Since 1981, the College has presented this award to alumnae who personify the value of a liberal arts education and have brought distinction to themselves and to the College. Nominations for the awards come from alumnae and alumni and the recipients are selected by an awards committee comprised of faculty, staff, and alumnae.
The 2021 Alumnae Achievement Award recipients who will be recognized during Reunion week during a virtual awards ceremony to be held Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 5 p.m. EST are
In addition to a long career in clinical psychology, Louisa Branscomb has gained wide acclaim for her songwriting. She’s often combined the two, using music to help people overcome life’s challenges.
After graduating from the College in 1971, she earned a master’s in science communication from Wake Forest University. At the age of 23, she was the youngest member of the faculty at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine.
Before returning to school to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Georgia State University, she fronted a band, Boot Hill, for most of the 1970s, playing banjo, writing music, and producing albums.
Eventually pursuing parallel careers in music and psychology— with a focus on victims of trauma and combat veterans—Branscomb became interested in how creativity can change lives. She’s worked over the years to evolve her model of transformational psychology, which focuses on life as art.
Branscomb founded the Woodsong Farm Writer’s Retreat, based at her farm in North Georgia, and also established the nonprofit ScreenDoor Songwriter Alliance. The group brings programming to children in schools and has hosted festivals where they can perform.
In 2017, the International Bluegrass Music Association awarded her its Distinguished Achievement Award.
During her professional career, she’s recorded 12 albums of mostly original songs. Her songwriting has brought her national recognition, including Grammy cuts on albums by Alison Krauss and John Denver, membership in the Alabama and Atlanta music halls of fame, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in Georgia.
Currently, she’s still leading the ScreenDoor Songwriter Alliance while teaching internationally through Zoom and in retreats at her home in Asheville, North Carolina.
Katy Worrilow’s passion for solving medical problems has defined her career.
Worrilow, who studied biology and mathematics at the College, earned her doctorate in anatomy and cell physiology at the University of Virginia. She went on to further her research and complete her postdoctoral fellowship in reproductive physiology and infertility at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
For most of her career, she was a clinical provider of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and directed the IVF and andrology laboratories for several leading programs in Pennsylvania.
In 2010, she started her own company, LifeAire Systems, to address air quality issues in IVF labs. She and her team designed an in-duct air purification system designed to remove all airborne chemicals and biological pathogens, leading to improved success with patients.
LifeAire’s original system can also be used to prevent the airborne spread of infection. In addition to being installed in more than 50 leading IVF programs in the U.S., the system is being used in operating rooms, ICUs and NICUs, and critical care areas in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Worrilow created a series of new products, including a portable system to sterilize N95 masks for safe reuse.
LifeAire was engaged by the White House COVID Task Force and was recently recognized by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf for the company’s ability to pivot and use their technology to fight the pandemic.
Worrilow has been recognized with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Star Award several times and is a past Entrepreneur of the Year, awarded by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation.
Elizabeth Owen’s life as a journalist has centered on educating the public on little-known parts of the world.
Owen, who has a master’s degree in international relations from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, began her career in Moscow, where she wrote for The Moscow Tribune and The Moscow Times.
In the mid-1990s, she returned to the United States, working as a daily news writer and, eventually, website producer for TIME Magazine Online. She later worked as a senior producer for interactive projects for the PBS affiliate Thirteen/ WNET, where she was recognized with a Columbia University School of Journalism/Online News Association Best Service Journalism Site Award and an Eppy Award for Best Internet News Feature.
Owen went back overseas, to Tbilisi, Georgia, in 2004 to work as a regional news editor for EurasiaNet.org. In 2006, she was an Online News Association Finalist for Best Specialty Journalism. A year later, Owen produced a piece about Kyrgyzstan that was recognized as an Editors & Publishers Best News Special Feature.
Owen has worked and studied in Russian and French, in addition to learning the difficult Georgian language.
She left Tbilisi for Prague in 2018, and is currently working as the English editor for Current Time TV, a Russian-language TV and digital network.
When Jennifer Hubbard lost her daughter, Catherine, during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, she found a way to turn unimaginable grief into a place of healing for not only her family, but an entire community.
In Catherine’s obituary, Hubbard requested donations be made to a local animal shelter in lieu of flowers, a nod to her daughter’s love for all creatures. She was unaware the shelter didn’t have its own building or any place to call home.
When more than $175,000 came in, Hubbard and her husband, Matt, founded the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation to work toward the creation of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary in Newtown.
The 34-acre site currently includes community and pollinator gardens, an apiary, a pavilion, and a renovated barn, with plans for the eventual construction of a new main building and veterinary clinic.
In the meantime, Hubbard has opened the sanctuary’s meadows, woodlands, and trails to the public.
The foundation has become an integral part of the community, holding monthly education workshops and an annual event dedicated to finding homes for shelter animals.
In 2014, a shelter medicine scholarship was established in Catherine’s memory at Cornell Veterinary Medical School in Ithaca.
The sanctuary launched in-school programming with the Newtown Public School System to provide Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming in 2017, the same year Jennifer and Matt Hubbard received the Animal Champions Tribute Award from the Helen Woodward Animal Center in California.
The sanctuary has also launched the Senior Paw Project, which has become a model for local and state agencies in improving the mental and social well-being of older adults.
Hubbard wrote about her journey in Finding Sanctuary: How the Wild Work of Peace Restored the Heart of a Sandy Hook Mother, which will be released in April.