Clark University's 7 new M.A.D. Scholars set to make a difference

Seven first-year Making a Difference (M.A.D.) Scholarship recipients joined the Clark Community this fall, continuing to demonstrate their leadership and meaningful commitment to social change.

The M.A.D. scholarships are offered to incoming first-year students. Recipients are offered a stipend and housing allowance to support projects they may undertake in the Worcester community during the summer following their sophomore or junior years. The scholars’ projects are supported and overseen by the Community Engagement and Volunteering (CEV) Center at Clark.

“The thread that links scholarship recipients together is their dedication to using their talents and energy to make a difference,” CEV manager Micki Davis writes. “Our expectation is that scholarship winners will enrich the Clark community through on-campus leadership and community involvement.”

The 2012-2013 M.A.D. Scholars are listed below, along with brief highlights of their high school activities and accomplishments:

Jonathan Edelman, from Leawood, Kansas, is co-founder and co-president of a school-wide recycling and educational initiative that created a student-led recycling system for the school. Edelman participated in the Panim Leadership Program in 2009 where the group lobbied Senators and Congressmen in Washington, DC, to advocate for the homeless. He was also a senior leader of B’nai Tzedek (Children of Justice), a youth philanthropy program where young people use the money from their Bar or Bat Mizvah to establish a charitable fund.

Alexander Marshall, from Washington, D.C., is a member of the All Souls New Orleans Planning Committee and participated in post-Hurricane Katrina home construction. He also volunteered for Marshall volunteered for Fillmore Arts Camp, where he became a Senior Counselor and Lead Counselor. He is a member of the All Souls Church, where he was a part of the decision-making committee to award $100K annually to community organizations. Marshall was a frequent speaker from the pulpit at All Souls, addressing audiences of more than 700.

Emma Mitchell, from Mahopac, New York, is founder and president of the Bullying Awareness Club, where she brought attention throughout her county to bullying prevention. She worked to create a “Youth Court” at her high school to help bullies in developing their own 12-step program. Mitchell is also a member of LGBT and involved in Global Green, a non-profit group promoting environmental awareness.

Clara O’Rourke, from Groton, Mass., is a founding member of the “Pages for Peace Project,” which involved making the “biggest book in the world on peace.” Over eight years, the group collected thousands of letters to fill the book with opinions about world peace. Contributing letters were received from the Dalai Lama and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. The group was invited to the UN Youth Peace Conference for four years and received the 2010 Courage of Conscience Award, an accolade received in the past by Mother Theresa. O’Rourke was a Peer Mediator for Peers for Peace, coaching others on ways to overcome conflict. She also organized and led a service trip to Nicaragua to build two houses for people in need.

Todd Rosenberg, from East Greenwich, Rhode Island, is founder and president of a Best Buddies chapter. The organization is dedicated to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing one-to-one friendships and integrated employment opportunities. Rosenberg attended the Best Buddies International Leadership Conference twice and his chapter was recognized with the Most Outstanding Chapter Award during a conference. After transferring to an independent school, he founded one of the first chapters of Best Buddies Promoters, a pilot program designed for private schools, emphasizing community outreach and awareness.

Leland Smith, of Shrewsbury, Mass., wrote, filmed, and produced “Faces of NEHA,” a 20-minute video commemorating the 50th anniversary of the New England Hemophilia Association, used for educational and fundraising purposes. Smith was also a political advocate for the Massachusetts School of Nurses Organization, providing testimony at a State Senate Hearing Joint Committee on education. He was also a political advocate at the National Hemophilia Foundation’s “Washington Days,” where he met with members of Congress about healthcare legislation important to the hemophilia community. Smith presented at a legislative briefing at the Massachusetts State House. He volunteered as a counselor at a summer camp in the Dominican Republic for boys with Hemophilia. He was also a Leader-in-Training at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a no-fee camp for youths with cancer and serious blood diseases.

Stephanie Vachon, of Milo, Maine, participated in EQME (Equality Maine Campaign), Maine’s oldest and largest LGBT political advocacy organization. Vachon was also involved with the Maine Association of Student Councils, serving in many leadership roles including Regional Vice President, State President and Home Club President. Vachon advocated for and was granted student representation on the school board.

Founded in 1887 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University is a small, liberal arts-based research university addressing social and human imperatives on a global scale. Nationally renowned as a college that changes lives, Clark is emerging as a transformative force in higher education today. LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) is Clark’s pioneering model of education that combines a robust liberal arts curriculum with life-changing world and workplace experiences. Clark’s faculty and students work across boundaries to develop solutions to contemporary challenges in the areas of psychology, geography, management, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. The Clark educational experience embodies the University’s motto: Challenge convention. Change our world.