Seeds of Change Recipients

Community Engagement Medallion Recognition

The Community Engagement Medallion was established to honor graduates who have excelled in their commitment to the community through activities such as service learning, volunteerism, community/social issue advocacy, community work-study, and political engagement.

Many thanks to those who served in our selection committee:


2020 Recipients 

  1. Sarah Ahn, Conflict Analysis and Resolution 
  2. Jessica Barranco, Global and Community Health
  3. McKenna Bates, Government and International Politics
  4. Rhys Bethke, Environmental and Sustainabilities Studies
  5. Jacy Bolton, Integrative Studies 
  6. Mia Brice, Dance
  7. Geraldine Bruce-Cobbold, Criminology
  8. Anthony Cheeseboro, Criminology
  9. Sarah Crossen, Women and Gender Studies
  10. Juliette DeGraff, Global and Community Health
  11. Victoria Egee, Integrative Studies
  12. Obum Egolum, Information Technology
  13. Tasneem Elbackush, Community Health
  14. Angelica Felder, Community Health
  15. Trai Gozzi, Government and International Politics
  16. Emma Gregory, Environmental Science
  17. Isabel Jones, Integrative Studies
  18. Samaria Moss, English
  19. Nattacha Munakata, Community Health
  20. Louisa Musser, Integrative Studies
  21. Matthew Palagyi, Community Health
  22. Melissa Pennett, Global Sociology and Government And International Politics 
  23. Byron Phillips, Conflict Analysis and Resolution
  24. Benjamin Rhoades, Environmental and Sustainability Studies
  25. Jenna Rowell, Community Health
  26. Emmanuella Serwaa, Psychology/Integrative Studies
  27. Caroline Simpson, Public Administration

2019 Recipients 

  • Ahmed Bubshait, Criminology, Law and Society
  • Marina Chafa, Conflict Analysis and Resolution
  • Onyi Ekeanyanwu, Integrative Studies with a concentration in International Studies
  • Gary Hooker, Psychology with a concentration in Development and a minor in Human Development and Family Science
  • Nathaniel Kamau, Information Technology and a minor in Nonprofit Studies
  • Sarah Kladler, Art and Visual Technology
  • Jocelyn Martinez, Criminology, Law and Society
  • Zimuzo Okala, Psychology and Communication
  • Elizabeth Piermatteo, Integrative Studies, concentration in Elementary Education
  • Collette Rhoads, Integrative Studies with a concentration in Social Justice and Human Rights and a minor in Nonprofit Studies
  • Anna Rodriguez Peris, Global Affairs with a concentration in International Development and Latin America
  • Irene Oduro Sarpong, Community Health with a concentration in Clinical Science
  • Priya Sorot, Psychology with a concentrations in Clinical Psychology and Developmental Psychology, and a minor in Childhood Studies
  • Diego Soto Garcia, Integrative Studies with a concentration in Legal Studies
  • Mercy Waithaka, Biology

2018 Recipients 

  • Jason ArhinComputer Game Design
  • Lehna AsongweAccounting/ Minor: English and Business Analytics
  • AnaMichele Babyak, Anthropology
  • Sabrine Baiou, Psychology 
  • Amini BonaneFinance with a Philosophy and Law Minor
  • Christina CherryHuman Development and Family Science
  • Hunter ConatserIntegrative Studies with a Concentration in Organizational Administration; Minor in Leadership; Minor in Nonprofit Studies
  • Senya DonkorIntegrative Studies with a Concentration in Creative Producing and a Minor in Non-profit
  • Arnele FrancisIntegrative Studies
  • Abraham KadiIntegrative Studies with a Concentration in International Studies
  • Shin KhangIntegrative Studies Major - International Studies Concentration, Women & Gender Studies Minor
  • Nana Konadu-Asare, Biology 
  • Rachel Haneline Martin, Psychology
  • Tana McDonald, Criminology, Law & Society and Government and International Politics 
  • Logan MurrayIntegrative Studies with a concentration in Social Innovation & Enterprise and a minor in Consciousness & Transformation
  • Kayla PetersonSociology and Communication 
  • Katherine Quigley, Integrative Studies with a concentration in Special Education and a Leadership Minor 
  • Jacqueline Reed, Communication 
  • Rukan SaidIntegrative Studies, Individualized Concentration: Focus on Business, Leadership, and Diversity
  • Noah ShoatesInformation Systems & Operations Management
  • Alvaro Torrico-MollinedoCriminology, Law and Society
  • Alexandro Villarroel-VideaCriminology Law And Society 


