Alma’s most prestigious award for a graduating senior honors academic achievement and contributions to campus and community.
Katherine Vaillancourt of Hillsdale is the 2016 recipient of the Barlow Trophy, Alma College’s most prestigious award for a graduating senior.
The award, which is voted on by Student Congress and faculty members, is presented to a graduating student in the top 10 percent of the senior class who has made incredible contributions to both the campus and the community.
Vaillancourt has participated in numerous activities at Alma that demonstrate a passion for working with underserved populations with an emphasis on empowering others.
A history major with plans to pursue medical school, she has been a member of the Public Affairs Institute, Phi Alpha Theta history honorary and Model United Nations team.
An advocate for cultivating a “culture of service” on Alma’s campus, Vaillancourt has served two years as co-chair of Alternative Breaks and four years on the Service Learning Team. In the community, she is a member of the Gratiot Family Practice Patient Advisory Board and Pine River Community Action Group/Public Health Task Force.
She has twice participated in Alternative Breaks on the U.S.-Mexico border, where she experienced firsthand migrants-rights issues.
She also has taken her passion for service internationally. A three-time Posey Global Fellowship recipient, Vaillancourt has focused her international work in Brazil, India and Malawi on understanding how ingrained poverty affects health care opportunities. In Malawi she volunteered in a hospital maternity ward.
In addition, she has served as a research assistant with a team from Emory University, in which she participated in data collection for the Michigan PBB Registry project. Following her work, she presented preliminary data at the Central Michigan Public Health Conference, followed by a presentation to the American Public Health Association.
Michigan Campus Compact honored Vaillancourt with the organization’s Commitment to Service Award in recognition of her extensive commitment to community service.
A graduate of Hillsdale Academy, she is the daughter of James and Jeannie Vaillancourt.