Aspirations for Student Learning
How do we want students to learn and grow through their engagement with Student Affairs?
This all-important question has been at the center of a strategic visioning process recently undertaken by Student Affairs. Through a series of surveys, listening sessions, and working groups, we have arrived at five key student learning outcomes, known collectively as the Aspirations for Student Learning.
Together, these Aspirations will play a critical role in helping Student Affairs fulfill our mission of educating beyond the classroom, helping students to deepen self-awareness, develop relationships, nurture inclusion, and find fulfillment in the collegiate experience to ensure lifelong success and happiness.
Continue reading to explore the Aspirations and be sure to check this page for additional information and updates as the Aspirations are introduced to our community.
The Five Aspirations
CuriosityAsking questions and exploring new ideas, new relationships, and new possibilities is central to the Student Affairs experience. Learners of all kinds are encouraged to dream big and develop their talents to support community well-being where everyone thrives. As integrative thinkers and lifelong learners, students' curiosity is harnessed and honed for the benefit of all.
Self-AwarenessDiscovery begins within. Student Affairs helps students identify and strengthen their individual values in order to live with greater purpose. Students gain a deeper understanding of themselves and in turn identify their strengths, weaknesses, and ways to employ self-understanding as a powerful tool for academic, professional, and interpersonal success.
CollaborationRelationships and partnerships are vital to individual and collective success. Student Affairs helps students expand their local and global consciousness and discover ways to build understanding through inclusive and intentional connections. Embracing diverse perspectives and differing viewpoints fosters compassion and inspires action on behalf of others.
ConfidenceDeveloping character along with competency leads to confidence. Student Affairs instills values that promote personal growth and emotional strength. Navigating life’s many challenges requires not just intellectual fortitude, but also healthy self-esteem. Helping students grow both academically and emotionally builds tenacity, determination, and resilience.
Responsible LeadershipEthical decision making, socially responsible action, and impactful change are realized with great leadership skills. Student Affairs prepares students to become visionary leaders who address complex issues and make the world a better place.
The Aspirations Awards recognize Hopkins students, faculty, and staff who exemplify our Aspirations for Student Learning. Five students, each representing a different Aspiration, and two faculty/staff members are awarded each semester.
Homewood students of any major and level of study and Homewood faculty and staff are eligible for nomination, and multiple names can be submitted. Awardees will be selected and notified by the Aspiration Awards committee.
Spring 2024 nominations will be accepted February 1 through February 16. The nomination form is available online.
Fall 2023 Awards
“Curiosity involves an open mind, and I do my best to approach every situation in life with an open mind,” says Jaime Martinez. “Life holds so much for us, such a vast spectrum of experiences that we should feel privileged to chase after.”
During his time at Hopkins, Jaime has served as an RA, alumni student ambassador, and president of the Catholic Community. He has also established himself as a fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion and for young people both on campus and in his hometown of Pittsburgh.
In 2020, inspired by the community organizing that took place across the country that summer, Jaime became the youngest co-founder of North Allegheny for Change, a coalition of students, alumni, parents, educators, and community members dedicated to improving their school district’s approach to equity and antiracism. The organization, which was recognized with the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh’s inaugural Emerging Leadership Award in February 2023, has authored petitions, worked on curriculum reform, and challenged district administrators to shift a culture that has been harmful to many students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and students with disabilities.
“Curiosity begins with humility,” Jaime says, “and the humility to listen to the community and amplify the voices of the marginalized within it has allowed for our coalition to be sustainable, ever growing, and impactful in a way that few other grassroots organizations are in our area.”
As a result of their efforts, the North Allegheny school district has seen a shift in representation on the school board, including the first Black woman ever to serve. Jaime also ran for election in fall 2023, becoming the youngest school board candidate in the district’s history.
After graduating in December, Jaime plans to continue on at Hopkins through the spring, working for the Alumni Relations office while seeking opportunities to continue the work he’s started in his home region and beyond.
Rosina Beritela, a senior majoring in French, Italian, and cognitive science, began her Hopkins journey during a time of heightened campus restrictions due to COVID-19. This experience motivated her to become an RA in order to help future first-year students find community more easily.
Over the next three years, Rosina became an impactful member of the Residential Life team, going above and beyond to spend time with new RAs, plan staff dinners and activities, and even make birthday cards by hand for her colleagues.
For Rosina, the ability to form meaningful relationships, effectively navigate challenges, and improve as a person are all products of self-awareness. “I demonstrate self-awareness by showing empathy for others, whether they be friends, coworkers, or anyone else I encounter,” she says. “When someone tells me about their experiences, I try to understand their perspective while reflecting on what my own point of view would be.”
Beyond campus, Rosina has made a difference in the community as a member of the co-ed, service-based fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, through which she volunteers at various organizations around Baltimore. She also serves as a Pledge Educator, helping to usher in new members of the fraternity, and as a member of the Service Committee, which organizes the fraternity’s service projects.
Rosina has applied for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program and hopes to work with high schoolers in France after graduating in spring 2024. She also aspires to work as a language analyst further in the future.
When asked what she has learned from her experience that she would like to pass on to others, Rosina answered, “I’ve learned how important and easy it is to make someone’s day. It can be as simple as giving someone a compliment or letting them know when you see something that reminds you of them. Showing others that they’ve had a positive impact on you doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it can have an incredible effect on them.”
Sam Bronckers is a man of many interests and titles: student researcher in the Brown Lab in the Neuroscience department, assistant coach and practice player for the women’s Field Hockey team, Co-Lead of Professional Development for International Students at Hopkins, just to name a few.
