Alumni Senior Awards 2021

The Grinnell College Alumni Council along with a committee of alumni, faculty, and staff selected two graduating seniors to receive the 2021 Alumni Senior Awards. Seniors were nominated for the award by their class of 2021 peers. This year we honored the following individuals:

Avery Barnett ’21 and Oscar Buchanan ’21.

Avery Barnett

Avery Barnett ’21A confident and well-respected leader in the physics community at Grinnell College, Avery Barnett is known for her drive to get the most she possibly can out of any experience presented to her. Each semester she put together a new list of commitments and challenges for herself: as many classes as the College’s registrar will allow; music lessons to expand her repertoire of instruments; positions on administrative committees and in student groups; and jobs in the campus student center, the physics department, and the division of Student Affairs. She has mentored her peers in both formal capacities (course tutor and Black Students in STEM mentor) and informal settings. She has served as an ambassador for the STEM Career Community and as a curriculum intern in Intercultural Affairs, where she developed programmatic initiatives that sought to engage, empower, and encourage students in identity centered social justice work.
Avery regularly collaborates with other student leaders in helping them realize the impact of their voice. She has developed an artful ability to address concerns respectfully and to approach collaboration thoughtfully so as to meet the needs of all parties involved. Her critical lens matched with her humanistic compassion makes Avery an emerging leader.

Oscar Buchanan

Oscar Buchanan ’21Oscar Buchanan is deeply connected to the issues within our society and is determined to play a role in understanding community needs and working toward process change in addition to policy change. He founded and led the Grinnell United Activism Collective, a forum for collaborative student activism with the premise of “we are stronger together.” Growing up in Denver, Oscar was observant of the changing landscape of his urban neighborhood. He is interested in working as a city government urban planner to help build more resilient communities within the most vulnerable city neighborhoods. A math and history major – with a concentration in policy studies – Oscar has served as treasurer of the Student Government Association (SGA), volunteered with the Des Moines Catholic Worker House, and led a SPARK Social Innovation Challenge team to complete a project with a local nonprofit group. During 2019-20, Oscar co-led the SGA Task Force on Student Belonging, which examined difficult subjects such as attrition rates, mental illness, and socioeconomic isolation. By nature, Oscar is adept at managing problems. His fascination with knowledge provides him with perspectives on many things, and nothing is more exciting to him than bringing information, factors, reasons, and causes together to comprehend the situation and form a conclusion or action steps.

Previous Recipients