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Four Faculty Members Honored

News Story

Twelve members of the Pace Community were honored with Jefferson Awards for Public Service this year, including four faculty members.

Four faculty members and eight students received Jefferson Awards in November. The awards, known as the “Nobel Prize for public service,” were established to honor individuals whose community service efforts best exemplify dedication to enhancing the quality of life in their community. Pace became a Champion of the Jefferson Awards for Public Service in 2008. Nominations were solicited from the University community and finalists were selected based on their personal, sustained commitment to service, and for the model of spirit and service they provide.

The faculty members honored this year are:

Diane Cypkin, PhD
Professor of Media, Communications, and Visual Arts, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences
Westchester Campus
Cypkin is a trailblazer when it comes to service. Whether in years past entertaining the troops as part of the USO, or being one of the original service learning faculty members in Pleasantville, she has a long and storied commitment to community service. Her Oral Interpretation course has Pace students working with seniors to give voice to the issues they face through the transformation of informational interviews into one act plays performed for the seniors and the community. She is also committed to sharing entertainment by performing her own one woman shows (concert/lectures) at libraries, senior centers, and her local community.

Brian R. Evans, EdD
Associate Professor and Department Chair, School of Education
New York City Campus
Evans has traveled to Uganda to teach mathematics problem solving and inquiry approaches with Educate Uganda. He has participated in Pace Makes a Difference Day and the Hattie Carthan Community Garden Cleanup, and has recruited students from the resident halls. Evans has also participated in disaster relief response after Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina.

Michelle D. Land
Director, Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies
Westchester Campus
Land has been the director of the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies since 2009. A tireless advocate for universities to mobilize their resources in service to the environment, Land was at the forefront of the launch of Pace Academy for the Environment in 2002; the Environmental Consortium of Colleges and Universities in 2004; and was a legal intern for the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic in 2000, bringing opportunities for collaboration, engagement, and exploration of pressing sustainability issues from local to global. She has served both on Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano’s Global Warming Task Force and Climate Change Advisory Council, an academic adviser for Governor George Pataki’s Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, and was an Executive Committee board member of MetroPool, Inc. from 2007–2012. As a faculty member of Pace's Environmental Policy Clinic, Land leads students in research, legislative drafting, and advocacy in areas of animal welfare and wildlife conservation.

Robert D. Rahni
Assistant Director, Transfer Credit/Veterans Services, Office of Student Assistance and Adjunct Instructor, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences
New York City and Westchester campuses
A PhD candidate in the mental health counseling program, Rahni is proud advocate of student veterans at Pace and beyond. He created a veterans transition course entitled “From Combat to Classroom,” designed to help student veterans transition into higher education. He has organized the Young Veterans group to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity, organized and volunteered in collaboration with the New York Knicks and PlayStation for a coat/food drive and basketball clinic called Hoops for Troops for underprivileged/homeless veterans, and has volunteered with the 23rd Street VA Hospital in Manhattan.

For more about the Jefferson Awards, including this year’s student winners, visit the Center for Community Action and Research at Dyson College website.