Sam is also the founder of Poetry as Medicine, a student organization inspired by his time volunteering at the University of Maryland Rehabilitation and Orthopedics Institute. While working with stroke survivors and other patients and seeing how creative pursuits such as writing poetry, making art, listening to music, and storytelling aided in their rehabilitation, Sam began Poetry as Medicine to help other students explore art through the lens of healing and connect them with volunteer opportunities at the Institute.
Sam has also volunteered with the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program at Kernan Hospital, where he organized and recruited volunteers for weekend social events such as art workshops and bingo after noticing that many patients struggled with loneliness and boredom between therapy sessions.
“Whether reading poetry together or playing board games in a group, engaging in social interactions and creating a collaborative environment allows patients to take critical steps in overcoming cognitive or physical challenges,” Sam says. “Perhaps more importantly, they also often become more expressive about their situation. And whether they’re more confident in their abilities or more outspoken about their worries, promoting supportive environments for patients to heal emotionally is a crucial part of their rehabilitative journey.”
Sam’s commitment to the restorative powers of collaboration is not only an aspect of his volunteer work; it is a key element of his worldview. “In an increasingly interconnected world, problems have become more far-reaching in their consequences,” he says. “Bringing together diverse perspectives enables creative and innovative approaches to these problems. And even when no clear, optimal solution exists, embracing differing viewpoints in collaborative efforts can foster meaningful compassion and action within communities.”
After graduation in December, Sam plans to apply to medical school while working as a clinical research coordinator at the Johns Hopkins Hospital to investigate the cognitive effects of alterations in the blood-brain barrier in vulnerable populations.
“Confidence is often the missing piece when the mission is there, the idea is there, and the visualization of the end result is there, but there’s just not enough to bring everyone together,” says junior Jackson Morris. During his time at Hopkins, he has repeatedly proven himself ready and able to supply that finishing touch for the benefit of his classmates and colleagues.
Within Jackson’s first two years on campus, he established himself as a passionate advocate for enhancing the student experience, particularly for those students who feel marginalized due to disability or religion. He took a lead role in a 2021 Accessibility Walk organized by the Advocates for Disability Awareness at JHU and subsequently met with then provost Sunil Kumar to voice the concerns held by many students with disabilities, ultimately resulting in the creation of the Disability Inclusion Advisory Committee. He also served on the search committee for the inaugural Director of Disability, Culture, and Inclusion, a role that was filled this October.
Throughout the past year, Jackson worked with the Student Government Association, the Dean of University Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and students of varying faith backgrounds to establish a nondenominational student prayer room in the MSE Library.
“This has been in a long time in the waiting, and this year it came together,” he says. “It was a really great thing where you had stakeholders from all over the university come together and make it possible, and I don’t think it would have happened without the confidence to say, ‘This is possible, this is necessary; and because it’s both, it will happen, and we can be the ones to push it through.’”
In the future, Jackson hopes to work in science advocacy and retool the publication process so that there is more emphasis on ongoing research and open inquiries.
Jackson believes in thinking big and, in his own words, “oversharing his ideas.” He aims to inspire others to be more willing to voice their thoughts and less afraid of feedback and the ideation process. “There are a lot of brilliant people here who don’t always share their ideas,” he says. “There are lot of things people wish they could improve, or they have the perfect idea for how they want to do it. I think just having that little bit of confidence has allowed me to be part of so many things and push major university initiatives forward.”
Dua Hussain is guided by a genuine interest in people and their backgrounds, as reflected in her work mentoring incoming first-year students with the HopkinsCORPS pre-orientation program, interning at the local organization Jubilee Arts through the Community Impact Internships Program, and supporting her peers through the A Place to Talk listening group.
Dua, currently in her second year at Hopkins, has also served as a Legislative Intern for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a position she first took on during Intersession in 2023 while looking for ways to put her passion for politics and social justice into practice.
“Everything I do comes from the overarching goal of making others happy,” Dua says. “When it comes to social justice, that means advocating for the equitable treatment of others and teaching them how to do the same.”
Dua’s work with the Council, through which she co-hosted the “Justice-Ish” podcast, has not only provided her with new connections, knowledge, and opportunities, it has also empowered her to disseminate the things she’s learned to others. She has established herself as a trusted source of information and emotional support for countless Blue Jays and, beyond Hopkins, has shared legal resources with Muslim students feeling unsafe on their college campuses.
For Dua, that act of passing on information and experience is a way of making a difference no matter where you are, and she believes that is the essence of responsible leadership. “Many people think that since they’re only one person, they can’t do much. That’s the biggest lie you will ever tell yourself,” she says. “Your biggest strengths are who you are, the things you know, and the relationships you have. If you speak up, the people around you will learn, and maybe they’ll speak up too.”
Going forward, Dua aims to found a new student organization focused on deepening the partnership between Homewood students and the wider Baltimore community, and she will continue working with CIIP to help incoming students get the most out of the program and the city.
Dr. Joshua Reiter has always been guided by curiosity. As a child, he showed an early interest in entrepreneurship with an attempt to patent what he called “peanut butter slices.” As a teenager, his curiosity led him to the library to check out books on magic and ventriloquism, a skill he’s shared with the Homewood community at Spring Fair.
Joshua’s curiosity also brought him to Hopkins during his time working at IBM as a marketing representative to higher education institutions. Wanting to understand more about the intersection of technology and education, he applied to the JHU School of Education, where he subsequently obtained his doctorate as well as his passion for teaching. “I found I enjoyed sharing my interests and curiosity with others,” he says. “It is fun watching people achieve things they never thought they would.”
Throughout his 25 years at Hopkins teaching in a variety of departments, including the Center for Leadership Education, engineering, mathematics, and computer science, Joshua has made a direct impact on countless students, taking the time to learn their individual career and personal interests and giving tailored mentorship to assist them in putting their ideas into action.
