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Dr. Robert H. Jackson Leadership Award

  This annual award recognizes that individual or organization which best exemplifies the ideals of education and service for which Dr. Jackson dedicated his entire life. Among his many achievements, Bob was a co-founder of The Heights School in Potomac, Maryland. Recipients will receive a check for $250.

Dr. Robert H. Jackson
(1933 - 2001)


  2016 Award Winner Laura Meneses '14
Universidad Panamericana
  Laura Meneses is a professor of ethics at the esteemed Thomas Alva Edison high school in Mexico City. She is a recent philosophy graduate of the Universidad Panamericana where she taught English and performed research work for professors. Laura has received numerous awards in literature, piano, ballet, chorus and volleyball. She has done service work on behalf of children and children with incurable diseases. Laura has also taken care of senior citizens in a public retirement home who have been abandoned by their families.  
  2014 Award Winner Elizabeth Kraushar, MBA '16
Johnson at Cornell University

Elizabeth Kraushar, originally from Maplewood, New Jersey, is pursuing her MBA at Cornell University’s S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management. She specializes in entrepreneurship and finance, working with companies to position and grow their enterprises while helping to alleviate poverty and improve societies globally through sustainable and innovative technologies and services. 

Previously, Elizabeth worked for over three years as a communications and brand development strategist in the Washington, D.C. office of the global communications firm Weber Shandwick. She managed campaigns and initiatives focused on environmental sustainability, food security, healthcare and other international development issues for foundations, governments and multinational companies. She also spearheaded research on global hunger, assisting Weber Shandwick’s chairman in his leadership role with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid. She founded and edited her office’s first Diversity and Inclusion e-newsletter, “Perspectives,” which highlights Hispanic American, African American and Native American cultures through articles about staff involvement in diversity initiatives.  

Elizabeth’s other volunteer activities include helping underrepresented minority students improve their resume writing and job interviewing skills. In 2009, she graduated with honors in her major (political science) from Barnard College of Columbia University in New York, where she volunteered several times a week at Esperanza del Barrio, an advocacy organization in Spanish Harlem that helps Hispanic street vendors start their microenterprises and provides business administration and educational resources. Fluent in Spanish, Elizabeth was a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico from 2009-2010, where her research identified cultural and business factors that make certain U.S.-Mexican agricultural joint ventures more productive and profitable than their competitors. Elizabeth studied flamenco dancing for six years as well as salsa dancing and during her Fulbright year she performed with the Mexican Regional Folk Dance Team all over the Mexican state of Guanajuato. 

Elizabeth is a member of The Consortium, the nation’s largest network of MBA students and Fortune 500 companies dedicated to increasing the representation of African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanic Americans in the ranks of corporate management.

2013 Award Winner  Sequoia Sierra
Christendom College

Sequoia SierraBorn and raised in Los Angeles, California, Sequoia Sierra grew up in an environment that fostered experiences in many different cultures and careers. Sequoia was home-schooled with a classical education in the liberal arts and the great books.  During high school she attended a performing arts academy focusing on acting, dance, voice, and piano.  She has attended Christendom College in Front Royal, VA, and is currently in between universities.  She has also attended Holy Wood Acting Studio in Hollywood, and has worked in film production.

Professionally, Sequoia is an entrepreneur and a fashion/wardrobe stylist. She has done wardrobe and fashion styling for television and film, and has been recognized by the City Council of Los Angeles for her fashion work for “The LA Business Today” show.

While in junior high and high school, Sequoia amassed over 2,500 volunteer hours helping at a hospital as a junior volunteer and at a retreat center.  She has visited and assisted the elderly in a skilled nursing facility, and has assisted the directors and administrators, serving as a personal assistant from the age of 12. Sequoia volunteers for many causes such as healthcare, scholarships for education, job development, and the arts. She has directed a program for the assimilation of refugees in greater Los Angeles and has been an advocate on Capitol Hill on behalf of refugees. Sequoia is the youth leader of Bring Hollywood Home, a non-profit that aims to create more jobs in the film and television industry by lobbying for tax incentives and keeping a cap on runaway production. 

