Iris Marion Young Award
The Young Award for Political Engagement honors Iris Marion Young, a philosopher and social theorist of international renown. Young was a professor in GSPIA during the 1990s before taking a position as Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago in 2000. She died in 2006 of cancer.
At Pitt, Young was a galvanizing presence, active in the Women’s Studies Program as well as within GSPIA. During her time in Pittsburgh, Young volunteered and organized on behalf of peace and social justice, fair labor practices, adult literacy, and children’s rights, among other causes, and she worked to combat hate groups and poverty.
GSPIA and the Women’s Studies Program inaugurated the award in 2008 to honor Young’s memory and recognize a member of the Pitt community whose actions have had political impact within the University or beyond. In 2009, GSPIA established the Iris M. Young Lecture in Civic Engagement to mark the event, and Women's Studies added an undergraduate award. A graduate student award was added in 2011.
The Iris Marion Young Award call for nominations is distributed in December and awardees are honored each spring.
Natalie (Tasha) L. Kimball - 2012 Graduate Award
Natalie (Tasha) Kimball is a doctoral candidate in History who has integrated her activites as researcher and activist, first as a bilingual labor organizer and women's health-care advocate in Seattle, then in her work as a student and activist in Pittsburgh and Bolivia. Beginning in 2003 with a Fulbright grant to study in Bolivia, Tasha focused her research on the gender inequality prevalent in mining communities, addressing domestic violent, the politics of unwanted pregnancy, and women's reproductive rights. Adept in languages (Spanish, Portuguese, and beginning Quechua), she interviewed women, health care providers, and women's rights activists, and was active in efforts to promote women's reproductive rights. She received her BA from the University of Washington, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and her MA from the University of Pittsburgh, where she has received travel awards, research and field support, and a Mellon fellowship.
Lauren M. Hasek - 2012 Undergraduate Award
Lauren M. Hasek is pursuing a BPhil in Political Science, with a double major in Neuroscience, a minor in Chemistry, and a program in Swahili. A member of the executive board of Student Leaders in International Medicine (SLIM) at Pitt, she also works as a biology tutor with the Academic Resource Center and is a member of the Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) Honorary Society. She writes for The Pitt Pulse and serves as a resident assistant, and has participated in research on high-risk obstetric patients in Pittsburgh. Her participation in the Honors College Brackenridge Research Fellowship program and SLIM led Lauren to investigate HIV education policy effects on preventative infant feeding practices in Lilongwe, Malawi. She is currently developing a new study on socialized healthcare policies with the private clinics and the Malawian Ministry of Gender.
Anne Marie Toccket - 2011 Graduate Award
Anne Marie Toccket is a master’s student in international development at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. She is a founding member of Awamaki, an NGO dedicated to sustainable development and fair-trade tourism in Peru. Awamaki supports an indigenous weaving community, provides healthcare and educational benefits, and arranges for the women to display their work outside of Peru. Toccket graduated from Penn State in 2006 with a B. A. in Spanish, International Studies and Communication. In addition to her work in Peru, she served with the Vista program in Puerto Rico. At college, she worked for Voices of Central Pennsylvania, an alternative newspaper, and The Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance. One of her reviewer’s wrote lauded her persistent and deep commitment to the cause of women and economic justice. Her graduate work is deepening her understanding of gender dynamics in economic processes.
Megan L. Neuf - 2011, Undergraduate Award
Megan Neuf has a long experience of social justice activism for one working on her B.A. in Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh. In high school, she organized a group called ”M-Powerment” to educate young women on pressing social issues, including sexual assault, body image, depression, and stress. In college, she has been active in Strong Women Strong Girls, the YMCA, and the Fair Trade Movement, and participated in a Leadership and Social Justice Learning Community at Pitt, where she assisted at an elementary school in Cleveland and worked to analyze social issues. She traveled to Ecuador to work with the Rostro de Cristo volunteer project and had an internship working with the Heinz Endowments on youth philanthropy and activism.
Michelle S. McGowan - 2010, Undergraduate Award
Michelle McGowan received her BA in Social Work in April 2010 from the University of Pittsburgh and plans to pursue a master's in social work. She has worked locally and abroad to support at-risk women and their reproductive choices. She began her political activism in high school, taking part in the Million Women March, attending youth leadership conferences, and earning a service learning certificate for work with Easter Seals and Planned Parenthood. At Pitt, she has participated in Students Taking Action Now in Darfur (STAND), the G20 Resistance Project, and Student Global AIDS day. She studied and worked in South Africa, receiving a certificate in community development from Stellenbosch University and working with a grassroots organization to aid women at high risk for sexual assault and HIV. Since 2008, she has interned at the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.
Aaron M. Arnold – 2009, Undergraduate Award
Aaron M. Arnold graduated in April 2009 from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in Sociology, a minor in Africana Studies, and a certificate in the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Named in 2005 as a Time-Warner/Point Foundation Scholar, he received the Robert W. Avery Award for excellence in undergraduate studies from Sociology and in 2008 was inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership honors society. As a Brackenridge fellow in the Honors College, Aaron carried out a research study on HIV/AIDS educational materials in Lagos, Nigeria. He has interned with Heartland Alliance, a refugee health education program, and, at the University, been a leader of Rainbow Alliance, a GLBTQA student support organization and the Campus Women’s Organization’s production of Vagina Monologues.
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