Kalamazoo College eclipsed national averages for voter turnout in 2020 as 83.7 percent of the student body cast ballots in last year’s presidential election. For that achievement, the Institute of Democracy and Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University has awarded K its platinum seal in the All-In Democracy Challenge, marking the colleges who achieved voter-participation rates of 80 to 89 percent.
K is the only campus in Michigan and one of 48 out of about 1,200 participating institutions nationwide to receive the honor. That puts K in the top 4 percent of colleges and universities in the country for its voter turnout among the institutions reporting. The primary cause for the outstanding benchmark at the polls, according to IDHE, is unclear. However, Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) Director Alison Geist credited K Votes, the CCE’s non-partisan coalition to inform the College’s students, faculty and staff members about voting and civic engagement, for its efforts in boosting the College’s voter participation.
Based on a look at incomplete data for 2016, K’s student voting rate was estimated at 54.1 percent, which was in line with that year’s national average. But in 2020, K Votes representatives worked in partnership with their student peers, the local League of Women Voters and the national Rock the Vote organization, which is led by Executive Director Caroline DeWitt ’04, a K alumna. Those partnerships helped K Votes provide services such as new-voter registration, the mailing of absentee ballots, rides to the polls, and the distribution of candidate information and maps to local polling places.
“I am proud of K’s students, especially the CCE’s K Votes Civic Engagement Scholars, Kaitlyn Dexter and Mahum Khan,” Geist said. “They were so ably led by then-Assistant Director Emily Kowey ’17, whose dedication and creativity, in the midst of a pandemic, drove the College’s impressive turnout and registration rates in the 2020 election. Voting is but a small part of what we mean by civic engagement, but it is essential to our communities and democracy, and it seems particularly so as voting rights are increasingly under siege.”
The IDHE’s report, titled the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE), notes the national average of voting rates was 66 percent this year, putting K well above it. However, the report also shows K must continue to encourage students of color to vote, as their participation rates generally trailed those of white students. About 53 percent of K’s Asian students, and 66 percent of Black and Hispanic students voted in 2020 compared with 88 percent of white students.
The NSLVE is the nation’s largest study of college and university student voting. It measured voter turnout at campuses ranging from community colleges to research universities, women’s colleges, historically Black colleges, state universities and private schools. The dataset reflects all 50 states and the District of Columbia, includes 49 of the nation’s 50 flagship schools and tracks nearly 8.9 million voting-eligible students.
“That students, often younger and first-time voters, turned out at rates commensurate with the general public in 2020 is nothing short of stunning,” IDHE Director Nancy Thomas said. “We attribute this high level of participation to many factors, including student activism on issues such as racial injustice, global climate change and voter suppression, as well as increased efforts by educators to reach students and connect them to the issues and to voting resources.”
As an aspiring librarian, Nionni Permelia ’22 knows much of her job one day will involve community engagement.
“You have to know so much about literature, but you have to know so much about your community as well,” said Permelia, an English major from Battle Creek. “People might come in to a library for résumé help or to learn how to print and fax. They also might come in because they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. They might ask, ‘I don’t know where I can go to get fresh food. Can you help me?’ Being a librarian means you have to know a lot about everything around you so you can give people those resources.”
That idea made a Community Building Internship (CBI) this summer an ideal opportunity for her. Permelia was among the K students who worked at local organizations from AACORN Farms to the YWCA of Kalamazoo in CBIs through the Center for Civic Engagement and the Center for Career and Professional Development. The positions, offered each year, last about six to eight weeks, and interns are on the job for 30 to 40 hours a week while earning a stipend.
Permelia worked for Zoo City Farm and Food Network, a nonprofit organization founded and operated by Black women, that centers Black women’s voices and experiences while designing a comprehensive, responsible and sustainable food-industry ecosystem that is beneficial for everyone. In other words, they want everyone to have access to fresh, healthful food regardless of who they are and their economic status.
“Fresh food should be a human right for everyone,” Permelia said.
On a regional level, the organization nurtures food sovereignty by expanding food systems literacy in communities that have little to no education on the food ecosystem, primarily in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. Outside Michigan, Zoo City wants to make its model accessible for communities across the country. While its model is designed with Kalamazoo and Battle Creek in mind, the organization welcomes partnerships with cities around the U.S. that could benefit from initiatives that champion food sovereignty.
“In the inner city of Battle Creek, there are no grocery stores. Battle Creek sits in a food desert,” Permelia said. “My work with Zoo City and their Food and Farm Network helps them create a framework for how places like Battle Creek could eliminate their droughts in food systems.”
