2022 Alumni Awards

Connecticut College presents awards to alumni for their significant contributions to the College and society at Alumni Convocation during Reunion weekend each year. The following 2022 award winners were honored at Alumni Convocation on Saturday, June 4 at 10:45 a.m. in the new Athey Center for Performance and Research at Palmer Auditorium.

Mach Arom ’89 Award

The Mach Arom ’89 Award honors young alumni for service to Connecticut College and for distinguished achievements in their professional field or in society. The award is named in honor of Mach Arom who died of a heart attack in Rwanda while on a humanitarian mission for the International Rescue Committee. Mach is remembered for his service to his class and Connecticut College and the ways in which he carried out everything he did with intense commitment, strong presence, attention to detail and unbelievable energy.

2022 Recipient: Rocio Tinoco ’17

Rocio is a dedicated bilingual educator who remained in New London to teach after graduating from Connecticut College with a degree in Hispanic Studies. Rocio has taught in New London Public School’s New Arrivals Program, which supports students who are new to the United States and are learning English. Rocio stays closely connected to the College, hosting a range of Conn student tutors and classroom assistants each semester, facilitating training and workshops, and working with students to implement global/local engagement projects and after-school mentor programs. 

Rocio’s commitment to New London youth and advancing equity within education is truly inspirational.

 


Agnes Berkeley Leahy Award

The Agnes Berkeley Leahy Award, established in 1961, honors alumni who have contributed outstanding service, demonstrated by continued interest in the Alumni Association and sustained active participation in class, club or Board of Directors activities. Agnes Berkeley Leahy ’21 served as president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors twice and was a member of the Board of Trustees for ten years.

2022 Recipient: Sarah A. Schoellkopf ’97

Sarah has been a standout volunteer for many years. She served on the alumni association board of directors for six years, focusing on providing support for underrepresented alumni and fostering connections with alumni from the 1990s and on the West Coast. Sarah has opened her home for gatherings in the Bay Area, including for holiday parties. Sarah recently established an endowed scholarship fund as part of the Hale Scholarship Initiative.

Sarah teaches Spanish language and literature. She received her bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College in 1997 and completed her master’s degree and doctorate in Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Berkeley in 2008. She also lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on a Fulbright grant working with Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo. She has taught as a lecturer at UC Berkeley, Contra Costa College and Diablo Valley College. She has also served as a language teacher and foreign-travel coordinator at St. Matthew’s Episcopal School, and as a language teacher at Archbishop Riordan High School. Originally from the Los Angeles area, Sarah has lived all over the world. Her academic research focuses on gender, human rights and memory in Argentina. She has published articles in the Delaware Review of Latin American Studies, Connections and Lucero and has a chapter in Mothers in Public and Political Life, from Demeter Press. She has presented extensively on her work on Las Madres and is an executive producer on the documentary Norita, about one of the founding Madres, Nora Cortiñas. Sarah is also a co-producer for the award-winning documentary Ferguson Rises. She currently teaches Spanish at Saint Veronica’s School.

 


Harriet Buescher Lawrence ’34 Prize

The Harriet Buescher Lawrence ’34 Prize recognizes alumni who are leaders in improving society or inspiring others for good, either through direct service or through changing the climate of human life materially, socially, ethically or spiritually. Harriet Buescher Lawrence spent the last years of her life increasingly involved with charitable activities and in support of higher education.

2022 Recipient: Susana P. Hancock ’07

Whether arguing for climate policies before the United Nations, publishing papers or working locally for change in her community, Susana lives life with distinct purpose. Susana is a linguist who speaks five languages and an anthropologist focusing on the geopolitics of climate change in the Arctic and Middle East. She holds three degrees from the University of Oxford. Susana aspires to work at the nexus of climate research and policy to create change at the global level. As part of this, Susana has been an invited speaker at international TED events, U.N. conferences and other global fora, where she shares the dais with global leaders and policymakers. Susana has served as an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, co-chaired an Arctic team with the U.N.’s Decade of Ocean Science, is vice president for the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists and now heads up a new international team addressing the socio-geopolitical impacts of the climate crisis in the polar regions. As an academic, she routinely contributes policy papers, articles and book chapters on a variety of subjects related to Arctic climate science and global policy.
At Connecticut College, Susana was a Winthrop Scholar, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with majors in Slavic Studies and Linguistics. She is a former international elite rower, narrowly missing the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Susana has been based in Maine since the start of the pandemic, where she joined with neighbors to form an environmental nonprofit organization, FreeportCAN. This past April, Susana began a 600-kilometer ski trip across the Arctic, during which she will conduct climate research.

 


Harriet Buescher Lawrence ’34 Prize

The Harriet Buescher Lawrence ’34 Prize recognizes alumni who are leaders in improving society or inspiring others for good, either through direct service or through changing the climate of human life materially, socially, ethically or spiritually. Harriet Buescher Lawrence spent the last years of her life increasingly involved with charitable activities and in support of higher education.

