Caitlin Flood ’12 (Bellerose Terrace, N.Y.) is the recipient of the 2012 George Wharton Pepper Prize, awarded annually to the senior “who most nearly represents the Lafayette ideal.”
The prize was established in 1923 by George Wharton Pepper H’22, a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, attorney, and founding member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. In his gift, Pepper noted that the “ideal” Lafayette student combines a “sound academic record” with “noteworthy participation in College activities and student life.”
A double major in government & law and philosophy, Flood was one of 10 finalists for the Pepper Prize. She was chosen through a vote of the student body and faculty, and will speak at Lafayette’s 177th Commencement Saturday, May 19.
“When I first arrived at Lafayette, I was amazed by how active and involved the students were in the community,” says Flood, a Marquis Scholar. “They weren’t simply going to class, but were running organizations, engaging the faculty, and creating new majors. By learning from my peers, I have come to realize that those who embody the Lafayette ‘ideal’ have made this ‘ideal’ their norm.”
Flood was a finalist in the 2011 Harry S. Truman Scholarship competition. Truman Scholarships recognize students with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education, or elsewhere in public service. Flood will attend New York University School of Law to pursue her interests in constitutional and human rights law.
Her experience at the College has exemplified the Lafayette ideal, as she has been involved in law internships, the arts, research, and community service.
Flood successfully defended her honors thesis on the political and moral implications of transferring and sentencing young offenders in adult criminal court. She also performed research with Jennifer Kelly, assistant professor of music, on unsung 21st century female composers for a forthcoming book. She was invited to present her work at the annual American Choral Directors Association Conference and the Ninth Festival of Women Composers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Flood spent three summers interning in the law field. She worked in the youth offender division under the guidance of Eduardo Padro, New York County Supreme Court Justice, and with the Midtown Community Court, which issues community service sentences for quality-of-life offenses, such as prostitution, illegal vending, graffiti, shoplifting, and vandalism. She also interned with Gerry Kavanaugh ’76, founder and CEO of DCS Online Communications in Washington, D.C. The firm provides online services to members of Congress, political candidates, and advocacy campaigns.
Flood is very active in the Lafayette and Easton communities. She served as president of Alternative School Break, coordinator for Landis Community Outreach Center’s Kids in the Community Program, volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club of Easton, student leadership intern for Lafayette Leadership Institute, and committee member for Lafapalooza, the College’s annual day of service.
She has received Lafayette’s Eugene P. Chase Phi Beta Kappa Prize (research/scholarship), Louise M. Olmsted Prize in Ethics (philosophy), Eugene P. Chase Government Prize (government and law), the Aaron O. Hoff Volunteer of the Year and Unsung Hero awards (community service), and the Alumni Association Student Volunteer Service Award (community service).