2019 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
David Shiman Scholarship
Jamal Davis Neal, Jr.
Jamal is a graduate of the University of Vermont’s Class of 2019. He is originally from Groton, CT. While at UVM, he pursued a major in neuroscience as well as minors in religion and chemistry. He is very grateful to have been afforded the opportunities for leadership development and emotional, mental, and academics growth during his time at UVM through the various organizations he was a part of. He is excited to bring all that he’s learned at UVM in his future pursuits of social work and religious studies. Linda Backus Memorial Scholarship
Jeffrey Brace Scholarship
Harmony Edosomwan is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Vermont. She is studying English, Integrative Health, and American Sign Language. Harmony was born and raised in Bronx, NY. She is extremely passionate about racial justice. As a sophomore, she was elected the President of the Black Student Union, and helped to form a coalition of other marginalized clubs later known as NoNames for Justice. It was through this coalition that many changes have been implemented on UVM campus, such as the renaming of our library and CAPS counselors placed within identity centers. She is recently a published author, her poetry book Sad Black Girl, speaks on the challenges on being Black and dealing with mental illness. Harmony wants to continue her advocacy work, and hopes to work on prison reform issues once she graduates.
Syd Ovitt is a junior in the College of Education and Social Services at the University of Vermont, and is majoring in Social Work. She is from Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Syd started a campaign called Explain the Asterisk, demanding that colleges differentiate between nonviolent crimes such as plagiarism or bad grades versus violent crimes such as sexual misconduct or domestic violence. Syd started an online petition to gain support for her proposed legislation, which has caught the attention of many state and federal legislators, and has gathered over 52,400 signatures. She hopes to have a positive impact on the world, and is committed to uplifting the voices of those who are silenced time and time again.
Nyria "RiRi" Stuart-Thompson is a senior in the College of Education and Social Services at the University of Vermont, and majoring in Social Work with a minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. RiRi identifies as Caribbean-American, acknowledging Barbados as her birthplace while growing up and residing in West Philadelphia, PA. Her involvement includes but not limited to being the Logistics Chair and Political Chair of The Womxn of Color Coalition, Returner Orientation Leader, Alternative Spring Break Site Leader, UVM Program Board Cultural Crossroads Community Student Leader, Student Affairs Advisory Board (2018-2019) and Northeast Queer & Trans People of Color Conference committee member.
Seth Wade studies English and philosophy at the University of Vermont. He is a founding member of the Coalition for Student and Faculty Rights, with a passion for economic justice and fighting for the quality of education and the rights of professors and students. He is also a Lead Resident Advisor, Writing Tutor, and a founding member of the Arts & Writing Council. He's co-editor-in-chief of The Gist, UVM's literary and visual arts journal, and has been published in McSweeney's Internet Tendency and The Gateway Review.
Linda Backus Memorial Scholarship
Chris Gish is a junior seeking a dual degree in geography and ecological agriculture at the University of Vermont. He is interested in exploring different forms of community action and hopes to combine a passion for sustainable agriculture with critical social justice. He also competes on the varsity track and cross-country teams and relishes any time spent outside, whether relaxing, exploring new places, or working for environmental stewardship.