President Gutmann Announces 2015 President’s Engagement Prize Winners at Penn

President Amy Gutmann today announced the selection of five undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania as the inaugural President’s Engagement Prize recipients. Awarded annually to Penn students to design and undertake fully-funded local, national or global engagement projects during the first year after they graduate, the President’s Engagement Prizes underscore the high priority that Penn places on educating students to put their knowledge to work for the betterment of humankind. 

“These members of the Class of 2015 have developed extraordinarily promising projects that are going to impact thousands of lives,” Gutmann said. “Each project embodies the ethos of service upon which Penn was founded. Our community, our country and our world need driven, forward-thinking students like these tackling some of society’s most pressing issues.”

Each Prize recipient will receive $50,000 for living expenses and as much as $100,000 for project implementation expenses. The Prizes have been generously supported by Trustee Judith Bollinger and William G. Bollinger; Trustee Lee Spelman Doty and George E. Doty, Jr.; and Emeritus Trustee James S. Riepe and Gail Petty Riepe. The President’s Engagement Prizes are the largest of their kind in higher education.

The five undergraduates selected by Gutmann represent a total of four engagement projects. The projects are:

Homegrown Organic Purification Project: Adrian Lievano (EAS’15) and Matthew Lisle (EAS’15) will develop and implement a rainwater catchment and purification system in Kimana, Kenya. Once it installs the system, the group plans to engage the community through ongoing support and education. Lievano and Lisle are being mentored by Stanley Laskowski, Lecturer and Academic Advisor in the Master of Environmental Studies Program.

Home, Heart, Health: Engaging the Community in Bridging the Gap: Jodi Feinberg (Nu’15) will design, implement and evaluate a comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation model for home care, with the support of the New York University Langone Medical Center and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. The goal of Feinberg’s one-of-a-kind program is to serve as a much-needed bridge between inpatient and outpatient cardiac rehabilitation, ensuring that patients are steadily progressing along the cardiac rehabilitation continuum.  Feinberg is being mentored by Terri Lipman, Miriam Stirl Endowed Term Professor of Nutrition, Professor of Nursing of Children and Assistant Dean for Community Engagement in the School of Nursing. 

Health and Education in Africa: Shadrack Frimpong (C’15) will establish the Tarkwa Breman Model School for Girls and Community Clinic in his poverty-stricken home village of Tarkwa Breman, Ghana. The Tarkwa Breman Model School for Girls and Community Clinic will serve young girls and citizens in Tarkwa Breman, as well as citizens in the surrounding seven villages. Frimpong is being mentored by Harvey Rubin, Professor of Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine. 

GenHERation: Katlyn Grasso (W’15) will use the President’s Engagement Prize to further her work with GenHERation, a female empowerment network for high school girls. GenHERation will provide female students the opportunity to develop advocacy campaigns to address important community issues and will positively impact girls’ confidence and personal development across the country. Grasso is being mentored by Lee Kramer, Director of Student Life in the Wharton School.

“We are very pleased by the high level of interest in this program and the outstanding quality and scope of the proposals submitted,” Provost Vincent Price said. “Our students are deeply committed to Penn’s mission of making an impact around the world and helping people lead fulfilling lives, whether locally, nationally or globally. We look forward to seeing the results of the four exciting projects selected for funding, and we encourage all students to develop their own proposals in future years.”

Twenty-five applications were submitted by 37 students, representing a broad and diverse array of student engagement projects. The President’s Engagement Prize Selection Committee was appointed by Price in January and chaired by Vice Provost for Education Andrew Binns. The Committee consisted of one faculty member from each of Penn’s four undergraduate schools: Katherine Klein (Wharton), Walter Licht (Arts and Sciences), Jianbo Shi (Engineering) and Barbra Mann Wall (Nursing). Marc McMorris, chair of the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Local, National and Global Engagement, also served on the Selection Committee.

Announced by Gutmann in August 2014, the President’s Engagement Prizes are intended to strengthen Penn’s commitment under the Penn Compact 2020 to impactful local, national and global student engagement. They will be awarded on an annual basis.

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