Yale, New Haven honor those strengthening town-gown ties with Seton Elm-Ivy Awards

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This year's Seton Elm-Ivy Awards ceremony was held on April 19. It marked the program's 38th year. (Photo by Michael Marsland)

Seton Elm-Ivy Awards are presented each spring to individuals and groups from Yale and New Haven who have helped to strengthen and expand town-gown ties — with Elm Awards going to those from the city and Ivy Awards to those from the university.

This year, three individuals from New Haven received Elm Awards, three individuals and one graduate student group from Yale received Ivy Awards, and one organization received both Elm and Ivy awards because its members hail from both the university and the city.

The Seton Elm-Ivy Awards were established in 1979 through the inspiration and support of Fenmore (Class of 1938) and Phyllis Seton, who established an endowment at the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven to support the awards ceremony. The first Elm and Ivy Awardees were named in 1980. A list of previous recipients and other information about the awards can be viewed at www.onhsa.yale.edu/elmivy .

“Today we are honoring the strong relationship between Yale and New Haven that has been established over many years through deep collaboration and partnership,” said Lauren Zucker, Yale’s associate vice president for New Haven Affairs, in her opening remarks at the ceremony. “And as a result, today, New Haven and Yale stand-out for the size, duration and success of that partnership, including the most supportive fiscal relationship — and a longstanding community investment program by Yale. … This year’s awardees exemplify that partnership between New Haven and Yale University. The results build a healthier and safer community, foster economic development and local job creation, and inspire and educate our youth.”  

This year’s winners were honored at a ceremony held April 19 in the Presidents Room at the Schwarzman Center. Yale President Peter Salovey and Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker presented the awards.

A list of recipients and their award citations follow:

Anthony Rescigno

Elm Award

Every May, Yale University’s Commons is filled with over 8,000 New Haven students for the City’s annual New Haven Public Schools Science Fair Administered by the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, Tony Rescigno, the Chamber’s President, would not hesitate to state that it takes a village — or in this case, a strong partnership with Yale University and others — to pull off this annual event. Many of the 160 volunteers are Yale students, staff, and faculty who serve as judges and mentors to the New Haven youth. This year marks the 10th anniversary that Tony, on behalf of the Chamber, has been overseeing the Science Fair. Tony rightfully believes that his role as President of the Chamber should encompass preparing our youth today for the jobs of tomorrow.

Tony’s efforts toward job creation in New Haven go beyond his focus on youth outreach. As a Board member of New Haven Works, Tony works in partnership with Yale University, the Board of Alders, the Mayor, and other businesses to foster and enhance New Haven’s jobs pipeline. As the Executive Director of the Regional Leadership Council, Tony brings key business leaders together, including representatives from the University, to discuss and address challenges faced by businesses. Recently the Chamber initiated an economic development initiative to further encourage job growth in the New Haven region.

Tony is also never hesitant to speak out and take leadership positions to support economic vitality in New Haven. Tony recognizes that Yale is not only an educational institution, but a significant employer in New Haven and continues to cultivate a relationship between the University and the Chamber to promote economic development in New Haven. Never one to say no when it is a question of promoting New Haven and its businesses, Tony works on the Mayor’s task force in partnership with Yale and others to continue to implement programs that will enhance New Haven’s vitality.

In recognition of his steadfast commitment to grow and support jobs and businesses in New Haven while harnessing the resources of, and in partnership with, Yale University, President Salovey and Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker will present Anthony Rescigno with an Elm Award.

Martin Torresquintero

Elm Award

Spend even just a moment speaking with Martin Torresquintero, and you can’t help but walk away energized by his zest for the importance of, and opportunities to be found in, New Haven’s beautiful parks system. Martin, who has been the Outdoor Adventure Coordinator for the City since 1999, constantly seeks opportunities to engage the community in programming offered by his department, and participants are always better for it.

Martin consistently has made efforts to tailor programs to the interests, needs and abilities of all New Haven residents, including Yale students, interns, staff, faculty and their families. He has taken numerous Yale students and faculty to work with him on a wide variety of nature education and outdoor adventure programs, including park beautification, trail maintenance and nature watching. He has offered canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding programs to the Yale community, so that participants can have fun, safe and rewarding experience in their chosen watercraft while increasing the overall safety of recreational human-powered vessels of all kinds. He has provided guidance to incoming students regarding running, cycling, and park safety with his seminars. Want a rock climbing wall? Martin is there, volunteering his time to provide this experience to hundreds of attendees at campus events throughout the year. Would you like to tour the city’s many wonderful parks by bike? Call Martin, as the School of Forestry has done for the past two years for its incoming freshmen.

Need access to the Long Island Sound to test a prototype water vessel? Martin, of course! That’s who Vincent Wilczynksi, the head of Yale’s Center for Engineering and Design called when his students needed to test their intelligent vehicle on the water. Martin took the whole undergraduate team out on the Sound near Lighthouse Point and provided assistance and safety support so that they could take their reduced-scale smart boat out for a spin.

