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James Monroe Prize in Civic Leadership

Established in 2005, the Monroe Prize is awarded to a student who has demonstrated sustained leadership of an unusual quality, leadership combined with initiative, character and an unfailing commitment to leveraging the assets of the William & Mary community to address the needs of our society.

Prize Recipients
Recent award recipients of the James Monroe Prize in Civic Leadership
2023 - Sophia Haile '23
Award citation

Sophia Hagos Haile, Class of 2023, through your tireless efforts to advance inclusivity for students of color pursuing STEM, you make our community a more just and welcoming place. You are a campus leader as student president of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), a member of the African Cultural Society and a Writing Resources Center peer consultant. You spearheaded the formation of a mentorship program for students enrolling in introductory chemistry courses. As a research assistant, you delved into the systemic perception and treatment of Black adolescents in the criminal justice and education systems. And you served as a facilitator helping Sodexo employees on William & Mary’s campus form a recognized union in October 2022.

Your civic leadership has deepened William & Mary’s connections in our communities. You played a pivotal role in organizing an outreach event for 108 students from an underrepresented high school. These students experienced William & Mary’s Integrated Science programs and facilities. As part of this event, you helped convene inspirational small group discussions with William & Mary science students and faculty, campus and lab tours and chemistry department demonstrations.

Beyond your commitment to empowering the next generation of future scientists, you have also applied your talents in preserving history and raising funds for those in desperate need. As a research intern for the Fairfax Cemetery Preservation Association, you helped preserve and consolidate research on 100 Vietnam War veterans from the Northern Virginia area. The resulting database provided an accessible outlet for relatives of veterans to learn about and connect with their loved ones. Additionally, your philanthropic efforts with the African Cultural Society helped shed light on the plight of Ethiopian refugees in the District of Columbia and raised funds to support their needs.

On this campus and beyond, your efforts have amplified inclusion and belonging. Beloved by your peers, you have cultivated a cohort of students of all races and identities who care for one another and our community.

Sophia Hagos Haile, by believing in the power of your story, with grit and determination, you inspire every community you serve to be more just and welcoming. Consequently, William & Mary is proud to honor you with this year’s James Monroe Prize in Civic Leadership.

2022 - Cameron Lynch '23
Award citation

This year’s recipient, Cameron Lynch, has tirelessly championed for the rights of disabled people at William & Mary and at the regional, state and international levels. Cameron has served as undersecretary for Disability Affairs in Student Assembly; member and re-energizer of the Student Accessibility Services Peer Advisory Group; and as a confidential peer advocate for the Haven.

She fought isolation and vulnerability among disabled people by creating “Chronic and Iconic,” a global weekly Zoom support group and Instagram presence. Because of these efforts to make William & Mary a more welcoming community for disabled students and her potential to further disability rights, William & Mary is proud to honor Cameron Lynch.

2021 - Jamelah Jacob '21
Award citation

Jamelah Jacob, Class of 2021, you have consistently demonstrated active citizenship through your volunteer experiences. You serve as a catalyst of innovation and leadership and have earned the respect of your peers, advisors and community members.

As president of the Filipino American Student Association, chair of the Asian American Student Initiative and editor in chief of Art & Hatsuye, you have promoted cultural awareness in order to address the needs of Asian Pacific Islander Americans, Middle Eastern Americans and African Americans.

As student chair of the Asian American Student Initiative, you successfully lobbied for representation of APIA students at faculty meetings where programs were being constructed. As part of this initiative, you created a resource list of internships for students either majoring or minoring in APIA, developed a mentor program for prospective and current APIA students and championed an Asian Pacific Middle Eastern graduation ceremony. For these efforts, you were awarded a grant from the Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) to study external civil rights.

In support of the Center for Student Diversity, you developed and supported educational programs that foster social justice awareness. Furthermore, you used social media to encourage reflection on the issue of pervasive racism, advanced programming for the Preparing for Life as a University Student (PLUS) program and orchestrated a Get Out The Vote initiative.

