The recipient of the Frank Bailey Prize is selected by the faculty and the prize is awarded annually to the senior deemed to have rendered the greatest service to the College in any field.
This year’s recipient of the Bailey Prize is described by a faculty nominator as “a student who has excelled across disciplines inside and outside of the classroom and who has performed great service to the college community as a model of intellectual and social engagement.” Echoing this estimation, another nominator describes our recipient: “intelligent,” “hardworking,” and committed to bringing about positive change locally and globally. Yet another nominator, observes that our recipient is “exceptional in every respect,” but especially in terms of a dedication to Union.
As a student, our Bailey Prize recipient has been called “model,” and described as brilliant and conscientious, but also generous and humble. It’s been observed that our recipient is a classroom “leader” in the best sense of the word, knowing when to speak up but also knowing when to listen. Pursuing a challenging interdisciplinary major in Anthropology and Biology while also facing the rigors of the Leadership in Medicine (LIM) Program, our Bailey recipient has excelled in her studies. Never one to take the easy path, our Bailey recipient arranged independent study in India during the summer following her sophomore year – study that involved anthropological field research with traditional midwives, community health care workers and with non-profit organizations working to promote health. Her research in Biology was also sophisticated, studying the metabolism of carbohydrates in grasshoppers – work that was presented at the Steinmetz Symposium and the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR).
Our Bailey Prize recipient is the founder of the Healthy Harvest Festival which raises awareness of the importance of local and nutritious food. Awarded a Davis Peace Prize, she was a co-founder of Writing Communities – a program in which Schenectady high school students were taught to use writing as a means of personal, community, and professional empowerment. She was Co-President of MEDLIFE, aiding relief camps in South America. She was Co-President of the Interfaith Youth Corps (IFYC), raising cultural awareness and promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding. She helped lead the Empty Bowls workshop as well as the Meager Meals dinner and generously participated in other volunteer activities – ranging from tutoring in the Writing Center to teaching beginning figure skaters at Messa rink. The Kenney Center recognized her as Volunteer of the Year in 2015.
It is in recognition of the ways she’s modeled student engagement, her efforts to better our community and the world, her promotion of values this College cherishes – intellectual engagement, mutual understanding, and care for others – that we present Sharmeen Azher with the Frank Bailey Prize.