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Recipients of the 2013 Jefferson Public Citizens Awards

Sixty University of Virginia undergraduates have received Jefferson Public Citizen Awards, which will assist them in conducting public service projects during the 2013-2014 academic year. This is the fifth year of the JPC program, which was identified as a University priority by the Commission for the Future of the University and approved by the Board of Visitors. This year, there are 14 projects, 17 faculty advisors, and 13 graduate mentors.

  • JPC Group: Maria Arguello, Bianca Cesaratto, Leigh Ann Haley, Elisa Montealegre, Rajni Rao
    Faculty Advisor: Jennifer Merritt
    Graduate Mentors: Janelle Peifer
    Community Partner: Lincoln International Academy and Universidad San Martin de Porres
    Project Title: Rompiendo Fronteras - Global Development Initiative between Peru and Nicaragua

    This JPC team will create a mentoring program that connects high school girls in Managua, Nicaragua with college women in Lima, Peru. Using the Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP) curriculum as a foundation, team members will collaborate with faculty and students at both sites to develop interactive, online mentoring that supports young women's socio-emotional wellbeing, vocational preparation, and global citizenship.

  • JPC Group: Ali Aslam, Laura Chitty, Meredith Hassett, Ivonne Navarro, Andrew Strauss
    Faculty Advisor: Andres Clarens
    Graduate Mentors: Stavros Calos
    Community Partner: Albemarle Housing Improvement Program (AHIP)
    Project Title: Addressing Water Access in El Corroso, Dominican Republic

    El Corroso is a rural community in the Dominican Republic that lacks reliable access to clean water. Residents of this 200-home area have expressed a need for a municipal distribution system to alleviate the physical struggles associated with traveling two hours each day in search of water. This JPC team will partner with El Corroso's Water Committee, and with Peace Corps volunteer and UVa alumnus, Daniel Saboe, to design and implement an aqueduct system.

  • JPC Group: Andrew Barnocky, Alexander Kuck, Steven Moore, Dasha Tyshlek
    Faculty Advisors: Paxton Marshall and John Quale
    Graduate Mentors: Christy Depew, and William Glick, Helena Khazdozian
    Community Partner: Albemarle Housing Improvement Program (AHIP)
    Project Title: AHIP Block by Block Home Renovation Program

    This JPC team will partner with the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program (AHIP), a low-income home renovation organization, to assess the energy efficiency of homes in Charlottesville’s 10th and Page neighborhood. Through testing, monitoring, and modeling, the team will evaluate the current conditions of each home. Based on this analysis they will identify cost-effective interventions to improve energy efficiency. Renovated houses will also be monitored in order to quantify the improvements achieved through renovation.

  • JPC Group: Ellen Chapin, Emily Marshall, Porter Nenon, Cameron Thum
    Faculty Advisor: Christine Mahoney
    Graduate Mentor: Carolyn Pelnik
    Community Partner: Jifundishe Free Library
    Project Title: Women's Agribusiness Education to Increase Food Security in Ngongongare, Tanzania

    Through partnership with Jifundishe, a local non-governmental organization (NGO) serving as a free public library, and Global Grassroots, an international NGO that provides women's leadership and business training, this JPC project seeks to design and implement a community education garden and women's business training program. In response to community requests, this education initiative will rely on an interactive and socially-conscious teaching model and will use local agricultural expertise to inform agribusiness practice in the community.

  • JPC Group: Catherine Clark, Elizabeth Garrett, Yodet Meresie, Sarah Skinner, Kathleen Stevens
    Faculty Advisor: Diane Whaley
    Graduate Mentor: Martha Davis
    Community Partner: Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP), Charlottesville City and County Schools
    Project Title: YWLP Moves

    This JPC project focuses on the development, implementation, and evaluation of YWLP Moves, a health-promotion initiative aimed at young women in the Charlottesville/Albemarle region. Working with mentees and mentors of the Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP), this team will: 1) collect survey and focus-group data about health and physical activity from a sample of at-risk middle school girls who are YWLP mentees; 2) use this data to develop health-promotion activities for the mentees; and 3) implement and evaluate program effectiveness with YWLP mentees in Fall 2013.

  • JPC Group: Grace Hollis, Connor Mackenzie, Milagros Mellenkamp, Fernando Mercado-Violand
    Faculty Advisor: Sharon Davie
    Community Partner: Fundación PROFIN
    Project Title: Researching the Effects of Microfinance on Women in La Paz

    How do microfinance programs in La Paz affect women’s social development, and how might supplemental educational programs help create a higher standard of living for women in La Paz?  This JPC team will tackle these questions, working with Fundación PROFIN, an NGO that supports microfinance in La Paz, as well as with its communities of clients, to research the effect of microfinance on gender roles and social development in La Paz.

  • JPC Group: Walter Hodges, Heather Lee, Joo Yung Lee, Jason Liao
    Faculty Advisor: David Rekosh, Marie-Louise Hammarskjold, Adrienne Keller
    Graduate Mentor: Siripong Tongjai
    Community Partner: Vuwani Science Research Center
    Project Title: Outreach Biology Education Modules for Secondary School Learners in Limpopo Province in South Africa

    This JPC project aims to implement molecular-biology/genetics-laboratory education modules for secondary school learners at the Vuwani Science Resource Centre, in the rural Limpopo province, South Africa. The Vuwani Centre is a community outreach program associated with the University of Venda. Research and evaluation efforts will focus on both the effectiveness of the modules in meeting the area's needs for molecular biology/genetics education, and the sustainability of the modules alter the team departs.

