SESP Seniors Receive Fulbright Awards, Ryan Prize and More

SESP Seniors Receive Fulbright Awards, Ryan Prize and More

Ayana DavisAyana Davis was one of seven SESP students named as a finalist for a Fulbright US Student Award.

School of Education and Social Policy seniors were recognized by the Northwestern University Division of Student Affairs with a wide range of fellowships and awards, including the Ryan Prize and a School record seven Fulbright finalist designations.

The annual event, normally held at Cahn Auditorium, was cancelled in 2020 due to pandemic-related safety concerns. The program honors members of the graduating class who have received prestigious honors and awards, including those from outside organizations, school-conferred distinctions, academic honor society memberships, undergraduate research awards, and fellowships and scholarships for graduate study.

GabbyOne of the most prestigious Northwestern awards, the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Prize for Community Service, went to Gabriella Johansson, a social policy major for her commitment to justice and equity in Evanston and Chicago.

Johansson, who minored in legal studies, implemented curriculum in a preschool classroom while serving as a Jumpstart AmeriCorps member at Chicago’s Howard Area Community Center.

In addition to working with three to five-year olds, Johannson was a Community Engagement Coalition advisory board member for two years, helping facilitate meetings to bridge student groups, foster a culture of engagement, and connect students to community leaders.

She also interned for Evanston alderman Robin Rue Simmons and in the city manager’s office to support work toward reparations for African Americans. Additionally, she was involved in several student-led campaigns, including Students Organizing for Labor Rights, Fossil Free Northwestern, and the Latinx Asian American Collective. 

“From direct service to ongoing advocacy for systemic reform, her community engagement has supported the development of the next generation of students creating change at Northwestern and beyond,” read her award description.

Read about more of our 2019-2020 award winners:

Seven SESP students ­– a new SESP record for the second year in a row – were finalists for Fulbright (IIE) U.S. Student Awards which support a year of study or research, or projects in the creative or performing arts, or teaching in more than 155 countries worldwide. Fulbright finalists include Reena Burt, Elizabeth Cornman, Halimeda Cronin, Ayana Davis, Lillian Guo, Hayley Krolik and Arzu Singh.

SESP honors recipients -- seniors who successfully complete SESP’s honors thesis program – include Jack Benjamin, Jolie Boulos, Reena Burt, Emily Coffee, Frances Hartnett, Ronnie Hayden, Samantha Milstein, Chris Parker, Jordyn Ricard, Sophie Rodosky, Andrew Wayne, Caroline Werner, and Hillary Wolff.

Students who completed Civic Engagement Capstone Projects include Elijah Beal, Reena Burt, Isabel Dobbel, Ronni Hayden, Damaris Hernandez, Scott Kiefer, Elizabeth Phillips and Caroline Werner. 

Sophie Rodosky earned the highest grade point average award with a 3.985.

Hailey Cox-Montijo, Lucy Hotz, Veronica Suarez, Antoinette White, and Ericka Woods received the Northwestern University Public Interest Program (NUPIP) Fellowship, a one-year program that helps train a new generation of leaders for social change through paid public-interest work, professional development seminars, and mentorship opportunities with Northwestern alumni.

Jordyn RicardJordyn Ricard won the SESP Alumni Leadership Award for “passion for research, mentorship, and advocacy, particularly with the goal of supporting underrepresented students,” said Brad Wadle (MS03), assistant director of the masters of education and social policy program. She served as the undergraduate representative for the Office of Undergraduate Research’s advisory council, an Arch Scholars Peer Mentor serving underrepresented first-year students at Northwestern, and a Supplies for Dreams Mentor, working with Chicago Public Schools students in low-income communities to foster a love for learning, a broad worldview, confidence, and agency. “For Jordyn, mentoring has highlighted a key pillar of leadership: that individuals learn from one another,” Wadle said.

Ricard also won the “Best Social Science and Journalism Presentation” award for her talk, "Life Stress and Facial Expressions of Emotion in Individuals at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis" at the Undergraduate Research and Arts Exposition. During her Northwestern career, Ricard earned 12 Undergraduate Research Awards and Conference Travel Grants worth nearly $13,000 over four years ­– a Northwestern University record. She split her time in two labs: Claudia Haase’s Life-Span Development Research Lab and Vijay Mittal's Adolescent Development and Preventative Treatment (ADAPT) Research Lab.

