Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Palmer Award Recipients!

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank

Once again we are in awe over the amazing work that this year’s Palmer Award applicants have done to help to create a just, caring, and thriving world. Thank you to all of the LeaderShape graduates who shared their stories with us through this process. We are eager to continue to hear about the strides that you make. So don’t stop! Keep going!

We do want to take some time to highlight this year’s recipients. Their passion and the progress they have made on their visions is inspiring and touching. We hope that you are able to capture the essence of the outstanding work they are each putting out into the world.

Jonathan Naber (The University of Illinois)
With a vision to provide affordable prosthetics, Jonathan founded the Illini Prosthetics Team and, in collaboration with his team, began a start-up social venture to provide prosthetic arms to people in developing nations. In his application, he shared that candid conversation, networking, and a resolve to accomplish the vision have served as motivators for him and the group.

Jonathan also developed a website (www.illiniprosthetics.com) to serve as a platform for amputees to convey their concerns for prosthetic arm design as well as aid organizations in obtaining prosthetic arms. As the site grew, clinics in Guatamala, Columbia, Bolivia, India, and Sierra Leone have contacted the group asking for prosthetic arms. Through the connections that have been created through the website, Jonathan and his team were sought out to provide prosthetic fingers to a patient in Ecuador and they are currently testing out three different “concept” arms with ten patients at a partner clinic in Guatamala.

Not only has Jonathan been acknowledged by LeaderShape for the work he has accomplished related to his vision, he was also the recipient of the 2010 Lemelson-MIT Illinois Student prize, recognizing him as the most innovative student at the University of Illinois.

Janelle Legros (Florida State University)
Longing to be an active voice on campus that would educate and inform the student body on issues distinctive to the Caribbean islands and Haiti in particular, Janelle set forth on a path of self-discovery. Through this self-discovery and the encouragement from her fellow LeaderShapers, Janelle chartered the Global Haiti Initiative (http://www.haiti-initiative.com) on her campus. Since then, she has collaborated with other colleges and universities, establishing over 15 additional chapters.

The initial focus of the Global Haiti Initiative was to take on projects that brought to light various issues from education to water sanitation, orphanages to health care, and de-worming to the construction of medical facilities. The focus of the organization changed suddenly when the earthquakes struck Haiti in January.

Demonstrating her ability to work in times of chaos and change, Janelle and The Global Haiti Initiative worked to provide assistance to the people of Haiti by collecting over $3000 in donations and coordinating a mission trip to the country. They have also held a blood drive that benefited Doctors Without Borders’ work in Haiti and sponsored a screening the film “Road to Fondwa” that was accompanied by a discussion.

Congratulations to Jonathan and Janelle!