  • JPC Group: Samuel Atkeson, Erin Austin, Libby Lyon, Katie Woodward
    Faculty Advisor: Eleanor Wilson
    Community Partner: City School Yard Garden
    Project Title: Wellness and Gardening: Creating an After-School Garden Program at Burnley-Moran Elementary

    Working with staff and students at Charlottesville’s Burnley-Moran Elementary School (BME), this JPC team will create an after-school program focusing on health, wellness, and the BME schoolyard garden. An extension of an independent study and CBURG grant that helped BME develop its existing schoolyard garden program, this project aims to develop a year-long gardening/wellness curriculum for the program’s afterschool club.

  • JPC Group: Roshni Mahtani, Sapna Rao, Marcy Wheeler, Saman Zomorodi
    Faculty Advisor: Anselmo Canfora
    Graduate Mentors: Richard Passarelli and Megan Suau
    Community Partner: Building Tomorrow, Inc.
    Project Title: reCOVER & Building Tomorrow Inc. Primary School, Wakiso, Uganda

    According to UNESCO, 31 million children in sub-Saharan Africa wake up each morning without a school to attend. In line with the second Millennium Development Goal, many sub-Saharan African countries have initiated Universal Primary Education programs guaranteeing free education to every child, but they still face chronic classroom shortages. Working with communities in the Wakiso district of Uganda, this JPC team will help to overcome this disadvantage in education.

  • JPC Group: Bobby Donze, Paige McDermott, Daniel Ng, Jack Sullivan, Sarah Turkaly
    Faculty Advisor: Brad Brown
    Community Partner: BRAC
    Project Title: Assessing Gonokendros in Bangladesh

    BRAC, one of the world's largest development non-governmental organizations (NGOs), seeks to improve literacy and provide access to information in Bangladesh through existing community libraries called Gonokendros. These libraries, however, are currently underused by community members. This JPC team aims to conduct a needs and capabilities assessment of Gonokendros in Bangladesh. This project will support the government's Access to Information Initiative and lay the foundation for developing a more community-driven, sustainable model for Gonokendros.

  • JPC Group: Thy Nguyen, Chloe Rento, Lizzie Wallace, Lark Washington
    Faculty Advisor: James Smith
    Graduate Mentor: Beeta Ehdale
    Community Partner: The University of Venda
    Project Title: Field Testing of the Maildrop in Limpopo, South Africa: A New Point-of-Use Water Treatment Technology

    Partnering with the University of Venda in South Africa, and with the local community of Ha-Mashamba, this JPC team will field test of a new point-of-use water treatment technology called the MadiDrop. The MadiDrop is a porous ceramic disk that is dropped into a water storage container to make the water safe for consumption. Tested for efficacy in the laboratory, the MadiDrop will now be distributed and tested in 50 households in the Ha-Mashamba community, through the work of this JPC team.

  • JPC Group: Cameron Elward, Gabriel Planas, Lydia Prokosch
    Faculty Advisor: David Burt and Kent Wayland
    Graduate Mentor: Caroline Vines
    Community Partner: University of Virginia Guatemala Initiative
    Project Title: Multifaceted Evaluation of a Clean Water Project in Rural Guatemala Using Qualitative and Quantitative Metrics

    The purpose of this JPC project is to evaluate the existing model of the health education and filter installation program in San Martin, Guatemala, with the ultimate goal of providing a "best practice model" which can be replicated successfully in other international settings. Team members will work closely with community partners, using multi-marker quantitative and qualitative assessments focusing on the health and social impact of the program.

  • JPC Group: Rachael Diniega, Margaret Orr, Margaret Tarmann, Margaret Taylor, Julia Van Beek
    Faculty Advisor: Shawn Lyons
    Community Partner: Sworde-Teppa
    Project Title: Enhancing Adaptation Strategies to Environmental Change in Rural Tajikistan

    Drawing on its existing relationship with the Tajikistan-based development organization Sworde-Teppa, this JPC team will address the expressed need for a community environmental-education center in the Sari Khosor valley of Tajikistan. The team will survey community members in an effort both to understand baseline environmental knowledge and expectations for the center, and to develop appropriate educational materials related to adaptation concerns. In collaboration with residents, JPC team members plan to enhance resiliency to environmental change.

  • JPC Group: Mary-Margaret Ambrose, Courtney Cooper, Simay Okyay, Anna Cait Wade
    Faculty Advisor: Edith Lawrence
    Graduate Mentor: Hillary Morin
    Community Partner: Safe Schools / Healthy Students Charlottesville / Albemarle Project
    Project Title: "They Just Don't Understand": Educating Adults on Relational Aggression  Among Middle School Girls

    This JPC project will address adolescent girls' need for additional adult support in handling relational aggression and victimization (RA/RV). Through focus groups with area teachers, parents, and mentors, the JPC team will assess adults' concerns about helping middle school girls affected by RA/RV. From a review of the research literature, team members will identify evidence-based strategies for handling RA/RV, and will develop workshops to teach these skills to teachers, parents, and mentors of middle school girls in the Charlottesville/Albemarle community.

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2009 Inaugural Recipients