Alumni Senior Awards 2023

The Grinnell College Alumni Council along with a College alumna staff representative selected two graduating seniors to receive the 2023 Alumni Senior Awards. 

The awards honor graduating seniors who best exemplify the Grinnell College spirit and to whom the class will continue to look to for leadership as they become the newest members of the alumni community. Seniors were nominated for the award by their class of 2023 peers.

Sonia Edassery ’23 and Tara Rawlings ’23 were presented with Alumni Senior Awards at Baccalaureate on May 21 by Alumni Council member Becky Reetz Neal ’65. Below is more information about the recipients.

Sonia Edassery

Sonia Edassery ’23

Sonia Edassery is known for her work ethic, drive, and compassion. While she’s experienced some hardships, she holds herself to a high standard and never complains when life throws her another obstacle. Edassery adapts and pushes herself and her peers to be and do better. 

Edassery took on a heavy academic workload to graduate in three years. A biology major, she did research on regenerative stem cells last summer at Northwestern University. In addition, she worked as a Grinnell Prize research assistant and served as a community advisor in the residence halls for two years. The next step for her is medical school. 

Edassery also was one of the top women sprinters on the Grinnell women’s track and field team. Her times in six different events rank among the top 10 fastest in school history, including the third fastest all-time Grinnell performance in the 200-meter dash.   

A native of Park Ridge, Illinois, Edassery became very involved with the local Grinnell community. She worked as a certified nursing assistant at St. Francis Manor Nursing Home and volunteered her time with hospice patients.

Tara Rawlings

Tara Rawlings ’23

A natural leader and organizer, Tara Rawlings lives a life of service both on campus and within the Grinnell community. During her time as a Grinnell student, she’s been involved in a large number of organizations, events, and committees.

Rawlings graduated with a degree in English and a teacher certificate in middle grades English Language Arts. She was a student teacher at Grinnell-Newburg Middle School and has also filled in at the middle school as a substitute. She served on the College’s English and Education Student Educational Policy Committees, bringing intelligence, care, and exceptional organizational skills to the two groups. 

Last summer, Rawlings conducted a MAP focused on Iowa’s literature and the creation of an online anthology. She also has helped with New Student Orientation, presided as president of PubQuiz, and served as house coordinator of GAME House.

A QuestBridge scholar from Sandpoint, Idaho, Rawlings is the oldest of 10 siblings. When the pandemic forced her to return home, she balanced continuing her schoolwork with helping take care of her family.

“Tara has put her heart and soul into the campus as well as the Grinnell community as a whole,” says Evan Schultheis ’23. “Her experiences have prepared her to use her knowledge and abilities to serve a common good.”

Previous Recipients