University of Pittsburgh
October 21, 2015

2015 Iris Marion Young Memorial Awards

Pitt faculty member, graduate student, and undergraduate receive award recognizing their political and social engagement
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—In recognition of their dedication to social activism in Southwestern Pennsylvania, three members of the University of Pittsburgh community have been granted Pitt’s 2015 Iris Marion Young Award for Political Engagement. The award is named for the internationally renowned philosopher and activist for gender equity who served as a faculty member in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs in the 1990s.

The 2015 honorees are Robin Clarke, a lecturer in Pitt’s Department of English; Marko Gudic, a senior majoring in economics as well as politics and philosophy; and Abigail Yochum, a joint degree student in the University’s School of Law and School of Social Work. The honor will be bestowed at the Iris Marion Young Memorial Awards Ceremony and Panel Discussion, to be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 22 in the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, 4215 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

The award ceremony’s panel discussion, titled “Gender-based Violence: Criminalization and Justice,” will feature three community and legal advocates for women’s rights issues. The panelists are Jasmine Gonzales Rose, an assistant professor of law in Pitt’s School of Law; Julia Johnson, a community organizer for New Voices Pittsburgh; and Sarah Pesi, a student activist with the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University. The discussion will be moderated by Valerie Jenness, professor in the Departments of Criminology, Law and Society, and of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine.

“Iris Marion Young was a scholar, a teacher, and an inspiration to everyone who knew her or knows of her story. This award celebrates her legacy by honoring members of the Pitt community who work to promote social justice and democracy as part of their daily lives,” said Todd Reeser, director of Pitt’s Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program, which bestows the annual award. “Given to Pitt faculty, staff, and students, the Iris Marion Young Memorial Award represents the type of selfless commitment to the greater good of people that has shaped our city for generations and has made the University of Pittsburgh a remarkable institution.”

Biographical information on the 2015 Iris Marion Young Memorial Award winners follows:

Robin Clarke has been highly active in numerous social-engagement movements within the city of Pittsburgh, including the ongoing efforts to preserve affordable rental housing in East Liberty and the fight to salvage UPMC Braddock in 2010. She is the author of the nonfiction book Lines the Quarry (Omnidawn, 2013), which examines aspects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch mine disaster. In addition to teaching in Pitt’s Composition Program, Clark is a member of the Adjunct Faculty Association of the United Steelworkers, which works to organize unions for academic workers in Pittsburgh.

Marko Gudic established Pittsburgh’s Deliberative Community Budget Forums, which works to increase public participation in the city’s annual capital-budget hearings. As a student activist, he cofounded Pitt’s Student Media Collaborative and has been an active member within the University’s chapters of Americans for Informed Democracy and Luso-Brazilian Student Association. Outside of Pitt, he has worked extensively with social-advocacy organizations such as the Thomas Merton Center and Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations. Gudic is passionate about public policy and international development and is committed to a career innovating government through the advancement of democracy and the application of technology.

Abigail Yochum serves as director of development at the Pitt Legal Income Sharing Foundation, vice president of the Pitt Law Democrats, and articles editor for the Pittsburgh Tax Review. Outside of Pitt, she has contributed her legal expertise to the Community Justice Project, the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, and Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania. In addition to the Iris Marion Young Award, her other recent honors and distinctions include Pitt’s Judge Harry A. Kramer Scholarship, Dean’s Merit Scholarship, and Public Interest Scholarship. Yochum looks to focus her professional career in the areas of feminist advocacy and reproductive rights.

The Iris Marion Young Memorial Awards Ceremony is sponsored by Pitt’s Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Cosponsors include the University’s Provost’s Integrative Social Science Research Initiative, the Office of Undergraduate Studies in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, and Departments of Political Science and of Sociology. For more information, visit