Jefferson Awards

The Jefferson Awards for Public Service recognize individuals for their public and volunteer service, and dedication to improving the quality of life in their communities. 

Faculty, staff, and students can nominate any individual from the Pace University community. Self-nominations are also welcome. Nominations are typically due in October each year.

It’s easy to nominate someone using the online nomination form

The most up-to-date information about the application and nomination process can be found at

For more information, contact Heather Novak, Associate Director on our Pleasantville campus at, or Daniel Botting, Associate Director on our New York City campus at

Pace University is a Jefferson Awards Foundation Champion. Champions are organizations that partner with the Jefferson Awards Foundation to engage in meaningful public service and celebrate their communities with Jefferson Awards.

2018-2019 Pace Bronze Medal Award winners include:

Nicolette Carbonetto ‘20 is an Elementary Education major with a concentration in English and a minor in Psychology who is on track to obtain a five years Master’s Degree in Special Education on the New York City Campus. She has contributed to her community at Pace University by being an Honors College Mentor and volunteering for Paint-a-School at Pace Makes a Difference Day. She also gives back to the New York Community by being a Read Ahead volunteer in Chinatown to support struggling readers.  She does most of her service work in her home community in Toms River, New Jersey. She dedicates most of her time to students with special needs in many ways such as volunteering at the Children’s Specialized Hospital for the last three years in the long-term care unit with over 350 hours, organizing an independent music fundraiser to raise $5,000 for them, and is a Friday Night Fever volunteer serving as a social role model for a group for teens with disabilities for the last three years at over 100 hours. She has also has volunteered at her local library for five years, was a peer tutor, and played music for charity events for the Ronald McDonald House and Oceans of Love charities. She also is a volunteer children’s robotics camp coach to help students with their STEM and teamwork skills. Most of her work comes from her passion for educating and helping all kinds of students to achieve and succeed in every aspect of life.

Marie Lourdes Charles, EdD, RN, an associate professor of nursing in the College of Health Professions, is committed to students and community service. Charles has nearly a decade of experience as a volunteer and board member of AHRC, an organization that supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. While at the University she has developed a nursing clinical rotation involving students in caring for homeless individuals and served as an advisor to the Student Nurse Coalition for Diversity and Development for two years. She is also a founding member of the nonprofit Health Education Action League for Haiti. Over the past six years, Charles has traveled to Haiti more than fifteen times to organize and participate in mobile clinics serving more than 1,000 patients daily. Charles also worked with colleagues to develop a train-the-trainer workshop on disaster management. In 2016, following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, they traveled to rural Haiti to train local community leaders and instruct them on how to educate others about emergency preparedness.

Cariel Clarke ’19, Childhood Education, has been actively involved with her community since high school. Her early experience educating others about environmental conservation inspired her to seek out similar opportunities as a student on Pace University’s Pleasantville campus, and through the Center for Community Action and Research, she has worked with organizations including Teatown Lake Reservation, the Westchester Parks Foundation, and the Greenburgh Nature Center. Clarke is also a member of the Eta Tau chapter of Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority Inc. As service vice president for the 2017-18 academic year, she coordinated member events and oversaw a service retreat at which participants assembled more than one hundred bags of food, water, socks, and toiletries for those in need. An aspiring teacher, Clarke has also worked with local students, helping them to achieve significant academic improvements through carefully planned activities, educational manipulatives, and content-specific strategies. After college, she plans to continue serving both locally and abroad.

Jane Collins, Associate Professor of English on the Pleasantville campus, has a long, consistent record of enhancing learning environments and creating educational experiences that engage and retain students. At Pace, Collins has created five service-learning courses giving students real-world experiences with community organizations including Pleasantville Cottage School, the Successful Learning Center and local nursing homes. Her service-learning students have also worked with at-risk children in Costa Rica. As the faculty mentor for the Body and Mind Freshman Interest Group for the past 8 years, Collins has created programs that enable students living in freshman residence halls to stay healthy and thrive. In 2017, she pioneered a signature retention program for Dyson College sophomores. The Dyson Scholars in Residence Program, which Collins continues to direct, is a unique academic experience that supports Dyson College’s mission to provide students with opportunities to expand their intellectual landscape and stimulate their scholarly curiosity through hands-on experiences blended with academic learning.  