2017 Recipients 

  • Ateeb Asim, Psychology 
  • Clara Benayed, Integrative Studies 
  • Jozslyne Carter, Social Work 
  • Jennifer Cotto, Film and Video Studies
  • Tabatha Donley, Global Affairs
  • Amber Falls, Psychology
  • Patrick Finney, Finance
  • Michael Galfetti, Government and Philosophy
  • Brandon Juarez-Lopez, Global Affairs
  • Breanne Kroehler, Integrative Studies
  • Veronika Lozano, Biology
  • Samuel Marcus, Integrative Studies
  • Madison McCoy, Conflict Analysis and Resolution
  • Nicholas McElroy, History
  • Desmond Moffitt, History
  • Jesse Muzzy, Environmental and Sustainability Studies
  • Mai Nguyen, Government and International Politics
  • Asia Noor, Social Work
  • Katherine Smith, Integrative Studies
  • Jenifer Stark, Integrative Studies
  • Nicholas Stasiak, Geography
  • Mckenna Underwood, Communications
  • Kayla Vaughn, Psychology   














2017 Recipients


Active Citizen Award

This award is for students who have made a significant contribution to the Mason community. An Active Citizen is a citizen of the world, they are individuals who prioritize the community in their values and life choices. They don’t have to take action on every social issue, but rather, see the world through that lens. They take action on issues that matter to them and their communities. With many excellent nominees, this year’s recipient Kalkidan Yesuf was recognized for her work addressing the lack of academic space for current African affairs allowing Mason students to have discussion with Mason faculty that specialize in the area through the Model African Union. In addition, she also served as the Vice President of the GMU UNICEF including around disaster relief, was student activist for the Enough Project, working to make Mason a conflict free campus and a Peer Mentor for the Office of Disability among many others. Congratulations to Kalkidan for this recognition! 


  •     Magaly L Cabrera-Ortiz 
  •     Fiona Klotz
  •     Debbie Lewis-Manni
  •     Shafuq Naseem 
  •     Abigail Paige Smith
  •     Dorothea Tyree 
  •     Kalkidan Yesuf- Winner  


Dr. Julie Owen Award

This award honors Dr. Julie Owen, a faculty member here at George Mason University who has been a fierce advocate, supporter and champion of community engagement here at Mason and beyond. Julie has been a voice for graduate students serving as a mentor, guide and connector aiding in their personal and professional growth. This award recognizes the outstanding contributions of graduate students engaged in their community. This year’s recipient is Asra Ahmad. Asra’s commitment to making the world a better, healthier place goes beyond the great work she does at Mason. She has interned with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as well as at the national advocacy organizations Every Child Fed and Global Fund for Children. Asra is also a National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Ambassador with Advocates for Youth, where she fearlessly presented on Capitol Hill for increased funding towards youth HIV. 

  •     Asra Ahmad- Winner 
  •     Sharrell Hassell-Goodman 
  •     Biruk Haregu 
  •     Ashley Joiner 
  •     Stephani R. Keen 
  •     Francisco Morin 



Our next awards recognize university Staff and Faculty who have been exceptional leaders in the areas of community based learning, scholarship and service. Recipients who have made a significant contribution to Mason's culture of community engagement and strengthening our commitment to the communities we serve. 


Engaged Faculty Award


Dr. Graziella Pagliarulo McCarron was recognized as this years, Engaged Faculty Award. Her nominator shared, “When thinking of the impact Dr. McCarron has in the GMU community a few words come to mind: kindness, empathy, dedication, caring, advocate, servant, leader, educator, scholar, etc. She integrates her advocacy for students and activism for a better world into all aspects of her teaching, mentoring, and scholarship, modelling the way for other students”


  •     Sharolyn Dugger, School of Nursing 
  •     Dr. Michael von Fricken, Global and Community Health 
  •     Dr. Samuel Frye, School of Integrative Studies
  •     Dr. Graziella Pagliarulo McCarron, School of Integrative Studies
  •     Dr. Patrice Winter, Global and Community Health 



Engaged Staff Award

Lisa Snyder, Associate Director for the LEAD Office was recognized with the Engaged Staff Award. Her nominators wrote, “It’s hard to imagine anyone on the Mason campus who is a stronger leader or more engaged with the community than Lisa Snyder. Lisa leads the way in both cultivating a commitment to service at George Mason as well as strengthening our commitment to the communities we serve. Lisa’s passion for service and community engagement is unparalleled.” 


