Saint Francis University senior Tara Fritz of Johnstown, Pa. was named the recipient of the first ever Social Justice Award from the Lydia Maria Child Society in May. Fritz was recognized for her award during the American Literature Association Conference in San Francisco last month.
“I feel so incredibly honored to be the first recipient of the society’s undergraduate Social Justice Award,” Fritz said. “I think my interest in social justice comes from the fact that I am a strong feminist, and to me, being a feminist means not only standing up for women but also for all other marginalized people and ensuring that they, too, have a voice.”
Fritz, an English major with minors in French, women’s studies, and social responsibility, was nominated for the award by Saint Francis University professor of English Dr. Robin Cadwallader.
“Dr. Cadwallader has really helped me along this journey by introducing me to both the women’s studies and social justice minors and always being willing and unafraid to have conversations about social justice,” Fritz said.
| I think my interest in social justice comes from the fact that I am a strong feminist, and to me, being a feminist means not only standing up for women but also for all other marginalized people and ensuring that they, too, have a voice. |
In addition to Tara’s academics, she also participates in and organizes many service events as the philanthropy chair of her sorority, Theta Phi Alpha. In the past semester, she organized a campus-wide competition event that raised over $550 for various charities in the area, including the Women’s Help Center in Johnstown, Pa. She also volunteered at several other events including the annual Dorothy Day Outreach Center spaghetti dinner and the campus’ annual Special Olympics event.
In her creative and academic writing, Tara focuses mainly on exploring women’s issues, and her essay “‘Women Didn’t Kill this Way’: Sharp Objects and the Subversion of Femininity and Motherhood” was recently published in Saint Francis University’s student research journal, Spectrum, and won second place in the University’s annual writing contest. Furthermore, her creative works contain primarily female protagonists and are devoted to exploring women’s relationships and women’s issues in society.
“Upholding the tradition of Lydia Maria Child in her work toward social justice, Tara displays a dedication to women’s issues and social responsibility through her excellent academic work and her extracurricular volunteer activities,” Cadwallader said.
The Lydia Maria Child Society’s annual Social Justice Award, introduced for the first time this year, honors those who demonstrate their passion for the mission and vision of Lydia Maria Child and continue to work toward social justice. Child routinely wrote on behalf of the marginalized, emerging as a passionate advocate for slaves, Native Americans, prisoners, prostitutes, and even animals, among a host of others. The Society aims to recognize academic writing that, like Child’s, speaks to pressing social causes, as well as pedagogical endeavors and other projects that foreground the voices of authors who have worked to produce such writing. The award is given to literature scholars at the graduate level and beyond, as well as high school and undergraduate students.