2019 Dr. James H. Mullen, Jr. Student Prize for Civility in Public Life

The Dr. James H. Mullen, Jr. Student Prize for Civility in Public Life is awarded annually to exemplary student leaders who have demonstrated a strong passion for, and deep understanding of, civility on the Allegheny College campus and in community work. Prize recipients exhibit a depth and breadth of activities, roles, responsibilities, and years of involvement that have a significant impact on civility and respect on the campus and beyond. Established in 2017, the prize was named in 2019 in honor of retiring Allegheny College President James H. Mullen, Jr. in recognition of his commitment to civility on campus, locally, regionally, and nationally. Naming the prize was made possible by a generous gift from Dag and Julie Grosjean Skattum (’84/’85).

About The Honoree

The Office of the Dean of Students is proud to announce the recipient of the 2019 Dr. James H. Mullen, Jr. Student Prize for Civility in Public Life:

Megan Arnold

Class of 2019

As a scholar and a student leader, Megan Arnold has dedicated herself to engaging people in conversation and making them feel welcome, appreciated, and heard — even when confronting difficult issues.

“Her immense intellectual prowess comes with a genuine level of humility, care, compassion, kindness, and warmth that is practically unparalleled,” writes an Allegheny professor who nominated Megan for the Dr. James H. Mullen, Jr. Student Prize for Civility in Public Life. “She is poised and self-possessed without ever drifting into overconfidence or arrogance.”

Recognizing the need for productive conversations with her peers about campus climate and community, Megan worked to become a trained Sustained Dialogues leader. She built on that experience by founding the student club Positive Deviance during her junior year. The group works to cultivate a kinder culture by creating initiatives that encourage others to perform and recognize kindness and compassion.
Through Positive Deviance, Megan also has brought other Allegheny student leaders to the Cor Foundation to be trained and help lead high school leadership seminars in the goal of developing more compassionate student leaders. Megan has organized several “Big Talk” community-building sessions in Grounds for Change, opportunities for students to come together, skip the small talk, and get to know each other through conversations that require vulnerability, openness, patience, and nonjudgmental, active listening.

One nominator notes that, although Megan “may, in fact, be the busiest person on Allegheny’s campus, she always had time to be there for her friends and peers. Megan is a person you can count on.” Megan has provided support and guidance as a resident advisor, a teaching assistant for molecular biology and organic chemistry, a public speaking consultant, and a member of the Ultimate Frisbee team. She also has volunteered with 4th Graders as Scientists, Wesbury Retirement Community, and several other organizations. In addition, Megan has invested time in mentoring younger students, both informally and in her work as a research assistant.

A biochemistry major and psychology minor, Megan has focused on cancer research during her time as an Allegheny student. She has conducted research both on campus and through off-campus fellowships, including one at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Following graduation, she plans to pursue dual M.D./Ph.D. degrees. “Her dream is to continue doing cancer research and change lives doing it,” writes a nominator. “I can’t think of a more humble and compassionate person to do so.” Indeed, Megan has even put her passion for healthcare into practice through a community health internship with the Meadville Medical Center. She meets weekly with at-risk patients and works with healthcare professionals to help individuals meet their health goals.

In her nomination, an Allegheny alumna eloquently summarizes the meaningful difference Megan has made in many facets of the College community: “Megan is a brilliant student, a passionate and hard worker, a mentor, and a campus leader who goes through every day trying to embody Allegheny’s Statement of Community. Megan is a person I look up to in every way, and she personifies civility in public life.”


The 2019 Dr. James H. Mullen, Jr. Student Prize for Civility in Public Life nominees included:

  • Baneen Al-Akashi, Psychology major, Middle Eastern and North African Studies minor
  • Cristin Archer, Biology and Environmental Science double major
  • Megan Arnold (recipient), Biochemistry major, Psychology minor
  • Candaisy Crawford, Psychology major, Global Health Studies minor
  • John Fazio, Political Science major, Global Health Studies minor
  • Matthew Kim, Biology major, Economics minor
  • Daniel Larson, Spanish and Community and Justice Studies double major, Education Studies minor
  • Marley Parish, English major, Political Science and Journalism in the Public Interest double minor
  • Connor Riley, Communication major, Education Studies minor
  • Jesse Tomkiewicz, Political Science and Philosophy double major, Law & Policy concentration
  • Alexandra Zelazny, Biology and Psychology double major

About the Prize

Selection Committee

The 2019 recipient was selected by a committee of faculty, students, and staff, including:

  • Gretchen Beck, Associate Dean of Students for Wellness Education
  • Alex Butler ’20, Student Representative
  • Jim Fitch, Director of Career Education
  • Gilly Ford, Title IX Coordinator
  • Pamela Higham, Assistant to the President
  • Sarah Holt, Quigley Hall Building Coordinator
  • Dr. Heather Moore Roberson, Assistant Professor of Community and Justice Studies and Black Studies
  • Lucinda Morgan, Director of International Education
  • Angelica Perez-Johnston, Associate Director of the IDEAS Center
  • April Thompson, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students