Notably, Dr. Reiter and his software development firm, ApplicationsOnline, helped to guide JHU away from a paper-based admissions application to the online and streamlined Common Application that has been used by millions of applicants in the years since.
All this while still finding time to pursue new interests, from flying trapeze lessons to running as a pacer for the Baltimore Marathon. A lifelong learner who encourages others to explore new ideas and embrace new challenges, Joshua is an inspiration to students and colleagues alike and a shining example of what a curious mind can achieve.
“Collaboration allows me the amazing opportunity to learn about others’ stories and how those stories guide their work,” says Bernard Nichols. “It empowers me to establish and maintain meaningful connections as I continue my mission to make a positive impact in the lives of those around me.”
A member of the Student Conduct team since January 2023, Bernard has established himself as a reliable and friendly face in the office and around campus. He is adept at helping students feel heard, relaxed, and appreciated while also guiding them to examine their roles in challenging situations and take accountability.
Bernard’s co-workers describe him as always happy to join in on a new project, find creative improvements for established processes, and add some flair to outreach materials. He has also strengthened Student Conduct’s relationship with several offices, particularly On-Campus Living, and is a sought-after collaborator for colleagues across Homewood.
“You never know what one is going through, and it only takes one positive interaction to bring joy to someone’s day,” Bernard says. “In my work, I am always exchanging ideas and resources with colleagues and benchmarking with other institutions to discover innovative ways to expand my reach in my role. And if I know of someone who has a need that I cannot assist with, I always connect them with someone who can.”
Bernard’s passion for his work comes from a desire to work with students who feel overlooked or misunderstood. In addition to giving them a listening ear, he collaborates with them to discover new ways to navigate campus, identify their values, and make better choices.
“I have realized that Student Conduct is one of many anchors that keeps the integrity of our institution grounded,” Bernard says, “which is why we value collaboration highly.”
Spring 2023 Awards
Making a positive impact on those around him is third-year student Shubhan Mathur’s motivating force. With an open, inquisitive approach to life and relationships, he has proven adept at creating safe and inclusive environments—both in and out of the classroom—that allow everyone to benefit from each other’s input.
As an engineering student, Shubhan always seeks to innovate and build on traditional processes, and as a resident advisor, he has become a role model to both his residents and his fellow RAs, inspiring them to think outside the box, ask questions, and look for the deeper reasons behind the situations they encounter. “I think engineering has become such a critical part of my personality that looking for ways to break apart, construct, and reengineer things is almost second nature,” Shubhan says. “In lab and class, I am always looking for ways to create outside of what is being taught; in my extracurriculars and clubs, curiosity drives me to explore new possibilities and experiences.”
“I always try to learn something new each day, whether it’s through reading, taking courses, or seeking out new opportunities,” Shubhan says. “I also enjoy engaging in deep discussions with others to explore different viewpoints and learn from their experiences.”
This perspective has served Shubhan well not only in his RA role but also in his volunteer work at local food pantries and soup kitchens, where the connections he’s made with the people he serves have strengthened his resolve to use his engineering skills for the benefit of the world at large. Or as he says, “Without a purpose or a community to serve, the research and academic work are meaningless.”
“Shubhan is a student who values all of the opportunities and information that JHU has to offer and really tries to take advantage of all those opportunities when he can,” says Taylor Jones, Residence Director and Shubhan’s nominator. “He is always looking for ways to give back as well, through his community service with the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity and in all of his efforts as an RA. He really does dream big, develop his talents both inside and outside of the classroom, and support his community on and off campus.”
In the future, Shubhan hopes to obtain a master’s degree in biomedical engineering in conjunction with his undergraduate degree before pursuing a career in either neuroscience or surgery.
When asked to share something he’s learned from his experience that he would like to pass on, Shubhan stressed the importance of empathy for building trust and fostering development. “It’s essential to remember that everyone has their own unique experiences and challenges,” he said, “and by being curious and empathetic, you can help them overcome those challenges and achieve their goals.”
“I’ve always been very competitive with myself,” says third-year student Camille Shantz. “Coming from an academically rigorous high school full of incredibly driven and accomplished peers, I often felt like I could always work harder, learn more, and do more impactful things. It took me a long time to realize that this feeling of knowing that you’re still a work in progress is a good thing, not a flaw.”
Through self-reflection, Camille has gotten to know her goals, her strengths, and what makes her feel at her best. Camille acts with purpose in all she does and is careful to select projects that are both meaningful and challenging so she can give her best to all of her commitments. Camille has also been intentional about determining which habits and routines best serve her so that, even in hectic times, she is able to fill her schedule with tasks that inspire her.
As Director of Recruitment for HOPthon, she has bolstered the student-led organization’s efforts to raise funds for the Child Life Programs at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. “The money we raise doesn’t just go towards life-saving medical care,” she says, “it goes towards saving kids’ childhoods while they’re receiving care.”
Camille also lends her time and abilities to the Violet Project, a digital platform that makes sexual and reproductive health care equitable and accessible for adolescents and young adults in Maryland. As the clinic lead for the Bayview Emergency Department, she supports the Violet Project’s volunteers in their work to offer patients sexual and reproductive health information as well as free menstrual health products, condoms, and STI testing kits.
“It’s not often that people avoid their dermatologist because they’re embarrassed to show a suspicious mole on their arm to their doctor,” Camille says, “and yet, so many folks don’t feel comfortable talking with their doctors about their sexual and reproductive health. I love the Violet Project because I get to set the tone for someone’s experience with their sexual and reproductive health, breaking down that stigma even just a little bit.”