Samantha Millstein, Jolie Boulos, and Sophie Rodosky received honorable mention for their presentations at the Undergraduate Research and Arts Exposition. Reena Burt placed first in the Social Science and Journalism category for her poster, "The I in Community: Social Trust for First-Year Students" Suzannah Kingsbury’s poster "What Identities Warrant the Lens of Intersectionality in Psychology and Human Development Research?" tied for third.

Lillian Guo won the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award which honors Illinois seniors for their leadership and service in pursuit of the betterment of humanity and for excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

Juliana Conway received The Rock Distinguished Contribution Award, which honors seniors and graduate students who have enriched and advanced the campus community by serving as role models for their peers and as leaders who empower others. Conway double-majored in Social Policy and Global Health Studies and recently accepted a Health Associate position at Mathematica Policy Research in Washington, D.C. As co-director for Community Health Corps, a student organization, she encouraged her peers to enter the public health field. “Get to know your professors and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she tells incoming students. “Northwestern is full of incredible people and resources that have helped me in a number of ways, from planning a public health panel to figuring out how to begin my career."

burton laypNorthwestern’s women’s basketball team won its first Big 10 title in 30 years. With their 26th win of the season, the 'Cats also broke the program single-season wins record set by the 1978-79 squad. SESP athletes include sophomore Veronica Burton (shown left, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, second-team All-Big Ten); Abi Scheid (First-team All-Big Ten); Bryana Hopkins; Byrdy Galernick; and Amber Jamison.

Marissa Uri was named to the Mortar Board National Honor Society, which recognizes college seniors for superior achievement in scholarship, leadership, and service.

The Associated Student Government introduced legislation creating an award named after the first two non-binary ASG vice presidents, Macs Vinson (McCormick ‘17) and SESP’s Adam Davies, who have both helped implement intersectional initiatives at the University. The legislation was co-sponsored by ASG president and graduating senior Izzy Dobbel and SESP senator Daniel Rodriguez. Davies also was selected for the Harvard Public Policy Leadership Conference in 2018 and the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute in 2019.

Beverly Daniel received the James H. Dunn Jr. Memorial Fellowship, which gives recent college graduates the chance to learn about Illinois state government and general governmental structure at the executive level. Daniel double majored in social policy and international studies, with a certificate in civic engagement. On campus, Daniel was a fellow for One Book One Northwestern, a campus tour guide, and an ensemble member of the performance group TBD. As a fellow for the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Daniel has organized around various campaigns for justice in Chicago, highlighted by her work to mobilize Northwestern students on behalf of the Illinois Fair Tax.

Khaqan Ahmad, David Fuirgis, Suzannah Kingsbury and Jailene Ochoa, received the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship which funds US undergraduates for study abroad. Ahmad also won the Freeman—Asia Award which provide funds for US undergraduates to study in East or Southeast Asia.

Graduates Christopher Mayorga, Rachel Muir, Jagoda Rachwal, Melody Reichard, Ayana Davis, Veronica Suarez, Stephanie Farish, Nancy Le, Laine Kaehler, Kimani Isaac and Destiny Rogers all participated in the SESP Leadership Institute.

Eliana Scobey received the VP for Student Affairs Award. Scobey, who majored in learning and organizational change and political science, was honored for her work as executive co-chair of Dance Marathon, which was cancelled just 30 hours before it was scheduled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Scobey and co-chair Rachel Cantor immediately rallied to keep up the engagement, education and fundraising and raised over $1 million for the beneficiary, Children's Home & Aid.  

Moses Lee received a Critical Language Scholarship in 2018, an intense overseas language and cultural immersion program that helped him sharpen his Arabic and learn the Moroccan dialect Darija in Tangier, Morocco. Lee, a triple major in Middle East & North African Studies, International Studies, and Learning and Organizational Change delivered remarks for the International & Area Studies at Northwestern virtual graduation celebration.

Ericka Woods received the National Pan-Hellenic Council Member of the Year Award which honors a member for  outstanding leadership and positively impacting Northwestern. She also received the Community Service and Leadership in African-American Studies Award from the African-American Studies Department.

For more information on fellowships, visit Northwestern's Office of Fellowships. Information on research grant funding can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Research. 

To be added to this list, please  email Julie Deardorff, director of communications, with updates.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 6/30/20