Spirits were high when the campus community came together to acknowledge academic and civic achievements at the annual Student Awards Ceremony May 2. Gathering in person for the first time since 2019 added to the celebratory mood of the event, which marks the beginning of the end of the academic year.
The ceremony’s high point came when President David A. Greene revealed the winner of the prestigious Condon Medal, QuestBridge Scholar Roshauna Follett ’22.
“This year’s recipient demonstrates a passion for civic engagement, education, and global health equity, a contagious desire to improve the lives of those around her, and a commitment to making positive change on campus,” he said of Follett, a biology major with a concentration in cell and molecular biology/biochemistry and a minor in anthropology.
The Condon Medal, established in 1920 through a gift from Randall J. Condon, a member of Colby’s Class of 1886, recognizes the finest qualities of citizenship and is the only student award presented at commencement. In Condon’s words, “Character is the supreme end of education. Citizenship is the expression of it in the community.” The recipient is chosen by the votes of the senior class and faculty.
Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., Follett supports the student experience as an area resident director, a leader for the Bridge—Colby’s all-inclusive queer and ally student-run club—and a learning assistant with the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Academic Success Program. She’s helped organize fundraising for an education program through Partners in Health. She’s also volunteered at Waterville’s Inland Hospital emergency room, the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter’s kitchen, and the Alfond Youth and Community Center as a remote tutor.
“Roshauna is the kind of student that inspires me to be a better professor and mentor,” said Kevin Rice ’96, associate professor of chemistry who has worked with Follett in his lab. She supports her labmates, Rice said, asks thoughtful questions, and is someone everyone truly admires.
“While I’ve taught and mentored countless students of tremendous character,” he continued, “Roshauna projects her character with more humility, authenticity, and kindness than perhaps any other student I’ve known in my 17 years at Colby.”
This year’s ceremony also recognized the achievements of more than 100 students who represent the breadth of excellence achieved at Colby. From exceptional academic work, to transformative service, to powerful cocurricular leadership, to inspiring athletic accomplishment, these students exemplify Colby’s highest values. A list of winners, and their respective awards, is available here.
Jordan McClintock ’22, a Ralph J. Bunche Scholar from Wading River, N.Y., was selected by her peers to deliver the student address at commencement May 22. A science, technology, and society major on a premed track, McClintock studies issues surrounding children’s healthcare and displacement, especially in refugee communities around the world. Earlier this year, she won a prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for her project “The House that Healthcare Built.”
Other students receiving prominent national awards include Catherine duBoulay ’22, Talamh Devlin ’22, and Keerthi Martyn ’22, each awarded a Fulbright grant, and Lutie Brown ’22, named to the National Civic Engagement Honor Roll. Linh K. Dinh ’25 and Hong Yiu Lee ’24 won Davis Project for Peace grants.
The senior class selected Associate Professor of History Arnout van der Meer as this year’s Charles Bassett Teaching Award recipient. van der Meer will present the traditional Last Lecture May 16.
In closing, Dean of the College Karlene Burrell-McRae ’94 encouraged students to think about how they’ve contributed to the community, what they’ll continue to do moving forward, and how they engage with the world.
“Stop asking yourself what you want, what you desire, what interests you,” Burrell-McRae said, reading from the book Brave Enough. “Ask yourself instead, ‘What has been given to me?’ Ask, ‘What do I have to give back?’ Then give it.”
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