Eight Outstanding Students Honored With Class Awards
Occidental College kicked off its 116th academic year by granting class awards to eight notable students during convocation ceremonies held Thursday, Aug. 29 at Thorne Hall.
The college is fortunate to have three endowed funds that make possible annual awards of $500 apiece to outstanding men and women in the sophomore, junior and senior classes.
The awards, based on the students’ prior year’s achievements, take into account scholarship, moral character, and contributions to student life and the general welfare of the college. A committee convened by the Office of the Dean of Students makes the selections.
The awards and recipients are as follows:
The freshman award was established in 1955 in memory of Charles W. List ’08. The 2001-02 awardees are sophomores Nathan Baptiste, of Lake Oswego, Ore., and Sarah Grausz, of Mercer Island, Wash., both undeclared majors. Since his arrival on campus, Baptiste has been an active and articulate member of the Multicultural Summer Institute, the Emerging Leaders Seminar, The Black Student Alliance, the Multiracial Student Alliance, and Students United for Peace. Baptiste, who works as a program assistant for the Office of Student Life, also has been involved in presenting arguments against the death penalty on campus. Grausz distinguished herself as an involved and accomplished student during her first year at Occidental. Faculty members call Grausz an outstanding student who has emerged as a leader and a problem solver. She has been active in campus publications, compiling two issues of the Diplomacy and World Affairs Digest, and contributing to the student newspaper, the Occidental Weekly.
The Cynthia Cox Memorial Award for sophomores is presented in recognition of an alumna of the Class of 1972. It was established in 1980 by her parents and friends. This year’s awardees are Steven Barrie-Anthony, an undeclared major from Albany, Calif.; Grace Egbert, a religious studies major from Albuquerque, N.M.; Jennifer Valentine, a psychology major from Davis, Calif.; and Jason Arias Willis, a biochemistry major, also from Albuquerque.
Barrie-Anthony has been hailed by professors for his “searching, disciplined intellect.” With several essays in the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers to his credit, Barrie-Anthony’s writing also has appeared in scholarly journals and in Occidental Magazine. He has been invited to contribute to a major encyclopedia project and to write a chapter in a book to be published by Oxford University Press. Egbert has been prominently involved in such campus activities as Take Back the Night, date rape forums, and Herstory month. She also has served as the leader of the Buddhist Meditation Group, worked in the Market Basket organic food program, served as co-editor of the Occidental Review, the college’s arts and literary magazine, and worked with at-risk youth through Occidental’s Olive Branches program. Valentine has achieved a near-perfect academic record with an overall grade point average of 3.96. Her “spirit of service” noted by psychology faculty encompasses membership on a psychology department search committee, service as a representative on the Residence Council, as a volunteer with the Child Development Center, and as a mentor for local elementary school youth through Olive Branches and for abused and neglected teens in the Oxy Paw program. Willis has earned kudos from the dean of students and the Academic Mastery Program for his involvement in InterVarsity and AMP. He spent the summer of his freshman year in Cornell University’s special program for gifted students doing cancer research that he later presented at a research conference. He intends to earn an M.D./Ph.D and pursue medical research.
The junior class award was established in 1955 in memory of alumnus and trustee Daniel Stewart Hammack ’05. Later, after the death in 1973 of alumnus and trustee Daniel Hammack Jr. ’35, the award memorialized the younger Hammack. This year’s Hammack awardees are seniors Rebecca Bertin of San Diego and Michael Tan of Hong Kong.
Bertin has demonstrated a strong academic foundation in chemistry and math that led to her participation with faculty on a research project related to the tranquilizer chlorpromazine hydrochloride. She is a member of Alpha Chi Sigma, the professional chemistry fraternity, where she is one of the youngest selected for the position of vice master alchemist. Bertin has been an officer in the Oxy Christian Fellowship program, an active member and adviser to the Living and Learning Community, and will be a teaching assistant for the organic chemistry laboratories this year. Tan has achieved an admirable balance between meeting the scholarly demands of Occidental and making meaningful contributions to the college community. He has served as president of the Chinese Culture Club, as an international student orientation leader and program liaison, as a representative on the Greek Status Review, as a student representative on a Board of Trustees committee, and as a tutor in the Economics 101 Collaborative Learning Lab.