2022 Recipient: Liza Talusan ’97

Liza is a dedicated volunteer at the College and a standout in her field as a diversity, equity and inclusion educator, facilitator and coach, advancing conversations about diversity, anti-racism, bias, privilege and power in communities, organizations and schools. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including South Shore’s 40 Under 40 Award, Asian Women for Health’s Peer Leader Award, and NASPA’s Regional Network for Educational Equity and Ethnic Diversity Award, and is the author of The Identity-Conscious Educator: Building Habits and Skills for a More Inclusive School.

At Connecticut College, Liza majored in Psychology with a minor in Child Development. She was active in the Asian Students Association, a leader in the Williams Street Mix and served as a housefellow in Windham. She currently serves as a class gift officer and class correspondent. She was previously a member of the alumni board, a Reunion committee member, an alumni admission representative, a career adviser and a CCAC executive member, and she has provided training for student life and campus leadership groups. Most recently, Liza participated as a panelist in the Elevate Social Justice Conference (January 2021) and as a guest speaker at the Fast Forward (2022) program. 

Liza earned a master’s degree in higher education from New York University and a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Boston. In addition to work as a practitioner, she has contributed to the field of education through her scholarship on the experiences of underrepresented populations.

 


The Goss Award

The Goss Award recognizes alumni who, through their enthusiastic participation in programs and activities, have made a significant contribution to the Connecticut College community. This award was established by Cassandra Goss Simonds ’55. Cassandra served in a wide range of positions as a student and as an alumna, including as class president and as president of the Alumni Association Board or Directors.

Jonathan McBride

2022 Recipient: Jonathan McBride ’92

Jonathan is recognized as a global leader in diversity, equity and inclusion. He is also a strong supporter of the College and is currently a member of the board of trustees. Jonathan has served as a Reunion committee member and career adviser and has been active with Unity House and alumni of color. Jonathan majored in History and Economics at Connecticut College and earned a master’s in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. As an undergraduate, he was a senior admissions fellow, a research assistant in the history department, an affirmative action intern in the president’s office, a member of the diversity committee, a member of the college development committee and a student activities representative. In 1990 and 1991, he was captain of the men’s varsity soccer team and selected to the All–New England team. In 2020, Jonathan rejoined the board of trustees after previously serving from 2000 to 2009. In 2005-2006 he served as a member of the presidential search committee. 

In August 2021, Jonathan became a partner at Heidrick and Struggles, a staffing and recruiting company. From December 2014 to December 2019, Jonathan served as a managing director and global head of inclusion and diversity at BlackRock, a publicly traded investment management firm. He was a member of the firm’s Global Operating Committee. Prior to joining BlackRock, Jonathan served as director of the Presidential Personnel Office in the White House, a role he was appointed to in July 2013. He joined the Obama administration as a special assistant to the president and the deputy director of the Presidential Personnel Office in August 2009. In 2000, McBride co-founded Jungle Media Group. Jungle’s magazines, websites and live events served a variety of audiences, including business and law students, college students, and young Black and Hispanic professionals. In 2006, Jungle Media Group was sold to Universum, a global employer-branding company. As chief strategy officer at Universum, McBride served as the company’s most senior consultant to companies and agencies looking to attract and recruit top talent.

 


The Alumni Tribute Award

The Alumni Tribute Award, established in 1986, honors an alumna or alumnus who has given sustained and extraordinary service to the College. Service must be in keeping with the purposes and spirit of the Alumni Association, but it doesn’t have to be given through the Association. Nominees cannot be currently employed by the College or members of the Association’s Board of Directors. Nominees must be approved by the Board. The award is presented annually to a member of a Reunion class during the Annual Meeting of the Alumni Association.

2022 Recipient: Judith Opatrny ’72

Judy’s ready smile, gentle wit, sensible ideas and many contributions to the College have had an enormously positive impact on the Conn community. She served as a Connecticut College trustee from 2005 through 2013 and has been an emeritus trustee since 2014. During her time on the board, she served as vice chair of the board and executive committee, chair of the committee on trustees and as member of the committee on academics and trustee-faculty liaison committee. She also volunteered on the Connecticut College Alumni Strategic Planning Liaison Committee and as a Forum Council member. She was a major supporter of the renovation of New London Hall and the Olin Science Center, as well as the renovation of Johnson and Hamilton Residence Halls and the Charles E. Shain Library. She has also generously supported faculty and students with the Judith Tindal Opatrny ’72 Junior Faculty Fellowship Fund, the Judith Tindal Opatrny ’72 College Priority Fund and the Connecticut College Fund. 

Judy majored in American Studies at Connecticut College and earned her master’s degree in library science from the University of Chicago. She was law librarian at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, and at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind & Wharton and Willkie, Farr & Gallagher in New York. Judy has a longtime interest in environmental issues inspired by Connecticut College Professors Richard Goodwin and Bill Niering. In recent years, she served as a trustee of the Wyoming chapter of the Nature Conservancy and as a member of the Art Institute of Chicago photography committee. She has also held leadership roles as a trustee of Oxford Academy (Westbrook, Connecticut), trustee and secretary of the Nantucket Atheneum, and trustee of Audubon Greenwich. Judy has been involved with the Greenwich Land Trust and Nantucket Conservation Foundation, as well as with environmental and recycling projects in Greenwich. The Opatrny Family Foundation supports the arts, education and the environment.