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Special Awards

Jonathan Molloy
Jonathan Molloy '14

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 Jonathan Molloy.

A special major in architectural studies, Jonathan has a well-earned reputation for innovation, community building, and scholarship. He has made two specific contributions that have had and will continue to have profound affects on Swarthmore.  

Last year, he founded the Agora Talks - a TED-style showcase for graduating seniors to present their work to an interdisciplinary audience.  Named for the ancient Greek marketplace of intellectual exchange, the Agora Talks give seniors the opportunity to present their work outside of their respective departments to the wider College community. The Agora Talks are designed to create what Jonathan calls "collisions of different disciplines".  Selected by a committee of students and faculty, this year's talks ranged from maternal healthcare to cryptography to architecture to twerking. The talks are videotaped and archived to share with an even broader audience, and it is Jonathan's hope that other liberal arts institutions will adopt this model for making interdisciplinary connections.

Jonathan also created the Oxbow Cabin, a meditative space on the edge of the Crum Woods.  Salvaging wood and glass from the College's demolished squash courts, Molloy and a team of workers, featuring students and staff such as Vice President for Facilities and Services Stu Hain, spent weeks building the cabin from the ground up. The mission is to "encourage students to commune more often and more intimately with the solitude of the Woods."

In his "spare time" Jonathan has played on the Men's Lacrosse Team where he twice made the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll and was twice named to The Philadelphia Inquirer's Academic All-Area Team.


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 Naudia Williams.

Naudia Williams
Naudia Williams '14

Naudia is deeply thoughtful and intelligent student who maintained an exceptional academic record while taking on numerous leadership roles on and off campus.  A Richard Rubin Scholar, Naudia is a political science major with minors in English literature and psychology. She was coordinator of the Speaking Associates program, providing a much-needed service helping students gain confidence in their presentation skills. She was an active member of the Black Cultural Center (BCC), serving on SASS and SOCA, and was recognized by the BCC with several awards for her involvement in and contributions to the campus community. She was also a member of the Christian Fellowship and, for several years, chaired the Martin Luther King Committee.

Naudia has mentored local youth through her work at the Chester Youth Court, a grassroots program that trains high school students to take a restorative rather than punitive approach to school transgressions. Naudia's involvement included developing a curriculum for K-5 students, and submitting written testimony to The Public Safety Committee of the Philadelphia City Council. Immigration law is one of her possible career interests, and Naudia completed a very successful internship with the University of Colorado Law School last summer, working closely with her Rubin mentor, the Dean of the Law School. 

In recognition of her service as a leader, peer mentor and role model to other students, the College invited Naudia to serve as a First Collection speaker for the Class of 2017 last fall. Throughout all of her responsibilities - academic and otherwise - Naudia has shown great maturity and focus, and demonstrated significant "people skills".  

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

Sierra Eckert
Sierra Eckert '14

Sierra is an English literature major with a minor in interpretation theory and she is graduating with Highest Honors. According to her academic mentors, and the external examiners who reviewed her work, Sierra is already an innovative and important thinker in both critical theory and digital humanities scholarship.  In fact one of her examiners suggested that she should publish her thesis.

Sierra has won acclaim in both creative writing and literary criticism, taking first place in the Hicks Prize for Literary Criticism twice and first place in the Dorothy Ditter Gondos Comparative Literature Contest.  She also won the Morrell-Potter Summer Stipend in Creative Writing which she declined because she also secured a Mellon Tri-Co Digital Humanities Fellowship to work on the Early Novels Database.  She's had poems published in the Susquehanna Review and has been named their Gary Fincke prize winner  Last year she was the recipient of our Cooper Award. 

Sierra was member of the Student Liaison Committee for the English Literature department, which included helping to interview and hire candidates for tenure-track positions.  She helped put on the Re:Humanities conference, and worked to create an offshoot of the Trico Digital Humanities working group at Swarthmore.

In addition, Sierra has a keen interest in astrophysics and was trained as one of the student operators of the College's 24-inch reflecting telescope in the Peter van de Kamp Observatory. By all accounts, she would have been an equally successful student in the sciences, demonstrating the breadth and depth of her intellectual interests and talents.


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

Katie Samuelson
Katie Samuelson '14

Katie, an engineering major from East Wakefield, NH, originally had no idea she would be interested in engineering when she came to Swarthmore. Taking the introductory engineering classes, she discovered a love of mechanics and began exploring topics such as architecture and studio arts. In the summer after her junior year, she worked at Oregon State University on a research project examining the effect of waves on coastal beaches, a topic of increasing importance given rising sea levels. Her senior design project was the design and construction of a 30-foot wave tank to allow future Swarthmore students to study coastal wave processes such as erosion. Recently awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Katie will be pursuing ocean engineering at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution examining sediment transport and turbulent tidal flows on her way to an MIT Ph.D.

At Swarthmore, Katie played on the varsity tennis team, was president of the engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi, participated as an active member of the Swarthmore chapter of the engineering professional society ASME, and served as president of Swarthmore's ASCE chapter. Katie won scholarships from the Philadelphia section of ASCE and the Delaware Valley Engineers Week Council in essay writing competitions. She also worked three years as an Engineering Department "wizard", or student learning helper, as well as a tutor and grader for many engineering courses.  Her knowledge of various engineering topics made her a vital part of the evening study sessions, where she consistently and enthusiastically provided learning support to other students. Katie worked as a lab assistant for introductory engineering courses, offering assistance with robotics modules, MATLAB programming, and SolidWorks design.

For someone initially unsure of her interest in engineering when she came to Swarthmore, Katie has left a lasting imprint on the department. Her service and hard work are much appreciated by all who worked with her, and her intellectual curiosity and dedication will be missed by all who had the pleasure to teach her.