Black Excellence

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Introducing our 2021 Presidential Awards for Civic Life Winners!

Eve Abraha

Eve Abraha, Biology, A21 - School of Arts & Sciences

Eve Abraha has dedicated herself to helping dismantle oppressive systems, primarily through equity practices within health, education, and community involvement. Eve has been involved with the Tisch College of Civic Life’s College Access Initiative since 2017, working on outreach and mentorship for underrepresented students in Boston Public Schools. Recently, she worked with the Pedagogical Partnership Program and Dr. Lauren Crowe to examine the Bio 13 curriculum for barriers to equity, analyze student outcomes, and develop new practices to improve access to course material. Eve serves as a Class Senator for the Tufts Community Union, is an active member of Greek life on campus, and has tackled food insecurity in the Boston area as food program manager with Building Audacity.

Lidya Woldeyesus

Lidya Woldeyesus, Political Science & Civic Studies, A22 - School of Arts & Sciences

Lidya Woldeyesus has become a central leadership figure at Tufts University that students, staff, and faculty look to for guidance on issues related to civic engagement. She is a Gerald Gil Research Fellow, student chair of JumboVote, and an intern for Citizens Union. Lidya is also a  Tisch Scholar and an intern for the FIRST Resource Center. Within the last year, she helped build a remote Career Readiness Program called Yes, which helps disadvantaged students explore careers that help advance future job prospects by offering stipends for unpaid and low-paying summer opportunities. In August 2020, Lidya was one of a few select undergraduate students selected to join the Tufts University Working Group on Safety and Policing, where she took part in community engagement efforts, did research, and presented to the committee on different models of public safety and well-being. Lidya has also participated in several conferences and professional development opportunities, including presenting at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics National Conference.

Hezekiah Branch

Hezekiah Branch, Cognitive Brain Sciences, E21 - School of Engineering

Hezekiah Branch has shown a passion for uplifting his peers, whether through his pursuit of a Cognitive Brain Science major or his extensive work in the Africana community at Tufts and beyond. He was named the 2019-2020 Africana Center Peer Leader, where his skillful efforts aided the transition of first-year students to the Tufts campus. Hezekiah was also involved in several research opportunities, including LSAMP at the Tufts Machine Learning Group and the MIMIC-Extract project, spearheading health and artificial intelligence research on COVID-19 at the COVID Command Center. Outside of research, he has launched and managed the BLASTOFF Industry Speaker Series, which has connected nearly 100 Black/Latinx students internationally with recruiters from Pixar, The New York Times, Nike, Disney Junior, and NPR. His involvement in the Boston area included Code with Hezekiah, which offers free classes in software engineering and data science for underrepresented students in the Boston/NYC area.

Rene LaPointe Jameson

René LaPointe Jameson, Environmental Engineering, E22 - School of Engineering

René LaPointe Jameson has defined what it means to be an activist engineer at Tufts. Through numerous efforts, René has pushed for the explicit inclusion of equity in civil and environmental engineering education. Along with Kim Dao and Myisha Majumder, she co-created the Equity Committee of the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). In the summer of 2020, she served as a research assistant on chimpanzee study as well as a Racial Equity and Media Programming consultant. Currently René serves as a Tisch Scholar, an Africana Center Peer Leader, and a HERlead Fellow, which are just some of the myriad ways in which René remains an engaged citizen

For a complete list of this year's winners and to find out more about this prestigious award click below!

Presidential Award for Civic Life