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 Erin Mysogland 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.

2020-2021 Pace Bronze Medal Award winners include:

Elizabeth Dosman ‘22 is a Dyson College psychology student on the New York City campus who has been involved in community service since high school. She received the 2018 Aldo F. Luca Scholarship Award for Outstanding Community Service and has raised funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and Maimonides Medical Center. A long-time volunteer with Kiwanis International, she chartered a Pace chapter of Circle K International, the world’s largest collegiate student-led service organization, and was appointed as the Conferences and Conventions Committee Chair for the New York District of Circle K International. Elizabeth also has a Public Speaking certification from Toastmasters International, through which she has served as a coach.

Joseph R. Franco, PhD is a Dyson College professor, program director, and director of clinical field supervision in the Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling program. Joseph teaches in both the graduate and doctoral psychology programs, and is a published author and practicing clinician, Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). Currently, he serves as the Downstate President for the New York Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (NYACES) and is Past President and former Membership Chair of the New York Counselors Mental Health Counselors Association (NYMHCA). He regularly presents at national conferences, and has received the NYMHCA Outstanding Service Award, Outstanding Counselor Educator Award, and Pace University Kenan Award for Teaching Excellence. He has been a community service leader his entire career, and most recently, served as a supervisor for the Covid-19 Helpline sponsored by the NYS Office of Mental Health. Joseph and his students have enhanced the lives of female inmates at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility by teaching university-level courses, conducting Psychoeducation groups and workshops on topics such as HIV, and parenting. In 1997, Joseph developed the first service-learning course on the Pleasantville campus with Children’s Village, a nonprofit that works in partnership with families to support vulnerable young people. SOC 221 Juvenile Delinquency is still offered today, and as part of the class, Pace students mentor the young residents at the organization’s facility in Dobbs Ferry, New York, guiding them to develop future goals, educational plans, and career aspirations.

Taylor Ganis ‘21 is a Dyson College student with a major in Environmental Studies on the Pleasantville Campus. Taylor has been an active volunteer in her community for the last decade, being awarded a Certificate of Appreciation in 2017 for outstanding volunteer service in Putnam County. She was a top fundraiser for The Alzheimer's Association and for Relay for Life, and is a Peer Educator of Pace “FIRE” (Fighting Ignorance and Rape with Education). As a Pace student she completed two Civic Engagement and Public Value courses; Canines Assisting in Health and Animals in Society.  She currently focuses her volunteer efforts on environmental issues. She is president of the Pace NATURE club, an environmental advocate, a volunteer at the Wolf Center in North Salem, a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma (which is a national service sorority), a volunteer at Animal Nation farm sanctuary, and also supports research efforts at Rockefeller State Park Preserve- all with the aim to preserve and protect wildlife within our environment.

Marisa Angelita Aquino Guillet ‘21 is a Dyson College student with a double major in women’s and gender studies and sociology/anthropology.  Marisa has been involved in social justice causes since middle school, earning a Presidential Service Award from President Barack Obama in 2013. In high school, she was an advocate for survivors of sexual violence and completed more than three hundred hours of service. At Pace, she has promoted feminist leadership, gun violence prevention, and protections for undocumented students and survivors of sexual violence. In her first year, Marisa hosted a volunteer event with Pace University President Marvin Krislov, worked with the Center for Community Action and Research and Pace Students Against Gun Violence, and advocated for stronger Title IX protections. In 2019, she studied abroad in Florence, Italy, where she completed research on Renaissance-era feminists and women's relationships with food. Last year, Marisa completed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion certification through Pace's Social Justice & You course, and served as co-chair of the University’s inaugural Social Justice Week, honoring the memory of former Pace student Danroy “DJ” Henry. She currently serves as a peer leader for the Dyson Women’s Leadership Initiative, overseeing the mentorship program and advisory council, which she cofounded in 2018. After graduation, Marisa plans to pursue a career in film and television as a consultant and coordinator, protecting female creatives and preventing misconduct on sets.