Sequoia is very active in promoting human dignity by promoting the protection of life or partnering with organizations that prioritize the unrepeatable and unique dignity of every person.

Over the years, Sequoia has received numerous awards honoring volunteers and young women, and most recently was named Miss Orange County Woman of Achievement.

  2011 Award Winner
Daphne Owen is originally from the San Francisco Bay area, and is currently pursuing an MD at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Daphne graduated with Highest Honors from the University of California Berkeley in 2009 with a BA in Sociology, and was awarded the 2009 Sociology Department Citation for most outstanding performance by an undergraduate for her independent research and Honors Thesis on barriers to maternal health care in Peruvian asentamientos humanos. Working in the restaurant industry for many years to pay for her education, Daphne developed an understanding of the vulnerability of the immigrant populations whom she worked alongside. During college, Daphne volunteered as a tutor/mentor for Mexican-American high school students throughout college, coached an inner-city track team, and volunteered at urban public hospitals in Oakland, CA and Piura, Peru. Daphne is fluent in Spanish, and uses this skill to interact directly with Spanish-speaking students, co-workers, medical patients, and immigrant community members. Daphne was struck by the similarities in the social factors that negatively influence health in disadvantaged populations at home and abroad. Motivated by her interest in social determinants of health and her desire to work directly with underserved populations, Daphne was inspired to study Medicine.

Daphne completed the post-baccalaureate premedical program at Bryn Mawr College in 2010. Since the fall of 2009, Daphne has been a volunteer and student coordinator at the Puentes de Salud health clinic serving Philadelphia’s Mexican immigrant population. In the fall of 2010, Daphne developed Puentes Hacia el Futuro, an afterschool tutoring, enrichment and wellness program for immigrant children in the Puentes patient community, and is currently the program’s Executive Director. She has been invited to present the experiences of the Puentes Hacia el Futuro program at the American Public Health Association’s 2011 annual meeting.

Daphne plans to dedicate her career to improving the health of vulnerable populations by combining her interest in Sociology, social determinants of health, with her medical training.


  2010 Award Winner
A native of Toronto, Seanna Magee is as a financial advisor with London Life Insurance Company with previous experience on the marketing staff of the popular broadcaster Salt + Light Television. She obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration and Concentration in Marketing with a Minor in Studio Art from the University of St. Francis Xavier in Nova Scotia in 2007. As a student, Seanna sought to explore how she could reach out to the less fortunate around the world, despite a busy load of extra-curricular theatre, sports, campus advocacy, and journalism. During an internship at the New York City headquarters of the World Youth Alliance, Magee helped to create a donor outreach program. A few months later, she volunteered at a Nobel-Prize nominated educational project in the Philippines. Last year, she organized the Canadian committee of WYA and recently hosted a day-long seminar on multiculturalism and immigration for Canadian WYA chapters. Seanna continues her active involvement in leadership development by providing training sessions on social justice issues. Her future plans are to study a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. Here is the letter of nomination from the World Youth Alliance by its Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Anna Halpine.



  2009 Award Winner
A native of Kingwood, Texas, Thomas Ricardo Méndez graduated with honors in the Honors Program and a degree in International Studies with minors in Spanish and Latin American & Latino Studies from the University of St. Thomas in 2009. Among his many undergraduate achievements and awards, Thomas was a founding board member and president of the UST MicroCredit Program and 2009 Commencement Speaker. The student-run MicroCredit Program established partnerships with various non-profits and facilitated development of an internship opportunity in the importation of honey created by loan recipients in Mexico. According to Dr. Robert Ivany, university president, “I am well acquainted with Thomas as he was a vibrant part of the University of St. Thomas community. Thomas’ accomplishments in his studies coupled with his humanitarian spirit make him a particularly desirable candidate for the Jackson Award. His achievements throughout his academic life, particularly his commitment to those less fortunate, will allow him to excel at anything he chooses.” Thomas has been named a 2010 “Ambassadorial Scholar” by the Rotary Foundation and will study graduate economics at La Universidad Católica de Argentina.

