Each year, the Jefferson Awards for Public Service looks for the “unsung heroes,” the selfless people who make the world a better place through volunteering and community service efforts. The Center for Community Action and Research is pleased to announce that seven Pace University individuals have been selected to receive Jefferson Awards Bronze Medals for 2012-2013. Known as the “Nobel Prize for public service,” the Jefferson Awards were established to recognize and honor individuals whose community service efforts best exemplify dedication to enhancing the quality of life in their community. Pace University became a Champion of the Jefferson Awards for Public Service in 2008. Nominations were solicited from the university community and finalists were selected based on their personal, sustained commitment to service, and for the model of spirit and service they provide the university community.
This year’s Bronze Medal Award winners include:
Tracy Basile, is an Adjunct Professor for Environmental Studies and English at Pace University in Pleasantville. She currently teaches several civic engagement courses, including “Food Revolution: the Politics and Ecology of What We Eat,” and “Animals and Society.” In 2010 she co-produced a short documentary film, The Unfractured Future, which highlights Native American voices on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of drilling for natural gas that threatens the water, wildlife, and rural landscape of New York. In 2011 she was awarded a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to use the film for educational outreach. For almost a decade, Tracy has been actively involved with WESPAC Foundation, as a member, Advisory Board member, and Committee Chair. Tracy has more than 12 years’ experience as a journalist and animal welfare consultant for organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty and Animal Welfare Institute.
Zach Dayton, is Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing and Promotions at Pace University in Pleasantville. Zach has been involved in service activities throughout his entire life and grew up working in a non-profit organization that his mother started, the Cape Cod Children's Museum in Mashpee, Massachusetts. As a family they all worked to promote the organization while giving back to the community, which provided a strong foundation for service in his life. He has spent the past four years building a service oriented mind set within the department of athletics at Pace University that follows the NCAA Division II platform of academics, athletics and service. Through his leadership Pace student-athletes have raised thousands of dollars, and put forth hundreds of community service hours for initiatives like Pace Goes Pink, and Make A Wish. He is also a member of the Pace Makes a Difference Day planning committee and a project supervisor.
Joan Katen, is an Adjunct Professor for Peace and Justice Studies and Political Science at Pace University in Pleasantville. As a Pace professor, Joan has been an active member of the Pace Pleasantville community, co-designing and co-teaching Keys to Global Peace , a civic engagement course engaging hundreds of students in projects that contribute to peace and justice in the world. She has coordinated dozens of open lectures from Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Ramez Ghoussous, to the Ambassador from Eygpt to the UN, Ambassador Abdul Aziz and Brigadier General Duke Deluca and co-coordinated events such as “The Devastating Effects of War on Children” and “The World that Works for Everyone: Creating Peace and Sustainable Development”. Joan is a tireless advocate in her home communities. In 1980 she founded The Friends of Florence Park, in which she is currently chair. She is Advocacy Chair of the United Nations Association, has served as President of the Mamaroneck League of Women Voters, and advisor to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and was chair of the Health Commission for the town of Mammaroneck.
Shyam Nooredeen, is a Business Management major at Pace University in New York. Shyam has been an avid supporter of community service since high school. After transferring in Spring 2012, he was chosen to participate in the Alternative Spring Break program, which was focused on homelessness in New York City. Through ASB, he has volunteered at Housing Works, the Food Bank of NYC, Yorkville Common Pantry, YCAP, New York Cares Paint-A-School day, and New York Cares Hands-On Day in the spring. His biggest achievement thus far is serving as a Democracy Coach for Pace University’s chapter of Generation Citizen – a program that partners college students (Democracy Coaches) with New York City high school classrooms where students are empowered to take on issues in their communities and school that deeply affects them. Generation Citizen is unique in that most of the partnered schools are in minority communities where students are often feeling underpowered. In spring 2013 semester, he became the Education Director of Generation Citizen at Pace University.
Mark Stephens, University Director for Financial Aid at Pace University. Mark has shared his knowledge of the Financial Aid profession, serving as Group Leader/Trainer for the last 10 years with newcomers into this field at weeklong "boot camp" training events sponsored by New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association (NYSFAAA). He has also provided Financial Aid Workshops at a host of local high schools each year in Mount Vernon, Nyack, New York City, Nanuet, and New Jersey. For the past 16 years Mark has served in the Diaconate ministry at Macedconia Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, NY and Union Baptist Church in Greenburg, NY. In addition to serving the congregation within the four walls of the churches, he finds time to visit sick and isolated members in their homes, hospitals and nursing homes to offer company and comfort.
Alireza Vaziri is a Film and Screen Studies major at Pace University, New York. He serves as a student research assistant for a provost-funded project aimed at reducing meat consumption on campus in order to allay a range of environmental pressures, notably anthropogenic climate change. Specifically, his efforts include polling about and gaining public support for "green" campus activities; TAing for a course, ENV201 (Animals & Society); introducing the campus to the social and political dimensions of "dumpster diving"; and producing and directing a documentary film about food waste and homelessness. He is also a recipient of the Project Pericles Leadership award. This semester he is working with a group of students to educate the Pace Community on the harmful environmental and health effects of the water bottle industry, establish the green roof, and vegetable garden on the NYC campus.
Dana Weingartner is Marketing major with a minor in political science at Pace University, Pleasantville. Dana has been a strong advocate of service since high school and has participated in volunteer programs at her local library, reading to children and volunteering at the desk for the summer reading program and a yearly summer mission trips with her youth group, between 2005-2010, volunteering in food banks, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens and repairing homes on a Native American reservation in South Dakota. Since arriving at Pace in 2010 she has programmed and supervised over a dozen service and civic education projects with the Center for Community Action and Research, engaging others in service and action, including projects for Paint a School, Hope’s Door, Successful Learning Center, Beczak Environmental Center, and Sharing Shelf. She has run successful voter registration and organ donor campaigns. Dana also served as teaching assistant for the civic engagement course POL 110: Leadership and Advocacy. She is founding member of the student planned and supervised Pace Make a Difference Day “Spring Edition” and is currently a Periclean Fellow.
Additionally, Joan Katen, was selected to represent Pace at the Jefferson Awards National Ceremonies in Washington DC and compete for a Gold Medal Award. The selection of the Gold Medal awardee is made at the national level by the Jefferson Awards Board of Selectors. Pace University congratulates the awardees and thanks them for their exemplary commitment to service and citizenship.
Past Jefferson Awards Winners include:
National GOLD Medal: John Cronin (Staff)
BRONZE Medals: Michael Boyle (Student), Donald Doernberg (Faculty), Naphtalie Librun (Student), Yvonne Rafferty (Faculty), and Hannah Tall (Student).
BRONZE Medals: Vincent Birkenmeyer (Student), Matt Ganis (Faculty), James Lawler (Faculty),
Isabell McHugh (Staff ), Tom Nardi (Faculty), Breanna Romaine Guiliano (Student),
Mary Stambaugh (Staff), Miki Tamura (Student), Christopher Uhlick (Student), and Christopher Walther (Staff)
BRONZE Medals: Atayla Kozak (Student), Sue Maxam (Staff), Kaya Castronova (Student), Karla Jay (Faculty), Christian Cano (Student), Jean Coppola (Faculty) Anne DeFalco(Staff) and the University's chapter of Beta Alpha Psi (Students)