Vision Award Winners Announced
Three members of the campus community were recognized with Vision Awards at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Vision Awards dinner held on Thursday, January 31, 2013, as part of the annual MLK Observance. Another part of the celebration, the 2013 MLK, Jr. Convocation, featured Diane Nash, a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement, appearing as keynote speaker. Pictured (left to right) are Vision Award honorees Wylie Smith and Sharon Pedrosa, Keynote Speaker Diane Nash, and Vision Award honoree Dr. David Brown.
The Vision Award committee carefully reviewed the nominations received for this year’s awards and selected these community members in three categories: Student, Faculty, and Staff.
Sharon Pedrosa ’13
Sharon began to make her mark on Fairfield’s campus as a first-year student. Sharon has always been interested in serving others, specifically addressing issues within the global public health system. Sharon’s passion for helping others, and for music, particularly Alicia Keys, came together when she started a chapter of Keep A Child Alive (KCA) on campus. This organization focuses on providing life-saving AIDS medicine and care to children and families in Africa and India. The club has grown and donated considerable funds over the last few years. Sharon’s work with KCA led her to an opportunity to volunteer at a children’s orphanage in South Africa last summer. Sharon has interned at the International Institute of Connecticut as a translator and for Montage Initiative, a group focused on empowering women to get out of poverty. Sharon’s actions are the epitome of the phrase, “Think globally, act locally.”
Dr. David Brown
Faculty Member in Applied Ethics
Dr. Brown is a long-time Applied Ethics Adjunct Professor and an internationally recognized public health toxicologist. Dr. Brown has extended Martin Luther King, Jr.’s commitment to social justice and the dignity of all people through his pioneering efforts to integrate the sciences of toxicology, risk assessment, and environmental exposures to help protect vulnerable populations from serious environmental health problems. Dr. Brown is a founding member of the SWPA Environmental Health Project, a multi-million dollar agency that is the only public institution in the country studying the health effects of natural gas fracking on families and farmers in Pennsylvania. In addition to providing information and assistance, Dr. Brown is also providing a model of public health justice that is being emulated by leading institutions such as Harvard and Yale. As stated in his nomination, “Dr. Brown’s modest unassuming manner should not obscure the fact that this is a person in our midst who is guiding national policy on emerging environmental issues.”
Wylie Blake, Campus Minister for Service, offers a variety of service projects to many students. Wylie invites students into action both by her personal example of steadfastness, tenacity, commitment to making things happen, and by providing a variety of service opportunities including weekly service projects in Bridgeport, one-day opportunities like the MLK Day of Service, Hunger Clean Up, and arranging for four separate week-long Spring Break service trips around the country. Through these activities and many more, Wylie pursues the goal of raising the bar for students in understanding the inequities, advocating for justice, reflecting the Jesuit mission, and helping students to see and engage in the action necessary to building bridges by partnering with those in the community who need guidance and advocates. As stated in her nomination, “Students pursue, reflect, thrive, are challenged, and persevere because they see in Wylie someone who is real in her advocacy, and who by example is steadfast n her dedication to making a difference.”
From left to right: Wylie Smith, Sharon Pedrosa, Keynote Speaker Diane Nash, and Dr. David Brown