Barlow Trophy Recognizes Student Achievement
Alma College seniors Samantha LaChance of Mount Pleasant, Tristan Smith of Lowell and Kayla Zuiderveen of Falmouth are the 2012 nominees for the Barlow Trophy, Alma’s most prestigious award for a graduating senior.
Established in 1949 by Dr. Joel Barlow, a 1929 honors graduate of Alma College, the award will be announced on Honors Day April 5 and presented at the senior dinner on April 20.
The award recognizes academic achievement for students in the top 10 percent of their class as well as contributions to campus and community. The Barlow winner is determined by a vote of Alma’s Student Congress and faculty.
Samantha LaChance has combined academic interests in business administration and environmental studies with a passion for community engagement through active involvement with the Center for Responsible Leadership, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and Students for a Sustainable Future. A graduate of Mount Pleasant High School, she is the daughter of Patrick and Jill LaChance.
An active community student leader, LaChance served on the Alma Fall Festival Planning Committee, participated in community round table discussions, supported the Gratiot County United Way, and was a member of the Pine River Superfund Citizen Task Force. She also has interned with the Gratiot County Community Foundation and Greater Gratiot Development.
A member of Students for a Sustainable Future her entire time at Alma, LaChance has promoted sustainable food issues, working with the campus food service to eliminate trays and Styrofoam cups in the cafeteria. As president of the organization, she updated the group’s organizational structure to better connect with the student body and oversaw expansion of the College’s student-run recycling program.
Her international experiences included trips to New Zealand and Copenhagen, Denmark. At Copenhagen, she attended the United Nation’s Climate Summit and participated in forums that addressed climate change and issues of sustainability.
Tristan Smith has been an active participant in programs that aim to reinvigorate and promote Alma College’s relationship with the Hispanic community of Michigan. Her academic interests focus on biological science, Latin American history and Spanish. A graduate of Saranac High School, she is the daughter of Earl and Dawn Smith.
From May through September 2010, Smith interned at the Consulate of Mexico in Detroit. In commemoration of the bicentennial of Mexican independence and the centennial of Mexico’s revolution, Smith worked with the Institute for Mexicans Abroad division to organize health fairs and art and music exhibitions, translate and organize governmental documents, and research historical articles.
Smith also was a co-organizer of the College’s yearlong celebration of the Mexican bicentennial. “Bicentenario in Michigan: Cultural Exchanges between Michigan and the Americas” included an immigration panel, speakers, sports events, information fair and a “fiesta/baile” cultural celebration. She also organized an historical and artistic photo contest in commemoration of Hispanic heritage in Michigan.
Her volunteer achievements included Pine River clean-up with Students United for Nature and soup kitchen server at Alma’s First Presbyterian Church. She also participated in meetings of the Hispanic Coalition and the student organization Forgotten Children of Eastern Europe.
Kayla Zuiderveen has participated in the Alma College chapel community during all four of her undergraduate years. As a member of the chapel music team, she has played guitar on stage, planned services, catalogued sheet music, led Bible studies and served in the community. A graduate of Northern Michigan Christian High School, Zuiderveen is the daughter of Donald and Heidi Zuiderveen.
Her volunteer work in the Alma community has come through the local English as a Second Language Program and the Hispanic Coalition. She has promoted literacy in her role as an English tutor to a local Hispanic resident and is producing a documentary that examines the challenges the Hispanic community faces in central Michigan.
She also has participated in Alternative Breaks, sung in the Alma College Choir and Glee Club, served on the Celebracion Bicentenario Committee, volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Gratiot County, led a Spanish worship night and served as a guitarist and childcare provider for a local church.
A biology major and Spanish minor, Zuiderveen also has served as a teachers’ assistant for the biology and Spanish departments and a student tutor for the biology, Spanish and chemistry departments.
Posted: Wed, February 29th, 2012 at 2:41PM