Special Awards

Daniel Block '16
Daniel Block '16

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 Daniel Block.

Daniel is someone who seamlessly straddles the worlds of academia, politics, and journalism. He achieved Highest Honors with majors in political science and history and has worked as a research assistant for a number of faculty members.

For two semesters, Daniel served as editor-in-chief of The Phoenix, overseeing all aspects of the paper’s reportage, editing, and production. He has won numerous awards for his journalism, including recognition from the Associated Collegiate Press and a Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. The latter named him regional winner and national finalist for editorial writing. Last summer, he interned for the The American Prospect, authoring articles for the website and managing the magazine's twitter account.

In addition, Daniel was an active member of the College Democrats, serving as both treasurer and vice president. He has worked for U.S. Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer as well as N.Y. state legislators and on the re-election campaign of U.S. Representative Sean Maloney. He has worked as a Writing Associate and served as co-head of the student search committee that hired the new international relations faculty member in the fall of 2014.

Daniel has certainly been a good citizen on our campus, leading two major student organizations while performing at the highest levels academically.


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 Kelley Langhans.

Kelly Langhans '16
Kelley Langhans '16

Kelley is an exceptional student with a major in biology and a minor in music. In 2012, she worked in the Aging Genetics Lab at UCSF Medical Center; in 2013, she was an astrophysics research assistant at Swarthmore; and in 2014, she conducted fieldwork on the dark-eyed junco in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Last year, Kelley won a Lang Summer Research Fellowship to engage in intensive German language training at Middlebury College. 

In addition to pursuing an ambitious academic program, Kelley has served for two years as coordinator of the Green Advisors and helped transition the program from a loosely run student student club to a paid, 25+ student internship program. Each coordinator also takes on a larger project for the Office of Sustainability; Kelly helped pilot the Green Advocates program, which will help offices across campus to identify and meet their own sustainability goals.

A talented mezzo-soprano, Kelley has participated in numerous stage productions in the Music & Dance and Theater Departments, including South Pacific and starring roles in The Royal Singer, Guys and Dolls, and Dido and Aeneas. In addition, she has sung in the College Chorus and with the Garnet Singers and has also performed with Swarthmore Taiko.

Add into the mix Kelley’s volunteer work with school children and her profound love of animals and you have the picture of a young woman of great intelligence, talent, and compassion.


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

Nate Cheek '15
Ben Marks '16

Described as brilliant but humble, Ben Marks is a major in computer science with a minor in statistics. In December, he accompanied Professor Kevin Webb to the 21st Annual International Conference on Parallel and Distributed Systems in Melbourne, Australia, where he presented work on a final project he conducted for Cloud Computing. He already has two peer-reviewed research paper publications, a third under review, and a fourth in preparation for submission this summer — a highly unusual number of publications for an undergraduate to achieve.

Ben has earned the admiration of professors for taking a significant number of classes outside of his main academic interests, simply because he enjoyed the subject matter. 

Known as a generous classmate, Ben has served for the last two years as a Student Academic Mentor. In that time he took a lead role in designing and leading new training modules for the program and actively mentored new members. He also worked as a computer science "ninja," a clinician for statistics, and as a grader and tutor. He is system administrator for the Swarthmore College Computer Society, has served on the Information Technology Services committee, and has worked with the Registrar’s Office to develop automated final exam scheduling tools. He has also played the trumpet with the College Orchestra and wind ensemble. 

Ben is someone who cares deeply not only about his own educational experience, but also those of his peers. He always seeks to support others and find ways to improve and enhance our community.


The McCabe Engineering Award, presented each year to the "outstanding engineering student of the graduating class," was awarded to Ascanio Guarini.

Hayden Dahmm '15
Ascanio Guarini

Ascanio Guarini, a double honors major in engineering and economics, began his Swarthmore career by taking Professor Frank Moscatelli’s first-year seminar entitled Physics in Modern Medicine. After Professor Carr Everbach delivered a guest lecture on the topic of biomedical ultrasound, Ascanio began working in his lab on sonothrombolysis, the dissolution of blood clots by ultrasound via the action of microscopic bubbles. The results were sufficiently successful that Ascanio presented his research at an international acoustics meeting later that year to ultrasound experts, answering their questions so well that they assumed he was a Ph.D. student. 

In his second summer, Ascanio worked at the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences Summer Institute for Professor Ben Vakoc on the development of a device to ablate cancerous tissues in the human esophagus using localized heating. In his third summer, Ascanio sought to understand the business side of medical device development by working at a financial institution, Credit Suisse.

For his senior engineering project, Ascanio, with a classmate, designed a wireless device for monitoring heart rate paired with a smartphone app. This project involved hardware design and construction, software design on the device and for the app, and significant amounts of both analog and digital processing. Following graduation, he plans to work as a research assistant for a Stanford University Law School professor investigating issues in healthcare finance. 

By maximizing his opportunities at Swarthmore, Ascanio exemplifies the liberal-arts engineer and hopes to contribute to innovation in medical treatment for the benefit of patients everywhere.