Student leadership at the MGH Institute takes many forms. It can be formal or informal, and include such things as participating student government, clubs, and organizations, and as graduate assistants, JEDI Fellows, and peer facilitators.

It was those students who found the time and drive to make that extra commitment who were celebrated at the MGH Institute’s annual Student Leadership Award ceremony held on March 26.

“Although there is no one defined path that students take on this journey, there are some things that our student leaders have in common,” interim Dean of Students Luella Benn told the audience of students, faculty, and staff. “Each of them has chosen to share themselves and the most valuable resource a graduate student has – their time – in ways that enhance our community. Our campus is more welcoming, more inclusive, and more vibrant because of their individual and collective efforts. In the words of Margaret Mead: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’”

The event, organized by Jessica Upton, manager of the Center for Career and Professional Development in the Office of Student Affairs and Services, highlighted three individual students and a student team for their contributions to the IHP during the 2023-2024 academic year.

  • Alice Lee, OTD ’25, received the Outstanding Student Leader Award. Her nominator wrote in part, “For the past two years, Alice has participated in outreach and event planning at the library in her role as a graduate assistant. When a need arose due to staffing, Alice took on extra responsibilities without missing a beat. Alice’s nominator recognized two particularly notable accomplishments.  For the IHP scavenger hunt that took place during 2023 Welcome Week, Alice built a team of graduate assistants from the library and OSAS to accomplish and lead that team through the planning during the summer term. She also created an incredible promotion campaign and arranged for all of the prizes to be purchased as well as distributed in the weeks after the event ended. Continuing in her leadership and collaborative spirit, Alice worked with a JEDI fellow to create a Black History Month social media campaign. Building on her knowledge of the library’s collections, Alice was able to enrich the JEDI fellow’s work by providing resources that could help our community deepen their knowledge. Her work will result in a new online guide that will continue to support learning at the IHP. In summary, Alice is an incredible student leader at the IHP whose contributions are worthy of recognition.”
  • HeeEun Jeon, MS-SLP 2025, received the Emerging Leader Award. Her nominator wrote: “HeeEun has been actively involved with JEDI, including hosting a BIPOC meet and greet during her first semester of the program. Further, she has organized social gatherings to encourage the development of community across programs and departments at the IHP. She is proactive in engaging with fellow students on campus and truly embodies a growth mindset. She encourages her fellow students to share ideas, take risks, and deepen their knowledge through group discussions, study groups, and meeting with faculty.”
  • Leah Rothchild, MS-NU ’24, received the Be the Change Award. Her nominator wrote: “Leah has been volunteering her own time for trips to under-developed countries to bring the education of medicine to those that do not have the privileges that we do over here. I fully endorse her for the "Be the Change" Award for her significant contributions to disadvantaged communities by bringing both the education of American nursing to their country, along with bringing many, many smiles on the faces of the pediatric patients that were fortunate enough to have her there.”
  • The Sanders IMPACT Practice Center Peer Facilitators were awarded the Outstanding IMPACT Group Award winners. They are: Stephanie Lin, DPT ’25; Nicole Wexler, OTD ’24; Brad McMahon, DPT ’25; Elizabeth Litt, OTD ’25; Alice Lee, OTD ’25; Marin Smith, DPT ’25; Kaley Swintak, DPT ’25; Mallory Spring, OTD ’25; Jillian Salis, OTD ’25; Miranda Milunsky, DPT ’25; Lisha Wu, DPT ’25; Elizabeth Scharer, OTD ’25; Joanna McDonough, OTD ’25; Evelyn Roberts, OTD ’25; and Laken Ayers, DPT ’25. Faculty nominators wrote: “Their willingness to go the extra mile, take the initiative, and contribute to peer learning, particularly during busy simulation events in the evenings, has been a consistent theme noted by students and faculty alike. The 2024 peer facilitators consistently ask questions with curiosity and kindness to support student learning and went above and beyond to create a supportive, safe, and welcoming environment for students to learn throughout their simulation experiences at the Sanders IMPACT Practice Center.”
  • In addition to the student recipients, the Student Government Association recognized Chris Bjork, development officer for annual giving and stewardship. SGA president Carina Dillon noted, “Chris has been actively working with the SGA Executive Board since Fall 2022 to develop a relationship between the SGA, the student body, and the Office of Development by reviving the Class Gift. Chris has been a great liaison for the SGA to connect with the Office of Development and has been essential to many of our successful collaborative events over the past year that have led to donations to the IHP Community Pantry. We are extremely grateful for Chris and his constant work to support the student body.”