Beyond the boundaries of William & Mary’s campus, you have interned or worked in the Washington, D.C., Mayor’s Office, for the 1882 Foundation and for the Japanese American Citizens League. You advocate for policies and educational programming pertaining to COVID-19, ICE detention centers, immigration reform, the negative impacts of gentrification in Asian-American neighborhoods and strengthening relationships between the United States and Japan.

Jamelah Jacob, as a proven leader and role model for social justice and community advocacy, you show promise for a lifetime of community engagement and civic action. The university is proud to honor you with this year’s James Monroe Prize in Civic Leadership.

2020 - Kathryn Monfalcone '20
Award citation

Kathryn Monfalcone, Class of 2020, your commitment to service and leadership started the second you stepped foot on this campus and in Williamsburg. You have not only demonstrated active citizenship through many different volunteer experiences, but you have also been a catalyst of innovation and leadership that has inspired your peers and members of the local community.

As a volunteer in the community, you have been engaged in mentoring elementary and middle school students, fundraising to support UNICEF and the ALS Association and leading others by serving as student president of W&M’s Circle K International chapter. Your commitment to engaging with others in the community has touched many lives and has inspired others to join your efforts.

When you saw that there was not a service outlet for middle school students – a significant gap within the family of service learning programs in the Williamsburg community – you stepped forward. In collaboration with W&M’s Circle K International advisor and the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg, you acquired sponsorship and funding to establish a service-learning program at Berkeley Middle School.

In your own words, “It was incredible to watch the two dozen middle school students excitedly plan their upcoming year’s activities as they brainstormed ways to reduce their carbon footprint, bring an end to bullying and give back to first responders. Watching my hard work come to fruition in the form of a service outlet for passionate children to make a difference in the world was the most meaningful outcome I could have imagined.”

According to one of your mentors, “Ms. Monfalcone will be the role model young people will look to in the coming years. I can't imagine a greater responsibility and contribution from any William & Mary graduate.”

As a leader and role model for social justice and community advocacy, you show promise for a lifetime of community engagement and civic action, and embody the qualities recognized by the James Monroe Prize in Civic Leadership. The university is proud to honor you with this year’s James Monroe Prize in Civic Leadership.

2019 - Florence "Flo" Glynn '19
Award citation

Florence (Flo) Glynn, Class of 2019, throughout your time at William & Mary you have been part of various communities and organizations that allow you to fulfill your goals while contributing your gifts of persistence, empathy and reflection. You match your passion for addressing social justice issues with the ability to galvanize others and make things happen.

After participating in a Branch Out alternative break in partnership with an organization that provides support to victims of human trafficking, you and your teammates formed the only anti-trafficking student organization at William & Mary. You went on to co-lead an alternative break with the same organization the following year, facilitating thoughtful conversation and engagement around that issue and its complexity for ten of your peers. As development coordinator on Branch Out's executive board, you serve as a member and secretary of the Mental Health branch of HOPE (Health Outreach Peer Educators), in which you promote wellness through a lens of community support.

Through your involvement in student organizations and community, you have demonstrated a commitment to action paired with reflection, and consistency in following through on your goals. You infuse your value of active citizenship in your various other involvements on campus, and when you see an opportunity to be an advocate, you do so while warmly inviting and mobilizing others to join you.

As Grace Hymel, the advisor of Branch Out commented, “Flo guides our decisions by continuously grounding us in program values of sustainability, mutually-beneficial partnerships, and intentionality. While she does not easily waiver in the face of opposition in relation to an idea she passionately believes in, she is deeply attentive to other’s ideas and seeks mutual understanding.”

Through your involvement in the community, you have specified your personal values and priorities in life as follows: “to grow in active citizenship, to learn from and guide others to fulfill our collective and individual potential to live well and to connect with people, communities, and institutions to create real, positive social change.”

Flo Glynn, you carry forward James Monroe’s legacy of public engagement in service to a larger goal. The university is proud to honor you with this year’s James Monroe Prize in Civic Leadership.

 View more recipients of the James Monroe Prize.