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Recipients of the 2015 Jefferson Public Citizens Awards

Fifty-eight University of Virginia undergraduates have received Jefferson Public Citizen Awards for public service-oriented research projects they will undertake during the 2015-2016 academic year. This is the seventh 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 13 projects, 13 faculty advisors, three graduate mentors, and one postdoctoral mentor.

JPC Group: Jack Baker, Selina Horsley, Joey Michel, and Allie Anderson
Faculty Advisor: Catherine Brighton
Community Partner: Day in the Life
Project Title: Hoos Enabling Academic Tutoring

To meet the increasing demand for trained UVA students to tutor youth from the local community, Hoos Enabling Academic Tutoring (HEAT) will work with UVa’s "Day In The Life" (DITL) program and its community site supervisors to enhance the program’s recruitment and training. To increase student recruitment, the HEAT project will develop and pilot student leadership opportunities in DITL; to ensure student preparedness to tutor, the HEAT project will develop and pilot online tutor-training modules.

JPC Group: Alice Burgess, Matthew Smith, Max Barab, Anna Wallace, and Kathryn Nunnelley
Faculty Advisor: James A. Smith
Community Partner: Khulisa Social Solutions
Project Title: Creation of a Ceramic Water Filter Factory in Hammanskraal, South Africa

In partnership with Khulisa Social Solutions and PureMadi, team members will help establish a ceramic filter factory in Hammanskraal, South Africa. The team will install a filter press, hammer mill, and kiln, and will build a sieve table and soak tank. Varying ratios of clay to sawdust will be tested systematically to produce ceramic water filters with appropriate flow rates. Team members also will study a new silver application method to determine performance with respect to disinfection of waterborne pathogens.

JPC Group: Emily Campbell,  Maddy Guthrie, Gwendolyn Apgar, and Emory Yeargood
Faculty Advisor: Edith Lawrence
Community Partner: Mbarara University of Science and Technology
Project Title: Empowerment Through Mentoring: Adapting YWLP in Mbarara, Uganda

Modeled on UVa's Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP), YWLP Uganda will connect middle school girls and college women in Mbarara, Uganda for a year of mentoring. The program will focus on the YWLP goal of empowering women to be leaders. Using the YWLP Nicaragua and YWLP Cameroon program handbooks as a foundation, we will collaborate with faculty and students at Mbarara University to develop a curriculum that best meets the needs of adolescent girls there.

JPC Group: Samuel Campbell, Rosemary O'Hagan, Charlotte Delany, Mark Duda, and David Kahler Faculty Advisor: James Smith
Community Partner: Carpenter's Kids Program and Institute of Rural Development Planning
Project Title: Economic Testing of Ceramic Water Treatment Technologies in Dodoma Region, Tanzania

We will conduct a two-part study of the MadiDrop, a water-purification tablet previously tested in South Africa by UVa Professor Jim Smith, in the village of Nzali, Tanzania. Partnering with the Carpenter's Kids Program, the Institute of Rural Development Planning, and the village of Nzali we will research 1) the effects of clean-water availability in the school setting, and 2) the “willingness to pay” among 50 Nzali households.

JPC Group: Sumedha Deshmukh, Virginia Dittmar, Jeremy Jones, and Paromita Sen
Faculty Advisor: Rae Blumberg
Community Partner: Navya Disha
Project Title: Improving Health, Wellbeing and Livelihood via Water Loans for the Peri-Urban in Bangalore, India

Navya Disha, a Grameen Koota affiliate, is a charitable trust in Bangalore, India that provides microloans for the construction of water and sanitation projects. Most recipients are women, and most loans are aimed at improving health, welfare and income-generation. We will use Rapid Appraisal to holistically assess the impacts of these loans. Working with Navya Disha, we will incorporate our findings into their loan, assessment, and education programs to implement sustainable change based on community needs. 

JPC Group: Kelsey Hunt, Effie Smith, Nestor Maldonado, Makayla Palazzo, and Reesh Gorle
Faculty Advisor: Herbert Tico Braun
Community Partner: REDDOM
Project Title: A Holistic Approach to Expanding Water Availability in El Corozo, DR

Following the success of two previous JPC projects, demand for clean water has increased in the community of El Corozo in the Dominican Republic. This JPC team will expand access to the existing pipeline and work to further increase the availability of clean drinking water supplied to the community, using a holistic approach that addresses specific community concerns.

JPC Group: Andrea Kleid, Emily Anthony, Melissa Picon, Katie Bland, and Meredith Stuhlman
Faculty Advisor: Melissa Levy
Community Partner: Lincoln International Academy
Project Title: A Global Sisterhood: Strengthening the Global Connections Curriculum in YWLP

This JPC project aims to enhance the connection between the Young Women Leaders Program in Charlottesville and its sister sites in Nicaragua, Panama, and Cameroon. By collecting focus group and survey data, team members will revise the YWLP Global Connections curriculum, creating social media platforms that give mentors and mentees an opportunity to develop a global sisterhood.

