Presidential Awards recognize outstanding civic achievement

Established in 1999, the Presidential Award for Citizenship and Public Service annually recognizes outstanding civic achievement across Tufts schools. This year, Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco recognized 17 students for their impressive civic accomplishments. The Presidential Award Ceremony was canceled due to the unprecedented events at the Boston Marathon and during the following days, which resulted in the closing of the campus on April 19. Instead, President Monaco recognized recipients during other related campus events stating:

“The excellent citizenship and public service of these students illustrates the broad spectrum of civic leadership that Tufts supports – so that our students can make an impact on critical real world challenges on campus, in our host communities and internationally.”

All Tufts students are eligible for nomination. This year’s recipients were:

Undergraduate Students

Laura Corlin, A13
Biology and Psychology, School of Arts and Sciences
Nominated by: Doug Brugge, Professor, Public Health and Community Medicine
With a passion for global public health, in 2011 Corlin traveled to Chile to address asthma among indigenous people. She interviewed over 100 families, analyzed data and created her report of findings entirely in Spanish. She has co-founded and co-led Tufts GlobeMed, a non-profit global health organization. Laura developed, obtained funding for, and implemented an HIV outreach program in Nepal in summer 2012. Locally, she is working on the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health project and her research from this has formed the core of her senior thesis and potential authored academic paper.

Derek DuPont, A13
Chemistry, School of Arts and Sciences
Nominated by: Sarah Brunker, Postdoc Scholar, Chemistry and Candice Etson, Postdoc Scholar, Microbiology
Derek’s research develops genomic tests that high school teachers can implement in their classrooms, allowing students to determine their maternal ancestry through DNA. He functioned as Science Ambassador, traveling to high school classrooms to both act as visiting instructor as well as act as mentor to high school students. Derek also brought high school students to the Tufts laboratory to introduce them to a college laboratory environment. A key member of the Chemistry Organized Outreach Partnership (CO-OP), Derek is currently developing protocols on integrating DNA sequencing into high school classrooms. This project is titled Bioinformatics Inquiry through Sequencing (BIOSEQ) and is supported by the NIH through a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA).

Maya Grodman, A13
Drama, School of Arts and Sciences
Nominated by: Barbara Grossman, Professor, Drama and Dance
Maya serves as President of 3Ps, the umbrella organization for student-run performance arts groups at Tufts. She has also been a deeply engaged leader of Tufts’ LGBTQ community, serving as a co-leader of the Bisexual/Pansexual Students Group and as the co-founder and co-leader of Queer Identity and Spirituality. Maya created and directed Things I Never Said, a collection of thirty pieces chosen from anonymous submission from Tufts faculty, staff and students. She also developed an “Anti-Bias Stance” Program at the Eliot-Pearson School where she worked with a pre-school class to explore what it means to be a family. Through PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), Maya led training sessions in several Massachusetts high schools and colleges where she spoke with students about LGBTQ issues and helped them learn how to be strong leaders for positive change.

Jameelah Morris, A13
International Relations, School of Arts and Sciences
Nominated by: Jose Antonio Mazzotti, Professor and Chair, Romance Languages
Jameelah serves as general manager of 91.5 WMFO, Tufts Freeform Radio, and as host of the show Spoken Conscious. She also served as project supervisor on a service trip to in Nicaragua with Latin America with Amigos de las Américas (AMIGOS), an international non-profit organization. Read more about Jameelah’s work.

Benjamin Perlstein, A13
Political Science, School of Arts and Sciences
Nominated by: Sherman Teichman, Director, Institute of Global Leadership
A Synaptic Scholar at the Institute of Global Leadership (IGL), Perlstein coordinated a collaboration between IGL and OneWorld that resulted in Tufts Idea Exchange (TEX). Additionally, through the IGL’s Inquiry Program, he convened hundreds of high school students from around the country at Tufts for an engaging discussion international issues.

Ethan Peritz, A13
Psychology, School of Arts and Sciences
Nominated by: Jessica Bryson, Jumpstart Site Manager, Tufts A dedicated Jumpstart Corp Member, Peritz has given over 1,000 hours of service to Somerville children and families. Selected to serve as a Jumpstart Team Leader, Peritz developed a curriculum and lead a team of nine students in providing developmentally appropriate educational activities to preschoolers. Through Tisch College’s Active Citizenship Summer Program (ACS), Peritz developed a four-year engineering track for 600 students in Somerville High School’s Career and Technical Education Program. Read more about Ethan’s work.

