Background on the Ken Bonde Award

The Ken Bonde Award citation states that the award is intended to honor “exemplary demonstration of student initiative, intellectual creativity, constructive integration, and academic achievement” in the senior year’s work. The award was created by the family of Ken Bonde, St. Olaf class of 1969, a political science major who was also interested in the possibilities of alternatives to the traditional curriculum of that time. As a member of student government, Ken participated in campus discussions that led to the establishment of the Paracollege in the fall of 1969.

Nominations for the Bonde Award come from the student’s advisor in the individual major. There is no gpa requirement for eligibility. In past review of Bonde nominations, the committee has considered some or all of the following:

  • extraordinary intellectual or artistic work, either as a single project or a body of work;
  • exemplary integration between academic study and the student’s other experiences;
  • impact, especially lasting impact, on the campus or other communities.

Advisors wishing to nominate a student for the Bonde Award should send a nomination letter to the CIS after their advisee’s senior project has been submitted. Possible nominations are also discussed in the faculty certification committee meetings in early May. The Bonde committee may award up to two Ken Bonde Awards each year; in extraordinary circumstances, and in consultation with the director, they may decide to award a third. The committee will provide a brief rationale for its selection(s). The award is currently $750.


On the recommendation of faculty in the
Center for Integrative Studies
the Ken Bonde Award is presented to
≈»»                                             ««≈
in recognition that (the) senior year’s work in the major
≈»»                                             ««≈
exemplifies the creativity, integration, initiative, and excellence we hold as an ideal for
all students pursing individual majors


Ken Bonde Awards – Class of 2018

Zeos Greene, Joe Kyle, and Anna McWilliams received the 2018 Ken Bonde Award in recognition of their exemplary work in the individual major, especially in the senior project and its related research and activities.

Zeos’ individual major, Sound Arts and Design, focused on the scientific and technical understanding of acoustics and psychoacoustics, as well as the electronic hardware and software tools used in sound design. He also explored the role of sound culture in electronic media, as well as our everyday interaction with a variety of sonic environments. His senior project, “Sonic Data-Garden,” was an 8-channel interactive sound ecosystem split between two botanical areas of the St. Olaf Regents Greenhouse. Zeos created a soundscape for each of the two main greenhouse rooms with a combination of samples and procedural audio running from two Raspberry Pi computers to eight custom-designed loudspeakers. Audio parameters in the computer code were altered by sensory input from light and soil moisture sensors in the two spaces, reflecting the changing energy of the different spaces and allowing an interactive relationship with visitors to the greenhouse.

In his individual major, Architecture and Sustainability Studies, Joe explored the relationship between architecture and sustainability and sought to investigate how our built and natural environments both reflect and disregard sustainable thinking. He studied formal design and at the same time focused on two “identifiable but interdependent subgroups of sustainable thinking”: environmental sustainability and sociocultural sustainability. For his senior project, he designed a communal learning and restorative space for the St. Olaf Natural Lands, a significant but underutilized resource of the college, aiming to improve the engagement between the land and the St. Olaf community.  Joe began with site analyses, program goals and needs, and schematic design, then used passive solar calculations and produced detailed design documents and a 3D model. The resulting design utilized passive solar design, natural materials like straw, earth and gravel, and built upon psychological and sociological principles in its form and content.

Anna’s individual major, Health Perspectives: Health and Well-Being in the U.S., examined the complexities of the U.S. healthcare system, and explored the whole-body and contextual needs of patients, to gain an understanding of healthcare as a cross-disciplinary intersection of perspectives that together define well-being. In her senior project, Anna researched issues surrounding pregnancy in incarcerated settings in the U.S. Her work included an internship at Hennepin County Medical Center, attendance and presentation at the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health, and attendance at the Pregnancy in Prison Statistics Conference, as well as a literature review and informational interviews. She gave two presentations, a StOTalk, “Incarcerated Pregnancies: A Public Health Crisis,” and a public panel discussion with two specialists in incarceration healthcare, “Reproductive Health Behind Bars.”

List of Previous Ken Bonde Recipients