Laurel Braden Symes '07
B.S., biology; North Canton, Ohio
"Laurel, you are well known for your 'innate and restless curiosity' about the world around you. In fact according to your advisor 'you arrived at Denison with a compulsion for doing scientific investigation.' You do not limit that investigation to the classroom or the lab but take every opportunity to learn, whether it be as a student leader for the Denison Outdoor Orientation where you asked 'insightful and sophisticated questions' of your faculty geologist co-leader or driving back from a field site with your advisor who, in response to your question, explained how cumulus clouds develop while you pulled out your field book and took notes. Your passion for learning means you excel in courses from all areas of the curriculum. Couple this quality with your genuine warmth and candid, caring nature and we understand why faculty praise your work as a lab assistant, research assistant, and a June Orientation and DOO staffer.
"Your research conducted as a Anderson summer scholar, on a semester's study in Costa Rica with the highly selective Organization of Topical Studies, and now for your senior honor's project on the titillating topic of sexual signaling by damsel flies reveals your mastery of both methods and theory as well as 'the remarkable maturity of [your] scientific thinking.' Your work has resulted in presentations at national meetings and your selection as a holder of the Anderson Scholarship in the Sciences and as a Senior Fellow in Biology.
"Fortunately for the College your energies and talents are not confined to the science arena. A dedicated member of the Peer Advisory Network since your first year, you provided robust leadership for the group as a junior. You have also served the community as a member and then co-chair of the Community Rights and Standards Board. On this body as well as the board of academic misconduct, you have been scrupulous about following good processes and insuring fairness. In the words of one of your recommenders, 'Laurel is the most impressive student I have every worked with in this capacity.' Your recent selection for the Distinguished Leadership Award recognizes your superior leadership and service.
"Laurel, as you leave Denison for graduate study at Dartmouth College we know that you will continue in your quest to understand the mysteries of our world and we applaud your commitment to the ideal of life-long learning. But we will miss being exposed to 'all manner of bugs and crawly things' which frequently accompanied your visits to various campus buildings.
Note to media: Link here [jpg] for a downloadable high-resolution JPEG image of Laurel Symes.