Senior Alumni Awards

This award recognizes two deserving seniors, who based on their undergraduate career, show promise of making significant contributions to and leadership in their careers, their community and/or Ursinus College.

Congratulations to the 2024 Senior Alumni Award recipients Esther Jesutofunmi Akande ’24 and Sophie K. Louis ’24.

Esther Akande '24 Esther Jesutofunmi Akande, Class of 2024, is a neuroscience major and triple minor in French, psychology, and biology. She is a member of the National Honor Society for neuroscience
(Neu Rho Psi), a perennial presence on the Dean’s List, and, as a student-athlete, she has been on the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll multiple times.

That Akande has been a beacon for students of color on campus, and a leader for her classmates and the college, is an understatement. She’s been the president of Seismic Step, the president of Sankofa Umoja Nia—the Black student union—a Crigler peer mentor, a Writing Fellow, a member of the gospel choir, and a campus safety dispatcher. One of her greatest achievements at Ursinus is that she was a driving force in reviving
the Pi Chi chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho, a “Divine 9” historically Black sorority.
Akande is ready to apply her Ursinus education at the next level. In her words, “I’ve learned to be more than just a big thinker with a million ideas. At my time at Ursinus, I believe I became
an executer.”

Akande recently took a role with Charles River Laboratories as a research technician observing and collecting data on the health and well-being of animals. She plans to pursue an advanced degree in the near future.

Sophie K. Louis '24 Sophie K. Louis, Class of 2024, is a Parlee Fellow with a major in psychology and a double minor in biology and science and the common good. As her areas of academic focus indicate, Louis is deeply interested in exploring what makes humans tick, and how to use that knowledge to help the people around her.

Upon her arrival at Ursinus, she very quickly made an impact—she successfully applied for an Inclusive Community Grant with the Office of Disability and Access to establish UC Possibilities, a new club advocating for people with unseen disabilities. As president of the group, she led a number of events and initiatives on campus to raise awareness and understanding around disabilities. Her work with UC Possibilities earned her an Inclusion and Equity Award in her sophomore year. In addition to UC Possibilities, Louis supported her classmates as a peer educator through UCrew.

In 2022, she joined the college’s efforts around addiction and recovery and became the first Ursinus student to participate in the Collegiate Recovery Leadership Academy. She earned a SAFE (Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic) Project Fellowship. Additionally, Louis volunteered for, and led, the Ursinus chapter of Best Buddies, a group that works with people with intellectual disabilities, and tutored elementary students who speak English as a second language.

Louis will be attending the Ohio State University in the fall to pursue a doctorate in occupational therapy.