Additionally, in the past year Camille has worked with a graduate student on a topic in Model Theory, a very new and abstract field of math, and submitted an abstract to the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Conference with her research team at the Center for Fetal Therapy’s Twin Lab. With all these activities and responsibilities, Camille has also developed the self-awareness to know when to step back and lighten her workload when necessary. “We all need breaks sometimes,” she says, “and it’s great to identify that you need one before it becomes an emergency.”
“Camille does everything on purpose in order to ensure she’s living her purpose,” says Rebecca Walsh, Program Specialist for the Leadership, Engagement, and Experiential Development office and Camille’s nominator. “Everything she does is connected to her bigger goals. I am incredibly proud of Camille, not just as HOPthon’s Director of Recruitment, but as someone who is clearly on a strong path to a successful, ethical, and fulfilling life.”
Second-year student Kya Nicholson is a woman of many strengths: she’s an accomplished writer, she holds positions in the Student Government Association and the Black Student Union, and she balances pre-med studies and STEM research with a wide range of extracurricular activities and artistic pursuits. She is also a generous collaborator who takes joy in building bonds with others and creating new connections within her established networks.
As Kya has said, “If the space you desire doesn’t exist, go out and create it.” As co-founder of Rhythm and Bluejays, Kya turned a love of songwriting that she developed in high school into the first-ever songwriting club for Hopkins undergrads—a club that thrives on collaboration and closeness, and it provides a space for any interested composer, producer, or lyricist to connect through their art.
“I started writing R&B/pop songs in high school but did not feel the need to share them until I took a class here at Hopkins called ‘The Poetry of Songwriting’,” Kya says. “Through the class, I connected with individuals sharing similar musical interests and gained more confidence in my writing. We wanted to extend the same feeling of belonging we had in that class to a broader community.”
Additionally, Kya assists the Center for Social Concern’s Pre-Orientation HopkinsCORPS program, which helps incoming first-year students build a deep and authentic relationship with Baltimore through educational workshops, direct service projects with community partners, reflection sessions, and leadership development activities. As part of HopkinsCORPS, Kya has collaborated with her team leaders on planning and implementing activities and discussions, and she has been open in sharing her own Baltimore experience, resulting in lasting connections with many of the first-year participants.
“Collaboration means creating a large community of micro-communities,” Kya says. “I love meeting new people and hearing the stories they carry on their journey of life. Through collaboration, we build trust so that our individual stories can be told in these newly formed macro-communities.”
Kya’s nominator, fellow student and friend, Yasmine Bolden, attested to Kya’s ability to connect peers with resources on and off campus that help them advocate for themselves in times of need and make meaningful change to established structures. “Kya has contributed to the revitalization of our campus culture, and she has enriched her fellow students’ lives by being a friendly face and through her determination to help others,” Yasmine says. “She believes firmly that we can transcend rigidity and unnecessary hierarchy in favor of collaboration and closeness.” In the future, Kya plans to apply this cooperative spirit to a career in public health with a focus on uplifting underserved communities.
“Being confident is not just a constant surety in yourself,” says third-year student Andion Dizon, “it’s also understanding that asking for help or needing to try again and again to master something does not make you anything less than you are, nor does it discount any of your previous achievement. In a way, confidence is the culmination of everything you’ve learned from your life, brought on by discovering your own strengths and weaknesses.”
As a dedicated member of the Center for Social Concern’s Tutorial Project, an after-school tutoring program that pairs elementary schoolers with Johns Hopkins students to receive one-on-one tutoring in reading and math, Andion has taken on increased leadership responsibility each year, growing in confidence along the way. Most importantly, she uses her self-confidence to act as a powerful advocate for the tutors, kids, and families she serves.
“I truly believe in the mission of Tutorial Project,” Andion says, “and I think the shared confidence that all of the tutors, the families, and my fellow organizers have in this program has really helped me to see how [it] can help everyone involved, not just the kids. My confidence in my own skills in a leadership role in this program has certainly grown, and I have learned so much from helping with Tutorial.”
“Whenever Andion speaks about Tutorial Project, her descriptions are laced with love and passion for making sure students receive the best support,” says her nominator and friend Sumayah Oudda. “She spends time learning about the tutees’ personalities and interests in order to make the best tutor-tutee pairings. And whenever tutors are facing challenges with their students, she provides solutions and attentive guidance to make sure that the after-school program is a place where everyone can succeed.”
Whether it’s organizing a museum trip so that her tutors, tutees, and their families can all spend time together and develop camaraderie, or editing a film that encourages others to join the Tutorial Project, Andion has consistently shown both her conviction in the value of her ideas and her skill in seeing them through. And it has all been out of a desire to see her tutees get the best support possible.
“Never discount the importance of having someone who encourages and supports you in all aspects of your life,” Andion says. “Try to be that person for someone else.”
Next year, Andion will become a Student Director for the Tutorial Project, a vital role that includes working directly with the program director, organizing transportation, making phone calls to the tutees’ parents and guardians, and much more. Looking beyond graduation, Andion is currently considering graduate programs in organic chemistry and would like to pursue a career in research and development for greener substitutes to materials like plastics and commonly used polymers. She also has a dream of publishing a novel or screenplay.
“My favorite quote is ‘A rising tide lifts all ships’ because it embodies my values as a leader, teammate, and friend,” says senior Emily Javedan. “A responsible leader uplifts those around them and inspires others to use their strengths to leave the world better than they found it.”
As captain of JHU’s women’s tennis team, Emily puts this philosophy into practice daily, whether she’s helping to schedule practice times, organizing team dinners, or helping her teammates work through a conflict. Emily’s dedication to the team is about more than winning matches, it’s about building a supportive and compassionate community.