Vanessa J. Herman is assistant vice president for government and community relations (GCR) at Pace University. Part of Pace’s senior administration, she oversees the University’s federal, state and local government relations, manages Pace’s town-gown community relations and serves on several board’s to represent the University’s interests. Herman is also an adjunct professor who continually demonstrates a strong commitment to student success. In 2014, she led development of a partnership between GCR, the Seidenberg School of CSIS, and One Hundred Black Men (OHBM) of NYC’s Junior 100 Pathways to Success Program, a 16-week youth development program for at-risk high school juniors and seniors. The project has since become a pilot program, which OHMB has replicated nationwide, and it remains one of Herman’s proudest achievements. In addition, Herman is the president of Millennium Strategies Consulting, which she founded in 1999 to provide primarily volunteer public relations services to select charitable organizations.

Caitlin E. Grand ’12, is the University’s assistant director of the Pace Path. In 2009, her mother was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer, and it became Grand’s mission to spread awareness and improve support for patients and their families. Since then, she has continued to develop her passion for volunteering through various higher education programs and colorectal cancer nonprofits. Grand was introduced to the TRIO Upward Bound program at Pace as a student majoring in applied psychology, and she fell in love with its mission of supporting first-generation, low-income students on their journey to higher education. She has volunteered with the program since then, serving as an elective teacher, substitute teacher, tutor, and administrative fill-in. Through her colorectal cancer advocacy work, Grand has met many amazing patients and advocates through the Fight Colorectal Cancer organization, for which she was selected as the first Ambassador from New York State; the Colon Cancer Foundation, for which she was a member of the Young Leaders Board; and Michael’s Mission, for which she served as the marketing and community relations director. In all these efforts, Grand’s goal is to highlight the importance of knowing your family’s health history and the value of higher education for all.

Professor Grant Kretchik ’02 is Associate Director of the Pace School of Performing Arts and Director and creator of the BFA Acting Program on the New York campus.  Along with his husband Lance Williams, he co-administers The LanMar Fund, a charitable fund whose primary focus is advocating for and supporting endangered species and conservation projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America, such as The Lion Recovery Fund (founding supporter), The Elephant Crisis Fund (founding supporter), WildAid and The Wildlife Conservation Network.   While Grant and Lance are invested in a number of projects they work most closely with Kenya-based organizations. Through their work Grant has been able to support, visit and work with Sir Ian Douglas-Hamilton CBE and his wife Oria Douglas-Hamilton at their research camp in Samburu, Kenya.  Additionally in Samburu, they have be long-term supporters of Shivani Bahla, founder of Ewaso Lions and have also had the opportunity to visit her research camp. In Samburu, Grant and his husband have been able to visit and work with the Westgate School children ages’ 5- 18. Here they have distributed school supplies, food and built boys and girls dormitories and supported the important work of empowering the local children and communities to understand the value of human wildlife co-existence.  Kretchik and his husband conceived and created The Mary S. Boardman Lifetime Achievement Award for Community-Based Conservation. The award is given to a conservationist who has dedicated their life to protecting wildlife while simultaneously lifting a community through conservation.  In addition to conservation-focused projects, the fund has help support projects such as God's Love We Deliver, ASPCA disaster recovery, The Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force and a local community theater where Grant grew up in Hawley, Pennsylvania.

Isabella Lupo ‘19 is a Peace and Justice Studies major on the New York campus, minoring in Art, Italian, and Political Science. At Pace University, Lupo’s work with the organization Generation Citizen has allowed her to turn her passion for service into important skills. She served as the president and chapter director from fall 2016 to fall 2017. Lupo also works with the organizations New York Cares to highlight social injustice, and Student Leaders in Service at Pace, to support diverse organizations providing numerous community service placements. She also volunteers with several youth organizations including the Spruce Street After School Program, Peck Slip School, Chatty Child, and Read Ahead. Through her community service experiences at Pace, Lupo has helped more people than she could have imagined and discovered a career path focused on civic engagement and community empowerment. She credits her mother for encouraging her to get involved in service at a young age. 

