Recently, Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow recognized the outstanding civic work of select graduating Tufts students with the Presidential Award for Citizenship and Public Service. For over a dozen years the awards have recognized outstanding civic achievement across Tufts schools.

“It’s always a pleasure to welcome everyone here as we recognize students who have made extraordinary contributions to citizenship and public service,” said President Lawrence S. Bacow.  “Active citizenship is a hallmark of a Tufts education and today we recognize the best among us.”

Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences who started at Tufts this academic year added her congratulations to the award recipients.

“When I first came to Tufts, I knew that active citizenship was a hallmark of a Tufts education but I wanted to know what that really meant,” Dean Berger-Sweeney said.  “Looking through the impressive range of activities of today’s award recipients really demonstrates what it means to be an active citizen.  These aren’t just one-time activities, it’s the kind of active citizenship that forces you to come back day after day and week after week to support the causes that you think are important.”

The Presidential Award was established in 1999 by then President John DiBiaggio. All Tufts students are eligible for nomination. This year’s recipients, pictured below with their nominators, were:

Undergraduate Students
Adam Evans, History, 2011
 A history major with a passion for education, Evans has served as Vice President of the Tufts History Society and, as a Tisch Scholar, worked with the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) to strength the leadership and communication skills of Boston Public School students. In addition, Evans has served as co-leader of BookMatch, a literacy-focused educational program for fourth and fifth graders.  Evans has been so successful in working with the program that he has received a teaching fellowship at MATCH Charter School for next year.

Pictured left to right: Dean Joanne Berger-Sweeney; Mindy Nierenberg, Senior Program Manager, Tisch College;  Jeanne Marie Penvenne, Associate Professor, History; Adam Evans, A11; President Bacow

Jeewon Kim, Child Development, 2011
 A child development major, Kim has worked tirelessly to empower immigrant youth. In his sophomore year, Kim began research with Jayanthi Mistry, Chair of the Child Development department, and carried out a pilot evaluation of a program for immigrant youth (Liaison Interpreters Program of Somerville, known as LIPS) where bilingual youth are selected and trained as linguistic interpreters and then hired for community events.  Kim has since expanded that into his Senior Honors Thesis and co-authored a paper submitted for publication in the Harvard Education Review with Mistry.

Pictured left to right: Dean Berger-Sweeney; Jayanthi Mistry, Chair, Child Development; Jeewon Kim, A11; President Bacow

Matthew Kincaid, American Studies, 2011
 A leader in the Tisch Scholars program, Kincaid was selected by his peer to serve as one of two student representatives on the Tisch College Board of Advocates.  Through the scholars program, Kincaid has worked with the Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC) and the Middlesex Courts Juvenile Diversion Program.  Additionally, during the school year Kincaid volunteers every weekly for Community Servings, a nonprofit food and nutrition program providing services to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illness.  During the summers, he has worked in his home state with the St. Louis Gateway Homeless Services. The largest 24-hour emergency shelter for single women and families in the state of Missouri, Kincaid has played a leadership role in the organization – training and managing volunteers and writing client stories for fundraising.

Pictured left to right: Dean Berger-Sweeney; Mindy Nierenberg, Tisch College Senior Program Manager; Matthew Kincaid, A11; President Bacow

Daniel J. Slate, Biology, 2011
 As president of the Sharewood Undergraduate Board, Slate has created a new structure to increase undergraduate involvement.  Sharewood, a free health care clinic run primarily by Tufts medical students, Slate’s work facilitated a tenfold increase to the numbers of undergraduates volunteering in the clinic. This has helped the clinic reach its maximum capacity of 50 patients a night. Additionally, Slate has served as Co-founder and Co-Editor in Chief of Tufts Science Magazine, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Tufts Student Fund, Skipper for the Tufts Sailing Team, and as Captain and Fundraising Director of Tufts Mock Trial.