She has also bolstered the team’s volunteer efforts with ACEing Autism, an organization dedicated to helping children with autism grow and develop through tennis. As a result of those efforts, the team was selected out of hundreds of others to receive the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Regional Community Service Award last season.
“It’s hard to put in to words her selflessness, supportive nature, and inner desire to create greater good in the world,” says Daniel Pollock, Head Coach of the women’s tennis team and Emily’s nominator. “The joy she shows in seeing the success of others truly embodies a team-above-self mentality.”
Outside of athletics, Emily is a devoted advocate for our planet. “I spent most of my life in sunny Fort Myers, Florida in a neighborhood where it was not uncommon to spot a turtle wandering across our cul-de-sac or alligators sliding into the canal next door,” Emily says. “As a child, I collected snails and anole lizards and kept them in my sink to observe and share with my brothers.”
From these origins, Emily went on to intern for Mars, Incorporated last summer as a Global Sustainability Associate, where she collaborated with scientists, legal counsel, and sustainability and human rights experts on plastic waste management strategy. And more recently, she was admitted with a merit scholarship to the Georgetown University master’s program in Environment and Sustainability Management, the number one program in the country.
In the future, Emily aims to become the Chief Sustainability Officer of a global business. “By combining my passion for the Earth, my educational background in environmental sciences, and my natural pull towards socially responsible leadership, I hope to one day be an inspiring manager in the sustainable business world,” she says. “And while this dream requires many years of hard work and growth, I believe this role may be the way I can most positively impact the world.”
For Kate Lynch, self-awareness is key to her work and to the work of the Center for Social Concern, for which she is the Equity, Design, and Engagement Strategist. “The CSC is trying to encourage intentional and equitable community engagement, which requires a sophisticated understanding of identity, privilege, power, and positionality,” she says, “all of which are predicated on a foundation of self-awareness.”
In her two years with the CSC, Kate has helped to strengthen Baltimore First, the Center’s direct service program that provides community organizations with regularly scheduled volunteers throughout the academic year. In addition, Kate has designed, created, and facilitated numerous educational training courses to help students and other Hopkins affiliates responsibly and intentionally engage with our Baltimore City community.
“The trainings that Kate has implemented now serve as core resources for students, staff, faculty, and partners,” say Kelly Milo and Whit Johnson, Associate Directors of the CSC and Kate’s nominators. “And above and beyond supporting a variety of community engagement efforts within our office, Kate serves as a staff advisor for several student organizations.”
In her work with students, Kate strives to cultivate spaces where students can feel comfortable being open and honest, empowering them to wrestle with difficult topics and complex issues and understand their potential as agents of change. “A thriving, multiracial democracy requires a citizenry that is engaged, participatory, and invested in the concept of a collective, public good,” she says. “This requires radical collaboration and recognizing that we are all interdependent on one another.”
Kate credits self-awareness for helping her discover her place in the social justice ecosystem and for giving her insight on how best to partner with and inspire others to join the movement. When asked about the importance of this particular Aspiration, she replied, “As I endeavor to be an effective accomplice in the fight to dismantle systems of oppression and reimagine a liberated and just society, self-awareness helps me know when to use my voice, when to collaborate, and when to take a step back.”
Around the Homewood campus, Jarron Jackson is known as more than just the Senior Director of Public Safety; he is also known as a strong advocate for our students, a friend to the Residential Life program, and an invaluable member of the Hopkins community. In addition to facilitating trainings and providing face-to-face support to students and staff in need, it’s not uncommon to find Jarron joining in on games with students or sitting down for a conversation with a Resident Advisor.
“In the course of my career, I have learned that safe communities are not created singularly by law enforcement,” Jarron says. “The creation of safe communities requires the collaborative thoughts, efforts, and perspectives of diverse stakeholders. I have been fortunate to have found that here at Hopkins.”
“Since Jarron’s arrival to campus several years ago, he has been a collaborative partner to many, a strong advocate and supporter of students and staff, and he has worked tirelessly to build and maintain campus partnerships,” says Jessica Kupper, former director of Residential Life and Jarron’s nominator. “He has ensured that he and his team are available to serve as resources, assist in emergencies and non-emergencies, encourage dialogue, and actively seek feedback.”
Jarron was instrumental in the creation of Hopkins’ Behavioral Health Crisis Support Team. Working with colleagues in university administration, Student Affairs, and Student Health and Well-Being, he helped to restructure Public Safety’s practices in regard to mental health crises. The BHCST is now available 24/7 to dispatch both a licensed clinician and an unarmed public safety officer who work together to respond to mental health concerns, de-escalate distressing situations, and assess the need for further medical assistance.
“I view [the BHCST] program as a true evolution of the field of public safety from when we would simply send an officer,” Jarron says, “An evolution that would not be possible without the collaborative support and efforts of our entire university community.”
For Jarron, “collaboration” is not simply a buzzword—it’s the foundation of new ideas; it’s essential to creative problem solving; and it’s the guiding force behind all that he does for JHU.
Fall 2022 Awardees
Ava Levine’s passion for reducing systemic inequalities and injustices in the American legal system began her sophomore year with the course “Introduction to Police and Prisons.” Since then, she has resolutely pursued a desire to know learn, educate, and address the challenges that face formerly incarcerated individuals, particularly women.
In April 2021, using grant funding awarded by the JHU Gender and Racial Justice Scholars Awards, Ava began a year-long independent research project on the lives of women in Maryland who have been released from incarceration. Dr. Stuart Schrader, Associate Director of the Program in Racism, Immigration, and Citizenship and faculty supervisor on Ava’s project, said, “Ava keenly noted that much of the scholarly literature on incarceration focuses on male-identified prisoners with little research on female-identified prisoners. In fact, Ava found that the state’s record keeping on women is woefully inadequate, making it difficult to characterize this population in the most general terms. Ava’s curiosity led to an impressive research agenda, and in the face of adversity, she demonstrated more perseverance than any student I have encountered.”
