Back row (from left to right): Heather Mangione, Clark President David P. Angel, Associate Professor Deborah Martin. Front row (from left to right): Professor Martin's children, Naomi and Isaac Shertzer.
Clark University President David P. Angel presented the 2014 John W. Lund Community Achievement Award to geographer Deborah Martin and doctoral student Heather Mangione at a recent University function.
Martin was honored for her dedication to, and for serving in, leadership roles at the Beth Israel Synagogue. She has also played an instrumental role in the formation of a cooperative supplementary Jewish religious school, Pardes. In addition to creating educational programs for people of all ages at her synagogue, she created and interpreted surveys for the organization that were used to define priorities for a Rabbi search last year. She has also taken the time to share research she conducted at Clark on Worcester's Asian Longhorned Beetle outbreak with students at her children's school.
Martin is an associate professor and the associate director of the Clark's Graduate School of Geography. She is also the coordinator of the Urban Development and Social Change (USDC) program, and is the special features editor for the journal Urban Geography.
Prior to joining the Clark faculty in the fall of 2004, she taught at the University of Georgia for five years.
Upon learning that she'd been selected for the award, Martin said, "It felt meaningful to be recognized in my workplace for my volunteer role."
Mangione, of Brooklyn, New York, was honored for launching AIRSPRAY, an organization that fosters the queer/LGBT community in Worcester. AIRSPRAY has partnered with Worcester Pride, the Worcester Historical Society and ArtsWorcester on cultural events, and holds monthly queer dance parties at Electric Haze in Worcester (owned by Clark alumni Victoria Mariano '08 and Eric Collier '09) that attract upwards of 200 attendees from all over Greater Worcester.
Mangione started AIRSPRAY in the fall of 2013 with two friends and fellow Clark alumni Ashley Emerson Gilbert B.A. '08 M.A. '09 and Ryan Williams M.S. '14 who'd grown tired of traveling long distances to participate in large, pre-established queer/LGBT communities.
"We decided to foster the community here," she wrote.
Mangione was shocked to learn she was selected to receive the Lund Award.
"I just felt so excited and had such warm feelings in my heart to receive this," she said. "It's very rare that community leaders get any recognition for their work, and this is big!"
Mangione is currently working toward her doctoral degree in developmental psychology at Clark. She earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She currently works as a teaching assistant and a yoga instructor on campus.
The John W. Lund Clark Community Achievement Award recognizes the contributions made to the Worcester community by faculty, students, or staff members at Clark University. It is the result of a generous gift to the Greater Worcester Community Foundation by Jack Lund, who was a retired chief executive officer of the S&S Paper Company and the New England Envelope Manufacturing Company. Mr. Lund had been a generous supporter of Clark University and an active member of the Friends of the Goddard Library and he had audited classes at Clark for more than 20 years. The gift recognizes Mr. Lund's affection for Worcester, his appreciation for Clark's significant level of community involvement, and his belief that change is best made by individuals.