Distinguished Young Alumni Award

Established in 1987, the Distinguished Young Alumni Award is presented to a young graduate (usually not more than 15 years out) for exceptional volunteer service to Bates and distinction in his or her career.

+Alexandria Onuoha ’20

Presented by Kevin Moore ’93, President of the Alumni Council, at the Alumni Awards Ceremony during Reunion Weekend, Saturday, June 8, 2024.

Alexandria Onuoha, Class of 2020, has demonstrated a commitment to Bates that extends far beyond her academic years. Her unwavering dedication to supporting her peers in challenging courses and her active involvement in committees exemplify her exceptional volunteer service. Alexandria’s impact on the Bates community is profound and far-reaching whether providing academic assistance, welcoming in new Bobcats in the Admission office, contributing to committee discussions, or advocating for honorary degree recipients.

Despite her recent graduation, Alexandria’s career achievements are nothing short of remarkable. Her determination and maturity have propelled her to publish peer-reviewed articles and present her work on critical societal issues. Beyond academia, Alexandria actively engages with broader audiences through various platforms, amplifying her voice and advocating for social change. Her commitment to utilizing psychology as a force for informed civic action exemplifies the transformative power of her work.

In recognition of her exceptional dedication to Bates and remarkable achievements in her career, the Bates College Alumni Association is pleased to honor Alexandria Onuoha ’20 with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

+Ainsley Jamieson ’18

This award was presented to Ainsley Jamieson ’18 in 2023 by Kevin Moore ’93 during Bates Reunion.

Ainsley Jamieson, Class of 2018, is an exceptional volunteer for Bates, serving on the Reunion Gift and Social Committees and as a Class Agent, Purposeful Work speaker, and member of the College Key. 

Connectivity and generosity are at the heart of Ainsley’s commitment to Bates and to her class. She is a tireless promoter, making sure that fellow alumni are updated on all things Bates from athletics to academics and beyond. Her appreciation for the college is infectious, and inspires others to give to the Bates Fund, attend alumni events, and network with younger alumni. Her energy in these areas serves as a constant reminder about why the Bates community is meaningful and impactful to those around her. 

On top of this, Ainsley’s work as the scheduler and operations director for Congressman Jared Golden, Class of 2011, deepens her connection to Maine, and exemplifies the value she puts on work that makes a difference for others. 

For her dedication and accomplishments, the Bates College Alumni Association is pleased to recognize Ainsley Jamieson ‘18 with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award

+Allen Kendunga ’18

Allen Kendunga’s work at Bates as a Bonner Civic Leader and Purposeful Work Fellow helped to develop her desire and skills in her current work as founder and CEO of Talent Match, which is disrupting workforce development, providing skills training, career mentorship, and internship placement to the youth of Rwanda, thus working to solve the youth unemployment problems she observed so keenly in her home country from her perspective as a Bates student. Allen has already helped 200 fellows by working with twenty companies and nine learning institutions in just a few short years. She has stayed connected to the Bates community as a class agent, Purposeful Work job shadow host, a Bobcat Ventures mentor, and Bates in the City volunteer.

For continuing the mission of both the Harward Center and Purposeful Work in her life after Bates, the Bates Alumni Association is pleased to recognize Allen Kendunga with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

+Michael “Mikey” Pasek ’12

Michael “Mikey” Pasek, you have served as both an engagement and fundraising leader for the class of 2012 since your days as a student on campus, continually promoting meaningful ways to galvanize our young alumni. The depth and breadth of your commitment to the class of 2012 are unprecedented in our youngest 25 classes, from creating class notes for the Bates Magazine to developing inspiring Reunion experiences that help ensure fundraising success for the class of 2012.

Beyond your own class, you are committed to the long-term health and strength of the college. As a member of the Schuler Initiative Task Force, you were incredibly generous with your time and professional expertise as a social psychologist. You have been a crucial partner for the Bates team in understanding the needs of young alumni and how best to add value through communication and programming.

For demonstrating a passion for Bates that inspires others to action, we are honored to present you with the 2022 Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

+Maggie Reilly Fidler ’12


+Sangita Murali ’12

This award was presented to Sangita Murali ’12 in 2020 during Bates Virtual Reunion.

Sangita is an exemplar of Bates values of community service and civic engagement. During her time at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, she was incredibly active in organizations like American Association of Women Dentists, where she partnered with local group Science Club for Girls to encourage and support girls from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue STEM and STEM-focused careers. She also did community service work—offering free screenings and basic care information at events like India Day—through the Indian Medical Association of New England, all while completing her studies, working in the Tufts dental clinic, and receiving multiple awards for her research. At Bates, Dr. Murali was co-president of her senior class, and was instrumental in the success of the Class of 2012’s fifth reunion in 2017.

Her nominator, Erin Crowley, had this to say: “I was absolutely blown away while [recently] speaking with Sangita about her research and volunteer activities. She does so much and cares so much. She is an absolute inspiration to us all.” 

+Meredith G. Traquina ’13

This award was presented to Meredith G. Traquina ’13 in 2019 by Sarah R. Pearson ’75 during Boston Bates Business Network: Research, Biotech, and Pharma event.