Martin’s passion for outdoor adventure, nature education and adaptive sports programming have benefitted thousands of members of the New Haven and Yale communities. We salute his mission as President Peter Salovey and Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker present Martin Torresquintero with an Elm Award.

Carter Winstanley

Elm Award

When Bruce Alexander arrived in New Haven in 1998 to be Yale’s inaugural Vice President for New Haven Affairs, he discovered there was virtually no commercial wet laboratory space to be leased to biotech startup companies in downtown New Haven, most especially adjacent to the Yale Medical campus where the research that created many of them was being done and where these companies wished to be located. He found the solution in Carter Winstanley, an outstanding developer from Concord, Massachusetts, whose work has been an enormous asset to our community. Today, in no small measure due to Carter’s work, there are approximately 30 such companies in the New Haven region as well as the half-million-square-foot Alexion headquarters building employing 700 people in downtown.

Not many have the patience, the even-keeled temperament, nor the persistence to pursue the projects that Carter Winstanley has taken on in furtherance of creating economic vitality in our city. Carter recognizes that to be successful it is critical to build not only great projects, but strong relationships as well. His engagement with New Haven and Yale University over the past decade has led to the creation of the flourishing life science hub that our community now enjoys.

Carter’s first foray into New Haven to solve the lack of wet lab space was the acquisition of 300 George Street, a vacant building at the time of acquisition which is now completely leased. Carter next moved on to an instrumental role in the redevelopment of Science Park, joint venturing the purchase of 25 Science Park with University Properties and working in partnership with Yale’s Office of Cooperative Research to renovate and provide space so that the emerging bioscience companies would keep their growing businesses in New Haven. Next at Science Park, he developed office space for the Higher One start up and worked with Forest City to produce a first-class residential project in what had been a brownfield factory site.

Carter next worked in partnership with state and local officials to purchase land in the Route 34 connector and physically reconnected neighborhoods through his work on downtown crossing and the development of 100 College, the Alexion building. Initially Yale agreed to serve as the anchor tenant in the project, allowing Carter to assemble the state-owned land, secure public approvals as well as financing so the project could proceed. When the building was ready to start construction, Alexion surfaced as a potential tenant. Yale and Carter then worked together to first increase the size of the project and later to find alternate space for the University so that Alexion could occupy the entire building, thus returning to the City a company that had left a decade earlier for the suburbs.

In recognition of his fulfilling the role of a true connector by working thoughtfully and effectively in partnership with the City and Yale University to create projects of great significance that promote economic development in New Haven, President Salovey and Board of Alder President Tyisha Walker are pleased to present Carter Winstanley with an Elm award.

Yale Center for Clinical Investigation’s Cultural Ambassadors Program
(Front row, from left) Elizabeth Howard (accepting on behalf of her brother, the late Rev. Timothy Howard), Salovey, Margaret Grey, Joyce Patton, Lillian Reason (second row) Tesheia Johnson, Cheila Serrano, Sandra Trevino, Iris Diaz, Kelly Anastasio, Rev. Leroy O. Perry Jr. (back row) Kevan Herold, Walker, Maurice Williams, Rev. Elvin Clayton. (Robert Sherwin was also honored)

Elm Awardees:

Rev. Elvin Clayton
The late Rev. Timothy Howard (sister, Elizabeth Howard, accepting in his honor)
Rev. Dr. Leroy O. Perry, Jr.
Lillian Reason
Cheila Serrano
Sandra Trevino

Ivy Awardees:

Kelly Anastasio
Iris Diaz
Margaret Grey
Kevan Herold
Tesheia Johnson
Maurice Williams

Improving health care outcomes relies, in part, on clinical trials that guide researchers to finding discoveries and cures. Ensuring that all community members benefit from this work is dependent upon having a diverse community engaged in these trials. The Cultural Ambassadors program was created in 2011 to address and provide solutions for the historic lack of participation of communities of color in clinical research. It exemplifies the true meaning of a collaborative partnership with participation between the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church -one of the country’s oldest African-American congregations, and Junta for Progressive Action, the oldest Latinex community-based nonprofit in New Haven.

Cultural Ambassadors use their expertise and understanding of the communities in which they work to help researchers break down the barriers, cultural or linguistic, that may prevent communities of color from participating in clinical trials. They address any myths or misconceptions community members might have about clinical research and they guide Yale researchers to ensure that their studies avoid confusion and are culturally sensitive.

As of result of their efforts, the Cultural Ambassadors have been so successful that calls have come in from Duke University, University of Rochester, and the University of Florida to create a blueprint for a national model.

For exemplifying the positive change that occurs when the community and University unite to share knowledge, Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker and President Peter Salovey present representatives from The Cultural Ambassadors program with Elm and Ivy Awards.

Carla Horwitz

Ivy Award

If you work in the field of early childhood education, Carla Horwitz’s name is certainly one with which you are familiar. A critical leader in the field for over 40 years, much of it as Director of the Calvin Hill Daycare Center, a model educational preschool program, that provides high quality, developmentally informed, affordable child care and education for the children of Yale and New Haven families. She is also a beloved teacher to countless generations of Yale students, Carla has made an enormous contribution to Yale and New Haven and her name should be ubiquitous beyond her field of expertise.

