The Emma W. Locke Award and the Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Senior of the Year Award were announced Sunday, April 26, at the virtual celebration of the Class of 2020.
“The Emma W. Locke award is presented to a graduating senior in recognition of high scholarship, character and devotion to the ideals of the University of Pittsburgh,” said Vice Provost and Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner during the ceremony. The award went to Sarah Elizabeth Steward, who earned a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in Communication Science and Disorders from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. She also minored in secondary education and earned a certificate in American Sign Language studies. Her thesis is titled, “Coordinated Communication and Walking in Infants with a Heightened Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Steward plans to return to Pitt for the speech-language pathology graduate program. In her career as a speech-language pathologist, she aspires to be “an ally for those with extraordinary needs.”
The Omicron Delta Kappa Senior of the Year Award, “given to a senior who has attained a high standard of leadership in collegiate activities,” said Bonner, went this year to Jordan Fields, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences. Fields also earned minors in Africana studies and sociology.
Fields, a student track and field athlete, volunteer, leader and organizer, shared thoughts on what the award meant to her. Her father, Walter Fields, shared a reaction photo on Twitter of the moment she was named ODK Senior of the Year, and she shared her thoughts in a video on Twitter. During her time at Pitt, Fields interned at the Office of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and has deferred enrollment at Pitt’s School of Law for one year to accept a position there. She is also part of this year’s Panthers Forward cohort.
In case you missed it, check out the celebration on Pittwire. You can catch the announcement of these two awards honoring student leadership, as well as some famous faces wishing the Class of 2020 well. At its peak, at least 8,000 people were simultaneously watching the virtual celebration live; 29,000 people tuned in around the world. The graduation hashtag #PittGrad20 was the number one trending topic in Pittsburgh on Sunday.