From there, Ava began working with the Maryland Justice Project, an organization that addresses mass incarceration and other social justice issues facing our State through vigorous policy work. Through this internship, Ava directly contributed to the development of the Primary Caretakers Bill, which would allow non-violent offenders who are the primary caretakers of dependents to serve their sentences through community rehabilitation programs rather than incarceration. Ava assisted in drafting the text of the bill, organized meetings with House and Senate sponsors, and started a coalition of 11 organizations to advocate for the bill’s passage.
“I am most proud of my efforts at Maryland Justice Project,” Ava says, “where last session I led the initiative to introduce the Primary Caretakers Bill in the Maryland legislature. While the bill unfortunately failed to pass, I believe we were able to contribute to an important conversation on incarceration induced family separation and inform legislators who had not known this was a problem. In the upcoming legislative session, we are hoping to reintroduce the bill, as well as an additional bill that would allow pregnant incarcerated women to remain with their newborns upon giving birth in a nursery program.”
In addition to the difference she has made through her off-campus partnerships, here at Homewood, Ava is the president of the Hopkins Feminists and has arranged collaborations with other socially-minded student groups that have resulted in fundraisers for abortion funds and a Women’s History Month art show.
Now in her senior year, Ava plans to take a gap year after graduation and work in public service before attending law school thereafter.
When asked what curiosity meant to her, Ava said that it means, “Being willing to seek out new experiences and going out of your comfort zone.” She is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when we are guided by a passion to learn, not only from our own experiences but also from those outside our immediate sphere of influence.
When asked about the importance of Self-Awareness, Stacey said, “Because of my more reserved nature, it’s difficult for me to lead with just my words. Reflecting on my prior experiences and identifying my own strengths and weaknesses assures me of my role in the spaces I find myself in and empowers me to develop the confidence I need to support my words and feel like I can bring valuable contributions to the table.” Ever since her first year, which was spent in her family home in New Jersey due to the COVID-19 shutdown, Stacey has made intentional efforts to go beyond her comfort zone and challenge these self-perceived limitations.
While she may describe herself as innately shy, Stacey has become an outgoing presence both on and off campus. She is the current Vice President of the Inter-Asian Council, a volunteer with the Pediatric Emergency Department of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and an active participant in many Center for Social Concern programs, including the In Community Interns federal work study program; Baltimore First, for which she is the Director of Community Engagement; and the Community Impact Internship Program, for which she is a peer mentor helping fellow Blue Jays break out of the Hopkins bubble and expand their horizons socially as well as academically.
Eli Lopatin, Assistant Director of Civic Leadership and Stacey’s nominator, said, “When Stacey was encouraged to apply to be a Peer Mentor with CIIP, she was initially unsure of her abilities to lead and mentor her fellow students. She did step up, however, and became a driving force in educating her peers around ethical and impactful service in Baltimore. She went on to lead the subset of CIIP interns focused on healthcare, while interning herself with Healthcare for the Homeless, and she helped to make all students feel comfortable taking on their new roles and responsibilities.”
Or in Stacey’s own words: “While it’s true that we come here to learn, it is just as important to prioritize other engagements such as finding your community at Hopkins and going out to experience everything Baltimore has to offer. You’re only at Hopkins for four years, so it’s important to make the most out of the things that you can only find here and in Baltimore!”
Through her internships and volunteer activities, she has dedicated her time and energy to forming connections with the citizens of the city she now calls home. In addition to Healthcare for the Homeless, a health services and advocacy group that cares for unhoused people in Baltimore, Stacey has worked with the Hampden Family Center, which provides a variety of health, education, and support services for youth, adults, and seniors; with Thread, an academic support program for Baltimore City high schoolers; and with the St. Francis Neighborhood Center, Baltimore’s oldest youth enrichment center.
Throughout her three years at Hopkins, Stacey has shown remarkable personal growth, a determination to pursue her newfound passions, and a commitment to personal reflection. While graduation is still a year away, she plans continue developing these qualities in her life and career beyond the university. “I hope to pursue a career in medicine,” Stacey says. “I’m not 100% sure what I would specifically want to do, but I’m leaning towards pediatrics right now. I also want to continue to serve those in my community and remain engaged, either through volunteering or public service!”
“When I first got to Hopkins, I was almost overwhelmed by the wide array of groups, opportunities, and other experiences available to me,” says Arya Satish. “It took some time just for the possibilities to settle in, and once they did, I wanted to get myself out there and try as much as I could handle. I tried taking new classes in various academic areas that excited me, joining different clubs and organizations, and striking up conversations with students I had just met. Ultimately, I not only discovered what I enjoy doing but also was able to make meaningful connections along the way.”
Arya has a demonstrated gift for productive collaboration, working with his fraternity brothers as Risk Manager for Phi Delta Theta; with administrators and graduate students in his role as a research assistant for the Idea Initiative, the Chen Lab, and the BEEHIVE Study at the School of Public Health; and with prospective students as a tour guide for the Blue Key Society. As his friend and nominator, Nicole, puts it, “Arya inspires both compassion and tenacity in the people around him taking the phrase ‘Be the change you want to see’ literally. Arya’s flexibility and zeal for completing a project, regardless of who he works with, illustrates his desire to work well with others.”
Arya’s commitment to communal success has influenced his leadership role within Phi Delta Theta, organizing events to raise money for non-profit organizations such as LiveLikeLou, which promotes ALS research, patient care, and awareness. In addition, Arya serves as a member of the executive board of the Medical Ethics Discussion Panel and on the project management committee for Agara Bio, a student-run biology lab space open to all members of the Hopkins community.