Permelia used her writing skills to develop email templates for Zoo City that will allow the organization to approach volunteers about its initiatives and how they can help. One of those initiatives helps farmers and small businesses sell the food they make at a farmer’s market in Kalamazoo.
“Zoo City purchases the booth, and local businesses who might not be able to pay for their own booth take it over,” Permelia said. “The community gets access to fresh food that way, and hopefully, the businesses and farmers will have more people visiting them outside the booth.”
Permelia also performed research for the organization’s Zoo Syndicate, a visual editorial that will show local residents how food is connected to everything.
“I helped them do research on graffiti art and urban interventionism, which are very different to, yet very similar to Zoo City’s core values,” she said. “Graffiti art connects to their initiative of urban farming because it usually happens on vacant property. The idea is that even vacant parking lots can become safe places for neighborhood activities. Instead of figuring out how we can make money off of it by developing houses the neighborhood can’t afford, why not grow food there? It might prevent higher taxes and living costs that make the neighborhood unlivable because people can’t afford it anymore.”
As a result, in addition to the job experience relatable to her future career and the opportunity to be involved in the community, Permelia learned about the administrative roles of people such as Zoo City co-founder Remi Harrington, making the internship beneficial on multiple levels.
“I thought I might be gardening and growing food, but I got to see the admin side of things,” she said. “That inspired me. I saw how people’s ideas to help others can actually come to life. It was amazing to see people like Remi writing all of her plans on a board, before I got to go to a farmer’s market or neighborhood event to see it happen. It was amazing to see it come to fruition.”
She adds, “I’d never worked for an organization owned by Black women before, which is really sad, yet this showed that I could have an opportunity to do it. Getting to see a Black-women led organization helped me to realize that I am also able to bring my writings and ideas to life. Not only that, but it’s possible for me to lead. It’s possible for all Black women to lead and see their imagination become reality. Remi has so many beautiful ideas for Zoo City. I am so happy we all get to witness her work and continue to see her vision unfold.”
A Kalamazoo College student organization is showing local girls that they don’t have to assimilate to anyone’s standards to see themselves as beautiful.
Sister Circle, a supportive group dedicated to young Black women, reached out to local schools this spring to propose natural-hair programs and workshops that encouraged children to embrace their diversity and celebrate each other’s distinctive appearance.
“I wanted to address some issues that we faced when we were children that weren’t really addressed by our parents or our education system,” said Udochi Okorie ’22, who founded Sister Circle in her sophomore year. One of these issues is the pressure to conform to societal norms or standards that don’t include or specifically ban natural styles.
“We felt natural hair wasn’t socially acceptable and that can cause trauma for African American women,” she said. “We wanted to get into the community and do an event for elementary, middle and high school students that centered around loving their natural hair. That was a dream of mine and we were able to do it this spring. We got such a great response from the community.”
On campus, Okorie and other members of Sister Circle seek support from fellow women of color in a safe, affirmational place.
“We recognize there aren’t a lot of spaces on campus where we we’re able to express ourselves, and not just because we’re at a predominantly white college,” Okorie said. “There have been higher-education spaces where we felt like we were ignored, undervalued or spoken over when we spoke up.”
In coming together as Sister Circle and as a Black community, they have found affirmation that helps them navigate these challenging higher-education spaces. And now, they’re taking that off campus to support the next generation through the Love Your Natural Hair Program.
Sister Circle members including Okorie contacted the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement, who introduced Sister Circle to local elementary schools El Sol and Woodward. When Sister Circle described their goals for a natural-hair program, school administrators jumped at the offer.
“Luckily, we had people who also experienced issues with beauty standards, whether they were people of color or just administrators who recognize the differences between their students,” Okorie said. “A lot of people were really welcoming and said, ‘Yes, I recognize that this is something we need at my school.’”
The issue of learning to appreciate natural hair has always been close to her heart and sharing that issue with Kalamazoo children has been rewarding.
“In the last workshop, we did some affirmations,” Okorie said. “We talked about different types of hair and what products to use, which can be really hard when a lot of the products are not meant for your hair type. We talked about how to manage your hair and we drew pictures and asked the kids what they like about their hair. The students really enjoyed it and said it was effective, and we got a really big response from parents. During the event, I almost cried because of how the girls were responding and how their perception of their natural hair is changing.”
Further, Okorie hopes that outreach will continue long after she graduates so more girls will know the appreciation for natural hair that she has and the self-confidence it’s brought her.
“I hope Sister Circle and the Love Your Natural Hair Program are my legacy at K,” Okorie said. “I want natural-hair appreciation to be something that’s shared, especially in kindergarten through 12th grade, so every student can recognize the beauty of it.”
