CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois Moms Association has named Jamil Johnson and Nisa Agrawal as the graduate and undergraduate recipients, respectively, of its 2008 Humanitarian Awards.
The annual award is given to people who have developed innovative approaches to community service work and have translated their ideas into practical results.
The recipients were honored at the Moms Weekend Kick-off Dinner on April 11 and also will be recognized at the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs' Student Leadership Awards ceremony May 3. Each recipient received $250, and a matching donation will be made to a charity or organization of their choice on their behalf.
Johnson, a doctoral student in educational policy studies from Chicago, founded the Minority Leadership Group that provides leadership and academic assistance to minority students. He also is active in the Mentor Teacher Brother program at Urbana High School and organized the MTB Youth Explosion Showcase, a celebration of the accomplishments of the program participants. He also is involved with the Brother 2 Brother Organization at Parkland College, which aims to assist African-American men in their transition from junior college to a four-year university.
At the U. of I., Johnson teaches undergraduate and graduate students, is a research assistant in the educational policy studies program and is an academic adviser for the Bridge Transition Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which helps prepare high school students for their transition to college.
Johnson's nominator wrote: "Mr. Johnson (along with Brother 2 Brother) gives young men that extra motivation and push to continue to reach for higher education."
Agrawal, a senior in accountancy in the College of Business from Burr Ridge, Ill., founded the Social Entrepreneurship Summer Institute that allows students to volunteer their business skills for local non-profits with the goal of improving the ability of the organizations to use more of their resources for direct aid to clients instead of organizational costs. In addition to serving as head of student recruitment for the institute, she designed and led the training for the first class of student fellows.
Active in the Indian Student Association, Agrawal works to bridge gaps between the different ethnic groups and university students and community members. She is the philanthropy chairperson of that group and in 2007 organized the Gandhi Service Day that recruited volunteers from student organizations to provide service to community groups. Agrawal also works with individuals in India through Manav Sadhna, an organization that helps sell products with proceeds helping poor and needy children. A Campus Honors student, and active in Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, Agrawal has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA and is graduating in the top 7 percent of the College of Business class.
Her nominator wrote: "Her leadership idea is to work with teammates to encourage them to contribute to the common good. She is able to make more of a positive difference than if she had just volunteered herself."
The Moms Association at Illinois, established in 1923, is believed to be one of the first such organizations in the U.S. Its mission is to support programs, services and activities that promote the health, safety and well-being of the university community and serves as the parent liaison to the campus.