Alumni Senior Awards 2018

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 2018. This year we honored the following individuals:

Karnika Arora ’18 and Zachary Steckel ’18

Karnika Arora ’18

Our first recipient has demonstrated a tremendous amount of passion and zeal for justice, equality, and public service throughout her four years at Grinnell College. She adopted a “seize-the-day” approach to her studies, internships, and activities. Her unbridled enthusiasm for every course has made her a standout for her instructors and fellow students.

A political science major with a Global Development Studies concentration, she completed an independent study that explored the legal realities of women’s rights in Sub-Saharan Africa. She tutored her peers in Hindi through the College’s Alternate Language Study Option and subsequently became the program’s manager. She also served in roles on the Judicial Council and College Hearing Board that brought her measured and thoughtful approach to justice and reconciliation. She spent past summers as an intern in Washington, D.C. where among her most notable experiences she talked with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

She took on a full-time position last summer in the College’s Office of Admission. She was an amazing ambassador to the College through her work with prospective families. She genuinely cares about Grinnell, and spoke with love and passion about our community, academics, and professor relationships.

For embodying the best parts of being a Grinnellian, it’s my pleasure to present an Alumni Senior Award to Karnika Arora, class of 2018.

Zachary Steckel ’18

One attribute many Senior Award winners share is often going out of their way to serve the Grinnell campus community. That certainly is true of our second recipient who stands out for being a reasonable and respectful leader.

This student has served with distinction as treasurer of the Student Government Association. He has put in countless hours working on issues and ways to improve campus life. Furthermore, he is a great mediator of conflict between students. He has been on the front line of changes being made to how the College compensates workers in student activities. That meant tough conversations with his fellow students, which he handled admirably.

As an independent major in decision studies, he excelled in the classroom. He consistently asked questions and contributed to class discussions. For his thesis, he collected empirical data to test ideas from his literature review. His interest in policy has landed him a job at Mathematica. He has passion and enthusiasm for making a difference in the world.

During his time serving on the Board of Trustees Fossil Fuel and Climate Change Task Force, he engaged in respectful discourse over a challenging campus topic. He took his role on the committee very seriously and was an avid contributor during the discussion and planning.

For his dedication to strengthening the Grinnell community, we are proud to honor Zachary Steckel, Class of 2018.

Previous Recipients