Through the departmental partnership, another group of qualified students worked at local organizations from AACORN Farms to the YWCA in Community Building Internships. The positions, offered each year, lasted about six to eight weeks, and interns were on the job for 30 to 40 hours a week while earning a $4,000 stipend.
Upon its founding, the organization wanted to provide community organizing experience for students while supporting the efforts of neighborhood associations in low- to medium-income neighborhoods. Bolton followed that mission by working as a volunteer coordinator and performing roles similar to a construction facilitator, helping to coordinate home improvement projects and expanding the organization’s bandwidth in Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood.
“Our guiding philosophy at Building Blocks is that we empower residents to do community building themselves, whether that’s to improve a yard, plant flowers or pursue neighborhood cleanups,” Bolton said. “They hadn’t done a lot of construction recently. But I’ve taken on the role as the new liaison on the Northside, where Building Blocks hadn’t done any programming for a couple of years.”
In summer 2018, Bolton worked with the Appalachia Service Project evaluating a home’s renovation needs as a volunteer coordinator. He also obtained experience as a volunteer organizer through First United Methodist Church in Kalamazoo where his mom, Julie Kline, serves as the senior pastor. Bolton then transferred that experience into what he did with Building Blocks, allowing the organization to pursue projects that benefited homeowners who couldn’t pursue projects themselves. Projects included securing porches and hand rails, replacing treads leading to a porch, painting, replacing windows and even fixing bullet holes in doors.
In Bolton’s words, the volunteers repaired the violence and the trauma that had been at houses as they created connections between volunteers and residents.
Building Blocks “was running into problems we don’t necessarily find in other areas of Kalamazoo, where we encounter people who are disabled or can’t work on their own homes,” Bolton said. “That’s when we started bringing in volunteers from different churches in the area. I have connections with the churches and that’s the model I’ve been developing.”
Most of the time, Bolton was preparing for a job the volunteers would tackle on the following Saturday, figuring out what projects would be done, which volunteers were available, and what materials and tools were needed. Others in the organization rarely were available to address such issues, making Bolton a valued asset.
The following Saturday, Bolton took the volunteers around the worksites, gave them a breakdown of what they were doing at each site and connected them with neighborhood residents.
“That’s my favorite thing: Creating connections between these volunteers who might attend a primarily white church and those who can give first-hand witness to some of the effects of systemic racism in our neighborhoods,” he said. “I see that in our introductions and casual conversations, and we push for that community interaction.”
Going into these projects, Bolton was hoping for a career pursuing political science on a global scale. Now he’s not so sure.
“I’ve been studying politics and international studies and these larger scale things,” he said. “But I’ve been having such a good experience learning how to engage in local politics and work in my local community, it feels so much more tangible. I can see what I’m doing and I really like that. I learn so much from all the residents.”
Regardless of what he chooses, Bolton’s experience at Building Blocks came as a blessing in disguise.
“When we applied for these internships, I applied for several, although Building Blocks wasn’t one of them,” he said. “I didn’t even know what it was. I applied for all these other internships and Building Blocks found me, and asked me to be a part of their team. For Building Blocks to turn out to be such a wonderful thing for me was a blessing. I’m proud of that organization because it’s been devoted to justice even with the pandemic. To not be stagnant in this time is very cool to me.”
The election is important, and if you have questions about the voting process, Kalamazoo College has a place for you to get answers regarding voter registration, voting deadlines, voting rights and the candidates.
K Votes is a non-partisan coalition through the Center for Civic Engagement that informs K students, faculty and staff about the voting process. If you’re from a state other than Michigan and you’re not sure how you register to vote here, K Votes can help. If you’re not sure where to go on Election Day, K Votes can tell you. If you need a ride to the polls, K Votes will get you there.
“K Votes is committed to providing all with the resources to be civically engaged,” said Assistant Director for Innovation in Civic Engagement and Experiential Education Emily Kowey ’17, who oversees K Votes. “We want to make sure that everyone in the College community has the tools they need to be informed about their vote, how to vote and what it means.”
The students who volunteer for the group are enthusiastic about the work they do and the importance of helping others overcome barriers to voting.
“I am thrilled to work with a group of dedicated K students who are passionate about registering their peers to vote and providing them the information and resources to vote in the upcoming elections,” Kowey said. “Having students, faculty and staff at the forefront of our volunteer efforts shows everyone that this campus is serious about supporting students in voting and civic engagement.”
