Batz Honored for Leadership

News  /  by Eden Fesseha '19  /  May 28, 2017

Karina Leung '19 / The Lawrence

This week, Melissa Batz ’17 was awarded the Matthew J. Quinn Leadership Award for her Welles Grant project, titled “In Search of an Echo.”

The project, comprised of Batz's photographs of low income students at competitive universities across the country, as well as transcripts of her conversations with them, was submitted to the John Kent Cooke Foundation.

One of two awards granted by the foundation to members of its Young Scholars Program, the Matthew J. Quinn Award acknowledges outstanding public service, artistic work, or academic research and contributes $5,000 towards furthering the recipient's interest.

Its founders noted, “It is important that the outstanding achievement [for which the reward is received] touches the lives of others in meaningful ways and demonstrates impact.”

Batz submitted a nomination form of 100 words describing her project in January. The foundation staff then contacted Batz in March to submit a nominee form for self-nomination, a resume, and a letter of recommendation.

“I self-nominated because my advisor from the Jack Kent Cooke [Foundation] was on the [prize] committee, so he couldn’t have anything to do with [my selection],” explained Batz.

Just this week, Batz was informed that she was a recipient of the award.

“The John Kent Cooke Foundation’s just always been there when I’ve needed [it],” said Batz on receiving the award.

Describing her project, Batz explained, “I was really interested in photojournalism and what it’s like to be a low income student.”

Her “Humans of New York” project, as she describes it, communicated the stories of these individuals, which she summarized in a report that she shared with the school community this past fall.

“When I first came to Lawrenceville, it was a really big culture shock. I wanted to know if there were other people out there who were going through the same transition—hence the name of the project,” she said.