Pictured left to right: Dr. Barry Trimmer, Professor, Biology, Dean Berger-Sweeney; Mindy Nierenberg; Rebecca Scott, Tufts Director of Gift Planning and Sharewood volunteer; Daniel Slate, A11; President Bacow

Kathryn Taylor, International Relations, 2011 & Michael Niconchuk, International Relations, 2011
 Together, Taylor and Niconchuk served as co-leaders of BUILD, Building Understanding through International Learning and Development.  Since 2008, the group has worked with Santa Anita la Union, a fair trade and organic-certified coffee cooperative in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.  The cooperative was established in 1998 by ex-guerrilla fighters after Guatemala’s civil war.  In addition to raising over $50,000 and leading a group of 50 students for build, each of these seniors have distinguished themselves as impressive active citizens. Taylor is producing a senior honors thesis on the role of maternal education in child malnutrition in rural Guatemala and received the International Relations program’s Borghesani Memorial Prize for this in 2010. Niconchuk designed the Oslo Scholars Program, which offers undergraduate students who have demonstrated interest in human rights and international political issues the opportunity to attend the Oslo Freedom Forum.

Pictured left to right: Dean Berger-Sweeney; Kathryn Taylor, A11; Sherman Teichman, Director IGL; Michael Niconchuck, A11; President Bacow

Daniel Rodkey, Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering, 2011

 As one of three seniors who joined the “Chemistry Organized Outreach Partnership,” Rodkey has served as a science ambassador for local high school students – visiting 15 classrooms in Somerville, Malden and Medford this year alone. In this role, Rodkey spent part of winter break helping 300 high school students with an experiment examining genetically modified foods.  Additionally, Rodkey has served as a FOCUS trip leader for two years, Head tutor for the Health Career Fellows at the Academic Resource Center, and a member of the Tufts Marathon Team.

Pictured left to right: Dean Berger-Sweeney; David Walt, Professor, Chemistry; Daniel Rodkey, E11; President Bacow

Graduate Students

Mehnaz “Chumkee” Aziz, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, 2012
 For several years, Aziz has served as a key coordinator for a free rabies vaccination clinic for the city of Worcester’s Housing Authority.  Organized in conjunction with the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, the Tufts Shelter Medicine Program and Worcester Animal Rescue League, the program has engaged hundreds of Tufts students and faculty, helped ensure the health and safety of pets, and given residents in Worcester housing the opportunity to bring out their pets and interact with the students.  Additionally, Aziz created the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association Student Chapter at Tufts, has served as lead student organizer for the 2010 Merial World Rabies Day Symposium at Tufts, volunteered with a team of 50 to provide free veterinary services to underserved rural communities in North Dakota, and worked as an intern and researcher at the Humane Society International in Bhutan.

Pictured left to right: Dean Deborah Kochevar, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine; Mehnaz “Chumkee” Aziz, V12; President Bacow

Samantha Len Jordan, School of Dental Medicine, 2011

 A distinguished leader among the Dental School student body, Jordan has taken on a range of impressive roles.  She served as the student representative on the Tufts Dental Dean Search Committee, as president of the Tufts Dental Student Research Group, as councilor of the American Association of Dental Research National Student Research Group, and as treasurer for the Hispanic Dental Association Dental Mission Trip to Port-au-Prince Haiti.  Additionally, Jordan served as founding and current president of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry Student Group. She is also the recipient of numerous awards: Dean’s Research Honors Scholarship, the Massachusetts Dental Society and American Student Dental Association Public Health Award and Tisch Active Citizen Summer Fellowship.

Pictured left to right: Wanda G. Wright, Assistant Professor, Tufts School of Dental Medicine; Samantha Len Jordan, D11; President Bacow

Karen Kosinski, Graduate School of Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2011

 Kosinski has done extensive work to sustainably implement a primary prevention of Urinary Schistosomiasis in the Eastern Region of Ghana.  Schistosomiasis affects 200 million people worldwide and ranks only behind malaria as the second most important global parasitic disease. While treatment is available, treatments require maintaining health infrastructure – so Kosinski has set out to address the root of the problem by constructing pathogen-free water recreation and washing areas. This approach would help children at the highest risk for the disease and for re-infection.  Kosinski has traveled to Ghana several times with undergraduates and faculty members to implement a pilot site and collect data on the solution’s long-tem effectiveness.  Throughout this time, Kosinski has served as a leader to her Tufts peers, developing and leading cultural competency workshops at Tufts to expose participants to concepts critical to community-based efforts and refection. Kosinski was also nominated by David M. Gute, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering and John L. Durant, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, who were unable to be present.