In her second year with K Votes, Kaitlyn Dexter, a sophomore from Duluth, Minnesota, said she was gratified to see a 28.6 percent increase in K’s voter turnout during the 2018 midterm election over the 2014 midterm, a lift she attributes at least partly to K Votes. About 40.4 percent of K eligible voters cast ballots in the 2018 midterm.
“That was fantastic and I would love to have a high turnout for this year’s primary, too,” she said.
According to its website, K Votes registered more than 130 student voters before the 2018 midterm. It also collected and mailed more than 30 absentee-ballot applications and transported 110 students to local polls.
“Through K Votes, we make sure that everyone knows how to register, request an absentee ballot, learn about the candidates and vote, while being aware of each deadline,” Dexter said. “Gathering all this information takes a long time for people to do by themselves, so I think removing that time barrier is really beneficial, especially for college students.”
Kayla Carlson, a sophomore from Hastings, Michigan, said her desire to nurture voter participation through K Votes came naturally. She was a community volunteer in high school, and Rock the Vote President Carolyn Dewitt ’04 is a graduate of Carlson’s high school and K.
“I have been fortunate enough to talk to Carolyn and she has inspired me,” Carlson said. “K Votes was one of the first engagement programs I had heard of on campus and it was an initiative I believed in.”
Carlson recently was also chosen to be a regional ambassador for Rock the Vote. That means there’s a second organization for which she volunteers to encourage her peers to vote.
“Rock the Vote is nonpartisan, just like K Votes, and that’s important to me,” she said. “I think everyone from every background should be able to vote.”
Hope Miller, a sophomore from Manistee, Michigan, was one of 33 students from two-year and four-year higher-education institutions across Michigan to serve on the Collegiate Student Advisory Task Force selected by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. The group was asked to recommend ways to help other college students overcome their barriers to voting.
Miller was the only student from a private college to serve the task force. Its recommendations included suggestions surrounding voter registration, absentee voting, logistics and transportation, voter education and state laws, issues that also are important to K Votes.
In the time since the task force made those recommendations, Miller — like Carlson — has become a regional ambassador for Rock the Vote, though K Votes is the organization where she’s spent the most time.
“I’m really excited to see what we can do in the future and I hope we can get more people involved with K Votes,” Miller said.
The last day to register to vote for the Michigan primaries, other than in person at Kalamazoo City Hall on the day of the election, is Monday, Feb. 24. K Votes will help the K community with registering to vote and absentee ballots through that day. Its last tabling session will be from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Feb. 24 at Hicks Student Center.
For students who are registered to vote through their campus address, a shuttle will drive students to their polling location at the Douglass Community Center on Tuesday, March 10. A separate shuttle will drive students to City Hall where they can register to vote in person.
Students interested in volunteering for K Votes may fill out this form on the Center for Civic Engagement website. Students may select dates and times based on their availability. Those with questions about volunteering or K Votes as a whole may contact Kowey at email@example.com.
If increasing voter participation among young adults in Michigan is the goal, Kalamazoo College could be a part of the solution thanks to Hope Miller ’22.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has chosen Miller, of Manistee, as one of 33 students from two-year and four-year higher-education institutions across the state to serve on the College Student Advisory Task Force. The group is charged with recommending ways to help other college students in Michigan overcome their barriers to voting.
Participants will recommend a series of programmatic, administrative or policy changes to address those barriers through diverse perspectives as the Michigan Department of State works to implement the Promote the Vote constitutional amendment passed by voters last November.
“Young people are the future of our democracy, and this task force is an important step toward ensuring their voices are heard on Election Day and beyond,” Benson said in a news release. “I look forward to working with students, faculty and administrators in the months ahead to empower the next generation of voters.”
Miller said she is thrilled to be a part of the task force.
“Secretary Benson is incredible, and to be one of just 33 students from Michigan chosen to serve for her is such an honor. I think she’s doing great things by offering students an outlet to get their ideas straight to the individuals that can help make them a reality.”
The task force met in September and will meet two more times this fall before applying their ideas at their respective campuses and reporting back to Benson regarding what was successful. Miller, for example, says strategically placed satellite offices for the Secretary of State on college campuses might help the cause.
“I am super interested to see what we can do regarding satellite offices on college campuses, as well as making voting more accessible to everyone,” Miller said. “I think that Secretary Benson is leading the way for what all states should be doing. For us to be able to raise voter turnout in the United States, we need to be able to identify barriers to voting, and talk to the individuals directly affected by those barriers.”
It’s common for people with K ties to seek increased voter participation, especially among young adults. K alumna Carolyn DeWitt ’04, for example, is president of Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to building the political power of young voters; and Emily Kowey ’17, the assistant director of K’s Center for Civic Engagement, helps power K Votes, a non-partisan coalition that informs K students, faculty and staff about voting and civic engagement.
