Two Harvard students were recently named Joseph L. Barrett Award recipients. Administered by the Bureau of Study Counsel (BSC), the award commemorates Barrett (Class of ’73) and is given in recognition of promising young people at Harvard College who have enhanced the learning of others “with the vigor and openness so characteristic of Joe.”
This year’s recipients are Rebecca Lauren Eshbaugh ’07 and Hana Merkle ’08.
Eshbaugh was cited for her leadership and participation in Room 13, Harvard’s student-run peer counseling organization, as both a staff member and co-director. According to the BSC, Eshbaugh has stepped forward with creative ideas to make an exceptional contribution to students’ lives and learning, and her work “truly reflects the spirit and intention of the Joseph L. Barrett Award.”
After being elected co-director of Room 13, the senior continued to explore ways of making the organization more effective and open, such as instituting a system for keeping the supervisors updated with regular e-mails. This fall, she organized and administered a door-drop campaign to publicize all the undergraduate peer-counseling groups. And during spring semester, she has shown strong leadership and innovative thinking throughout the process of recruiting and selecting new staff members. According to the award announcement, “her generosity, foresight, creativity, and dedication … have helped strengthen Room 13 for future generations of students.”
Merkle received the honor for her dedicated and innovative service to the Harvard community through the Eating Concerns Hotline and Outreach (ECHO) and for the ways in which she serves more broadly in the Harvard community as a person to whom other students turn for counsel. Since she became co-director of ECHO this spring, Merkle has helped revitalize the group’s original mission of education and outreach. She helped put together a well-attended campus event in which author Aimee Liu spoke about her research and her own experience of recovering from an eating disorder. “In many aspects of her life,” concluded a BSC statement, “Hana embodies the ideals that the Joseph Barrett Award rewards in the hope and intention of encouraging students to give time and attention to building community and helping others.”