Iris Marion Young Awards

Issue Date: 
January 12, 2015

Three members of the University of Pittsburgh community have been honored with the 2014 Iris Marion Young Award for Political Engagement. The award recognizes individual contributions to social justice and democracy by Pitt alumni, faculty, staff, or students. 

Now in its seventh year, the award honors the memory of the late Iris Marion Young, an internationally renowned philosopher and activist for gender equity and a faculty member in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs in the 1990s. The 2014 Iris Marion Young Award honorees include a faculty member and two Pitt alumni. Biographical information on the winners follows: 

Irene H. Frieze serves as a professor of psychology, business administration, and women’s studies. She was a founding faculty member of Pitt’s Women’s Studies Program, the forerunner of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program, in 1972. Frieze directed the Women’s Studies Program from 1984-1989 as well as in 1993 and continued to be an active member of the program’s steering committee until 2014. Frieze also has served as the chairperson for Pitt’s University Senate Ad Hoc Committee for the Promotion of Gender Equity as well as the Senate’s Ad Hoc Committee for the Support and Advancement of Women. 

Yumna Rathore earned a Master of Public Administration from Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs in April 2014. As a student, she served as co-president of Daya: International Consultants for Peace Initiatives, the Pittsburgh chapter of an India-based conflict-resolution nongovernmental organization. Through the organization, she launched a graduate-level internship program for Pittsburgh students to study and work in various regions of India. She has blogged and delivered presentations on women’s rights issues in the Middle East and matters of security around the world. 

Joseph Thomas graduated in December with a BS from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. He is a founding member of Pitt’s chapter of Americans for Informed Democracy and NoSweat: Pitt Coalition Against Sweatshops, which campaigned for the University to affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium. Thomas also received the University Honors College’s Brackenridge Summer Research Fellowship and the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship, which he won for his research on biofilm formation in Mycobacterium smegmatis

The awardees were honored at a Nov. 6 reception that included a panel discussion on race and education in Pittsburgh. The event was moderated by Amanda Godley, a professor of English education and language, literacy, and culture in Pitt’s School of Education. The panelists were Jessie Ramey, a visiting scholar in Pitt’s Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program; John Wallace, the Philip Hallen Chair in Community Health and Social Justice in Pitt’s School of Social Work; and Rep. Jake Wheatley of Pennsylvania’s 19th Legislative District.  

The Iris Marion Young Award is sponsored by Pitt’s Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program; the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs; the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Students; the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences; and the Center for Urban Education.