Miller, though, credits Assistant Professor of Political Science Justin Berry and his class on voting, campaigns and elections for preparing and inspiring her to join the task force.
“Dr. Berry has been an enormous help, teaching me the barriers to voting, how to read and analyze voter turnout stats, and how to effectively draft solutions to the issues faced by voters,” Miller said. “I am super excited to see what we come up with at our second meeting, and how our ideas will change voting at K.”
When artists create, they express a piece of themselves. Art, therefore, can provide an outlet for underrepresented people to communicate their feelings, struggles and realities with those who will listen. That makes ARTifact, a program offered through Kalamazoo College’s Center for Civic Engagement (CCE), an empowering resource.
ARTifact, fueled through K students serving as civic-engagement scholars, is a weekly studio-workshop series for high school students interested in visual art and social justice, while otherwise having limited access to art instruction. The program creates a space in which participants communicate about complex social issues and express their identities through art.
The program, including the cost of materials, is offered at no cost to participants thanks to the CCE. Since its founding, the CCE has provided service-learning courses, research opportunities, internships, and student-led programs, engaging more than 10,000 K students in partnerships that foster academic learning, critical problem-solving and a lifetime of civic engagement. Through the CCE, students, faculty and staff have worked with thousands of community residents, more than 50 organizations, and in more than 30 community-based courses across K’s academic disciplines.
The CCE employs 25 civic-engagement scholars including Angela Pastor ’21 who are student leaders facilitating programs with community partners in which they and their peers learn from communities. The scholars are supported by generous endowments and grants.
The culmination of the ARTifact workshops for the academic year came in an exhibit at the June 7 Art Hop, a fun evening of art exhibits and events in and around Kalamazoo, sponsored by Arts Council Kalamazoo, that takes place during the first weekend of every month. ARTifact’s exhibit during Art Hop was stationed at the Park Trades Center, a former manufacturing facility on West Kalamazoo Avenue that houses a creative community of more than 100 designers, entrepreneurs and small business representatives.
The ARTifact workshops gathered participants for three hours every Saturday, where they created art, physically crafted their displays and created advertising posters before spreading word of its Art Hop show.
“It’s an honor to be able to provide this experience,” said Pastor ’21 of Los Angeles, a Posse student at K who also benefited from participating in a similar experience as a high school student. “When I went through it, it taught me a lot about what I could create. I know high school is a time for questioning for a lot of people. Art, I think, is a way to figure out yourself.”
Pastor said she enjoyed ARTifact week to week, although long term success would mean expanding the program to more high school students by getting more K students to volunteer. That would also mean realizing ARTifact’s full potential.
“I know some of the high school students explore their identity through sexuality or mental health,” Pastor said. “It’s a way to use art as a tool that educates and helps students explore their identity. It can be used to support their social justice issues and anything they’re passionate about. There was one workshop where we used only recycled materials. We also talked about what makes art worthy of being exhibited and we questioned what art is and what it can be. It makes me feel proud (the high school students) were able to learn about art and have all these experiences.”
Congratulations to the following Kalamazoo College students who received awards during the 2019 Senior Awards Ceremony on Saturday, June 15, at Stetson Chapel. The awards include all academic divisions, prestigious scholarships and special non-departmental awards. Again, congratulations to all graduates and members of the class of 2019.
George Acker Award, awarded annually to a male athlete who in his participation gave all, never quit, with good spirit supported others unselfishly, and whose example was inspirational.
American Chemical Society Certified Degree in Chemistry
Sean Patrick Walsh
Hornet Athletic Association Award, for a graduating senior who has most successfully combined high scholarship with athletic prowess.
James Bird Balch Prize in American History, for showing academic excellence in American history.
Cecilia Catherine Ringo
Lillian Pringle Baldauf Prize in Music, awarded to an outstanding music student
Lewis Batts Prize, awarded to seniors who have done the most to support the activities of the Biology Department and to further the spirit of collegiality among students and faculty.
Bruce Baxter Memorial Award, awarded to a senior showing outstanding development in the field of political science.
Gordon Beaumont Memorial Award, awarded to students who display qualities of selflessness, humanitarian concern and willingness to help others as exemplified in the life of Gordon Beaumont.
Anthony Diep Rosas
Larry Bell Scholar
The Biology in Liberal Arts Prize
Emily Palmer Norwood
Marshall Hallock Brenner Prize, awarded to an outstanding student for excellence in the field of psychology.