JPC Group: Benjamin Matthews, Madison DeLuca, Sarah Dugan, Kevin Cao, Sarah Nerette, and Justis Midura
Faculty Advisor: Garrick Louis
Community Partner: Bridges to Community
Project Title: Evaluation of the Technical and Social Implications of Introducing a Secondary Water Distribution System in Rosa Grande, Nicaragua.

This JPC team will partner with Bridges to Community to evaluate the implications of introducing a secondary water distribution system in Rosa Grande, Nicaragua. Using a Systems Feasibility Study and select Participatory Rural Appraisal methods, team members will investigate how technical and social infrastructures affect integration of the secondary system. The goal of this research is to facilitate comprehensive integration of the secondary system, and to help guide the design and implementation of similar systems in the future.

JPC Group: Grace Muth, Amber Bouchard, and Emily Ewing
Faculty Advisor: David Edmunds
Community Partner: Cambodian Center  for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC)
Project Title: Promoting Farmer-led Innovation in Rural Cambodia: Assessing the Impacts of Innovation on Social Change, Gender Relations, and Climate Change Adaptation

This initiative builds on existing University connections with CEDAC, an organization currently facilitating farmer-led environmental research in Cambodia. Our team will assist local farmers and project leaders in identifying new innovations that promote environmentally sustainable agricultural practices. We will assist in local experimentation of new technologies and in gathering and analyzing data. We aim to identify ways of successfully applying these innovations in other geographic and climatic contexts, and to connect innovations across these contexts. 

JPC Group: Emily Nagel, Joe Dardick, Gina Doss, Kaycee Ensign, Courtney Rogers, and Maria FaidesFaculty Advisor: David Edmunds
Community Partner: The Healthy Appalachia Institute
Project Title: Assessing the Feasibility of Community Oriented Health Logistics (COHL)

Community Oriented Health Logistics (COHL) is a pilot program to be implemented in Williamson, VVV. The goal of the project is to increase public health related activities through a community participatory approach. Working with community health workers (CHWs), team members will use mHealth (health education through SMS) to provide Appalachian youth with incentivized education about nutrition and fitness. COHL targets Appalachian youth through a commonly used and accepted medium of mobile phones; this study will test its feasibility.

JPC Group: Parisa Sadeghi, Aryn Frazier, Porter Nenon, and Chad Vickers
Faculty Advisor: Professor Stephen P. Plaskon
Community Partner: Buford Middle School
Project Title: Examining the Impact of Participation in Debate on Charlottesville Students

Parents, teachers, and policymakers widely accept the positive impact of participation in after-school programs on middle school students. Current literature, however, contains little information on the isolated benefits of particular programs. Specifically, very little has been done to explore the effects of participating in debate. This project thus seeks to find the impact of debate on middle school students’ personal growth, particularly when compared to the effects of participating in other after-school activities.

JPC Group: Grant Schwab, Siobhan Perks, Kyle Scott, Tammy Cavazos, and Rachael Mossey
Faculty Advisor: David R. Burt, MD
Community Partner: UVA - Guatemala Initiative
Project Title: Sustainable Solar Hot Water Systems: A Solution to Improve Community Health in the Highlands of Guatemala

In the Guatemalan highlands, the Hospital Nacional de Totonicapan lacks hot water due to systemic and economic barriers. The hospital, a past partner in UVa-Guatemala Initiative collaborations, has requested water heating solutions to improve patient care and sanitation. One sustainable and replicable solution is solar heating of water. This team will analyze solar heating methods, on-site conditions, and existing systems in Guatemala before designing and installing heating units and teaching community members about unit maintenance.

JPC Group: Shontell White, Savannah Maxwell, Jessica Nelms, Sierra Leickart, Abigail Osei, and Mary Hemenway
Faculty Advisor: Edith Lawrence
Community Partner: Albermarle High School and Charlottesville High School
Project Title: YWLP High: Promoting Young Women's Leadership in High School

The YWLP High project will develop and pilot a mentoring program that supports the continued leadership development of girls in high school who participated in the Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP) during middle school. Building on training our team received as YWLP Big Sisters, we will create activities and a support structure for 11th & 12th grade YWLP alumnae at two area high schools, so that they can serve as Big Sisters to 9th and 10th grade YWLP alumnae.

Previous Recipients:

2014 Recipients
2013 Recipients
2012 Recipients
2011 Recipients
2010 Recipients
2009 Inaugural Recipients