Erica Satin-Hernandez, A13
American Studies, School of Arts and Sciences
Nominated by: Sara Allred, Scholars Coordinator, Tisch College
A Tisch Scholar, Erica has engaged in a range of in-depth public service projects. Working at The Welcome Project, she spent three years helping to grow and develop their YUM initiative which promotes local immigrant-owned restaurants. Erica is also currently conducting independent research and writing a thesis that applies a critical race theory framework to analyze multiraciality in the United States.

Nithyaa Venkataramani, A13
International Relations, School of Arts and Sciences
Nominated by: Cheryl Tano, Lecturer, Romance Languages
Last summer, Nithyaa interned at the U.S. Department of Commerce where she drafted sections of the summer 2012 National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship report on universities. Winner of the 2011 Davis Foundation 100 Projects for Peace, the 2011 Millennium Campus Network International Projects Grant, and a 2011 Empower Fellow for BUILD India Program, Nithyaa has participated in numerous international service trips.

Graduate Students

Katherine Holmes, V13
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Nominated by: Joanne Lindenmayer, Associate Professor, Veterinary Medicine
Katherine conducted a summer research project in the Dominican Republic where she estimated the prevalence of brucellosis, a disease that threatens human and animal health. She has also volunteered with numerous Cummings initiatives including the Ambulatory Service of the Cummings School, Heifer Watch and Worcester Public Housing rabies vaccination clinics.

Danielle Currier, D13
School of Dental Medicine
Nominated by: John Morgan, Associate Professor, Public Health and Community Service
Danielle is deeply committed to bringing the best dental medicine to underserved communities at home and abroad. For three years, she has been a member of the dental team at the Sharewood Project, a free health care organization run by medical students and physicians. In addition, Danielle participated in a dental service trip to Zambia to provide oral health education, identify community dental needs, and assist visiting teams of health-care providers. Read more about her work.

Patrick Kabanda, F13
The Fletcher School
Nominated by: Gerard Sheehan, Executive Associate Dean; Mary Dulatre, Assistant Director of Student Affairs Patrick served as the main organizer of the first Fletcher Music Recital, which is now a bi-annual tradition for the School. He also worked with Mae Fah Luang Foundation in Thailand to produce a short documentary that promoted the Foundation’s sustainable practices and with ArtCorps to train artists and non-profits to use the arts to promote sustainable development in Central America.

Latrice Goosby-Landry, PhD13
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Nominated by: Stacey M. Herman, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Friedman School
Latrice’s dissertation focused on risk factor for heart disease in African Americans, and included work with the USDA Delta intervention initiative in Mississippi. Through this project, Latrice worked with local youth to conduct food assessments in local grocery stores and assessed quality of products available. In addition, she received a David E. Satcher Fellowship to conduct research on risk factors for cancer in Puerto Rico and a Schweitzer Fellowship for nutrition education with local area churches.

Jonathan Brower and Michael Kwak, M13
School of Medicine
Nominated by: Amy Kuhlik, Dean of Student Affairs
Jonathan and Michael developed and implemented the IDEAS in Medicine program, and innovative partnership between the School of Medicine and the Wright Science Academy in Chelsea, MA. The program engages medical students as tutors and mentors for 7th grade students studying biology. Read more about their work.

Gabrielle String, EG14
Graduate School of Engineering
Nominated by: Douglas Matson, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Chris Swan, Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Mike Malone, Somerville Public High School

In collaboration with the Mechanical Engineering Department and the Water System Science and Society (WSSS) Program, Gabrielle’s research involved analysis of public health data from the community of El Cristal in Ecuador. Through Engineers Without Borders, String has led and mentored undergraduates in this work as well. In addition, last year she piloted a program to mentor high school students in the AP Engineering class at Somerville High School.

Melissa Orkin, G13
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Child Development
Nominated by: Maryanne Wolfe, Professor, Child Development and Martha Pott, Senior Lecturer, Child Development

Melissa started the Tufts Summer Reading Program in 2009 and has served as the programs’ director ever since. She designed the program, hired and trained teachers and Tufts undergraduates for this program which serves 60 children with moderate to server reading difficulties. In addition, Melissa designed an intervention study to vary teachers’ emphasis on performance or learning goals.

Katherine Walsh, G13
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
Nominated by: Julian Agyeman, Professor and Chair, UEP (2+) Lynn Pepall and rest of UEP Faculty

Passionate about issues of global climate change, Katherine is receiving a dual degree from Fletcher and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning department. She serves as Regional Director for the New England for the Collegiate Energy Association and serves on the Fletcher Dean’s Sustainability Council. In addition, Katherine served as the 2012 conference chair for the Tufts Energy Conference.