Sophie Olivia Stone Higdon
Henry and Inez Brown Award, awarded in recognition of outstanding participation in the College community.
Amanda Faye Moss
Clara H. Buckley Prize for Excellence in Latin, awarded to an outstanding student of the language of the Romans.
Chelsea Leia’Louise Miller
Mary Long Burch Award, for a senior woman who has manifested interest in sports activities and excelled in scholarship.
Cydney Morgan Martell
Robert Bzdyl Prize in Marine Biology, awarded to one or more students with demonstrated interest and ability in marine biology or related fields.
Annual Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry, sponsored by the American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry, to an undergraduate student planning on pursuing graduate studies in chemistry.
Annual Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry, sponsored by the American Chemical Society Division of Inorganic Chemistry, to an undergraduate student planning on pursuing graduate studies in chemistry.
Annual Undergraduate Award in Organic Chemistry, sponsored by the American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry, to an undergraduate student planning on pursuing graduate studies in chemistry.
Minn Soo Kim
Annual Undergraduate Award in Physical Chemistry, sponsored by the American Chemical Society and subcommittee for the Division of Physical Chemistry, to an undergraduate student who displays significant aptitude for a career in organic chemistry.
Outstanding Chemistry Student from Kalamazoo College, sponsored by the Kalamazoo Section of the American Chemical Society and is given to the graduating senior who has demonstrated leadership in the chemistry department and plans to pursue graduate studies in chemistry.
Lilia Chen Award in Art, awarded to students in their junior or senior year who distinguish themselves through their work in ceramics, sculpture, or painting, and who exhibit strong progress in their understanding of art.
Qynce B. Chumley
Kaiya Noelle Herman Hilker
Ruth Scott Chenery Award, given to graduating seniors who have excelled academically in theatre and who plan to continue the study of theatre arts following graduation.
Chinese Outstanding Achievement Award, which recognizes seniors who have excelled in the study of the Chinese language and China-related subjects on campus and abroad in China.
Molly Pan-Wei Brueger
Provost’s Prize in Classics
Noura Al Sabboury Khayat
Provost’s Prize in Computer Science
C.W. “Opie” Davis Award, awarded to the outstanding senior male athlete
Diebold Scholar Award, given to one or more seniors in recognition of excellence in the oral or poster presentation of the SIP at the Diebold Symposium.
Sung Soo Park
George Eaton Errington Prize, awarded to outstanding senior art majors.
Kaiya Noelle Herman Hilker
Provost’s Prize in Economics
Zachary Mark Van Faussien
Alliance Francaise Prize in French, awarded to outstanding senior art majors.
Joe Fugate Senior German Award, awarded to a senior for excellence in German.
Departmental Prize in Greek
Mary Elizabeth Arendash
Xarifa Greenquist Memorial Psychology Department Award, given in recognition of distinctive service to students and faculty in psychology by a student assistant.
MaryClare C. Colombo
Griffin Prize, awarded to the senior English major who, like Professor Gail Griffin, demonstrates an exceptional ability to bridge his or her analytical and creative work in the English department.
The Raymond L. Hightower Award, given to a graduating senior for excellence in and commitment to the disciplines of sociology and anthropology and leadership in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology.
Yuridia Luciana Gutierrez-Garcia
Virginia Hinkelman Memorial Award, awarded to a deserving student who displays a deep concern for the well-being of children, as demonstrated through career goals in the field of child welfare.
History Department Award, given for outstanding work in the major
Hodge Prize in Philosophy, awarded to members of the graduating class who have the highest standing in the field.
John Wesley Hornbeck Prize, awarded to seniors with the highest achievement for the year’s work in advanced physics toward a major.
William G. Howard Memorial Prize, awarded to a senior for excellence in academic work in an economics or business major.
William G. Howard Memorial Prize in Political Science
Erin Shaughnessy Smith
Japanese National Honor Society, College Chapter, awarded in recognition of student achievement in their study of the Japanese language and their overall academic excellence.
Molly Pan-Wei Brueger
Amanda Marie Esler
David A. Gurrola
Kurt Kaufman Fellow, given annually to seniors who receive Honors in the Senior Individualized Project (SIP) conducted with faculty in the Chemistry Department.
Min Soo Kim
Moses Kimball Student Scholar
Richard D. Klein Senior Award in Psychology
Kai Lin Shi
Richard D. Klein Senior Impact Award in Psychology
Knoechel Family Award, awarded to a member of the swimming team in recognition of demonstrated excellence in both intercollegiate swimming and academic performance.
Irmgard Kowatzki Theatre Award, awarded to the senior who has excelled both in academic areas and in theatrical productions during the four years at the College.