Jolina Halloran, MBA is an academic advisor for the Honors College on the Pleasantville campus. Jolina and her family formed Break The Hold (BTH), a non-profit organization in honor of their late son, Brian Thomas Halloran, who died by suicide on January 23, 2018 at the age of 19. The foundation's mission is to build resilience and reduce the risk of suicide through education, advocacy, and increased awareness about depression and other mental health challenges. This includes teaching those in the community how to recognize when someone is suffering and refer the individual to receive appropriate help. In partnership with the Pleasantville High School administration and a team of local psychologists, BTH has also developed BTH 360, programming for schools that satisfies New York State mandates for mental health in the curriculum. BTH 360 is designed to teach students how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.

Brandon Joachim ’21 is a nursing student in the College of Health Professions on the Pleasantville campus who is working to create a more just and diverse community. He has organized and led student-run marches and rallies, and in July 2020, led a fundraiser for the DJ Henry Dream Fund that raised over $1.6K. As the first diversity ambassador for the Pace Student Government Association, he has helped spearhead the creation of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Peer Facilitator Program and worked with Career Services to ensure extra efforts for diversity in the workplace. Previously, as the College of Health Professions Ambassador, he advocated for the implementation of more diverse representation in the Lienhard School of Nursing curriculum. Brandon is also a Residential Assistant and member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, participates in Greek Life, and has been named Tour Guide of the Semester (twice) at the Welcome Center and a Blue and Gold award winner.

Miles Mendez ’23 is a Dyson College digital cinema and filmmaking student who is being honored with a Jefferson Award for his life-saving personal donation. In April 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he received a call from Be The Match, a global nonprofit that connects volunteer donors with patients in need of life-saving bone marrow or blood stem cells. Miles was an exact match for a 57-year-old leukemia patient. After testing, including receiving shots and giving blood, Miles traveled more than an hour for a procedure to extract his stem cells. After nearly six hours with needles in both arms, the process was complete and his stem cells were transported across the country and given to the patient. His generosity gave her a significantly better chance to recover.

Gregory Rivera ‘21 is a 5-year combined degree student in Dyson College. Having received a BA in Political Science with a double minor in Philosophy and History, he is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration, with a Government track. Greg’s community service began as a Boy Scout. He spent many volunteer hours on projects including mentoring younger scouts, assisting at food pantries, and clearing hiking trails at state parks. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout and has served as a volunteer firefighter with the Lake Mohegan Fire District in his hometown of Yorktown Heights, New York, since age sixteen. In June 2016, he began working with veterans at the NYS Veterans' Home in Montrose, New York, serving in a variety of capacities, including transporting residents to scheduled medical appointments and providing socialization. Recently, he has been helping to address food insecurity. Last summer, Greg joined Ride Connect and delivered food to individuals at their homes, volunteered through Feeding Westchester, and assisted in distributing food throughout Westchester County. To support the civic engagement of others, Greg has also provided training for phone banking, and helped to run virtual political events and supervise interns.

Madison Shaff ‘22, the first Haub School of Law student to win a Jefferson Award, believes strongly that we should do the best we can, where we can, and as much as we can. As a law student, she has organized suicide prevention trainings for law students, founded and participated in the Peer Leader Mentor program, led the Community Engagement Committee, volunteered with the Land Use Law Center, and served as a Junior Associate for the Environmental Law Review. Beyond Pace, she has helped to maintain water quality in Washington, DC, and worked in local government and climate lobbying. Previously, as a Florida State University student, she was an active leader, helping to address issues including mental health, homelessness, and racial injustice.

Kadija Shaw ‘21 is a business management student in the Lubin School of Business on the Pleasantville campus. At age eighteen, she started a nonprofit in South Africa called Kay Tee's Table, through which she organized two full days of programming for village children that included a food drive, speakers, and activities. Kay Tee’s Table also plans clothing drives and fundraises for school uniforms. It serves 50 children annually, and Kadija raises approximately $500 annually for the organization. At Pace, Kadija was elected Student Government Association (SGA) President for the 2020-2021 academic year, overseeing coordination of all Pleasantville student organizations and representing students at University Board of Trustees meetings. Under her leadership, SGA has hosted four Town Hall events on Black Lives Matter, open to all members of the Pace community.  She previously served as the Dyson College Ambassador for SGA, held leadersip roles with Pace L.I.T. and Pace Original Style Etiquette (POSE), and worked at the Center for Community Action and Research (CCAR). While at CCAR, she registered over 60 students to vote, and worked with a community organization to support child survivors of human trafficking.  

