Shannon Griffin, Women's Track & Field, Bates College
A four-year varsity member of the Bobcat women's track & field team, Shannon Griffin made an indelible mark on Bates College, evidenced by her classmates choosing her to deliver the Senior Address at the 2016 Commencement. Griffin spoke on behalf of the Class of 2016, but it was no stretch to imagine them resonating for countless classes that came before hers. "Together we harness the power of questions; we ask questions that lead to creative problem-solving, shift perspectives, create conversation, build leadership, establish empathy and catalyze action. Thank you, Bates, for a wholesome education where we do not fear tomorrow or our greatness, but strive to delve into it with heartfelt participation."
Griffin (Philadelphia, Pa.) was a member of Bates' world-ranked Brooks Quimby debate team -- as a sophomore, she helped the team win the U.S. Universities Debating Championship, as half of one of four Bates pairs to reach the championship quarterfinals that year.
As a senior to be in the summer of 2015, Griffin interned with the Bunun Cultural and Educational Foundation, living in rural Taiwan and honing her Chinese skills. She will be moving to Shanghai, China in late July to complete a fellowship through Princeton in Asia.
A double-major student in Chinese and psychology, Griffin was an eight-time NESCAC All-Academic selection between 2014 and 2016. Her thesis project in Chinese was titled "Deconstructing Orientalism or Cosseting New Orientalism: Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club." Her thesis title for psychology was "The Effect of Social Media and Activism Hashtags on Black College Students' Sense of Belonging and Perceived Academic Self-Efficacy."
Griffin graduated with a cumulative grade point average of over 3.50 and was one of 38 student-athletes in the Class of 2016 to receive the Department of Athletics' Senior Scholar Award, after also winning NESCAC Spring All-Academic honors in all three years in which he was eligible.