Since her graduation in 2013, Meredith has been an exceptional volunteer leader for Bates. Through this vital work, she has shown her commitment to the college, to her fellow alumni, and to Bates’ values of service.

For two years, she has served as the Boston leader for Bates Days of Service, planning and executing two successful events which brought together Bates alums from across greater Boston in support of the Greater Boston Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity.

Meredith has also volunteered with the Boston Business Network and made such an immediate impact that she was quickly elected Chair of the Steering Committee. In this role, she has helped connect Bates alumni in the Boston area through a wide range of compelling programs—often demonstrating her commitment to bring together alumni and parent speakers from across generations and areas of expertise. In one well-attended example, a program on “Innovations in Philanthropy” brought together panelists from her employer, City Year Boston, and other area alumni working in leading nonprofits.

In her career and her volunteer work, Meredith is always looking to make an impact. Through the job shadow program at the Center for Purposeful Work, she has given current Bates students valuable insight into her work as the Senior Corporate and Foundations Partnerships Manager for City Year. Through her service as an Advisory Board member at EPIC (Empowering People for Inclusive Communities), she has leveraged her experiences in corporate sponsorships and grant writing to help ensure the non-profit’s fiscal success.

Meredith, your willingness to roll up your sleeves to serve your alma mater is a testament to your exceptional leadership skills and deep commitment to the college. You are an example for other young alums, modeling that it is possible to build a meaningful career and at the same time demonstrate commitment to our communities. For your extraordinary service to Bates and to the youth of greater Boston, we are pleased to present you with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

+Zak Ray ’07

This award was presented to Zak Ray ’07 in 2018 during Back to Bates: Homecoming and Family Weekend.

Zak Ray ’07

A men’s basketball player during his time at Bates, Zak Ray has long understood the transformative power of teamwork. While on campus he participated in basketball clinics for local youth, using the sport to impart lessons that extended beyond the basketball court.

In 2014, Zak co-founded New Day Academy, a non-profit organization that serves young men who hail from low-income neighborhoods in Boston. New Day’s mission is to leverage its members’ interest in basketball to inspire personal, academic, and professional development. Over 80% of New Day members live without a parent or in a single parent household, and many face issues of food insecurity and gun violence on a daily basis. Zak leads a team of several volunteers who spend time guiding members in the right direction.

The impact Zak has had on the lives of these young men is profound. Members who’ve previously struggled academically and were unlikely to have completed high school have moved on to preparatory and post-secondary educational institutions. Through the New Day program, Zak has empowered scores of youth to rewrite their own stories, and has given them tools and opportunities that will help them excel in life.

Zak’s passion and commitment to helping others is a source of great pride for the entire Bates community. On behalf of the Alumni Association, it is my honor to present the 2018 Distinguished Young Alumni Award to Zak Ray, Class of 2007.

+Bradley McGraw ’10

On June 11, 2016, President A. Clayton Spencer presented the award to Bradley McGraw ’10

Since graduating magna cum laude with a degree in economics, Bradley has never failed to make time for Bates or to encourage other New York City-based young alumni to volunteer for the college. His own lengthy record of service includes ongoing work as a BCDC Career Advisor to help current students and other young alumni find their paths. He has also been a highly engaged member of the New York City Signature Event Host Committee, his Reunion Committee, and his Reunion Gift Committee, which led successful fundraising efforts for his 5th Reunion just last year.

With keen analytical and strategic management skills honed at Bates and at Columbia Business School — where he recently completed his MBA — Bradley moved from theory to practice in his invaluable service to the Bates Fund Executive Committee. As a result, the college has been able to implement new and successful ways to encourage alumni participation in the Bates Fund.

We wish you well in your new position at LinkedIN, Bradley. With your passion for staying connected with Bates alumni, we cannot imagine a better place for you to work!

Bradley, your devotion to the college and your innovative guidance have enhanced our efforts to engage young Bates alumni. For giving so generously of your time, your many talents, and your expertise to Bates, it is my great honor to present to you with the 2016 Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

+Emma Sprague ’10

On June 13, 2015, Michael Lieber ’92, president of the Alumni Association, presented the award to Emma Sprague ’10.

One of the most remarkable things about Emma is the passion she devotes to Bobcats of the Last Decade — or BOLD alumni, as we call younger alumni.

In partnership with fellow volunteers Emma developed the BOLD Regional Coordinator Program that helps organize Bates in the City programming to welcome the newest classes of alumni to their host cities.

Emma graduated cum laude with a B.A. in art and visual culture and a minor in economics. Since Bates, she has found purposeful work as an emerging leader in the field of media training and communications. A founding partner of the Franklin Forum in Washington, D.C., a firm that provides media training and support for progressive messengers and messaging, she serves as associate director of outreach and engagement while also consulting with the firm KNP Communications.

She is a member of the Alumni Council and has served as a Bates Fund class agent, helping young alumni develop their own philanthropic relationship with the college. In 2012, she became a member of the Mount David Society by making a leadership-level gift — and we are grateful she continues to do so.

Emma, you give so generously of your time, your many talents, and your expertise to Bates. Your passion and hard work have built a firm foundation for our efforts to engage young Bates alumni. For your service, I am honored to present to you with the 2015 Distinguished Young Alumni Award.