Graduating Pitt Senior Leah P. Swanzy Named 2013 Emma Locke Award Winner

Issue Date: 
April 28, 2013

University of Pittsburgh graduating senior Leah P. Swanzy has been awarded the University’s 2013 Emma Locke Award. Swanzy will graduate today with a Bachelor of Science degree in natural sciences, a Bachelor of Arts degree in health services, and a certificate in managing health services programs and projects from Pitt’s College of General Studies as well as a minor in chemistry from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

The Emma W. Locke Award, established in 1946 by Charles A. Locke in memory of his mother, is presented annually to a graduating Pitt senior in recognition of high scholarship, character, and devotion to the ideals of the University. The student must have at least a 3.85 GPA and plan to continue his or her education after graduation. Swanzy received the award at the University’s Honors Convocation in February.

“I am humbled to receive the Emma Locke Award because it shows that during my time at Pitt, I have adopted the ideals that first drew me to the University of Pittsburgh: high academic standards, environmental responsibility, a servant’s heart, and a genuine intention for each student to succeed,” said Swanzy. “This award is the perfect springboard to launch me into med school, where the University will have four more years to develop me into a compassionate and skillful physician.”

This fall, Swanzy will enter Pitt’s School of Medicine to pursue a career in obstetrics and gynecology. She was guaranteed admission to the University’s medical school as a freshman through the Guaranteed Admit Program in Pitt’s School of Medicine.

Throughout her time at Pitt, Swanzy, a native of Houston, Texas, has been progressively preparing for her future career ambitions, both in the United States and abroad. During the fall 2012 semester, she studied in the city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, where she taught English language skills to Buddhist monks at the Wat Chetupon Monastery. While in Southeast Asia, Swanzy also volunteered her expertise at the Home of the Swallow, a Thai group home for teenage mothers and their children, where she instructed young women on basic health care techniques.

Swanzy has served as a tutor and teaching assistant for biology and chemistry students in Pitt’s Academic Resource Center as well as a research assistant at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. Swanzy also has volunteered and shadowed professionals at such notable medical institutions as UPMC Shadyside Hospital and the Texas Medical Center’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and Ben Taub General Hospital.

Swanzy is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Evening Scholarship, the College of General Studies’ most prestigious academic award. She is a member of the Campus Women’s Organization, the Lambda Sigma Honor Society, and Pitt’s Pre-Medical Society. Swanzy also serves as a group leader and elementary Sunday school teacher for the Northway Christian Community.