The College of Education and Human Services and the Department of Alumni Relations honored Donnell Pierre, M.A. '11, graduate of the Psychological Studies program and Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Center for College Readiness in the Department of Education Leadership, Management and Policy, at the fifth annual College of Education and Human Services Spring Alumni Reception & Awards ceremony on March 14.
Pierre received the Hanbury Mission Award, given in memory of Monsignor Kevin M. Hanbury, to an alumnus from the College who embodies the passion for service that Monsignor Hanbury had throughout his life. Sattin-Bajaj accepted the Schreitmueller Faculty Servant Leader Award, presented to a faculty member who demonstrates outstanding service to the College through dedicated years of teaching, mentoring and leadership.
Sattin-Bajaj has enjoyed a significantly rewarding year. In addition to receiving the Schreitmueller Faculty Servant Leader Award, she has also recently been promoted to associate professor. She began her acceptance speech by reflecting on her first days as a new member of the faculty, remarking, "I felt welcomed not just as a colleague, but also as a person. I asked myself if this was too good to be true. Everyone is committed to making this institution a family, with social justice a common mission." She continued, "Seton Hall has been and will continue to be my home. I am truly honored tonight."
The Hanbury Award being bestowed on Donnell Pierre also has particular significance in his relationship to the University and his life in general. Beyond his distinguished achievements as an institutional innovator and leader for educational opportunity programs, he was a survivor of the Boland Hall fire during his freshman year. He stated, "After the fire, I thought I would remember this as the place where I almost lost my life. But tonight, and with the work of the team, it has become a place where I can give life, and receive life." He then dedicated the award to his mother and had her recognized by standing before the audience.
Pierre continued by proclaiming, "The key is not about what you give, but what you see. Because if you see just a bit of yourself in the community, what you give will never be a problem. What can you see in your community? What can you see in your family? What can you see in your students? When you see yourself in them, you will always give." He followed this by directing members of Gold Standard, a program he founded with a focus on promoting success for male students of color, to stand and recite their organizational call-and-response chant and sing their song of affirmation.
Dean Maureen Gillette thanked both honorees by stating, "They [Sattin-Bajaj and Pierre] give so much of themselves and are dedicated to assuring that others succeed. The College and the University are truly grateful for their service, commitment and passion."
Donnell Pierre is a two-time graduate of Seton Hall University and survivor of the Boland Hall Fire during his freshmen year. After spending two years out of school due to financial aid reasons as an undergraduate, he later went on to graduate with a B.A. in Psychology in the Summer 2006. He currently serves as a Student Development Specialist in the Educational Opportunity Program and an adjunct professor in Communications at Seton Hall. As a professional, Donnell has worked with the Educational Opportunity Program for over a decade. He has passionately served New Jersey's Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) community as a member of its professional executive board and as an adviser to its statewide student organization. Donnell is the founder of the EOF Circle of Advisors, a group that organizes around best practices all over the state of New Jersey. He is also the founder of Gold Standard, an innovative program focused on the retention, graduation, and cohesion of male students of color at at Seton Hall. Donnell has worked at every level of education from pre-k to higher education.
Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj's research examines issues of educational access and equity for immigrant-origin youth and other historically underserved student populations with an emphasis on school choice policies and points of educational transition. Carolyn’s work has been funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the Heckscher Foundation for Children, the New York Community Trust, and the American Educational Research Association. It has appeared in a variety of academic journals and popular media outlets including the Peabody Journal of Education, American Journal of Education, Sociology of Education, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, EdWeek, and NPR. Carolyn is author of "Unaccompanied Minors: Immigrant Youth, School Choice, and the Pursuit of Equity" (Harvard Education Press, 2014), "Matching Students to Opportunity: Expanding College Choice, Access and Quality" (co-editor with Andrew Kelly and Jessica Howell, Harvard Education Press, 2016), "Blueprint for School System Transformation: A Vision for Comprehensive Reform in Milwaukee and Beyond" (co-editor with Frederick M. Hess, Rowman & Littlefield, 2013) and "Educating the Whole Child for the Whole World: The Ross School Model and Education for the Global Era" (co-editor with Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, New York University Press, 2010). She earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in international education from New York University. Prior to earning her doctorate, Carolyn worked on secondary school reform at the New York City Department of Education.
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