LaPlante Student Scholars, for outstanding dedication to civic engagement while designing and leading community programs that promote a more just, equitable and sustainable world.
Tish Loveless Award, given by the Department of Physical Education to the outstanding senior female athlete.
Music Department Certificate of Distinction
Quintin Rykar Sproull
Department of Philosophy Prize, awarded for excellence in any year’s work in philosophy.
William E. Praeger Prize in Biology, established by the faculty in the Biology Department and awarded to the most outstanding senior majors in biology, based on academic achievement in the discipline.
Sadie Schadewald Jackson
Robert and Karen Rhoa Prize in Business
Robert and Karen Rhoa Prize for Outstanding SIP
Elwood H. and Elizabeth H. Schneider Prize in English, awarded for outstanding and creative work in English done by a student who is not an English major.
Yuridia Luciana Gutierrez-Garcia
Senior Leadership Recognition Award, awarded to students who have provided key elements of leadership in their organizations, athletic teams, academic departments, employment, and the wider Kalamazoo community. Students were nominated by faculty and staff members in January. Seniors eligible for this award also had to meet a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average requirement and be in good academic and social standing at the College.
Max Gordon Aulbach
Molly Pan-Wei Brueger
Qynce B. Chumley
Cydney Morgan Martell
Zachary Jorge Morales
Amanda Faye Moss
Marco Antonio Ponce
Cecilia Catherine Ringo
Anthony Diep Rosas
Fan E. Sherwood Memorial Prize
Catherine A. Smith Prize in Human Rights, awarded to a senior who has been active on campus in promoting human rights, furthering progressive social and cultural change, and combating violence, repression and bigotry.
Catherine A. Smith Prize in Women’s Athletics, awarded to a woman athlete who in her participation gave all, never quit, with good spirit supported others unselfishly, and whose example was inspirational.
Lemuel F. Smith Award, given to a student majoring in chemistry pursuing the American Chemical Society approved curriculum and having at the end of the junior year the highest average standing in courses taken in chemistry, physics and mathematics.
Sean Patrick Walsh
Senior Spanish Award, given by the Department of Romance Languages for outstanding achievement in Spanish.
Eugene P. Stermer Award in Public Administration
Ailih Suzanne Elizabeth Weeldreyer
Mary Clifford Stetson Prize, awarded for excellence in English essay writing by a senior.
Dwight and Leola Stocker Prize, awarded for excellence in English writing, prose or poetry.
Lucinda Hinsdale Stone Prize in Women’s Studies
David Strauss Prize in American Studies, awarded for the best paper written by a graduating senior in his or her junior or senior year in any field of American Studies.
Babette Trader Campus Citizenship and Leadership Award, awarded to members of the graduating class, who have most successfully combined campus citizenship and leadership with scholarship.
Margaret Upton Prize in Music
Donald W. VanLiere Prize Psychology in Coursework
Sophie Olivia Stone Higdon
Claire Amelia Kalina
Donald W. VanLiere Prize Psychology in Research
Chelsea Leia’Louise Miller
Michael Waskowsky Prize, awarded to outstanding junior or senior art majors.
Amanda Marie Esler
Charles Lewis Williams Jr. Award, awarded for oratory at the English SIP Symposium
Emily King Boyle
Clarke Benedict Williams Prize, awarded to that member of the graduating class who has the best record in mathematics and the allied sciences.
Maynard Owen Williams Memorial Award, for the best student entry in the form of an essay, poetry, paintings, sketches, photographs or films derived from study abroad.
Thirty students known for their invaluable contributions to the Kalamazoo College community were honored Friday at the 15th annual Senior Leadership Recognition Awards.
The selection committee, consisting of Associate Deans of Students Karen Joshua-Wathel and Dana Jansma, asked faculty and staff through a letter in December to nominate students, while noting an exemplary nominee isn’t necessarily the “team captain” or “organization president.”
“The individual may be the person who always seems to have a positive attitude, is consistently involved in helping a group move forward, serves as a continual role model to other students, and who shows dedication, even in times of adversity,” the letter said.
The Senior Leadership Recognition Award winners represent talented athletes, outstanding academic performers, members of the President’s Student Ambassadors and student-organization standouts.
Here are the honorees along with brief statements from their nominators:
“As a third-year [resident assistant], Tapiwa’s contributions have been invaluable. … Her authentic servant leadership has been an incredible asset. … As a Civic Engagement Scholar, she brings deeply informed and compassionate perspectives.”
“Emma’s combination of quiet confidence and a genuine desire to help others has enabled her to effectively lead a diverse group of peers as president of [the Kalamazoo College Council of Student Representatives].”