“Being able to build valuable, sincere relationships with my friends, research mentors, professors, and other people at this university has allowed me to truly grow as a person,” Arya says. “I have been able to get involved with public health research, molecular biology research, interest clubs, a fraternity, and many other organizations that have allowed me to achieve my goals and build a sense of self. The most amazing aspect of this has been being able to work with so many of my peers who are just as passionate about making an impact and using our passion for learning to do so.”
Arya’s nominator emphasized his, “dedication to building a better, safer, and happier community at Hopkins and in the world,” and in the future, Arya plans to practice medicine as a physician while working to develop public health research and policy. “Through studying Public Health and Molecular & Cellular Biology on the pre-med track at Hopkins,” he says, “I am currently working towards a career in medicine rooted in fundamental biology as well as a broader understanding of healthcare and health systems.”
Arya’s sense of unity and compassion are essential to his success and qualities certain to serve him well going forward. “Collaboration is the pursuit of working with the people around you—be it your peers, professors, colleagues, bosses, or anyone else—to build trusting relationships and achieve collective success,” Arya says. “You don’t have to go at everything alone, and recognizing that there are so many people around you who can support you on your journey is such an immense source of strength.”
Elaine’s nominator, Jessica Kupper, Director of Residential Life, describes her as “a community builder, engaged student, and overall fantastic human,” noting her “school spirit, care for her peers, and genuine good nature.” In her three years at Hopkins, Elaine has demonstrated that caring nature both as a First-Year Mentor and as a Resident Advisor, and the attention and planning that she has put into events for her residents have resulted in record-setting attendance and a genuine feeling of connection among all involved.
In addition to her RA work, Elaine is also a physics tutor for PILOT and Vice President of the Charm City Science League, a student group that seeks to inspire middle schoolers in Baltimore through one-on-one mentoring, field trips, Science Olympiad competitions, and greater community involvement. In her sophomore year, she also served as Chapter President of Splash at JHU, a program that brings high school students to visit college campuses and attend non-traditional classes taught by undergraduate students on topics ranging from solving equations with origami to Kittens 101.
All of these opportunities have helped Elaine discover her true passion: passing confidence on to others and empowering them to find their own success. “I get excited about making the invisible known, whether it’s centering the inner workings of cells under a microscope or lifting people up so that their stories can be shared,” she says. “I feel most proud when I see people picking up the torches I pass to them: my PILOT students speaking up during sessions and later becoming PILOT Leaders themselves, my first-year mentees growing past needing my guidance and eventually becoming mentors as well, and my successors rising to the challenge of running Splash and carrying on the initiatives I set into motion after I stepped down from the role of chapter president.”
“She’s always willing to help others, acknowledge and celebrate small and large milestones with them, and always has a positive attitude, no matter what challenges she may face on any given day,” says Jessica. “If you pass Elaine on campus, it’s almost a guarantee that she’ll be smiling, and her positivity is contagious!”
Through her various leadership roles, she has developed the skills needed to navigate through complex situations, and she knows that she will use these skills throughout her life. She plans to apply to medical schools in the upcoming application cycle with the intent “to continue learning and caring for people at a higher level.”
Elaine is a great example of someone who seeks out the resources available to her, uses what she finds to her advantage, and then shares what she has learned with others.
“The relationship between confidence and success is a bit like the chicken-and-egg problem,” she says, “being successful is reason to feel confident, and confidence brings success. Either way, confidence is entangled with success, and students feel the need to always prove ourselves to be worthy of either. Ironically, being selected to receive the Aspiration Award for Confidence has helped me realize that confidence is less about external validation of success or a showy form of self-assurance than it is about developing the kind of unconditional acceptance of ourselves that allows for growth into who we want to be.”
Mia Grahn is an Executive Board Member of GreenHacks, Hopkins’ first hackathon group focused on issues of environmental sustainability. As director of GreenHacks’ marketing and communications committee, she has worked to extend awareness of the hackathon and its mission both within and outside the university. Thanks to Mia’s efforts, the fall 2021 hackathon drew a record audience of over 100 participants from more than five undergraduate and graduate programs at JHU as well as those from other universities in Maryland and Delaware.
“I am most proud of the work my GreenHacks team and I have pulled off over the past two years,” Mia says. “We went from having to cancel our spring 2021 hackathon due to having too few sign ups as a result of the pandemic having significantly decreased our presence on campus to setting participation records the following semester with our fall 2021 hackathon. This was a huge feat for our small board, who spent hours working together for weeks so the event would be successful, and as a result we are closer than ever and have accomplished our overall goal of increasing sustainability awareness on campus and in the surrounding Baltimore community!”
Maria, Mia’s nominator, friend, and co-director of GreenHacks, says of their experience working together, “Mia’s creativity and innovative mind brought our vision for GreenHacks to life. Her outreach to hundreds of brands, sponsors, organizations, and universities was not required, but she went above and beyond and had the confidence to secure the best corporate and NGO sponsors so that everything could go smoothly. She is not achieving all of these amazing things at the expense of others or by tearing others down. She is constantly learning from others, taking advice, and applying all of the advice she has been given to everyone’s benefit.”
Mia has exemplified responsible leadership not only through her involvement with GreenHacks. She has also served as an undergraduate representative to the COVID Student Advisory Committee, and her belief in the importance of STEM education has led to numerous teaching positions including organic chemistry instructor for PILOT Learning, chemistry teaching assistant, Python tutor at The Coding School, and STEM educator at Engineers Without Borders, through which she arranged environmental science activities for fifth-grade students at Barclay Elementary.
