ALMA — Blake Jonassen is the 2022 recipient of the Barlow Trophy, Alma College’s most prestigious award for a graduating senior.
Established in 1949 by Dr. Joel Barlow, 1929 honors graduate of Alma College, the award recognizes academic achievement for students in the top 10 percent of their class as well as contributions to campus and community. The winner of the Barlow Trophy was announced Wednesday night at the Wright Leppien Opera House, as the culmination of an event commemorating past Barlow Trophy winners.
Jonassen has devoted much of their time on campus to promoting inclusivity and intercultural awareness through academic and extracurricular activities. A senior psychology major, they are a lead mentor and student assistant with the King-Chavez-Parks First Year Mentor Program, where they work directly with first year and transfer students to acclimate to college life, and work with the Diversity and Inclusion Office to plan and facilitate cultural events.
Jonassen has participated in a number of science-based research projects during their time at Alma; including work as the lead researcher measuring the relationship between mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the academic achievement of students. This project received the attention of regional and statewide media outlets.
Jonassen is also involved on campus as a member of Alpha Phi Omega, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the Gender and Sexuality Diversity Club, and the Alma College Accountability Coalition, and as a tutor and teaching assistant for psychology and upper-level Spanish courses.
Two other students were recognized as finalists for the Barlow Trophy:
Peyton Erndteman has combined strong academic performance with involvement in multiple extracurricular activities in the sciences and athletics. A senior integrative physiology and health science (IPHS) major on a pre-med track, she intends to pursue a medical degree at A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri after graduation. She is a member of the Presidential Honors Program and the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.
Erndteman is a four-year member and captain of the college women’s soccer team who helped to create two significant programs during her time on the team; “Who’s Your Scot?,” a partnership with the men’s soccer program designed to support one another in competition, and the Women’s Soccer Library, which redistributes textbooks from upperclass students to students in need.
Erndteman is also a member of Chi Epsilon Mu, the chemistry honor society, and the IPHS honor society, a participant in the biology and chemistry clubs, and a participant in LEAPS. She has participated in several Alternative Break service trips and worked a variety of jobs while being a student, including substitute teaching in local schools.
Emily McDonald has participated in numerous activities that demonstrate a commitment to the liberal arts by going outside of her majors to engage with a wide range of campus programs. A senior who is double-majoring in education and language arts, with a studio art minor, she is a four-year member and senior captain of the college women’s tennis team, a tutor for physical science courses and a staff writer at the campus newspaper, The Almanian.
McDonald has been involved in a number of English- and education-based activities during her time at Alma; including service as president of Sigma Tau Delta, the English honorary, and president of the Education Club. During her time as president of the Education Club, it has broadened its focus to not only serve elementary education students, but also those studying secondary education, special education and educational studies.
McDonald has also served as the AmeriCorps summer intern for Gratiot County, where she worked with a number of different projects and organizations; including Alma College STEM camps, the Gratiot County Gender-Affirming Closet, the Gratiot County Hunger Network, the Community Cafe and more.