Alumni Senior Awards 2017

The Grinnell College Alumni Council along with a committee of alumni faculty and staff selected two graduating seniors to receive Alumni Senior Awards at Baccalaureate 2017. This year we honored the following individuals:

Takahiro Omura ’17 and Denisha Renovales ’17

Takahiro Omura ’17

His professors call his scholarly work “thoughtful” and “outstanding.” His peers say his leadership in extracurricular organizations is exceptional. But he may be most recognized for his tireless efforts to support his fellow students.

This student, a psychology major, has excelled in his coursework and academic pursuits. He presented work from his Mentored Advanced Project at a neuroscience conference and worked on statistics project that went on to win a national award.

This student took on numerous leadership roles linked to his academic and extracurricular work. He was a member of the neuroscience Student Educational Policy Committee and was president of the International Student Organization.

More than anything else, this student wanted to see fellow students excel at Grinnell and beyond. As a two-time mentor for the International Pre-Orientation Program, he helped new international students acclimate to the College and the community. He worked closely with the Center for Careers, Life, and Service to host events that helped international students plan their lives after Grinnell.

This student does all of his work with grace and humanity. Friends call him funny, helpful, hard-working, and gentle. He has earned the respect not only of his fellow students, but also of College staff and faculty.

For the high standards he set for his own work, and the efforts he made to help other students excel at Grinnell, we are pleased to recognize Takahiro Omura ’17.

Denisha Renovales ’17

From the moment this student stepped on campus, she was committed to making the most of her Grinnell experience.

A double major in Sociology and Gender, Women’s Studies, and Sexuality, this student has been a top performer in the classroom. Professors call her research and writing “meticulous and ambitious.” She has both presented and published research linked to career trajectories of millennial college graduates.

To fund her summer internships with Lambda Legal and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, this student earned competitive Noun Fellowships. She volunteered regularly at a crisis intervention organization to help clients who are trying to escape domestic violence. Through Grinnell’s Spark Tank Challenge, she helped to expand access to the Mid-Iowa Community Action food pantry.

This student has been deeply involved in a range of Grinnell organizations and initiatives. She is a leader of the Student Organization of Latinas and Latinos and is part of the All-Campus Events Student Safety Team. She holds a position in Student Affairs as a transition mentor and is a student representative on the Curriculum Committee.

This student has been a formal and informal mentor for students of color and first-generation students. She has them navigate Grinnell and find the resources they need to stay on track. Says one nominator: “She is unstoppable and magnificent.”

For embodying Grinnell’s social justice mission in academics, in extracurriculars, and in her own life, we are delighted to honor Denisha Renovales ’17.

Previous Recipients