2023 Purdue Jefferson Award winners

Five extraordinary Purdue employees, who give back to their communities in meaningful ways, have been named Purdue’s 2023 Jefferson Award winners.

For almost 50 years, the Jefferson Awards have served to change communities and the world by inspiring action through celebration. Each year, Purdue’s Office of Engagement joins the movement, recognizing the efforts of extraordinary university employees who dedicate themselves to giving back to their communities in meaningful ways.

This year’s Purdue winners are Susie Crowe, Mary Gardner, Karen Hudmon, Tong Jin Kim, and Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar. Combined with the efforts of community partners, these award winners have made lasting impacts on their communities, domestically and abroad. Their collaborations have influenced foreign policy, produced curriculum for future healthcare providers, provided accessible health services in under-resourced communities, combatted internet crimes against children, and brought life-long learning opportunities to our community.

Global Health and Health Equity Fellow, College of Pharmacy | Susie Crowe is praised by her nominators for her tireless pursuit and vision for engaging marginalized communities. Crowe’s dedication to the accessibility of health services in under-resourced communities has impacted community members across Central Indiana. Crowe leads the Center for Health Equity and Innovation (CHEqI)’s Community Health Access Events – events that have provided, to date, 1,759 COVID-19 and flu vaccines, 284 doses of the opioid overdose reversal medication, Narcan, and biweekly health education classes to community members who might not have otherwise had access to these health services. In addition to her work with community partners, Crowe and her team mentor pharmacy, medicine, nursing, and public health students, ensuring future health professionals have experience providing high-quality care to members of underserved communities. Crowe is applauded for her dedication to building trust with her clients and providing the healthcare they need.

Senior Program Coordinator, Purdue Office of Engagement | Mary Gardner is described by her nominators as the “strongest exemplar of service.” Over the past several decades, Gardner has worked closely with the Purdue Office of Engagement, Red Cross, and Fowler United Methodist Church. Thirty years ago, Mary Gardner helped establish the nonprofit Wabash Area Lifetime Learning Association (WALLA), where today she continues to create educational opportunities for individuals in Greater Lafayette over 50 years of age. To the Red Cross, Gardner has donated her time, every 56 days for the past 25 years, to blood drives, where she greets and supports blood donors. Gardner has also been heavily involved with the Fowler United Methodist Church for 70 years, teaching, holding multiple offices, and serving on the pastor parish and mission committees.

Professor, College of Pharmacy | Karen Hudmon has dedicated 25 years to addressing tobacco use and dependency. Hudmon and her team developed The Rx for Change, an evidence-based curriculum for training health professionals of all disciplines. Since its creation, an estimated 74% of pharmacy schools have used the tools in the training of PharmD students. The tools have been adopted by healthcare systems across the United States and as far as Thailand and Malaysia. Locally, Hudmon’s team provides technical assistance to mental health organizations implementing treatment for tobacco use. She also led a team to develop and implement a comprehensive tobacco treatment program for patients at the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center. Hudmon’s tireless work has created national initiatives reaching all segments of the population, including the uninsured and under-insured.

Professor, College of Liberal Arts | Tong Jin Kim’s service began in underprivileged neighborhoods in Chicago, where he provided training in product and digital fabrication technology. Kim now focuses on the creation of makerspaces, domestically and abroad. In 2015, the first makerspace, Wonder Lab, opened at Burnett Creek Elementary School in West Lafayette. Wonderland Education, an experiential learning center where children learn through engagement and instruction with technology, opened in West Lafayette during the pandemic. Wonderland has educated more than 500 children and awarded more than 60 scholarships to children from low-income communities. Wonderland also collaborates with Hanna Community Center in Lafayette in providing programming to low-income students twice a month, benefiting over 300 children. Since 2017, Kim has also worked with the Korea Foundation and the Ministry of SMEs to create makerspace policy. He is exploring an online version of Wonderland for developing countries and working with professors in Brazil to offer workshops for school teachers this year.

Associate Professor, Polytechnic Institute | Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar is an expert in combating internet crimes against children​. Siegfried-Spellar partners with law enforcement agencies nationwide to develop digital forensic tools to meet their needs, leading to the creation of forensic tools FileTSAR, FileTSAR+, and the Chat Analysis Triage Tool. These tools aid in identifying cases with high-priority contact child sex offenders based on the linguistic differences between contact-driven and non-contact-driven child sex offenders. Another important part of Seigfried-Spellar’s community impact work is advocacy for law enforcement mental health and digital examiners’ psychological well-being. Notably, Seigfried-Spellar received a 2022-2023 Fulbright Scholar Award to collaborate with the University of Valencia and the Secretary of State for Security to analyze chats from child sex offender cases in Spain. Her nominators state “Vision, tenacity, and dedication clearly describe Dr. Seigfried-Spellar.”

Click to learn more about the Purdue Jefferson Awards criteria and past recipients.

Source: Office of Engagement Intern Emily Bergman