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Five Seniors Receive Special Awards

Oak and Ivy Award | Lang Award | McCabe Engineering Award

The Oak and Ivy Award is given to the student in the graduating class who is outstanding in scholarship, contributions to community, and leadership. This year the award went to three students: Emma Morgan-Bennett, Jack Rubien, and Shira Samuels-Shragg.

Emma Morgan-BennettEmma Morgan-Bennett '20

Emma Morgan-Bennett is a special major in medical anthropology with a minor in Black studies. A Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, she recently earned High Honors. Emma is a trained doula, accomplished social activist, and young scholar. Her interests connect race, reproduction, public medicine and visual culture.

The last two summers, Emma researched the intersection between race and maternal health (while serving as a doula), looking at racial inequalities and maternal health outcomes. As a leader of SwatDoulas, she was critical in raising the group’s awareness of and work with women of color and non-binary clients. 

Emma is a star volleyball athlete who is an All-American middle blocker. She served as Advocate for Diversity within the Athletics Department, and on the College's Title IX Office hiring committee. She was instrumental in securing a Cooper Foundation grant to bring Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl Champion Malcolm Jenkins to campus to discuss the intersection between athletics and activism. A co-founder and director of her own theater company in New York City, Emma also served on the Drama Board.

This fall, Emma will embark on the prestigious Marshall Scholarship to pursue an M.A. program in filmmaking and screen documentary at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Jack Rubien Jack Rubien '20

Jack Rubien is a special major in biophysics with a minor in mathematics who recently earned Highest Honors. Jack has received accolades for his thesis work, including best undergraduate poster prize at the annual International Biophysics Society meeting. He was also the only undergraduate invited to present his research as part of the University of Pennsylvania RNA group seminar. Jack’s thesis work will result in a future first-author journal publication that he is currently co-writing with Professor Dawn Carone.

Jack has earned a wide reputation across several departments for being an engaged and supportive peer mentor. As co-president of the Biology Club and a Photon, Jack has taken a particular interest in mentoring first-year students and prospective majors in biology and physics. During Jack’s time studying abroad, his intellectual curiosity and interest in interdisciplinary work extended beyond the classroom when he set out to live in a Buddhist community in India to learn about religion and culture.

Outside of the classroom, Jack participates in the College Orchestra and Fetter Chamber Music program. He has helped organize performances for the Parrish Parlors concert series and NPPR Tiny Desk concerts.

After graduation Jack will work in James Shorter’s research lab at the University of Pennsylvania.

Shira Samuels-ShraggShira Samuels-Shragg '20

Shira Samuels-Shragg is a music major with a minor in German studies, and is an advanced conducting student whose conservatory-level work has led to collaborations with a number of professional musicians. She recently guest conducted the Desert Symphony in California and a studio orchestra at Warner Brothers for an episode of Star Trek shorts. Also an accomplished pianist, Shira performed in a recent concert of Palestinian and Israeli music led by Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Udi Bar-David.

Last fall Shira was music director for Cassandra, a new opera written by Professors Nat Anderson and Tom Whitman '82 and directed by Professor Elizabeth Stevens. Shira is also a gifted ethnomusicologist and music historian. She is a supportive peer, serving as a grader and music theory clinician and running information sessions for prospective first-year students.

Shira is also a student leader at the Interfaith Center, having served two years as co-president of Kehilah. During that time, she worked to strengthen ties between the organization and the Muslim Student Association."

Shira has been accepted into the conducting program of the Juilliard School, one of only two students admitted into that prestigious master’s program.

Daniel Wallick Daniel Wallick '20

The Lang Award is given to “a graduating senior in recognition of outstanding academic accomplishment.” This year the award is being given to Daniel Wallick

Daniel Wallick is a major in mathematics and a minor in physics. He won the Math Department’s Monsky Prize as a first-year student and recently earned High Honors. 

Daniel is a talented young scholar who is both passionate and systematic about his studies and who has an uncanny facility for identifying patterns and abstracting concepts. Detail-oriented and well-organized, Daniel is known for being creative and engaging in the classroom, and for giving professional-level seminar presentations. He is noted for having an infectious enthusiasm for learning and a friendly demeanor that has made him a valuable peer.

Equally successful in classes outside of STEM fields, Daniel is also a gifted musician, noted for his contributions to Gamelan and his independent study of Indonesian music.

Terell DaleTerell Dale '20

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

Terell Dale stands out in his pursuit of academic depth and rigor.

Despite his quiet demeanor, Terell’s dedication and sharp analytical skills have left a deep impression on the faculty who have worked closely with him. His demanding course load notwithstanding, Terell has excelled academically throughout his four years at the College. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honors Society, as well as a member of the National Society of Black Engineers. He has also been a member of the College’s baseball team since he arrived at Swarthmore.

Terell’s interests in engineering run the gamut, with particular focus on statistical signal processing and communication systems, interests which are well supported by Terell’s mathematics major. The past two summers, Terell earned back-to-back awards through the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program to conduct engineering research in both programmable logic controllers as well as a high-temperature superconducting degaussing system at the Naval Surface Warfare Center – Philadelphia Division.

An eastern Pennsylvania native, Terell will be starting a Ph.D. program in electrical engineering at Penn State this fall.