NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Kevona Jackson, a sophomore at The College of New Rochelle from Yonkers, NY was selected by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (cIcu) as one of 10 recipients of a 2016 Independent Sector Student Community Service Award and a $500 H.D. Paley Scholarship in recognition for her efforts on behalf of others. The award annually honors 10 outstanding students in the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) who attend New York State independent colleges. In October 2015, Jackson received the College’s Serviam Award, which highlights extraordinary volunteer service to family, church, school, community, or society.
Jackson, a business major and vice president of the sophomore class, balances academics with a number of extracurricular commitments. As president of the Black Student Union, she has helped raise breast cancer awareness, promoted World AIDS Day, and spearheaded initiatives such as Sister to Sister, during which African American entrepreneurs gave presentations on launching a business.
Creating relationships is one of Jackson’s strengths. As a resident assistant, she finds ways for her peers to bond (smoothie nights and healthy cooking classes) and offers support during times of social or academic difficulty. Now in her second year on the CNR softball team, Jackson is also team captain. “The players are from different types of high schools and family backgrounds,” she noted, “so sometimes there’s a need to compromise. I listen to everyone’s opinion in order to reach common ground.”
Jackson is a dedicated volunteer at Family Services of Yonkers’ Kinship Support Center, which offers programs for grandparents and relatives who are raising children. Over the years she’s served in a number of roles at the center, from summer camp counselor to after-school tutor to assisting with the center. “I wanted to give back to a program that did so much for me,” Jackson said. “My great grandmother raised me and I saw all the sacrifices she made. She was a strong supporter of the center and even went to Albany to lobby for it. I want to walk in her footsteps by giving back and helping other people.”
“In her academic pursuits Kevona is serious, creative, inquisitive, and hard working,” said Dr. Danielle Wozniak, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. “Kevona exemplifies a CNR student in her ability to say ‘yes’ to the opportunities and experiences around her and to be a voice for social justice, change, and ultimately the creation of a better world.”
Jackson said she was astonished to win the cIcu award and scholarship. “You never see what other people see in you,” she said. “When I explain to people everything that I’m involved with, they look at me and ask me how I do it all. Then I think, ‘Really? I did all that?”