ALMA — Taylor Neeb, of Weidman, Mich., is the 2024 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 April 4 at the Wright Leppien Opera House, as the culmination of an event highlighting academic achievements from the 2023-24 academic year.

Neeb has used her Alma education to benefit the lives of students, staff and faculty, as well as vulnerable populations around the globe. Through the Posey Global Fellowship program, Neeb has traveled to Sierra Leone four times, as well as India and Tanzania. Among her many activities in Sierra Leone, Neeb launched Soul Salone, a project focused on the development of a post-partum screening project to lower maternal death rates of women.

Neeb is involved in a number of clubs and organizations on campus, highlighted by her role as Student Congress president this past year. She has served as a senior resident assistant, student representative on the Alma College Board of Trustees, vice president of the Premed Club, Center for College and Community Engagement assistant and lead mentor on the Model United Nations team.

A neuroscience major, Neeb is currently working on her senior thesis, which explores how menstruation experiences impact academic performance and how factors like access and belonging among cis-gendered and trans/non-binary students might impact these outcomes.

A member of the Alma College faculty who nominated Neeb for the award wrote: “(Her) intellect, sincere commitment to a career devoted to assisting the least advantaged members of the international community and demonstrated leadership skills embody those attributes most valued by Joel Barlow.”

Two other students were recognized as finalists for the Barlow Trophy:

Noah Festerling of Allegan, Mich., has played a role in a diverse array of campus organizations, including athletics, music, spiritual life and fraternity/sorority life, and diligently worked to improve them all, while maintaining a strong academic record. A double-major in psychology and political science, Festerling has made presentations on both subjects at Honors Day in 2023 and 2024. He has been inducted into the political science honorary, Pi Sigma Alpha, and the psychology honorary, Psi Chi.

Festerling has played trumpet in the Kiltie Marching Band for four years. He was assistant section leader for three years and for one year served as marching and movement instructor. During this time he also played in the Kiltie Concert Band and has been a member of the men’s tennis team, serving as senior captain this past year. For the past three years, he was the technology coordinator at the Thomas Andison Chapel, running technology and support for all chapel events and facilitating trainings.

George Amoako of Accra, Ghana, a biochemistry major, has made academic presentations at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute’s Perrigo seminar and the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting and World Congress, among other events. He has served as a teaching assistant and tutor in chemistry and calculus for three years, including six consecutive terms as a chemistry TA.

He has participated in the Alma CORE program seminar, the iGEM team and the integrative physiology and health science honorary seminar. Amoako has ingrained himself in the campus and Alma communities through extracurricular involvement as a First-Year Guide, Chapel house manager, student ministry coordinator and resident assistant for the Julius Chatman Living Learning Community. He is a member of the Premed Club and current president of the International Club.