Applications are now closed for the 2023 ODK Senior of the Year Award. Check back soon for information about the 2024 Award.
Since the 1920s, the University of Pittsburgh chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society, has recognized one recently graduated or graduating senior who exemplifies leadership of exceptional quality and versatility.
The award recipient was at a special event to honor senior students on Friday, April 28, 2023. Additionally, the award recipient will have their name engraved on a stone in the ODK Leadership Walk between the Cathedral of Learning and Heinz Memorial Chapel.
- Recognize a student for meritorious leadership and extracurricular activities;
- Recognize a student who has developed as a whole person, both as a member of the Pitt community and as a prospective contributor to the greater world;
- Recognize exemplary character, responsible leadership, service in campus and/or community life, scholarship, genuine fellowship, and dedication to democratic ideals;
- Recognize the type of student who the University aspires to produce;
- Inspire others to strive for similar conspicuous attainments.
The application is below and should be accompanied by your academic transcript (unofficial is acceptable), resume, two letters of recommendation (include one from a peer), online submission of the Office of Student Conduct Disciplinary Clearance Form, and a typed, one-page essay (1.5 spacing, Times New Roman) describing why you qualify as Senior of the Year.
All students eligible to graduate April 2023 may apply. You are also eligible to apply if you graduated in December 2022 and plan to walk at the graduation ceremony in April 2023.
Congratulations to 2023 ODK Senior of the Year Award winners Danielle Obisie-Orlu and Colin Uher!
2023 Omicron Delta Kappa Senior of the Year Award Finalists
- Jenna Baltes, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
Throughout her time at Pitt, Jenna’s mission has been to ensure every student has the resources they need to succeed on and off campus. She has been an advocate, mentor, and leader in many positions, such as the student-leader for Air Force ROTC, an Athletics Department mentor, a Blue and Gold Society Ambassador, and founder and president of Pitt’s chapter of The Hidden Opponent; an organization dedicated to addressing the stigma surrounding mental health. Outside of her academic career pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Jenna also volunteers at the VA Hospital and with a crisis text line as a crisis counselor.
- Abigail Dean, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
Abigail has made it her mission to help others find their home at Pitt. Serving as the President of the Blue and Gold Society, the Student Director of the Pitt Alumni Student Network, and a Section Leader in the Treble Choral Ensemble, Abigail has created and implemented numerous events to encourage all Panthers to feel welcomed and to realize that Pitt is not just their home for four years, but for life! Abigail spends her free time volunteering with the children’s ministry at North Way Christian Community, teaching theatre arts at her former elementary school, and coordinating performing arts cabarets for nursing homes, all while completing her degree in Biological Sciences.
- Danielle Floyd, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
Danielle Floyd has dedicated all four years of her college experience to serving the student body as an active leader on campus and in the community, all while pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in both Economics and Sociology. These interactions provided her with a great source of energy and a sense of belonging that she has come to associate with Pitt through her involvement in Rho Psi Eta, Omicron Delta Kappa, 2021-2022 Elsie Hillman Honors Scholar, and Student Government Board (as a member of the First Year Council, Wellness Committee Chair, Board Member, and now as President).
- Joanna Linares, School of Education
Joanna has dedicated the past four years to ensuring the future success and recognition of others at Pitt. Joanna has served as the Station Manager at WPTS Radio, Hooligans Intramural Field Hockey President, Business Manager for the Latinx Student Association, and she is a sister of Delta Phi Epsilon and is a recipient of the Kathleen N. Holleran and the Katherine George Eberly Endowed Scholarship Funds. Joanna earned her Bachelor of Science in Applied Developmental Psychology, working with children at the Falk Laboratory school. She plans to continue serving others through her work with children who have learning and behavioral challenges.
- Sydney Morris, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
While pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies, Sydney has dedicated her time to diversity, equity, and inclusion on Pitt’s campus. Sydney focused on increasing access to resources and support for underrepresented students on campus interested in pursuing careers in sports medicine. This mission is exemplified through her coursework, leadership, and campus involvement in the Student Government Board Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee, Sports Medicine Minority Outreach @ Pitt, ACC Leadership Symposium, and the 2023 Sports Medicine Education Fair. Sydney hopes to continue this work while on her journey to becoming the first Female African American Head Team Physician in the NFL.
- Tommy Nguyen, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
As a first-generation and Neuroscience student, Tommy began to create his own journey at the University of Pittsburgh while becoming a mentor to others, providing them a platform to share individualized stories to strengthen the community as a whole. His leadership and mission is evident through his service as the Pitt Pathfinders VP of Tours, VSA President, Omicron Delta Kappa President, Heinz Chapel Choir Public Relations Manager, and Tonal Disruption A Cappella founder. Outside of campus, Tommy also works as a travel Medical Assistant in the local UPMC family practices.
- Danielle Obisie-Orlu, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
For Danielle, being at Pitt has been about championing new ways for students to feel like they belong. Through her research, serving domestic and international students through the European Studies Center, Resident Student’s Association, Global Ties, or as the second Youth Poet Laureate of Allegheny County, Danielle believes that ubuntu, or “humanity towards others,” was at the heart of her leadership. Danielle has created programs that celebrate humanity in people, including developing an advocacy-based public speaking curriculum for refugee and migrant youth at ARYSE; volunteering with 1Hood Media to connect city-wide University Black Student Unions; and performing stories for City of Asylum and City Theatre on about the power of community and peace.
- Colin Uher, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
Colin channeled his lifelong passion for Pitt and its sports teams into a four-year career as Roc! As Roc, Colin devoted thousands of hours to sharing his love of Pitt with millions of students, alumni and fans at sporting, school, and charitable events. Colin placed third at the 2021 NCA Mascot Nationals, and was awarded the “Spirit of Roc” Award, which is given to individuals for their outstanding enthusiasm, loyalty, pride, and spirit in support of the University. Colin is a member of the Pitt Men’s Club Volleyball team, the Panthers Forward Program, and a 2-year captain of the Pitt Spirit Program. He will attend the University of Pittsburgh School of Law after completing his degree in Communication rhetoric, with the goal of becoming a judge one day.
Past ODK Senior of the Year Award Winners
Robert Sumter Link