“A responsible leader is an advocate for important initiatives within their community,” Mia says, “and helps others become involved in making a broader impact with their voice and actions. I look for effective ways to communicate my team’s passion for sustainability to our peers so that other community members know how to participate with the work we do and can easily identify ways they can make an impact in our environment as well.”
Now heading into her final semester of undergrad, Mia’s commitment to leadership for the greater good is evident in her plans to attend graduate school in the hopes of ultimately obtaining a Ph.D. and leading research efforts on both sustainability and cancer.
Dr. Sharleen Argamaso, Assistant Director of Academic Support and head of the Study Consulting program, first became part of the Hopkins family in 1996 as post-doctoral fellow in cell biology at the Wilmer Eye Institute. In 1998, her career path led her to education, and Sharleen spent the next twenty years teaching science for 8th-12th graders in the Baltimore County Public School system and leading college prep and advanced placement courses.
“The more students that we sent off to college, the more I realized when they came back to visit that they were better prepared for college but they still didn’t always have what they needed to feel successful or supported,” Sharleen says. “Many of the students were first-generation/limited income and didn’t know where to turn on campus for support. At the same time, I was helping my daughter look for colleges and I realized maybe I could make a difference on a college campus. So, when I stumbled upon the Study Consultant job at Hopkins, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to offer my skillset in a different way.”
Sharleen used her experience as an educator and mentor to shape Hopkins’ Study Consulting program into a peer-mentorship model that benefits the mentors as much as the mentees. “My students go out of their way to meet with me to come up with strategies to best support their peers,” she says. “I feel like they wouldn’t invest that much in something they didn’t believe in, so the fact that they do makes me realize we built something special together. I just hope I’ve been a role model for empathetic listening, understanding, meeting them where they are, and offering practical, dignified advice.”
Considering the 23 nominations that Sharleen received from both students and colleagues during the Aspirations Awards open nomination period, it is safe to say she has been just that. The following is just a sample…
“Sharleen is an amazing human. She is the type of person who positively impacts most everyone who they cross paths with in life. In her time at Hopkins, Sharleen has helped thousands of students to get the academic support and mentoring they need to be confident and successful students. She has been a good friend, colleague and confidant and has always been there to lend a hand in anyone’s time of need.”
“The Study Consulting Program is Sharleen’s baby, and she is constantly thinking of new ways to improve. She also leads many, many trainings aimed at not only making us better study consultants but better people, and she gives us outlooks on education that heal past wounds from the education system.”
“Sharleen is a true leader. Not the leader in the front who takes all the credit, wanting to be seen, but rather a leader at the way back wanting the student leaders to be seen. Her leadership in this program cultivates student leaders and fosters their leadership, compassion, and enthusiasm for other students and for making the world a better place.”
And a phrase that was used time and time again:
“I cannot think of anyone else more deserving of this award!”
Molly Hutchison is a Health Education Specialist for the Office of Health Promotion and Well-Being. In her two years at Hopkins, she has made her mark through collaborative efforts at Homewood, Peabody, and East Baltimore both with fellow staff members and with various student-led organizations. Her cross-departmental initiatives like Safer Sex at JHU, Well-Being on Wheels, and the Homewood Student Well-Being Fair have all helped to improve students’ access to resources and education for sexual health, stress management, sleep hygiene, and more.
“My passion is cultivating spaces for young adults to explore and gain skills around their personal and community well-being,” Molly says. “Supporting students as they learn to foster self-compassion for themselves and gain knowledge to help them make informed decisions on their health and well-being is such a fulfilling experience.”
The Well-Being on Wheels program, for example, provides wellness-centered student groups such as Peer Health Educators, Advocates for Reproductive and Sexual Health, and the Sexual Assault Resource Unit an opportunity to deliver their messages directly to their peers. “Well-Being on Wheels is a push-cart that includes various items to promote individual well-being—such as sleep kits, journals, menstrual products, et cetera—as well as educational handouts and resources. Every week the cart is pushed across the Homewood campus by a different student organization or department. Each group can add giveaways and items related to their organization so that each time the cart is on campus there are different students and services represented.”
As Alyse Campbell, Molly’s nominator and the Associate Director of Student Well-Being and Gender Violence Prevention, describes it, “Molly repurposed tool carts as well-being education vehicles that can be taken across Homewood and East Baltimore campuses for workshops, programs, and other educational events for students. Just this semester, the cart has already brought a variety of well-being education to students, as opposed to asking students to come to us, and built inclusive and intentional connections with students we might not have reached otherwise.”
Beyond these initiatives, Molly is a certified instructor of Koru Mindfulness, a program specially designed to teach college students meditation, mindfulness, and stress management. She helps to lead month-long Koru Mindfulness workshops on campus throughout the year.
“I am one of many trained meditation instructors that teach the program Koru Mindfulness at JHU,” she says. “I love working with my co-instructors since not only do we hold space for students to take care of themselves but we also hold it for each other as staff.”
When asked what Collaboration means to her, Molly said, “Collaboration is an important part of being a health educator. It’s important for me to have humility and understanding of my perspective and biases when I work with students, staff, and faculty since I will never be able to perfectly understand a student’s lived experiences. As a result, Collaboration means uplifting voices from various backgrounds to build understanding of the needs of those who I work with and serve. It’s through these connections and collaborations that I have found the work that I do to be most impactful.”
The Fall 2023 Aspirations Celebration awardees (front row) and their nominators (back row)
Aspirations Award recipients will be recognized during Aspirations Celebrations, a semi-annual event that brings our community together to acknowledge students, faculty, and staff for living into the Aspirations. The fall Aspirations Celebration is held in December; the spring Aspirations Celebration is held in May.