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Lyons Awards honor students’ exceptional service

The James W. Lyons Award recognizes and honors students for exceptional service and contributions made through a variety of departments, teams, clubs, residences and community projects on and off-campus.

Eleven students were recently recognized for their contributions to campus life with the James W. Lyons Award for Service. The award highlights outstanding contributions in areas of extraordinary need that result in substantial change.

2022 Lyons Award recipients: (back row) Danielle Greene, Nirvikalpa Natarajan, Brooke Forde, Skylar Baker; (front row) Melody Yang, Joel Johnson, Emily P. Schell (Image credit: Cat Sanchez)

The Lyons Award was established in 1981 to honor James Lyons, Stanford’s dean of students from 1972 to 1990. Recipients provided service through departments, teams, clubs, residences, and community projects.

Senior Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students Mona Hicks presented the awards at a ceremony on May 26.

“It has been an honor to learn about the amazing achievements of our students during this period of challenge with the COVID-19 pandemic, during this time of social unrest and racism here in the U.S., and during a time when so many are struggling,” Dean Hicks said.

“In spite of all of this, these students found ways to thrive,” she continued. “My ‘dean’ in life — Maya Angelou once said, ‘When you learn, teach. When you get, give.’ And James Lyons and these awardees embodied those principles.”

The students honored were:

Skylar Baker, for volunteering as a panelist with the Office of Community Standards and for monumental contributions to the creation of the new Student Group Accountability Process.

Brooke Forde, for volunteering with the Special Olympics and demonstrating wide-ranging commitment to environmental sustainability, including serving as co-president of Stanford Student-Athletes for Sustainability.

Joel Johnson, for inspiring prospective students by sharing his own experiences as a veteran applying to college, and for leadership as a facilitator for Transfer 101 and as a Transfer Advising Program Assistant.

James W. Lyons, 1932–2019 (Image credit: Chuck Painter)

Nirvikalpa Natarajan, for sharing the teachings of yoga with the health care community and the Stanford community as a whole through the creation and facilitation of her course, Yoga: Tools for Transformation.

Emily P. Schell, for leadership in Haas Center programs; advocacy for graduate student issues including privacy rights and health care affordability; contributions to the Disability Community Space; and contributions to university governance.

Danielle Greene and CoCo Massengale, for carving out a unique intellectual space through the founding of Critical Studies of Blackness in Education, which aims to disrupt anti-Blackness at all levels of education.

Caelin Marum, Norris Johnson, Melody Yang, and Josiah Josef Keoni Quon Rodriguez, for contributions to the celebration and preservation of our Community Centers’ histories as inaugural Archives Interns for the Centers for Equity, Community, and Leadership.