Rebecca Tekula, PhD is an Associate Professor of Public Administration and Executive Director of the Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship with 19 years of leadership experience with social justice and social impact organizations. At Pace, she has developed courses and programs related to social impact and public service, and served on the Hispanic-Latino Task Force and the Women’s Leadership Initiative. She mentors students on research and has coauthored papers with undergraduate and graduate students on topics including hunger and global food prices, social impact investing, and black entrepreneurship. Her research examines impact investing, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit economics and governance, and nonprofit management education. As executive director of the Wilson Center, Rebecca oversees a growing body of research related to social entrepreneurship and has led the development and placement of 158 fully funded student internships in nonprofit and social innovation organizations and. In addition to the original funding from the Wilson family, she has fundraised nearly $500,000 for these high-impact experiential learning opportunities. Rebecca is an also an engaged community member in her neighborhood. She is a cofounder of Children First, a parent-led advocacy group focused on school safety and serves on the leadership board of the Seaport Coalition as a founding member.

Erin Wilson ’20 graduated in December 2020 with a degree in criminal justice and a minor in political science. As a student, Erin was actively involved with several community projects. As the Vote Everywhere Team Leader through the Center for Community Action and Research and the Andrew Goodman Foundation, she ran Pace’s voter engagement work. Together with a team of volunteers, she was responsible for registering over 1,000 new student voters. Working with Pace Students Against Gun Violence, she helped to collect more than 1,000 signatures on a petition in support of gun violence prevention research, and draft a petition in support of a bipartisan background check bill. Erin also volunteered at Metropolitan Correctional Center, supporting the Parenting, Prisons, & Pups program, an evidence-based parenting course for female inmates integrated with animal-assisted therapy, and worked as a peer leader in two Civic Engagement courses, acting as a liaison between faculty, students, and community organizations. In her final semester, Erin served as cochair of Pace University’s First Annual Social Justice Week. In this role, she met with staff, faculty, administration, and fellow students to coordinate Social Justice Week, a week of social justice programming in memory of Pace student Danroy “DJ” Henry.

Past Jefferson Awards Winners include:

Year 2019-2020

Lauren B. Birney (Associate Professor of STEM Education in the School of Education), Laurie Brown Kindred (Production Manager, School of Performing Arts), Karen Buckwald (Director, HR Initiatives and Organizational Effectiveness Human Resources), National Award Winner Jacqueline Cassagnol ’20  (Nursing, College of Health Professions), Laurianne Gutierrez ’20 (Political Science and dual minors in Philosophy and Women’s and & Gender Studies Pforzheimer Honors College), Natalie Hernandez ’20 (Digital Journalism Dyson College of Arts and Sciences), Kaitlyn Houlihan ’20 (Political Science Dyson College), Jessica A. Magaldi (Associate Professor, Legal Studies and Taxation, Lubin School of Business), Vanessa Merton JD (Professor of Law, Haub School of Law), Denise Santiago (Director, Multicultural Affairs Office. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), Joanne K. Singleton (Professor, Graduate Department College of Health Professions), Anne Toomey (Assistant Professor Environmental Studies and Science Dyson College)

Year 2018-2019

Bronze Medals: Nicolette Carbonetto ’20 (Elementary Education), Marie Lourdes Charles, EdD, RN (Assistant Professor in the College of Health Professions), Cariel Clarke ‘20 (Childhood Education), Jane Collins, PhD (Associate Professor of English in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences), Vanessa Herman (Assistant Vice President in the office of Government and Community Relations), Caitlin Grand ’12 (Assistant Director of the Pace Path, Office of the Provost), Grant Kretchik ’02, MFA (Associate Director of the Pace School of Performing Arts, Director of BFA Acting program), Isabella Lupo ’19 (Peace and Justice Studies), Fatimah Majors ‘19 (Applied Psychology and Human Relations), Jessika Pietryka ‘20 (Information Systems), Matt Renna (Vice President of Human Resources at Pace University), Connor Wills ‘20 (Applied Psychology and Human Relations)

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).