Nearly half the students honored did important community work in conjunction with Tisch College during their time at Tufts.


On April 24, ten Tufts seniors and seven graduate students were recognized with the Presidential Award for Citizenship and Public Service, the University’s highest honor for students who did exceptional work in local or global communities and had an impact on pressing social challenges.

The undergraduate awardees were Morgan Babbs, Benjamin Berman, Amber Rose Johnson, John Kelly, John and Michael Kenny, Julie Margolies, Katelyn Montalvo, Anna Seeman, and Safiya Subegdjo.

From Tufts’ graduate and professional schools, Anna McCallie, Clarissa Brown, Jonathan Díaz, Jessica Scolnic, Joke Alesh, Daniel González, and Emily Frank received the award.

At a ceremony hosted by President Anthony Monaco, Tufts professors, staff mentors, project partners, relatives, and friends came together to celebrate these outstanding students. Watch videos of the award presentations.

“As I read through the many nominations we received this year, I was impressed with both the quality of the nominations we received, and the caliber of the students who were nominated,” said President Monaco. “Selecting the awardees from such a remarkable pool was particularly difficult this year.”

That tough selection process produced an exceptional and diverse cohort of award recipients. Undergraduates who majored in fields as varied as American Studies, Religion, International Relations, and Mechanical Engineering were honored; as were students from nearly every Tufts graduate and professional school. Collectively, their powerful work includes everything from activism on racial justice, to mentoring children in local schools, and promoting health and nutrition right here in our host communities and around the world.

Tisch College Students among Award Winners

One thing many of the award recipients had in common was a connection to Tisch College. For the second consecutive year, three Senior Tisch Scholars received the Presidential Award: Ben Berman, Katelyn Montalvo, and Safiya Subegdjo.

Berman was recognized for his outstanding work with Generation Citizen, which sends college students to serve as “democracy coaches” and improve civic education in local schools. Ben leads the Tufts chapter of Generation Citizen as executive Director, sits on the Board of its Boston-area office, and has contributed to the organization at the national level.

Safiya Subegdjo was honored in large part for her leadership of the Tufts University-Refugee Assistance Program, which creates a social support network of volunteers and mentors for recently resettled refugees in the greater Boston area. Subegdjo, a Truman Fellow, expanded and strengthened this organization while working directly and tirelessly with refugees, herself.

While her fellow Tisch Scholars helped support our local communities, Katelyn Montalvo focused much of her efforts right here at Tufts. She founded and leads the Tufts First Generation Student Council, which offers resources to undergraduates who are the first in their families to go to college. Montalvo’s work has filled a critical need at the University, and she has worked to ensure that the focus on this vital population of students will continue when she graduates.

Along with these Scholars, Tisch Summer Fellows Morgan Babbs and Julie Margolies were honored with a Presidential Award. Babbs also participated in the Clinton Global Initiative-University through Tisch College, as did fellow awardee Jonathan Díaz. Emily Frank was also recognized for her work through the Tisch College and Tufts University School of Medicine Community Service Learning Program.

“As Dean of Tisch College, which is charged with advancing that commitment to civic engagement and ensuring it remains a signature of the University, I am doubly proud to recognize these students who exemplify the kinds of young people we strive to educate,” said Dean Alan Solomont.