  •     Ms. Mihee Cho, Mason Korea
  •     Colleen Regan, Office of Sustainability
  •     Lisa Snyder, LEAD Office 
  •     Trasi Watson, Career Services 
  •     Philip Wilkerson, Career Services 
  •     Karen Wolf, University Life 



Exemplary Community Partner

We have had so many fantastic partners throughout these years and this year’s recipient is no exception. This year’s Exemplary Community Partner Award goes to Women Giving Back, who’s mission is to support women and children in crisis, and build their confidence and self-esteem, by providing great quality clothing at no cost, assisted by caring and committed volunteers who offer personalized service and interaction.  George Mason began partnering with WGB in October of 2012 when a small team of Honors College students volunteered at their warehouse on a Saturday morning and has since grown to significant numbers during orientation, the 9/11 Day of Service, and has partnered with a variety of classes and programs from across majors and disciplines, particularly through the Honors College, Integrative Studies and Women and Gender Studies. Our newest Mason-WGB partnership focuses on faculty and graduate students assisting WGB with the development of program assessment tools so that they can be more competitive in seeking grants to support their work. Unlike many community organizations, what makes the partnership between Mason and WGB is that it is truly that: a partnership. One that is synergistic and built on mutual respect and support.


  •     Ha Brock, Manager, Volunteer Reston Association 
  •     Stephen Lester, Science Director, Center for Health, Environment & Justice
  •     Patriot Pantry, Student Directors: Aspen Bass, Vanessa Arias, Evan Botzki Staff: Anna Cho and Matthew Carlos, Student Support and Advocacy Center
  •     David Mazariegos, Founder and Director Kamalbe School in Guatemala 
  •     Women Giving Back


Outstanding Partnership Award

As part of our mission for SAIL, for true positive change and engagement, it requires partnerships between partners, students and faculty/staff. We want to honor the outstanding partnerships both on campus and off.  This award recognizes folks who are able to identify projects or collaborations in partnership with community. This year we are honoring a partnership that continues to create opportunities for students through research, collaboration and the creation of a Strategic Plan for Sustainability.  In the words of their nominator, “If you’ve worked at Mason for any length of time, you’ll know that Dr. Dann Sklarew is a sustainability advocate and change-maker.” The Office of Sustainability is also astounding at creating institutionalized change focused on building a more sustainable world and campus. Dr. Dann and the Office of Sustainability’s partnership is one that exemplifies the value of collaborative work that manifests positive change by engaging students in the process of creating a sustainable future for Mason. 

  •     Arbor Day & Halloween Trail, Ha Brock & Katie Shaw from Volunteer Reston with Jayson Padilla, Christian Suero and members of the Leadership through Community Engagement Living Learning Community 
  •     Center for Environmental Transformation and the Graterford Think Tank, Cathy Nevins and Mark Doorley, Center for Environmental Transformation; and Carrie Hutnick, member of the Graterford Think Tank
  •     EVPP 490-008 & EVPP 692-004 Sustainability Planning for Communities, Dr. Dann Sklarew, Greg Farley, Sarah D'Alexander -, Ben Auger, Doni Nolan, Colleen Regan, Amber Saxton, All students enrolled in EVPP 490-008 and EVPP 692 
  •     Mason and Partners (MAP) Clinics with Dr. Rebecca Sutter, Dr. Caroline Sutter, Dr. Shanti Lloyd, Dr. Valenzuela, Global and Community Health/MAP Clinic staff, faculty and students; Dr. Carrie Bonilla, Modern and Classical Languages and Dr. Robyn Mehlenbeck, GMU Center for Psychological Services
  •     Sustainability at Patriot Hacks, Ben Auger and Sarah D’Alexander (Office of Sustainability), Afnan Ali (Patriot Hacks), Dinesh Kumar Karri (Hackathon Winner & Graduate Student Mentor), Ryan Cathey (BOT student organization project lead for Greenhouse Automation Project)
  •     UNICEF and African Student Association with FACETS



Many thanks to our Selection Committees: 

  • Jennifer Lebron, Social Action and Integrative Learning (SAIL)
  • McKenna Bates, Graduating Senior and Community Engagement Medallion Nominee
  • Dr. Carrie Bonilla, Modern and Classical Languages 
  • Ha Brock, Volunteer Reston
  • Karen Brown, Northern Virginia Area Health Education Center
  • Dani Martino, Current Student
  • Theo Meale, Current Student
  • Shannyn Snyder, Global and Community Health
  • Kristen Wright, Undergraduate Education

Thank you as well to our Seeds of Change Planning Committee for all of their hard work! 

  • Jayson Padilla
  • Jennifer Lebron
  • Sabrina Lyn
  • Hallie Scarbrough 
  • Patty Mathison