The Hill Prize recipient is the first generation, double major, which targets the VA State Police Academy – Lynchburg University
Mallory Yowell ’22 is the recipient of the Robert L. Hill Distinguished Senior Award. The honor was announced at the 2022 Academic Awards Ceremony on Friday, April 22 at Turner Gymnasium.
“I am extremely honored to be recognized and very much appreciate the selection committee,” said Yowell, a first-generation college student from Charlottesville, Virginia. “Receiving the award in front of my peers, teachers and family members was an enriching experience. I would not be in the position I am in today without the support of my peers, my family, and the amazing faculty in the Criminology and Psychological Sciences departments.
Yowell added that thinking about his four years at Lynchburg – and the approaching graduation – has been “overwhelming but exciting”, especially at this time on Friday night.
“Walking up the stairs to greet President Alison Morrison-Shetlar to receive this award and listening to Provost Jablonski read her remarks about my time at Lynchburg University was a surreal moment, and it put my four years in perspective as happens to a loved one,” she said. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities Lynchburg University has given me.”
Finalists for the Robert L. Hill Distinguished Senior Award, one of the highest honors for undergraduates, included Amanda Pugh, Rebecca Parks, Meagan Fowler and William Fowler. The award was established in memory of Hill, who served Lynchburg as a professor and holder of the chair of economics from 1965 to 1984. It is awarded to a senior who has excelled in the academic field, ranked in the top 2% of the class, pursued a challenging and rigorous curriculum and involvement in campus and community activities.
While at Lynchburg, Yowell more than met those requirements, according to Dylan Elliott, lab coordinator and instructor for the psychological sciences department.
“Mallory has demonstrated academic, social and community excellence in multiple capacities,” Elliott wrote in his letter of recommendation. “While most students are only supposed to pay attention to their lessons, Mallory went above and beyond to push herself.”
A double major in psychological sciences and criminology with a minor in criminal forensics, Yowell has also worked as a leader in Connections – a peer-mentoring program that helps first-years adjust to college life – and as an assistant laboratory for the Department of Psychological Sciences.
She has been involved in women’s club football, is a member of several academic honor societies – Phi Eta Sigma, the National Leadership and Success Society, Alpha Phi Sigma and Omicron Delta Kappa – and was a finalist for the Sommerville Scholar .
Perhaps most impressively, Yowell has maintained a 4.0 GPA all four years while taking 16-17 credit hours each semester.
If you ask Elliott, it’s her curiosity for learning, coupled with a strong passion for improving the lives of others, that keeps her focused on achieving her goals.
“She has a drive that seeks to improve the quality of her life and that of those around her whenever the opportunity arises,” he said, adding that he met Yowell during his first year at Lynchburg in his introductory psychology lab course.
“From the start, she was quick to ask questions and engage with her peers and myself. I could tell that she was not only motivated by her studies, but also engaged in the learning process.
Yowell says the unique environment in Lynchburg has contributed to her success inside and outside the classroom.
“Lynchburg offers its students the opportunity to truly understand the material they’re learning through smaller class sizes and the ability to connect with your teachers one-on-one,” she said.
“Students at larger institutions don’t have that opportunity, so I think it’s really important to get to know your professors and use their office hours and time outside of class to excel in their classes. It really helped me succeed in Lynchburg.
Yowell’s passion for helping others, combined with everything she learned in her criminology and psychology classes, fueled her interest in law enforcement. An internship at the Virginia State Police Division III Headquarters in Appomattox, Va., last summer helped solidify her plans to apply to the Virginia State Police Academy and become a state soldier. She is currently in the final phase of the application process. Eventually, she wants to work for the state Bureau of Criminal Investigations.
This is where she thinks she can have the most impact.
“The [criminology] the courses I took provided me with the tools to understand the criminal justice system and how crime can impact different communities,” she said, adding that all of her educational experiences in Lynchburg the prepared to “face some of the challenges of being a state trooper. .”
Psychology, which she added as a major in her freshman year, helped her build a solid and well-rounded foundation.
“I knew that with a major in psychology and my major in criminology, I would be able to expand my knowledge of social justice issues and biases that I might encounter or have in law enforcement. “, Yowell said.
“Courses such as Legal Psychology and Diversity Psychology have helped me understand and learn how different communities interact with law enforcement and how to better serve those communities. … In my Legal Psychology course, we looked at the criminal justice system and the distinct discrimination faced by minorities, especially black men.
“This course broadened my perspective on the injustices of the criminal justice system and helped me illuminate the problems in this system that need to be addressed.”
If her undergraduate performance is any indicator, she’s also likely to excel at the police academy. His adviser, professor of criminology, Dr. Kimberly McCabe, has no doubts.
“Mallory is a hard worker,” McCabe said. “Over the years, she has gained confidence in her abilities. She has an eye for detail and a strong sense of personal rights and responsibilities.
“I think the Virginia State Police [would be] lucky to be able to hire him.