of Medford, N.J., for her involvement with the Relay for Life, Malt trip to Oakland, Calif., and GlobeMed, a global public health student organization; and Whitney Hanson ’11 of Wayne, Pa., for creating community partnerships and recruiting student volunteers through the Volunteer Services Organization on campus.

The Public Service Leadership Awards were presented by Tiffany Sargent ’79, director of the Alliance for Civic Engagement, and Patrick Durkin ’79, who started the PSLA program at Middlebury in 1993.

Joint Dean of the College/Student Government Association Awards

The Outstanding Campus Leader Award recognizes a junior or senior for innovation, motivation, initiative and perseverance, and the 2011 recipient was Catarina Campbell ’11 of Indianapolis, Ind., for striving to make the Middlebury community a more positive place for everyone through her work with the Middlebury Open Queer Alliance (MOQA) and Feminist Action at Middlebury organizations.

The Extraordinary Emerging Leader goes to a first-year student or a sophomore for outstanding leadership and involvement in the campus community. The award was presented to Rachel Sider ’14 of Fort Wayne, Ind., for myriad activities including J Street U, Community Council, Somali-Bantu ESL Tutoring Group, Juntos and the Judicial Board Selection Committee.

J.J. Boggs, associate director of campus activities, presented the joint awards.

Student Government Association (SGA) Awards

The Baumgarten ’98 and Udzenija ’99 SGA Memorial Award honors a sophomore who personifies academic achievement, the passion for learning, compassion for others and involvement in student activities. The recipient was Daniel Loehr ’13 of Andover, N.H., who in the past year has received a Kathryn Wasserman Davis Project for Peace grant and a State Department Critical Language Scholarship to learn Arabic. Loehr is also a member of MOQA, the Sign Language Club, Weybridge House, Juntos, and was a Malt trip leader.

The Exceptional Advisor Award goes to the mentor of a student organization who delves into the work of the organization, improves quality, connects with students and contributes significantly to the Middlebury community. Sharing the award for 2011 were the co-advisors to the Solar Decathlon team: Andrea K. Murray, visiting lecturer in architecture, and Ashar Nelson, visiting assistant professor of architecture.

The Extraordinary Initiative Award recognizes an exceptional program, cultural event, guest speaker or production that is conceived and carried out by a student or students. The recipient was Cloe Shasha ’11 of New York, N.Y., for organizing “TEDx,” a locally organized “TED” event designed to “stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.” TED, which stands for technology, entertainment and design, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “ideas worth spreading.”

The Outstanding Leader of a Student Organization honors a student who motivates the actions and ideals of an organization for the betterment of the Middlebury community. The 2011 recipient was Rachel Pagano ’11 of Santa Fe, N.M., who served multiple years as president of the Middlebury chapter of College Republicans.

The Outstanding New Organization goes to a newly formed, SGA-recognized campus group that addresses a need or community issue that had not previously been supported. The 2011 recipient was Middlebury Geographic – an organization that produces a color magazine in the style of National Geographic and is written, edited, illustrated and published by Middlebury students.

The Outstanding Overall Achievement Award recognizes one organization for sustained contributions to the campus and student life. The recipient was the Middlebury College Organic Garden, which has hundreds of student-participants, makes regular donations to the local food shelf, has a contract with Dining Services to provide food for students in 2011-2012, and built vegetable gardens at local schools in the region.

Kathryn Bostwick, chair of the SGA Constitution Committee, presented the SGA awards. The award recipients gathered for a group photograph (below) at the close of the evening.

Photographs by Trent Campbell