Ian Freshwater, nominated by Assistant Dean of Students Brian Dietz:
“Ian has done fantastic work serving on student government since his first year and has taken on key roles throughout.”
Sarah George, nominated by Women’s Soccer Coach Bryan Goyings:
“Sarah is an extraordinary individual excelling at K in the classroom, on the soccer field and in the community.”
Sharat Kamath, nominated by Chief Information Officer Greg Diment, Kalamazoo College Fund Associate Director Sandy Dugal, and Alison Geist, Teresa Denton, Moises Hernandez and Emily Kowey of the Center for Civic Engagement:
“He works respectfully to build a more accepting, inclusive community.”
Sabrina Leddy, nominated by Chemistry Professor Regina Stevens-Truss:
“Sabrina has been a leader/mentor of the [American Chemical Society] student group since her sophomore year.”
“Nick is one of the top ambassadors for K and the [Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) ]. … He’s a two-time co-captain of the golf team and will finish his career as one of the top three Hornet golfers of all time.”
“A highly gifted scientist. … Simply the best combination possible of compassion, empathy, kindness, ability and intelligence.”
Ian McKnight, nominated by Assistant Professor of Political Science Justin Berry, Residential Life Area Coordinator Erika Perry, Assistant Dean of Students Brian Dietz and Kalamazoo College Fund Associate Director Sandy Dugal:
“What makes Ian stand out beyond being a strong student is the degree to which he commits not only to his personal growth, but also the broader community.”
“Hannah is a two-year captain of the lacrosse team and a fantastic leader…she is the first player to offer assistance to younger players on and off the field.”
Zachary Morales, nominated by Men’s Lacrosse Coach Vince Redko:
“He has been instrumental in launching lacrosse at the College and he was our first All-MIAA selection in program history.”
Amanda Moss, nominated by L. Lee Stryker Associate Professor of Business Management Amy MacMillan, Women’s Basketball Coach Katie Miller and Women’s Lacrosse Coach Jessica Smith:
“Amanda is a dedicated leader in the classroom, on the basketball court, on the lacrosse field, and in the community. … She co-founded Sports Business Club. … She is a tenacious go-getter who sets an example of excellence for other students.”
Nkatha Mwenda, nominated by Biology Assistant Professor Anne Engh and Kalamazoo College Fund Associate Director Sandy Dugal:
“She embodies the sort of inclusive, cooperative leadership that we need in the world.”
Marco Ponce, nominated by Biology Professor Ann Fraser:
“Marco demonstrates commitment, fortitude and perseverance in all that he does. … He is gifted and the longest serving research assistant I had over my 16 years at the College.”
Shivani Rana, nominated by Assistant Dean of Students Brian Dietz:
“Shivani always comes to the table with a positive disposition, a genuine care for others, and a strong desire to make things better.”
“While always acting with integrity, she found ways to encourage others to expand their thinking and learn more about themselves.”
Sharif Shaker, nominated by Computer Science Chair Alyce Brady, Computer Science Associate Professor Pam Cutter, Swimming and Diving Coach Jay Daniels and Kalamazoo College Fund Associate Director Sandy Dugal:
“Sharif sets an example of dedicated and self-motivated learning … He is bright and is among the best writers we’ve ever seen.”
“Jordan had flourished and become one of our top academic, athletic and leadership examples we have in the baseball program. … As a President’s Student Ambassador, he is gracious and possesses an outstanding attitude.”
JayLashay Young, nominated by Assistant Dean of Students Brian Dietz:
“Jay is the epitome of the type of enlightened leaders we hope all K graduates become. … She created the Kalamazoo Dance Team and is a leader in student activities. … She is a unique combination of dedication, perseverance and optimism.”
Vote in the midterm election today with some help from K Votes, a non-partisan coalition that informs Kalamazoo College students, faculty and staff about voting and civic engagement.
The coalition, offered through the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement, is offering a shuttle to the Douglass Community Association, where you will vote if you registered through your campus address. Faculty and staff are driving the shuttles, which will run until 8 p.m. with pickup at the Hoben Hall lounge. Enjoy hot chocolate and donuts while you wait for a shuttle. Students, faculty and staff registered to vote through an off-campus address may find their polling place online.
After you vote, join K Votes and the Political Science Department to watch returns. Political Science Professor Justin Berry will attend an election night watch party with students, faculty and staff from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at Dewing Hall, Room 103.
For more information on these midterm election-related opportunities, contact Emily Kowey in the Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement at 269.337.7565 or Emily.Kowey@kzoo.edu.