Fatimah Majors ’19 is an Applied Psychology and Human Relations major in the Pforzheimer Honors College on the Pleasantville campus. Academically, she is a First Honors Dean’s List scholar, a distinction awarded only to those with a GPA of 3.85 or higher, and she strives to uphold the same standard of excellence in her community service work. Majors worked with the Center for Community Action and Research to study food insecurity at the University, and her findings have been instrumental the creation of Pace University’s mobile food pantry. A collaboration between Pace and the nonprofit Feeding Westchester, the initiative debuted in fall 2018 to provide the community with fresh produce and promote healthy living for academic success.

Jessika Pietryka ’20 is studying Information Systems, B.B.A. as a part of the Lubin School of Business on the Pleasantville campus. Encouraged to treat others like how you want to be treated and believes that giving back to others was the best way to fulfill this belief. In high school, she was actively involved in the Key Club and often volunteered as a foreign language tutor and music tutor for 4th and 5th graders. She continued this volunteerism as she entered college. She volunteered at Teatown Lake Preservation, for Pace Makes a Difference Day, putting wire around trees to protect from beavers. During her sophomore year, Jessika decided to join Gamma Sigma Sigma, a national service sorority. Every semester, Jessika completes at least 20 hours of service. Through this organization, Jessika has had the opportunity to volunteer at many nonprofits in Westchester County. She has been able to volunteer at Feeding Westchester, Eagle Fest through Teatown, Sunrise Senior Living, and more. Currently Jessika is serving as Service Vice President for Gamma Sigma Sigma, helping connect people to different nonprofits throughout Westchester.

Matt Renna is the vice president of human resources at Pace University, and an adjunct assistant professor in the Lubin School of Business. An Italian immigrant, Renna’s humble background inspires him to give back. Professionally, he has championed fair pay policies and practices and advocated for improved wages for underrepresented employees. He is an advocate for quality affordable healthcare and serves as a mentor to University students and staff through various development programs. Renna also works with the nonprofit organizations Island Harvest and the Epilepsy Foundation and volunteers his financial knowledge as a member of the Board of Directors of the nonprofit Academic Federal Credit Union. Additionally, he has participated in run/walk fundraisers for Feeding Westchester (Miles for Meals), No Child Wet Behind, Austism Speaks, the Bronx Zoo (Run for the Wild), StoPP, the Susan J. Komen Foundation (Walk for the Cure) and the American Cancer Society (Relay for Life).

Connor Wills ’20, Applied Psychology and Human Relations, has been active in community service the age of four, when his family raised its very first seeing eye dog. Since then, Wills has actively raised eight dogs. As a young student, he also participated in monthly dance outs, performing for senior citizens and nursing homes, and volunteered through four years of high school taking on leadership commitments with local organizations including the district Special Olympics, at the Indian Valley Public Library, Grand View Hospital, and Pennridge Food Pantry. As a student on Pace’s Pleasantville campus, Wills has participated in service events including Pace Makes a Difference Day and activities for the FIRE (Fight Ignorance and Rape with Education) program. A member of Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority Inc., he has completed more than sixty hours of documented community service, and won an Undergraduate Research Award for his work with the Center for Community Action and Research on transgender student success in higher education. While abroad in Australia, Wills also completed more than fifty hours of service mentoring Indigenous students through the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience. With the University of the Sunshine Coast Quidditch League, he visited high schools and taught students how to play Quidditch, encouraging literacy, love of reading, teamwork, and physical fitness.

Past Jefferson Awards Winners include:

Year 2017-2018

Bronze Medals: Cesar Ballesteros ’18 (Biology), Neil Braun (Dean of the Lubin School of Business), National Winner Kimberly Collica-Cox, PhD (Associate Professor Criminal Justice and Security in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences), Reginald Flowers (Adjunct professor in the School of Performing Arts), Victoria Gonzalez ’18 (Political Science & MPA), (Duke) Tsun-Chueh Huang ’20 (Peace and Justice Studies and Art), Eric Kessler, PhD, (Henry George Professor of Management at the Lubin School of Business), Kelly Lang ’18 (Applied Psychology and Human Relations), Amanda Marshall ‘18 (Biology), Pauline Mosley (Professor of Information Technology at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems), Rachel Simon (Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Programs), Rohana Karina Sosa ’19 (Computer Science)

