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: Abigail Bautista ‘22, Chantal Reyes ‘22, and Murtaza Ukani ‘22.
Abigail Bautista is a special major in English literature and educational studies who is graduating with Highest Honors. Gale is noted for her creativity, scholarship, commitment to social justice, and gifts as an educator. Gale weaves interdisciplinary
analysis and creative expression into her work. An example is her Honors thesis which was both a literary analysis of Philipinix texts and a process of curricular freedom dreaming in the English Language Arts secondary classroom.
Gale provided an English language enrichment program via Zoom to immigrant high school students in North Philadelphia, offering lessons related to personal wellness and college and career planning. She was active in the College’s choral programs and
served as a Lib Lab Fellow, a program which brings together students across disciplines to engage theory and practice of digital scholarship. She was social media coordinator for Organizing to Redefine Asian Activism (ORAA), and helped lead ORAA’s response to the tragic Asian American shootings in Atlanta in 2021, providing opportunities for engagement as well as healing.
Chantal Reyes is a major in environmental studies with minors in linguistics and Spanish. Through her work with the Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL) and the Campus Coalition Concerning Chester (C4), she is a model for engaged scholarship. Both organizations seek environmental justice for the residents of Chester, who suffer inordinately with health problems resulting from the concentration of waste facilities in their community.
Chantal guided student community-based research teams in designing and implementing projects for CRCQL that included fundraising, social media outreach, and direct action organizing. She testified in front of the Delaware County Council about the social, economic, and health impacts of environmental racism in Chester and other marginalized communities. She presented her research at academic conferences focused on engaged scholarship and law, policy, and environmental justice.
Chantal balances academic and community work with her participation in varsity soccer, having made the Centennial Honor Roll every year that she played.
Murtaza Ukani is a double major in sociology and anthropology and peace and conflict studies. Murtaza combines energetic leadership on campus with deep engagement in his studies. As a member of the Student Government Organization, he has served as Diversity & Inclusion Executive Chair and student body president. He was co-chair of the First Generation and Low Income Council and has worked as a teaching assistant, student academic mentor, and career peer advisor. He is admired and respected by his peers for his listening skills, mentorship, and care and concern for the campus community. Off campus, he has worked for the right to housing in Oakland, Calif.
Murtaza is a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and was awarded a Summer Experiential Fellowship, as well as the Adelberg Swarthmore Endowed Scholarship in recognition of his high academic achievement and interests in peaceful international discourse, human rights, and conflict resolution.
Sarah is a major in biology with a minor in art history who is graduating with Highest Honors. She is an outstanding scholar and accomplished researcher who works at the level of a graduate student. Known for her strong work ethic and good cheer, Sarah inspired other students with whom she worked.
In her junior year, Sarah received the Goldwater Scholarship in recognition of her outstanding academic accomplishment and promise for success as a research scientist. This year she received the highly prestigious and competitive Churchill
Scholarship to pursue an M.Phil. in biological science (genetics) at Cambridge University. At Cambridge she will work with Professor
Daniel St. Johnston from the Gurdon Institute, a research facility that specializes in developmental biology and cancer biology.
Sarah remained actively engaged in campus life while pursuing her studies. She was co-president of Kitao Art Gallery; was a board member of Global Health Forum; served as a biology teaching assistant and catalyst; and volunteered with the Chester Children’s Chorus and Science for Kids.
Yiyin (Yolanda) Hu is a double major in engineering and mathematics, and has distinguished herself at Swarthmore through her coursework and participation in scientific research. She has conducted research in multiple fields, including in biomedical engineering, computational optics, and neuroscience. In her first research experience, she conducted research on the diagnosis and classification of neurodegenerative diseases, developing a process for classification of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and Huntington’s Disease using gait dynamics. Her process achieved a 5% higher accuracy than the state-of-the-art at the time. She continued to simulate and model neuronal networks for image transmission and recovery. For her senior engineering capstone project, she helped (with Andrew Olsen) to develop a technique for Fourier ptychographic microscopy that has the broader impact of vastly improving the speed of imaging modalities such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, with implications for scientific discovery and human health.
Yolanda is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society. Beyond her research activities, she has participated in the Student Budget Committee at Swarthmore, mentoring individual clubs in financial and budget matters. She has interned at Citi and Vanguard, and plans to work for a couple years before pursuing graduate work in engineering.
Andrew Olsen is a double major in engineering and economics. Since arriving at Swarthmore, Andrew has excelled in his courses and extracurricular activities. He has conducted research in both economics and engineering, applying his knowledge from both fields to his work. In economics, he has worked on Monte Carlo simulations for a merger retrospective methodology as well as analyzing data to explore the effects of worker's compensation on retirement decisions. For his senior engineering capstone project, he helped (along with Yolanda Hu) to develop a technique for Fourier ptychographic microscopy that has the broader impact of vastly improving the speed of imaging modalities such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, with implications for scientific discovery and human health.
Andrew, a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering society, balances his academics with his role on Swarthmore's varsity baseball team. He was recognized in 2020 and 2021 in the Centennial Conference Honor Roll. Andrew has interned at NERA Economic Consulting, Pure Storage, and 9th Gear Technologies, and plans to work for some time before pursuing graduate studies in economics.