The Selfless Seven

The results are in! Seven members of the Pace Community have been selected to receive Jefferson Awards Bronze Medals for their commitment to service–and one will even pack her bags for DC to compete for a Gold Medal Award.

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 has announced that seven Pace 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—Adjunct Professor for Environmental Studies and English (PLV)
Tracy Basile 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 and was awarded a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to use the film for educational outreach. You can read more about Basile in this week’s Earth Month feature.

Zach Dayton—Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing and Promotions (PLV)
Zach Dayton has been involved in service activities throughout his entire life and grew up working in a nonprofit organization that his mother started. He has spent the past four years building a service-oriented mindset within the department of athletics at Pace 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 the Make A Wish Foundation.

Joan Katen—Adjunct Professor for Peace and Justice Studies and Political Science (PLV)
As a Pace professor, Joan Katen has been an active member of the Pace PLV 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.” She is Advocacy Chair of the United Nations Association and advisor to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Shyam Nooredeen—Lubin Business Management major (NYC)
Shyam Nooredeen has been an avid supporter of community service since high school. After transferring to Pace in spring 2012, he was chosen to participate in the Alternative Spring Break program, which 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’s chapter of Generation Citizen, a program that partners college students with NYC high school classrooms where students are empowered to take on issues that deeply affect them. During the spring 2013 semester, he became the Education Director of Generation Citizen at Pace. 

Mark Stephens—University Director for Financial Aid
Mark Stephens 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 NY and NJ. For the past 16 years, Stephens 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, he visits sick and isolated members in their homes, hospitals, and nursing homes to offer company and comfort. 

AliReza Vaziri—Dyson Film and Screen Studies major (NYC)
AliReza Vaziri 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. Specifically, his efforts include polling and gaining public support for “green” campus activities; TAing for a course, ENV201 (Animals and 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 and establishing the green roof and vegetable garden on the NYC Campus.

Dana Weingartner—Lubin Marketing major and Dyson Political Science minor (PLV)
Dana Weingartner has been a strong advocate of service since high school and has participated in volunteer programs at her local library, mission trips with her youth group, 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 more than a dozen service and civic education projects with the CCAR, including projects for Paint a School Day, Hope’s Door, Successful Learning Center, Beczak Environmental Center, and Sharing Shelf. She has run successful voter registration and organ donor campaigns and has served as a teaching assistant for the civic engagement course POL 110:  Leadership and Advocacy. She is a founding member of the student planned and supervised Pace Makes 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.  For more information on the Jefferson Award winners, visit the CCAR website.