Pictured left to right: Rachel Szyman, Program Coordinator, Tisch College; Wayne Chudyk: Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Karen Kosinski EG11; President Bacow

Elise Crane, The Fletcher School, 2011
 Crane is a leader and mentor with the Fletcher and Tufts community and also represents the school externally to prospective students.  Additionally, Crane serves a mentor through the Fletcher Buddy Program and as through the Fletcher Graduate Writing Tutor program.  She has also served as managing editor of The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs and a contributing editor to the Journal of Public and International Relations. A leader of Fletcher’s active International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution club, Crane has also served as a Fletcher Admissions Office volunteer and as a teaching assistant for Professor William Rugh. While studying at Fletcher, Crane has also worked at Mercy Corps, an organization that strives to alleviate suffering, poverty, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.

Pictured left to right: Gerard Sheehan, Executive Associate Dean, The Fletcher School; Sarah Strong, Student Affairs Administrator, The Fletcher School; Elise Crane; President Bacow

Dalia Ziada, The Fletcher School GMAP 2011
 A leader and activist in Egypt, Ziada has played a key role in that country’s recent political changes. Elected to a group of ten young Egyptian leaders slated to meet with the Prime Minister, Ziada has also been featured in Time magazine for her part in a quiet revolution inspired by women that is changing the Muslim world. Ziada serves as North African Bureau Director of the American Islamic Congress, and wrote a featured op-ed in the Washington Post after the Egyptian protests began.

Pictured left to right: Nicki Sass, Assistant Director, Admissions and Marketing, GMAP, The Fletcher School,; an associate of Ziada who accepted the award on her behalf; President Bacow

Gregory Matthews, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Food Policy and Nutrition, 2011
 Matthews, who had previously worked with the American Red Cross (ARC), managed ARC’s emergency response to earthquake in Haiti.  The largest-ever ARC rapid deployment of emergency response teams to the country, Matthews oversaw a team of six staff responsible for determining personnel and skill composition of relief teams, planning for long-term staffing in Haiti, and assuring staff care in the field. Additionally, he participated in one of the first emergency assessments on the ground which provided recommendations for shelter programming to the Red Cross and the United Nations. Matthews has also served as the Humanitarian Livelihoods Graduate Intern for Oxfam America and as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, published every quarter by the Feinstein Center.

Pictured left to right: Kate Sadler, Senior Researcher, Beatrice Rogers, Professor;  Gregory Matthews, N11; President Bacow

Brian Gravel, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Education, 2011

 With a BS and MS from Tufts in Mechanical Engineering, Gravel has done extensive work with the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO).  In this role, Gravel has lead the development of SAM Animation, K-12 education software and lead a ‘SAM Squad’ consisting of 10 New England area high school teachers dedicated to integrating technology into the classrooms. Gravel has also served as creator and leader of ELF, an education program for high school students over the summer, as founder of Tufts Engineering Day, and as an advisor to SciPlay, a program that engages students in science at playgrounds

Pictured left to right: Dean Berger-Sweeny; Chris Rogers, Professor Mechanical Engineering and Co-Director CEEO; Brian Gravel, G11; President Bacow

Pritesh Gandhi, School of Medicine, 2011
Nominated by Tony Schlaff, Director MPH Program, Gandhi will soon be a triple Jumbo – holding a bachelor’s, and MD, and an MPH from Tufts.  As a Fulbright Scholar, Gandhi worked with the Niramaya Health Foundation in Mumbai, India.  Additionally, Gandhi helped to launch the Parinaam Health Foundation, an organization with a model for leveraging microfinance to deliver health interventions. He was also selected as an Schweitzer Fellow, and served on the executive board of Physicians for Human Rights.  Recently, Gandhi founded Effect Health, a non-profit organization dedicated to solving urban health issues with a focus on healthcare disparity.

Originally published May 2011