Women’s Society gives leadership awards, scholarships

The Women’s Society of Washington University announced the winners of the Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award and the Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholarships during the group’s annual membership meeting April 10 at the 560 Music Center.

The Switzer Leadership Award is presented to outstanding graduating seniors who have made significant contributions to the Washington University in St. Louis community during their time as students and have exceptional potential for future leadership. This year’s recipients were Jasmine Brown and Divya Walia, both students in Arts & Sciences.

Jasmine Brown receives an award
The Women’s Society of Washington University gave out the Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Awards during the group’s annual membership meeting in April. One of the winners is Jasmine Brown, who is graduating from Arts & Sciences this month. (Photo: Mary Butkus/Washington University)

Brown, who is majoring in biology, is passionate about addressing achievement disparities in science, technology, engineering and math fields among minority students. Brown won a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, and after graduation, she plans to pursue a PhD in neuroscience at Oxford University.

While at Washington University, she started the Minority Association of Rising Scientists, a forum where minority students can talk about their research and their interest in science. She has conducted research at institutions such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins and University of Miami.

student Divya Walia is a winner of the Switzer award
One of the Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award winners, Divya Walia (left), who is graduating from Arts & Sciences this month, chats with Kathy Frost, incoming president of the Women’s Society. (Photo: Mary Butkus/Washington University)

Walia is majoring in economics and in international and area studies, with a minor in finance. She has served as a peer counselor with Uncle Joe’s since her freshman year. She also worked as a virtual foreign service intern with the U.S. State Department’s Libyan Embassy, managing a Facebook group of 4,000 participants to promote English language literacy and an understanding of the U.S. culture among Libyans. Following graduation, she plans to work as an analyst at Goldman Sachs.

The Women’s Society also presented the Elizabeth Gray Danforth Scholarship, which awards full-tuition scholarships to outstanding community-college transfer students. This year’s awardees were Madison Bouse and Willow Rosen.

Danforth scholarship winners
Scholarship winners Madison Bouse (left) and Willow Rosen visit with society member Nancy Hawes. (Photo: Mary Butkus/Washington University)

Bouse studied at the Meramec campus of St. Louis Community College, where she excelled in her studies of history and language. She grew up exploring new environments with her family, from U.S. national parks to eighth-century Buddhist temples in Korea. Additionally, Bouse worked as an intern with Liberty in North Korea, a nonprofit that rescues and resettles North Korean refugees.

Rosen was part of the Forest Park campus’ honors program, in which she conducted research and presented a project focused on reproductive rights as an aspect of the black freedom struggle. She has studied midwifery for 10 years and is a licensed labor doula and childbirth educator. Rosen brings passion for social causes. For example, she was instrumental in reviving VOICES at St. Louis Community College, a student club dedicated to the concerns of the LGBTQ community. She plans on studying women, gender and sexuality studies and the medical humanities, in Arts & Sciences, at Washington University.

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