Special Awards

Benjamin Goloff '15
Benjamin Goloff '15

Ivy Award | Oak Leaf Award | Lang Award | McCabe Engineering Award

The Ivy Award, given to "the man of the graduating class who is outstanding in leadership, scholarship, and contributions to the college community," was awarded to Benjamin Goloff.

Ben is an exemplary student, passionate environmental activist, and dedicated musician. With a special major in environmental governance & social change and a major in biology, Ben is graduating with High Honors. Along with Professor Sara Hiebert, he has presented and published his work on the “Stress Response of Wild-Caught Rufous Hummingbirds.” In his junior year, he studied abroad at the University of Cape Town and took graduate-level seminars.

In the summer of 2013, Ben took the initiative to work with Professor Giovanna Di Chiro to apply for NGO Observer Status at the United Nations, which enabled members of Swarthmore College to officially participate in the international climate meetings convened by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. He helped others attend COP-19 in Warsaw and later attended COP-20 Lima.

Closer to home, Ben was a member of Mountain Justice that advocates for divestment from the fossil-fuel industry; co-leader of Earthlust; and coordinator of Ecosphere, a campus-wide coalition of seven environmental groups. He organized a campus-wide discussion on the future of the Environmental Studies program and has served on two faculty search committees in the Biology Department. Ben was also appointed twice to serve on the College's Council on Educational Policy, working with faculty and senior administrators to advocate for increased support for interdisciplinary programs and curricula engaging in social justice. Last spring, the Udall Foundation recognized Ben for his environmental leadership.

Ben was principal violinist of the College Orchestra for six of the seven semesters that he was on campus and continued to avidly study the violin while he was abroad in South Africa. He also served as concertmaster of the Orchestra and was a core member of the Fetter chamber music program.

In October, Ben will begin a one-year MSc in nature, society, and environmental governance at the University of Oxford.


The Oak Leaf Award, given to "the woman of the graduating class who is outstanding in leadership, scholarship, and contributions to the college community," was awarded to Rebecca Senft.

Rebecca Senft '15
Rebecca Senft '15

Rebecca is a special major in neuroscience graduating with High Honors. She worked in labs at Swarthmore and in Europe and completed an outstanding Honors neuroscience thesis project on neural stress regulation in wild birds. She presented her work at two major scientific meetings.  Soon she will have a first authored publication and be represented as a major supporting author on a second publication. In the fall, she will enter Harvard University as a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience.

On campus, Rebecca found numerous, meaningful ways to support her peers. She served on various committees in the Biology Department and helped revive the BIOS Club that sponsors lunchtime faculty talks and other social events. She worked as a Student Academic Mentor, Science Associate, Teaching Assistant, and Statistics Tutor.

A first generation student, Rebecca served as campus liaison for Quest Scholars Network, an organization that connects under-served students with higher education opportunities. She was also a Rubin Scholar and recipient of a Goldwater Honorable Mention.

Although her academic work and college commitments kept her busy enough, Rebecca still made the time to support several non-profits: she was an active volunteer with the Philabundance Hunger Relief Center, the College Access Center of Delaware County, and the Animal Care group at the Academy of Natural Sciences.


The Lang Award, given to "a graduating senior in recognition of outstanding academic accomplishment," was awarded to Nate Cheek.

Nate Cheek '15
Nate Cheek '15

Nate is graduating with High Honors in psychology and Spanish and a course major in Spanish. He has already presented first-authored work at international psychology conferences and published highly original studies. To date, he has two publications in prestigious academic journals — one first authored and the other sole authored. He will soon have many more, as he’s currently involved in at least 12 different lines of research, including independent projects with three professors, as well as work that he is doing independently. This June, Nate will present his 10th poster at a psychology research conference.

Members of the Spanish Department have recognized Nate for his high level of fluency and sophistication, saying that he writes with linguistic and academic rigor that demonstrates mastery of the language.

Impressively, Nate managed to work at the highest levels academically while remaining fully engaged in campus life. He served as a Student Academic Mentor, participated in an improv theater group, worked as a campus tour guide, and wrote a blog for Admissions. He’s had stints as a senior class senator for student government, a member of the student budget committee, a member of the drama board, and a member of the appointments committee.  


The McCabe Engineering Award, presented each year to the "outstanding engineering student of the graduating class," was awarded to Hayden Dahmm and Allison King.

Hayden Dahmm '15
Hayden Dahm '15

Hayden came to Swarthmore on a McCabe Scholarship. Already interested in pursuing engineering despite his near total blindness, Hayden enrolled in Engineering 5, taught by Professor Carr Everbach, who realized that his PowerPoint slides were going to be useless to Hayden. Establishing an ongoing collaboration to invent new accessibility tools, Hayden and Everbach worked together with Youngmoo Kim ’93 and his graduate students at Drexel University to develop tools for sonification of data (representing data by sounds). In addition, Hayden worked with other students in using a 3D printer to create plastic click-wheels mounted on K’Nex sticks as tactile tools to represent electrical circuit elements for electrical engineering courses. In class, Hayden’s excellent memory allowed him to follow the drawing with narration by a professor of a complicated diagram on a chalkboard. Hayden participated in the design, if not the fabrication, of aluminum trusses and other artifacts in the machine shop, and was often the highest scorer on his engineering exams.

Hayden’s hope to help solve the problem of global climate change spurred him to create a radio show in his first year, Think Climate, on WSRN with Alex Ahn. Joining the Sustainability Committee his second year, Hayden worked with Sustainability Director Laura Cacho and others and was instrumental in articulating the values and policies that would drive Swarthmore College toward its goal of climate neutrality by 2035. Hayden was a member of the first ENVS introductory course implementation and an active participant in the Environmental Studies minor. He was a key participant in the 2015 Capstone seminar in implementing the sculpture created from one semester’s worth of average student printer paper use (now hanging in the atrium of McCabe Library).

A Rubin Scholar at Swarthmore, Hayden secured a Marshall Scholarship to study environmental and energy policy at Imperial College in London, with plans for a second masters degree in environmental economics. His engineering senior design project developed a statistical model of the factors policy makers could adjust to maximize the utilization of renewable energy resources such as wind and solar energy on the regional electricity grid. With his beloved service dog, Fathom, Hayden has been a visible reminder on campus that limitations can be overcome in the determination to make the world a better place.

Allison King '15
Allison King '15

At Swarthmore, Allison King was a complete self-starter, focusing her studies in the area of computer engineering. In her Embedded Systems course, in which small computers are integrated into physical systems, Allison and her partner assembled multiple embedded devices into a web-based home automation controller. In a course on Very Large System Integration (VLSI), in which complex logic circuits are fabricated on a single chip, Allison demonstrated her solid understanding of the fundamentals in math and science in applying the CMOS (Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) theory to VLSI circuit design.

In addition to her academic projects, Allison applied her knowledge as a Wizard and grader for the Engineering Department, supporting courses in digital logic design, physical systems analysis, and mechanics. The culmination of her work was her senior design project: a compact, affordable e-reader to promote literacy among school-aged children. She was selected to represent Swarthmore College at the "Transforming Undergraduate Education in Engineering" workshop co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the American Society for Engineering Education. Resourceful and hard-working, Allison believes in promoting diversity and intercultural awareness at the College. She was an active member of the Swarthmore Asian Organization, having served as its president. Allison supported the Admissions Office as a Multicultural Recruitment Intern, helping to organize and lead the Discover Swarthmore events for prospective students of color. In the summer, she interned at IBM as part of their Development Operations team. Following graduation, Allison is headed to MIT Lincoln Labs, where she will work on embedded systems design.