During her tenure at Calvin Hill, Carla focused on bringing the Yale and New Haven communities together in many ways, including in the classroom. She implemented practicum placements, where Yale students learned the joy of working with children (in addition to skills and knowledge about early childhood education). The children benefited from interacting with a diverse group of committed students who brought new ideas and energy to the classroom. Many of these Yale students have then gone on to other posts in New Haven, bringing the knowledge they gained at Calvin Hill to the broader community.

In the spirit of always embracing the community, Carla has organized numerous visits and fellowships for early childhood educators. These programs have inspired and fueled generations of advocates and educators working for quality childcare in New Haven and beyond.

In recognition of her influence on the spectrum of child care and education programs in New Haven by bringing together Yale resources and a passion and commitment to early education, President Salovey and Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker present Carla Horwitz with an Ivy Award.

Jock Reynolds

Ivy Award

When Jock Reynolds arrived at Yale in 1998, one of his stated goals was to make Yale University Art Gallery’s collections more accessible. Almost 20 years later, post a major renovation which provided new exhibition space for works that had been stuck in storage, one only needs to step inside the gallery to witness the success of that goal. However, for Jock, a physical expansion of the gallery space was only the primer for the new canvas the he was intent on creating. Jock was determined to have more New Haveners take that step inside.

Jock is never shy to point out that New Haven and Yale host the largest collection of visual art available to the public at no charge outside the national collections in Washington D.C. The Yale University Art Gallery is always free and open to the public. Jock is persistent on encouraging ways for New Haven residents to experience the gallery’s offerings. From adult programming such as free gallery talks and tours, to teacher professional development opportunities, to kids and family events such as Stories and Art, Jock has motivated his team to provide opportunities for engagement with the community at all levels. It is not surprising to see Jock personally welcoming a group of New Haven school children to the gallery or speaking at Yale’s community breakfast.

While art can be transformative, so too can be the efforts of a gallery director. The gallery has played a critical role in supporting New Haven Promise’s internship platform. As a result, the Yale University Art Gallery was recently the first recipient of New Haven Promise’s Champion Award. The gallery hosted the first-ever Promise internship fair in 2014 and has been a leader in supporting New Haven Promise paid summer interns, increasing the number of interns year over year and providing the credibility for other departments and institutions to follow suit. These internships provide valuable work experience for New Haven Promise scholars while also continuing to expose New Haven’s youth to the art world. While Jock will humbly give credit to his staff for these successful initiatives, we all recognize that organizations are guided by the philosophy of their leaders.

In recognition of his focus on bringing art to the community and the community to the gallery, President Salovey and Board of Alder President Tyisha Walker will present Jock Reynolds with an Ivy Award.

Erika Hairston

Undergraduate Ivy Award

Prior to coming to Yale, Erika Hairston had not taken a single computer science class. Until she was a junior in high school, she did not even know what “code” meant. This all changed when she chanced upon a short documentary created by an organization of women in computer science titled She++. She plunged into computer science, curious to continue uncovering why so few people of color and women seemed to be represented in the field. In the process, she fell in love not only with the subject, but with the idea of creating opportunities for other young girls to discover their potential in technology.

Since arriving at Yale, Erika has played an active role in social justice and is currently the president of the Black Student Alliance at Yale. In 2015 she co-founded SheCode, an initiative that teaches coding to girls in grades 6-12 from the New Haven public schools. Weekend mornings on the Yale campus you can find Erika amongst 40-50 New Haven girls demystifying coding and teaching them to develop their own apps.

In 2017, after seeing the film Hidden Figures over winter break, Erika returned to campus determined to show the film to as many young girls as possible. In a short period of time she raised enough money to rent out the Criterion Cinema, put together a panel of women scientists and mathematicians of color, and screened the film for over 200 New Haven girls.

In recognition of her work to lower the barriers of computer science for young girls in New Haven, President Peter Salovey and Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker present Erika Hairston with an Undergraduate Ivy Award.

Science in the News
(From left) Salovey, Erin Heim, Amanda Vines, Ross Federman, Alexander Engler, Walker.

Graduate and Professional Student Ivy Award

Awardees:
Alexander Engler
Ross Federman
Erin Heim
Amanda Vines

Since 2012, Yale graduate students have been “talking Science without talking like Scientists” in public library branches across the city of New Haven. These sessions are packed with New Haven residents- young and old alike- who are eager to understand the science that they hear about in the news. Recent topics have included:

Trust your Gut: How helpful Bacteria Impact Health
Hacking the Genetic Code: Editing our Destiny
Ebola Explosion! Barriers, Blood, and Bad Press

Science in the News is a free, public lecture series given by Yale graduate students that aims to educate children and adults of all ages about hot science topics without the jargon getting in the way. They have made science fun and accessible to thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds across the city of New Haven.

In recognition of their work to provide people with a better understanding of the science underpinning the complex issues we hear about in the news every day, President Peter Salovey and Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker present Yale Science In the News with a Graduate and Professional School Ivy Award.

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