Emory College grad honored with national leadership award

By April Hunt | Emory Report | June 16, 2020

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Katelyn Boisvert, a Woodruff Scholar who graduated in May, has been named Omicron Delta Kappa’s National Leader of the Year. She is the second Emory student in three years to win the leadership honor society’s top award.

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Katelyn Boisvert, a Woodruff Scholar who graduated in May from Emory College of Arts and Sciences, has been named Omicron Delta Kappa’s General Russell A. Dougherty National Leader of the Year.

Boisvert, an environmental sciences major who served as campus ODK president this year, is the second Emory student in three years to win the top award from the leadership honor society.

“The really special thing about ODK members everywhere is they are all outstanding leaders,” Boisvert says. “I feel very fortunate to be recognized because I had such an amazing group of people to work with at Emory; it made my job easy.”

ODK encourages academic achievement, superior leadership and exemplary character. Founded in 1914, the society recognizes campus leadership in five areas: scholarship; athletics; campus or community service, social or religious activities and campus government; journalism, speech and the mass media; and creative and performing arts.

Boisvert, who won the national Udall Scholarship in 2019 for her commitment to finding practical solutions to environmental concerns, was selected from among the finalists in those areas for the top award.

The honor comes as Emory’s ODK went through transition this year with the retirement of faculty adviser Judy Raggi Moore.  Moore also had served as adviser to the first-year honor society Phi Eta Sigma, including when Boisvert was inducted and served as vice president – which helped her step up to keep ODK on track, says Sherry Ebrahimi, Campus Life’s director of conference services, who also advises the group.

“Katelyn is an exceptional student who combined her academic achievements, research experiences and employment opportunities around sustainability with helping to build a better future for our planet,” Ebrahimi says. “She made such a huge impression during her time here, and it has been such a joy for me to get to know her so well.”

Boisvert, who was an active leader with the Emory Scholars program and the Emory Equestrian Team, was a familiar face at a variety of campus environmental events and projects.

She interned with Emory’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives, leading its zero waste effort and guiding weekly educational tours at the WaterHub, Emory’s innovative water reclamation system that has cleaned more than 300 million gallons of campus wastewater since opening five years ago.

Boisvert applied her interest in water-focused sustainability to both a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates internship, creating an end-use classification system for water demand modeling in Austin, Texas, and as an intern with the Ohio Environmental Council, authoring a white paper on factors affecting statewide water rates.

Last summer, she worked at an environmental consultancy in Dublin, Ireland, as part of Emory’s Global Internship Program.

Her work at Clearstream Solutions – presenting sustainability ideas to business clients and hosting workshops helping businesses incorporate green ideas in their strategic plans – affirmed her decision to pursue a career in corporate social responsibility.

She starts this summer in a dual-degree program at the University of Michigan, working toward both a master’s of management degree and master’s degree in environmental science and sustainability.

Winning the top ODK award comes with $4,000 in scholarship funds to apply toward those programs.

“I think corporate sustainability is going to be where the action is, where solutions can occur,” Boisvert says. “It’s been very rewarding to contribute to that so far, and I want to continue to be a part of those solutions.”