Year 2016-2017

Bronze Medals: Tiffany Bermudez (Residence Director, Pleasantville), Matthew Bolton (Professor of Political Science, New York), Shari Crandall (Associate Director of Residential Training and Development, Pleasantville), Angelica Fabian (Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications and Arts & Entertainment Management, New York), Kenesha Henry (Applied Psychology & Human Relations, New York), Mr. Dylan Jusino (Finance, New York), Emerald Rodriguez (Nursing, Pleasantville), Marijo Russell O’Grady (Dean of Students, New York),  Natalie Sobchak (Director of Pro Bono Programs at Pace Women’s Justice Center, Law), Tracy Van Ness (Assistant Clinical Professor in the College of Health Professions, New York),  Emily Welty (Professor of Peace and Justice Studies, New York).

Year 2015-2016

Bronze Medals:  “Nelli” Pamela Marianelli Villarta Agbulos (Political Science, and Women and Gender Studies double major, New York City campus),  Caitlin Boley (Political Science and Religious Studies double major, New York City campus), Dr. Melissa Cardon (Management and Management Science Professor, Pleasantville campus), Rosanna Corvino  (Web Services for Information Technology Staff, Briarcliff campus), Melanie Greene (Information Technology major, New York City campus),  Giovanni Lemus (Acting major, New York City campus), Debra Sassano (College of Health Professions, Dean’s staff, Pleasantville campus), Christelle Scharff (Computer Science professor, New York City campus),  Carolyn Phillips (Political Science major, New York City campus), Ashley Marinaccio, Pace School of Performing Arts professor and alumna, New York City campus), James “Jim” Stenerson (Executive Director of the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology; Women and Gender Studies professor, Pleasantville campus), Raevin Adria Walters (International Management major, Pleasantville campus)

Year 2014-2015

Bronze Medals: Brando Brandini (student, New York City campus), Kylah Bruno (student, Pleasantville campus), Diane Cypkin (faculty, Pleasantville campus), Dr. Brian Evans (faculty, New York City campus), Remy Gallo (student, New York City campus), Jason Gonzalez (student, New York City campus and national conference attendee), Michelle D. Land (faculty, Pleasantville campus), Diana Mendez (student, New York City campus), Kim Novak (student, New York City campus), Robert D. Rahni (staff), Alexander Saitta (student, Pleasantville campus)

Year 2013-2014

National Champion Winner: Lisa Bardill Moscaritolo (Staff, Pleasantville campus)

Bronze Medals: Hasin I. Ahmed (student, New York City campus), Lisa Bardill Moscaritolo (staff, Pleasantville campus), Daniel Borakove (student, Pleasantville campus), David Cassuto (faculty, Pleasantville campus), George L. De Feis (faculty, New York City campus), Sara Digiovanna (student, Pleasantville campus), Dr. Harriet R. Feldman (faculty), Jered Harvey (student, Pleasantville campus), Ann Marie Pavia (student, New York City campus), Christina Rufo (student, Pleasantville campus),  Dr. Dorothee Von Heune Greenberg (faculty, Pleasantville campus).

Year 2012-2013

Bronze Medals: Tracy Basile (faculty, PLV), Zach Dayton (staff, Pleasantville campus), Joan Katen (faculty, Pleasantville campus), Shyam Nooredeen (student, New York City campus), Mark Stephens (staff, Pleasantville campus), Alireza Vaziri (student, New York City campus), Dana Weingartner (student, Pleasantville campus)

Year 2011-2012

Bronze Medals: Alyssa Feldman (student, New York City campus), Alisha Hayes (student, Pleasantville campus), Richard Kline (faculty, New York City campus), Ellen Mandel (faculty, Pleasantville campus), Surendra Kaushik (faculty, New York City campus), Diana Martinez (staff, New York City campus)

Year 2010-2011

National Gold Medal: John Cronin (Staff)

Bronze Medals: Michael Boyle (student), Donald Doernberg (faculty), Naphtalie Librun (student), Yvonne Rafferty (faculty), and Hannah Tall (student).

Year 2009-2010

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)

Year 2008-2009

Bronze Medals: Atalya Kozak (student), Sue Maxam (staff), Kaya Castronova (student), Karla Jay (faculty), Christian Cano (student), Jean Coppola (faculty), Anne DeFalco (staff), and Pace University's chapter of Beta Alpha Psi (students).