Click here to view the official University photo of NAEIF president Theodore Wills (left) presenting the 2009 Dr. Robert H. Jackson Leadership Award to Thomas Méndez of the University of St. Thomas, Class of 2009. Click here to read University of St. Thomas President Dr. Robert Ivany's (right) letter of recommendation for the award.

Read the University of St. Thomas news article on Thomas Méndez and the Dr. Robert H. Jackson award published by the  their website or read a PDF copy of the news article here (printed with permission of the University of St. Thomas).


  2006 Award Winner
Born in Boston, the oldest of nine children, Tessie Swope was 17 when she had an experience in the Dominican Republic that changed her life forever. A little boy from a poor village showed her a pile of five stones that he was using to build a house for his mother. Tessie promised him that she would build a house for his family and in his honor she founded a non-profit organization called “The Five Stones Project”. Since 2003, Five Stones ( has not only built a house for Keko's family, but has also assisted in building a vocational school in Cruz Verde, Dominican Republic, founding a scholarship program for impoverished youth, and starting a business to create jobs in the village. Tessie is currently a student at Rollins College where she studies Sustainable Development in the Third World. She will graduate in the Spring of 2008.

  2004 Award Winner
Born in Mexico City, Dr. Georgina Pérez-Liz graduated from the Medical School of the Universidad Panamericana in July 2004. As an undergraduate, she volunteered in several medical assistance programs to benefit the population of two primarily indigenous locations in Mexico. Georgina performed her obligatory community service year in Tlapa, Guerrero, one of the poorest indigenous regions of her country. In April 2004 she was the keynote speaker at a national student conference held in Chicago where she spoke on her beliefs regarding human dignity and service. NAEIF sponsored her trip to that meeting. Thereafter Georgina proposed and organized a "Pan-American Symposium about Solidarity and Volunteerism" for university leaders that took place in Mexico City in the winter of 2005. NAEIF was a major co-sponsor of this weekend event. Following graduation, Dr. Pérez-Liz served for two years as Medical Director of the Mazahua Foundation, a Mexican nonprofit that serves indigenous communities north of the capital. Georgina was named Chair of the NAEIF Board of Directors in June 2006. She is presently working as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Neuroscience at Temple School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  2003 Award Winner
After studying public health in Mexico City during the summer of 2002, Sujan became interested in Mexican culture. At Northwestern, he was involved with a service-learning organization called "Alternative Spring Break." In January 2003, he helped organize a for-credit student seminar introducing students to the US/Mexico border and Mexican immigration issues; during their spring break that March, the class went to El Paso/Ciudad Juarez to do service work for a variety of organizations. Sujan Reddy graduated from Northwestern University in June 2003 with a major in Environmental Sciences and a minor in Anthropology. After spending a year traveling, Sujan started medical school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He has continued to take interest in international issues by participating in NAIEF's "Pan-American Symposium about Solidarity and Volunteerism." He also spent a summer in Uganda learning about human rights as it relates to HIV/AIDS. He is currently planning a medical trip to India and hopes to return to Latin America soon.

  2002 Award Winner
The first recipient of this award was Mr. Ankit Mahadevia, who graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University in 2001 with degrees in biology and economics. As an undergraduate, Ankit was active in a number of areas, including student government, fundraising for "Habitat for Humanity" and chairing a commission to improve health services on campus. Upon graduation, Ankit spent the summer working for Mexico's largest health insurer and volunteering in rural Mexico with Medicina y Asistencia Social (MAS). He later founded and directed a student organization at Northwestern that held two annual benefits to send money and medical supplies to the MAS clinic for indigenous communities. Ankit subsequently worked for Congress on Medicare policy reform. He also taught a high school course on health care. He is currently enrolled in the prestigious Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, Maryland.

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