The recipient of the Josephine Daggett Prize is selected by the faculty and the Prize is awarded annually to the senior deemed to be of the best character and conduct. This year’s Daggett recipient is certainly worthy of such recognition yet, because of a fundamental modesty, likely hasn’t even imagined the possibility of receiving it.
A faculty nominator noted that, in the case of this year’s Daggett recipient, character and service are very much connected. Reliability, devotion, commitment, enthusiasm, and concern for others all describe the character of this year’s Daggett recipient; these qualities also drive our Daggett recipient to serve.
Working quietly, not drawing attention to herself, our Daggett Prize winner was selected for the Unitas Community Building Award and the Kenney Community Center Sophomore Volunteer of the Year Award in 2012. She was asked to serve as the student co-convener of Unitas, an organization dedicated to building a Union community that values and celebrates difference. Our Daggett Prize winner has served as a Resident Advisor and Head Resident Advisor, building connections and leading by example. She has served as Secretary to the Student Forum and a member of the Wold House Council. She was a co-creator of the Dutchman Dip to benefit victims of cancer and choreographed the Animika Dance Project to increase awareness of human trafficking. She has served as the President of the Catholic Students Association and has worked to improve the lives of people in Schenectady. She’s helped young people in the Boston area in their academic preparation, serving as a coach in the Let’s Get Ready Program and she’s aided veterans in need, serving at food distribution events.
Leveraging her interest in the field of dentistry for the good of others, she served as the Dental Hygiene Education Program Coordinator for Schenectady Head Start. She has helped young people understand the importance of dental careers through presentations in our STEP program. Volunteering in UMatter Schenectady, she has helped survey the social and health condition of city residents. She has travelled to Peru and Mexico to serve in mobile clinics, providing medical and dental care to the poor.
Yes, service and character are inextricably bound together in the person of this year’s Daggett Prize recipient. And, it is in recognition of her character and conduct, her concern for and commitment to aiding those in need, her desire to strengthen community, ease challenges, and enable others’ success, and in recognition of her fundamental humility that we present Maria Dreeszen with the Daggett Prize.